MINNEAPOLIS -- Trevor May brought the heat Monday night, like few Minnesota Twins pitchers have in franchise history.
Officially, May touched 99.8 miles per hour during his scoreless two-inning outing in Monday’s dramatic win over Atlanta.
“Oh, it was 100 on TV. I count that,” May said, referencing the gun time that pops up on Fox Sports North’s broadcast. “I have a clip from the TV with 1-0-0. I’m going to take that to the bank. I can’t wait to get my plaque.”
Regardless of the exact speed, it’s the fastest May has thrown in his major league career.
“We have been trending toward that for a while now,” May said. “So it’s not super surprising to me.”
The velocity is a product of what May calls “a combination of things.” Info is available to players that shows how their kinetic chain is operating. So May was able to see that he wasn’t moving his hips and was basically using only his arm.
So, earlier this year, he started to get his hips moving. Then, recently, he started to do more with his upper body to have that catch up to his hips.
“It's been a process,” May said. “You've got to break things down to get better. This is work that I do every day. I have a movement routine that I do that's like an hour and a half long.”
The results are starting to show.
“You see some of it paying off,” May said. “A lot of the things they tell you might happen are happening, so that leads you to like ‘What else is there?’ But at the end of the day, velo aside, pitches aside, it’s about getting ahead of guys and making your pitch, and focusing so hard on your pitch that nothing else matters. That’s where I’m trying to get.”
It’s possible he’s arriving. At the very least, he’s in a better spot than where he was in mid-July, when May gave up seven runs in three appearances. His struggles were one of many reasons why so many felt the Twins needed to bolster the bullpen at the trade deadline. The struggles affect the psyche.
“I’m human,” May said. “That’s where you see guys snowball and sometimes one bad outing turns into four and you’re sitting and dwelling on it. We’re here so much, you look around and you’re like, ‘Am I pitching good? No,’ and that’s all you're thinking about. I’m not going to lie, that’s something I’ve done.”
May had ample time to think from July 27 to Aug. 4. In that 10-day span, he threw a total of one pitch, something he was “acutely aware of.” That wasn’t the Twins’ plan for him, manager Rocco Baldelli said it was simply the way things worked out with the way games played out.
The time off gave May time to think. He said he used it wisely.
“There were some frustrations to work through. Things hadn’t gone horribly well for me in the previous three outings or something, so I had a lot of time to think about it,” May said. “That can be detrimental for you, but I try to be as positive about it as possible and take advantage. Everything has silver linings.
"Getting extra rest is a positive, being able to work on some things is a positive to maybe make some adjustments and reinforce some things in your head," May said. "I did all of those things. I’m making small adjustments, trying to figure out exactly who I am and be consistent with that. I think I’ve been a starter reliever for a while. There’s some simplification I can do in how I pitch that I think can help me.”
May’s pitch selection Monday certainly was simple. He only threw fastballs and changeups, with the exception of one slider. The curveball appears to be out of his arsenal for the moment, and the slider is a developing pitch he’s not yet ready to rely heavily on.
For now, with the help of the change, the fastball will more than do.
“A big thing for me is every game, whether or not I go in, I want to be able to say that I was as prepared as I could’ve been to go in the game,” May said. “I think if you start there, you’re going to be successful more often than not. That helps.”