Tyler Mahle's 'sloppy' secondary pitches are contributing to inefficient performances

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Tyler Mahle.
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Tyler Mahle. / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages

Tyler Mahle, in a postgame interview with Bally Sports personality Jim Day, used the term "sloppy" several times when describing his performance on Tuesday night versus the Milwaukee Brewers. The Cincinnati Reds starter lasted only lasted 3.1 innings despite throwing 92 pitches.

On the other hand, Mahle's counterpart, Brandon Woodruff, was extremely efficient and was eventually chased from the game in the sixth inning following a single from Tommy Pham.

The lack of efficiency has been something that has plagued Mahle throughout the 2022 season, and quite frankly throughout his entire career. If the California native is ever going to reach his full potential, he has to go deeper into ballgames.

Reds starter Tyler Mahle must get deeper into games.

Tyler Mahle has next-level stuff. The problem is, he doesn't trust it. Too many times Mahle dances around hitters with his secondary pitches, falls behind in the count, and then BOOM!

That's exactly what happened last night. After throwing 31 pitches in the first inning, you knew it was going to be a short night for Mahle. The Brewers failed to score in the first two innings, but put a three-spot on the board in the third courtesy of a Willy Adames home run.

A fielding error by shortstop Kyle Farmer allowed Luis Urais to reach and then Tyler Mahle threw four pitches to Kotlen Wong, all of which were outside the strike zone. With runners on first and second, Mahle threw three straight sliders, which he calls his third-best pitch, and Adames made him pay.

Mahle then recorded three straight outs, but the damage had been done. The Reds right-hander then went into the fourth inning, and after a walk and back-to-back singles made the score 4-2 with runners on first and third, David Bell had seen enough.

Tyler Mahle has made it past the fifth inning just once this year. Whether that's a product of the shortened spring training or not, the Reds hurler needs to find a way to get into the sixth and even the seventh inning with regularity.

Mahle can't be spectacular every night, I understand that. But the 27-year-old appears to approach the hitters with the mindset of not wanting to make a mistake. Instead, Mahle dances around the strike zone which inevitably ups his pitch count and routinely puts men on base without swinging the bat.

Mahle has walked at least two batters in every game this season and on two occasions his issued three free passes. Per FanGraphs, Mahle's BB/9 is sitting at 4.91 and his walk-rate is nearly at the same level we saw during 2017 when he appeared in just four big league games as a rookie.

Tyler Mahle has to find a way to get deeper into games. His fastball is his bread and butter. He needs to trust it and locate it. Mahle is going to his four-seam fastball 47.7% of the time. That's the least amount of usage his heater has seen in his career.

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