ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Brent Strom helping revive D-backs’ pitching staff after lackluster 2021

May 11, 2022, 10:42 AM
Pitching coach Brent Strom #72 of the Arizona Diamondbacks claps during their MLB game against the ...
Pitching coach Brent Strom #72 of the Arizona Diamondbacks claps during their MLB game against the San Diego Padres at Chase Field on April 09, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Padres won 5-2 against the Diamondbacks. (Photo by Rebecca Noble/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rebecca Noble/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks lost 110 games in the 2021 season, the pitching staff posted a 5.11 team ERA and had a league-worst 52 wins as a unit.

In the ensuing offseason, the D-backs hired pitching coach Brent Strom who started the revival in Arizona after the lackluster year.

Strom took over a pitching staff that consisted of Madison Bumgarner, Zac Gallen, Merril Kelly, Luke Weaver and one new offseason addition in Zach Davies.

Weaver has since been moved to the bullpen in place of Humberto Castellanos.

In just 31 games (17-14) since Strom has taken over the pitching coach duties, the D-backs have cemented themselves as one of the best pitching staffs in baseball.

Before Tuesday’s matchup against the Miami Marlins, the top three in the rotation of Gallen (0.95), Kelly (1.22) and Bumgarner (1.50) had three of the top-10 ERAs in the National League. No other NL club had two.

So what changed?

Strom said to start, the team is throwing a lot more off-speed pitches and really trying to stay ahead of hitters.

“Isn’t that the trend in baseball these days? It’s a confidence factor,” Strom said. “Although you see Gallen throwing more fastballs, he just has confidence in his off-speed pitches. The fastball can be utilized as an off-speed pitch.

“When you get a hitter thinking about off-speed, then the fastball is a change of pace. We always think the change of pace to be lower, but it can be higher too.”

Strom has some experience coaching some of the best in the game, working with Dallas Keuchel in 2015 and Justin Verlander in 2019 during their Cy Young-winning seasons with the Houston Astros.

He also was a major factor in the growth of current New York Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole when the ace was acquired by Houston from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Cole finished second in Cy Young voting in 2019 to his teammate Verlander.

Strom thinks that Gallen reminds him so much of the $324 million man in Cole that the similarities are uncanny in the way they both dominate on and off the mound.

“(Gallen) locates his fastball to the glove side as well as anyone I have ever had,” Strom said. “Like I have said in the past, I have had pitchers with better fastballs, I have had pitchers with better individual curveballs, better individual sliders and better individual changeups. But I’ve never had anybody with all four like what he brings to the table.”

Arizona Diamondbacks

Jose Herrera #36 of the Arizona Diamondbacks hits a RBI double against the Colorado Rockies during ...
Jake Anderson

D-backs reinstate rookie C Jose Herrera, return Grayson Greiner to Triple-A Reno

The D-backs reinstated rookie catcher Jose Herrera off the injured list and returned catcher Grayson Greiner to Triple-A Reno on Tuesday.
23 hours ago
Fans walk the concourse before the MLB game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Cincinnati Red...
Arizona Sports

D-backs named most affordable MLB experience for 14th straight year

The Diamondbacks' Fan Cost Index sits at $152.30, nearly $34 below the next-most-affordable team, the Miami Marlins.
23 hours ago
David Peralta #6 of the Arizona Diamondbacks reacts after hitting an RBI single during the seventh ...
Jake Anderson

D-backs survive 1st inning slugfest, come back to top Royals

The D-backs survived a first-inning slugfest in a 9-5 comeback win over the Kansas City Royals at Chase Field on Monday night.
23 hours ago
First base coach Dave McKay #39 of the Arizona Diamondbacks speaks with outfielder Ketel Marte #4 o...
Kellan Olson

D-backs 1st base coach Dave McKay out due to COVID-19

Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said after Monday's 9-5 win over the Royals that first base coach Dave McKay is out due to COVID-19.
2 days ago
Assistant athletic trainer Ryne Eubanks of the Arizona Diamondbacks looks at pitcher Zach Davies #2...
Kellan Olson

Zach Davies leaves game for D-backs after taking line drive off shin

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zach Davies left Monday's game against the Kansas City Royals with a right leg injury.
2 days ago
Kansas City Royals' Whit Merrifield (15) celebrates his home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks w...
Kellan Olson

Royals take advantage of D-backs’ shift, errors to score odd run

Sometimes defensive shifts can put a team in a compromising situation and then it's too late. The D-backs were reminded of this on Monday.
2 days ago
Brent Strom helping revive D-backs’ pitching staff after lackluster 2021