One of the things I really wanted to work on coming into this season was how I went about attacking left-handed batters. When it comes to getting out lefties, I think a lot of it is about making little in-game adjustments here and there. Beyond that, it is about throwing strikes and getting guys out.
I think the average baseball fan would think a left-handed pitcher should, by and large, get a left-handed batter out the bulk of the time. But that is not necessarily the case. These guys, after all, are up here in the big leagues for a reason. They can hit whoever is out there on the mound regardless of which way they throw the ball.
There are those days when you have success against the lefties, and there are those days that you just don't. That is baseball.
My approach mentally does not change. I will always look to be aggressive, and I am always going to look to come after hitters. Also, physically, I don't alter or change the pitches I throw to lefties. I throw the same pitches to any guy -- right-handed or left-handed.
Over the course of the season, you are going to see a lot of good left-handed batters. Johnny Damon is a guy who has always put up good numbers against me. It has been a good back-and-forth battle, but he has put up some good numbers and had some very good at-bats against me. You face a lot of tough matchups on the mound, and for me he is one of them.
Curtis Granderson is another real good left-handed hitter. David "Big Papi" Ortiz is another real tough left-handed batter to get out. Another guy we see a lot of now is Adrian Gonzalez. I can't forget him. He hits everyone -- righties and lefties. When you are able to get those kinds of guys out, you are usually pounding the zone and staying aggressive. You do your best to make it work in your favor.
As the years go by, I try not to pay attention to the specific numbers when facing those types of batters, and lefties on the whole. That is up to others to interpret. I am about going deep in games, battling and doing my best to win games. When you do that, regardless of whom you get out and why, that is the bottom line.
Blue Jays left-hander Ricky Romero is putting together yet another stellar season. Through 14 starts for the Blue Jays, he is 7-1. To date, left-handed batters are hitting .267 off Romero this year.