There was an interesting article on the Cub web site yesterday, certainly something that I have not seen before.
The new guy on the block, Marlon Byrd, saw Carlos Marmol throwing batting practice and he pulled him aside. Seems that Carlos was tipping his pitches. Article goes on to say that another pitcher, Thomas Diamond, was also doing the same thing, tipping the pitches.
The article did a good job of pointing out that normally a pitching coach is concerned about mechanics, delivery and how to throw a particular pitch. Pitching coaches are normally focused on those issues and do not always pick up on the fact the hitter may know what is coming.
They asked Byrd about being a pitching coach and he indicated he had no idea about proper mechanics or how to throw a particular pitch, he just can tell when he sees a pitcher throw one pitch differently than when he throws another. I have heard that veteran hitters normally are the first to pick up on that kind of thing.
Many have asked about Marmol this year. The biggest improvement in our closer could be a result of something that happened before the first game of spring training. It causes me to wonder how many years he has been tipping off the hitters without anyone realizing it.
One other item that caught my attention was that Byrd was taking BP from young pitcher Jeff Stevens on Monday. Apparently the pitcher threw Byrd a curve ball that prompted him to yell back to the pitcher.
Here was his quote. “You have young guys and they have a big league hitter in there, and I think they’d want to know if something is looking good or if there’s something they need to work on,” Byrd said. “Pitching coaches do their thing, but if hitters give them feedback and give them that confidence that everything they’re doing is right, they don’t have to second guess themselves.”
What a pleasant surprise that was. Seems Mr. Byrd is sure a bit different than Milton Bradley was last year. That should endear himself to his new team mates quickly.
As an aside they also mentioned that Maddux used to talk to hitters and hitting coaches regularly, presumably to see if he was tipping any of his pitches. Why does that not surprise me?