Phil Humber's curveball was ineffective Sunday afternoon, so he switched to throwing more sliders.
Prior to Sunday, Humber had only thrown 96 sliders in 2011, according to Texas Leaguers' pitch f/x tool. On Sunday, he threw 23. And those 23 sliders were a great sign for Humber's effectiveness in the future.
It wasn't necessarily that Humber had success with his slider. It was more that he was willing to try the slider that's encouraging.
For a guy who entered Sunday with a .220 BABIP, Humber is going to have to make adjustments like this over the course of the season if he wants to keep his ERA low.
That BABIP is going to rise, no matter how good Humber is at inducing bad contact. When that rise happens, Humber's going to have to combat it by limiting his walks and maximizing his strikeouts.
Humber walked one and struck out five today, and that success had a lot to do with his slider. Of those 23 sliders, 15 were strikes and four generated swings and misses. Brooks Baseball's pitch f/x tool rated it as Humber's best pitch Sunday, a pleasant deviation from Humber's curveball, changeup or fastball being his most effective offering.
Again, that Humber is willing to make adjustments, and have success with those adjustments, is very encouraging going forward this season. His ERA sits at 2.90 after his 7.2 innings of two-run ball, easily the lowest on the team.
If he continues with these adjustments, it'll stay that way.