No more mechanics: Strom wants D-backs pitchers to ‘compete’

Sep 6, 2023, 11:03 AM

Zac Gallen...

Starting pitcher Zac Gallen #23 of the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning of the MLB game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Chase Field on July 26, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

It’s September, one of baseball’s most exciting months of the year as teams make their final push for a playoff spot.

Things are getting a little tight in the National League.

The D-backs have one of the league’s toughest schedules down the stretch. Knowing this, the team is beginning to shift where the focus lies with its pitching.

“With 25 games to go, the last thing we need to do right now is worry about mechanics,” D-backs pitching coach Brent Strom said Tuesday before a 3-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies. “We need to compete and win ballgames.”

The first two wild card spots are occupied by the Philadelphia Phillies (76-62) and the Chicago Cubs (75-64). The Cincinnati Reds (73-68), Miami Marlins (71-67), Arizona Diamondbacks (71-68) and San Francisco Giants (70-69) are all within one game of the Reds.

D-backs ace Zac Gallen has struggled in his last two starts, allowing 11 runs in 10.2 innings combined and diminishing his prominent Cy Young Award case. However, Merrill Kelly has spurred an underdog Cy Young Award argument of his own with a season ERA of 3.22.

Gallen’s notable struggles has Strom slightly altering his mechanics, specifically his posture. He said Gallen discovered a tilting issue himself.

Nonetheless, Strom acknowledged Gallen’s perfectionism and competitive nature. The pitching coach isn’t worried about that changing this late into the season.

Brandon Pfaadt and Zach Davies have pitched better after working on mechanics in Triple-A Reno. In Davies’ case, recovering from a nagging injury bug seems to have resolved his pitching struggles. In Davies’ two starts from returning from the injured list on Aug. 26, he has allowed two runs in 11 combined innings and helped propel the team to a victory against the Orioles on Friday.

Regardless of the team’s pitching struggles or improvements, the finish line is near.

Strom urges his players that all it takes is to “get in,” a nod to the Phillies who edged out the Milwaukee Brewers for the third wild card spot in 2022, paving the way to a World Series appearance.

“I want them to realize that this becomes crunch time,” Strom said. “It’s going to be close all the way to the end. Like I’ve said, ‘just get in baby, just get in (to the playoffs) and see what happens.'”

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