Pitchers giving batters a few tips - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Pitchers giving batters a few tips

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Posted: Sunday, April 25, 2004 7:40 am | Updated: 5:19 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

The obsession with pitchers possibly tipping pitches has spread past just the Diamondbacks.

In Game 6 of the 2001 World Series, the D-Backs were able to pick up Andy Pettitte’s pitches, leading to a rout that forced Game 7.

Late in 2002, there was debate over whether Curt Schilling’s fade was due to giving away his pitches.

And Randy Johnson has tinkered with his delivery at times, including this spring, because of worries he was tipping his pitches.

Now the subject has come up with Pittsburgh, Oakland and the New York Yankees.

ESPN’s Rob Dibble, usually worth ignoring, demonstrated recently that Oakland’s Barry Zito might be giving away his pitches. Athletics outfielder Jermaine Dye relayed the info to Zito. In his next start, Zito held Anaheim to one run in six innings.

After Pittsburgh’s Ryan Vogelsong got hammered twice by the Chicago Cubs, Vogelsong said he was informed the Cubs had his pitches.

"I’m not going to say the name of the source," Vogelsong said, "but I got a phone call saying they knew what was coming (Tuesday) night. I shouldn’t say they ‘knew,’ but he said it was a good possibility, a very good possibility."

Said Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon: "There are some things he did wrong and things we’re going to correct. I’m sure the next time he faces the Cubs, they won’t see them again."

Cubs manager Dusty Baker was asked if Vogelsong was giving anything away.

"I don’t know anything about it," Baker said. "And if I did, I wouldn’t tell you."

Meanwhile last week, the Yankees were promising improved results for Jose Contreras against Boston after tinkering with his delivery. Contreras had an easy first inning Friday but couldn’t get out of the fourth, allowing five runs.

So maybe this pitchtipping thing is overrated. One member of the 2001 Yankees said they had Johnson’s pitches in the World Series — and they still couldn’t do much against him.

FULFILLED?

Everyone, especially the Los Angeles Dodgers, has been waiting for third baseman Adrian Beltre to live up to his potential. Perhaps this is the year.

Beltre went into the weekend hitting .365 with six homers and 16 RBIs. Significantly, he had only eight strikeouts in 63 atbats. Last year he struck out 103 times.

"I really want to think that he is coming of age," manager Jim Tracy said. "I want to believe that. If he continues the way he is going right now, with the ability he has, he has a chance to be a star in this league."

Of course, that has been thought for a few years now. But if it comes true, it could result in the Dodgers adding to their needy offense.

"I believe I’m a better hitter than I have been the last couple of years," Beltre said. "It’s probably all mental. I’m not thinking too much, and I’m not trying to impress anybody."

UP THE COAST

The question in San Francisco is, how far can the Giants fall from 100 wins last season, even with Barry Bonds?

A year ago, the Giants had just six losing streaks of three games or more. It has already happened three times this season. They were 28-12 in one-run games last year and went into Saturday’s game with a 2-5 one-run record.

Los Angeles swept San Francisco at SBC Park last weekend for the first time since April 11-13, 2000 — the opening series for what was then Pac Bell Park.

MT. BOWA ERUPTS

With expectations high and performance low in Philadelphia, manager Larry Bowa is even more temperamental than usual.

His latest target: sports writers.

"Two or three of you (fellows) are doing everything in your power but sticking a (flaming) knife in my back," Bowa yelled during Tuesday’s pregame media session. "I don’t give a (flip). How’s that?"

OVERHEARD

• San Francisco’s Dustan Mohr, who came to the Giants from the Twins, on Barry Bonds: "Nobody is close to him in the AL. He’s a special player. I’m sure in the early 1900s people said they never saw anyone like Babe Ruth. Well, I don’t think I’ll ever see anyone like Barry Bonds."

• White Sox rookie manager Ozzie Guillen, on the double-switch goof last week by Dusty Baker of the crosstown Cubs: "Oh my God, if that happened to us, shoot, everybody would say, ‘We told you, we told the general manager this guy doesn’t have experience.’ It could happen to anybody, 20 years experience, it doesn’t matter."

• Texas’ Michael Young, on the struggles of former teammate Alex Rodriguez: "That just goes to show you the degree of difficulty in baseball when it comes to hitting. You never saw Michael Jordan go through something like this playing basketball. You don’t see Brett Favre go through this many games like that throwing a football."

• Cleveland manager Eric Wedge, after Jeriome Robertson was called up, forced to relieve in the second inning and wound up allowing eight runs in 5 1/3 innings: "He got right out of the car and into the fire."

UNDERSTOOD

• When Detroit took a 17-3 home victory against Cleveland on Friday, the Tigers scored more runs that they did in any home series in the first 4 1/2 months of last season. In 52 series last year, Detroit scored 17 or more seven times. The Tigers have a chance to finish April with a winning record for the first time since 1993.

• Today’s forecast for New York calls for a high of 55 degrees. How does that affect the Red Sox-Yankees game? Boston ace Pedro Martinez has a 1.23 ERA when the first-pitch temperature is warmer than 50 and a 7.36 ERA when it is colder than 50 at game time.

• Texas was 8-7 after winning Wednesday, its first time over .500 after 15 games since 1998. The Rangers were over .500 once last year — at 1-0 — and never in 2002.

• If Houston’s Jeff Bagwell can keep his career average above .300, he will join Hank Aaron and Willie Mays — according to research by STATS Inc. — as the only players with a .300 average, 400 home runs, 1,200 RBIs, 150 stolen bases and 1,400 runs scored. (Barry Bonds’ career average is just below .300.)

WHO’S HOT

• Baltimore: Friday’s victory put the Orioles five games over .500 for first time since May 2, 2000 (15-10).

• Lew Ford: Minnesota rookie outfielder came up when Torii Hunter went on DL and now leads team in RBIs.

WHO’S NOT

• Toronto: Thursday’s win was Blue Jays’ first at home this season.

• Josh Fogg: Pirates right-hander is 0-3 with a 17.00 ERA; "It’s early, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned," Bucs manager Lloyd McClendon said.

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