D-backs pitchers urged to throw first pitch strikes
The Diamondbacks’ pitching has been very good recently. In six games since June 12, the D-backs have shutout their opponents twice and not given up more than four runs in any of the other four games. The team has gone 5-1 over that stretch.
According to Examiner.com, one of the reasons for the rotation’s recent success may be a bit of advice from pitching coach Mike Harkey and a couple of savvy baseball minds, D-backs chief baseball officer Tony La Russa and his former pitching coach in St. Louis, Dave Duncan. It was all about getting the first pitch over for a strike. Starting pitcher Robbie Ray said:
“That was stressed over and over again. With a first pitch strike, they also want us to get the hitter out within three pitches.”
Ray has been particularly successful since being called up from Triple-A Reno. Ray has only given up 2 earned runs in 18 2/3 innings pitched through three starts.
Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia spoke about the significance of La Russa and Duncan’s advice. He said:
“There have been serious discussions about getting ahead of hitters…With (La Russa and Duncan), these guys have knowledge and experience. You better listen to them.”
Photo credit: Darron Cummings