08/01/2008 1:30 PM
1 August 2008
Don’t Blame the Starting Pitchers
For Wareham’s Struggles in 2008
WAREHAM, Mass. – Despite a rocky start, one thing has been guaranteed in Wareham this summer – quality starting pitching.
The Gatemen starting five has quietly, but efficiently, pitched deep into games all season. Dallas Keuchel (Arkansas), Robby Broach (Tulane), Brandon Workman (Texas) and Max Perlman (Harvard) have provided the backbone. Matt Bashore swapped his role in the bullpen with Matt Way (Washington State) to take over the fifth spot in the rotation.
“They go out there and they just try to give us a chance to win,” Gatemen pitching coach Ryan Beggs said. “That’s all we ask of them.”
Keuchel and Workman were All-Star Game pitching reserves, while Perlman was named an alternate for the Cape showcase played last Saturday in Chatham.
The group, as well as Beggs, acknowledges that each pitcher is special, bringing a unique tendency to pitching that the others can learn from.
“I think what makes them so good is they are all different,” Beggs said. “There is not one guy that we are running out there that throws the same as another. It is something different every night, but all of them know what they want to get accomplished this summer.”
From adding pitches to their arsenal to perfecting pitch movement, all five agree that working with one another has been beneficial.
“It definitely helps you learn more about the game,” Broach said. “It is real interesting to watch my teammates work and see what they do and see what works well for them to get guys out. You can definitely take that and put it into your focus or your routine.”
“We all work as a group, as a team,” Bashore added. “We always talk and give each other tips so we can learn from each other and build off each other.”
Each pitcher’s different strengths are evident on the hill.
Keuchel, who led the league in innings pitched in 2007 with 59, is atop the same leader board this summer with 51 through games of July 29.
Workman leads the league in strikeouts with 59.
Perlman pitches mostly to contact, securing more outs on ground balls.
Bashore uses his breaking stuff best.
Yet each pitcher knows where they stand in striving for improvement and use their strengths to help one another achieve it.
“We have a game plan and most of us just pitch to our strengths,” Bashore said.
“They have a goal to reach at the end of the summer and they are trying to reach it,” Beggs said. “I know the wins and losses haven’t been there for them, but I think they are doing their job keeping us in ballgames.”
Part of that is understanding what works well and fixing what doesn’t.
Workman, who was two outs from a no-hitter on July 5, has found his curveball to be a weapon for success in racking up swinging strikeouts, and has been able to avoid obvious fastball situations by getting ahead of hitters.
“Each start I try to do something a little bit better than the time before so hopefully by the end of the summer I am a better pitcher than I was when I got here,” Workman said.
Keuchel, who owns a 1.76 ERA, sixth best in the league, has four different pitches in his arsenal and says playing in the Cape League has helped him hone and contributed to his ability to pitch deep into games.
“I like to pitch more than seven innings every time out,” the southpaw said. “You get more rest in college, but I like it more pro style with the five-man rotation. I don’t like taking so much time off between starts. I just like to get out there and pitch.”
Broach, a soon-to-be sophomore, decided at the outset of the summer to use his starts to prepare for the college season and focus on setting a routine.
“During my bullpen sessions, I concentrate a lot harder on what I am doing,” he said. “I take each start and look at the things that were good and the things that were bad and try to make corrections.”
Despite his 21 walks, Broach feels his control and ability to spot pitches has improved, an indication that he is understanding his pitching better.
Meanwhile, Bashore’s move from the bullpen back to starting has reaffirmed where he feels he belongs.
“I have always been a starter. When I made the transition, it became more about trying to last the game and keep your pitch count down,” Bashore said. “But starting makes it a little easier to get yourself prepared and you just feel more comfortable sometimes knowing what’s expected of you that day.”
Wareham’s pitching was ranked fifth in the league with a 3.73 ERA through July 29.
“It is one of the best team chemistry groups I have had up here on the pitching staff,” Beggs said. “Everyone gets along. All the different personalities mix well together. There are no egos with this pitching staff.”
Laura Rasmussen, CCBL Intern ([email protected])
Interns: Chris Blake, James Chandley, Ashley Crosby, Phil Garceau, Stefanie Marini, Laura Rasmussen