Pettitte's "Floating" Release Point

After Andy Pettitte's start on 4/29, the left-hander complained about release point issues. He explained that problems in his release point and the inefficiency of his cutter were causing him to struggle. After Sunday's start on 5/5, Pettitte ran into the same issues. He had this to say after the game. “It’s a struggle,” Pettitte said. “The issue is everything. Everything I’ve got to do as a starting pitcher, I’m not able to do right now. … My release point is floating around a little bit. … It’s been a long, long time since I haven’t had a feeling for my pitches.”

Yesterday, Brad covered his cutter, and today I want to take a look at his release points.

Instead, I'd like to just present Pettitte's release points from his six 2013 starts.

You may need to refresh the page if it isn't working initially, not sure why this is happening. As you can see, they are color differentiated by date. If you go to the legend on the bottom, you can toggle each game and take a look at what his release points looked like in each separate start, or toggle a few of them to see how he performed over stretches. Keep in mind that the cameras at the stadium can be calibrated differently, and release points can be affected by this.

It's interesting to see how much Pettitte's first three starts vary in release zone. During this time, we know that the left-hander was dealing with some back issues, and I wonder if that had some effect on the spread. Over his last two starts, the ones in which he complained about release point floating, Pettitte's release zones are often falling higher and closer to the pitcher's mound, similar to his start on 4/4. While I don't see an overly big spread, it's possible that he's using a higher arm slot, at least compared to his starts on 4/9, 4/19, and 4/24.