Cubs rookie Ethan Roberts emphatically reminds baseball world what he’s capable of
Shortly after Ethan Roberts fired his 17th pitch of the evening in Atlanta, he walked off the mound and emphatically pointed to the ground while mouthing, “I’m right here.”
It was the rookie’s way of reminding himself — and the baseball world — what he is capable of.
Roberts struck out all 3 batters he faced Tuesday night against the defending world champions.
This marked his first outing since last Thursday, when he picked up the first loss of his MLB career by allowing 2 runs on 2 walks and 2 hits.
After the game against the Pirates last week, Roberts said he felt like he was nibbling too much instead of attacking hitters.
That changed Tuesday night.
“Just getting back to being me again,” Roberts told Marquee Sports Network’s Taylor McGregor. “I’m here. I feel better. Going back and looking at some of the stuff I did in the past – what I did well, what I didn’t do well. And just trying to emphasize what I do well.
“I feel like I did that tonight. Being in a better headspace, being confident. It was just like, ‘I’m here. I’m back.'”
Roberts was not only effective Tuesday night, but he was dominant. His slider looked like a Wiffle ball, eliciting some love from Pitching Ninja on Twitter:
Ethan Roberts, Wicked Sliders. 🤢— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 27, 2022
19", 18", 21" and 21" of horizontal break. pic.twitter.com/zZdAJLM27u
For perspective, only 1 pitcher averaged more than 20 inches of horizontal movement on sliders last season — Rich Hill (22.5 inches).
Roberts came into the game averaging 21.2 inches of movement on his slider.
Even more importantly, he was locating the pitch in the zone.
“I was throwing my breaking balls for strikes,” he told McGregor. “I haven’t been doing that. I have a lot of confidence in my slider but I wasn’t throwing it for a strike. And I did that more than I ever have tonight.
“I’ve been working on that in bullpens and stuff pregame and it kinda came to fruition tonight.”
On the season, Roberts has a 4.50 ERA and 7 strikeouts in 6 innings.