Monday, August 8, 2016

Bullpen Mound is Home Field Dis-Advantage

What would your day be like if one day someone moved everything on your desk four inches to the right? Thats pretty much what Biscuit pitchers have been dealing with. Perhaps it is a factor in the troubles at home over the last few Riverwalk series.

Winkler and Mortensen
A group of pitchers was seen standing on the mound in the bullpen, waving their arms and looking towards home plate.

Occasionally they would shuffle and point, shaking their heads or nodding in agreement. I wasn't sure what the debate was about, but it was different than the usual warmup routine.

Pretty soon pitching coach RC Lichtenstein joined them in standing with arms straight out and pointing at something unseen in the distance.

 It was such a mystery, I had to ask...


Of the two pitching rubbers available in the home bullpen, the popular choice is almost always to throw from the one on the field side. It sits farther from the wall and has a good view of the field, making it a little less claustrophobic than using the other side where righthanders practically scrape the wall when throwing.

It seems that towards the end of the ten game homestand, one of the pitchers - probably Chris Kirsch, commented that the warmup mound on the field side in the bullpen seemed off kilter. (Leave it to a lefty to notice something like that!)

Now in the light of day, an assortment of pitchers gathered, inspecting the hill to see if it was in alignment.

It isn't.

It was pretty easy to see that the pitching rubber has shifted from heavy use, facing between home plate and third base. Meaning the  bullpen home plate the catcher squats behind to receive the warmup pitches is sitting about four inches to the right of where the pitcher needs to aim when he gets into the game.

Is this the reason for the uptick in bases on balls and complaints about the strike zone recently? Who knows for sure, but its got to be a concern.

After the game, I went to see for myself. I took pictures. You make the call!
Bullpen mound on wall side

Bullpen mound on field side

Bullpen rubber not squarely aligned
Through constant use, so many guys have pushed off that mound its starting to slip and settle. We should do this in the visitors bullpen, not the home side!

Whether it can be fixed this year is yet to be determined, until then pitchers will either have to warm on the wall side or try to make the adjustment.

I am guessing it won't get fixed this year, hard to schedule digging up the bullpen around the remaining games.

When we say the Biscuits bullpen has been worn out this season, we MEAN the Biscuits bullpen has been worn out!


Phew. That stunk.

Putting the bad homestand behind them, Montgomery has a chance to earn revenge on the Jackson Generals in the playoffs and having a short memory helps. So does a winning streak, which the Smokies provided.

Its never easy for the Bradys Cardiac Kids, it took 12 innings but the Skitz pushed a pair of runs across to win the game and seal the series victory in the final installment of the Grape Jelly Series.


Chih-Wei Hu has been fantastic but won just his fourth game of the season with eight good innings, he has been the victim of hard luck and low run support.

Chase Whitley
Chase Whitley started Fridays road game for Montgomery.

Whitleys Thursday start was pushed back one day, no reason given. Its not known how long Whitley will be with the Biscuits, but I did learn he asked to rehab in Montgomery since it is so close to home. 

Hunter Wood
Willy Adames
Hunter Wood returned from his injury, activated from the DL on the short side of the six week expected absence. No word yet on how he fits onto the roster or in the rotation.

Patrick Leonard was activated from the DL. Five days after he started appearing in games again. Can you rehab with the team you are currently with? Yeah, lets go with that for now.

Willy Adames 9hr, 12sb and 62 bases on balls are all career highs for the young shortstop.


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