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D-backs hitting coach Magadan, GM Hazen discuss team’s hitting approach

Arizona Diamondbacks hitting coach Dave Magadan looks on during batting practice before the baseball game against the San Diego Padres Monday, Sept. 18, 2017, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Orlando Ramirez)

The extremes for the Arizona Diamondbacks’ hitting have been no joke in 2018. From being the league’s worst offense before the start of June to averaging 7.4 runs in 11 games through June, the hitting has been all over the place.

D-backs hitting coach Dave Magadan joined 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Bickley & Marotta Tuesday to discuss the ups and downs.

That includes the D-backs’ new approach to hitting called “tunneling,” which adopts a focus on gauging the angle of the ball when it leaves the pitcher’s hand and not so much locking in on where the pitch crosses home plate.

“I don’t think it had anything to do with it,” Magadan said of that approach being responsible for the struggles in May. “I think tunneling is probably just another word to get a good pitch to hit.

“We were just trying to simplify it a little bit, simplify the scouting report.”

Magadan said this was looking at where a pitch starts in order for a hitter to decide whether or not they should swing.

“I would hesitate to blame it on that,” he said. “It wasn’t anything revolutionary.

“It was a way to make it a little easier to understand how to approach a pitcher and if we can attack a pitcher in that way.”

Magadan, instead, said the fault was in the confidence of some players and some of their approaches mechanically.

From a players perspective, the team’s star man Paul Goldschmidt is not a fan of the term or hearing about it.

“Yes, 100 percent,” he said Wednesday on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Doug & Wolf to the question of if the approach was being made too big of a deal. “I think it’s just a new term for what some guys are already doing. It wasn’t really any more complicated than that.

“I never use that word. You’re just trying to get a good pitch to hit and put a good swing on it.”

General manager Mike Hazen elaborated on tunneling Wednesday on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Doug & Wolf.

“It’s all in that same vein,” Hazen said of tunneling compared to other scouting approaches. “We’ve been doing this for as long as I’ve been in baseball in terms of advanced scouting the pitcher and what he’s gonna try to do to attack you.

“I don’t think it’s any different. I think we’ve put some nice tiny little bows in some ways but I think it’s all the same stuff.”

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