Astros pitching coach Doug Brocail said that if someone didn’t know that Brett Oberholtzer was a rookie pitcher, they would think he was a 10-year veteran.
After beating the Red Sox 2-0 on Monday, the left-handed Oberholtzer became the first pitcher in franchise history to pitch seven or more scoreless innings in his first two major league starts.
And the pitch that Oberholtzer is getting good use out of is the changeup.
“I learned at a young age, the changeup is the best pitch in baseball,” said Oberholtzer. “You have to pitch off your fastball. The opposite of a fastball is a good changeup.
“I’ve had that mindset since I was younger. As I grew up as a pitcher, I just established it better and I used it well the last two starts.”
In seven innings against the Red Sox, Oberholtzer allowed only four hits.
Oberholtzer (2-0) estimates he throws the changeup about 30 percent of the time, the curveball 10-15 percent, mix in a few sliders and the rest are fastballs.
In Monday’s series-opening win at Minute Maid Park, Oberholtzer said he threw his changeup about 25-35 times among his 101 pitches, 64 which were strikes.
“If you throw a pitch for strikes, whether curveball, a split, whatever, if it’s efficient, why not trust it and throw it,” said Oberholtzer. "That’s my mantra on the changeup.”
Oberholtzer’s fastball is in the low 90s and his curveball is coming along. But it’s the changeup that’s led to his fast start as a starter in the big leagues.
“I know my strengths,” said Oberholtzer. “That’s fastball down and away, changeup down and away, and work off that.”