Tigers New Pitching Coach

So, the World Series is underway… (Philadelphia won, if you hadn’t heard) … and I’m realizing that the end of baseball this year is just a few short days away. It hardly seems possible. Honestly, it seems as if the season began just a few short days ago! You too, huh?

So, much like a squirrel preparing for the winter, burying his nuts, I’m getting ready for the off – season by pulling out some classic baseball broadcasts, looking over stats to games that I went to this year, and looking forward to the changes that will be made on the Tiger’s staff.

The obvious addition is that of Rick Knapp. He’s the new pitching coach, replacing Chuck Hernandez. I don’t know much about him, but I’ve seen some of his work. He was the minor league pitching coach for the Minnesota Twins!

An article I read recently spoke of Tampa Bay’s Matt Garza, a prodigy of Knapp’s.

“If I can make Garza like this guy, this will be pretty exciting, they’re both tall, thin, athletic, [have a] power fastball with the power curve ball. I know Matt was an extremely driven individual. He was a man on a mission from the first day. There was no going to be no denying him. You could see that from the very first day.”
The “this guy” he spoke of was Justin Verlander. Unfortunately, Justin went on to his worst season in the bigs, while Garza had an outstanding year. Maybe 2009 will be a better year for Verlander now.

I really like what I’ve heard from him so far. He wants to develop a back to basics kind of attitude with the pitchers. You know, first pitch strikes, location of pitches and getting ahead in the count, etc. It’s something I felt we lacked and I’m glad to see a coach brought on board that gets it. I thought we coddled to personality issues and confidence problems more than we should have.

The only drawback that is being put out there is his lack of big league experience. I pray that’s not a real problem. His words and previous 12 years with the Twins organization are giving me hope for next year.

What say you?

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