D-Backs GM Kevin Towers Admits That Teams Alter Opposing Pitcher’s Radar Gun Readings In The Stadium

This is beyond brilliant.  A simple yet incredibly effective way to get into your opponent’s head.  From the Arizona Republic:

After Cincinnati Reds left-hander Aroldis Chapman’s velocity dipped earlier this month on the radar gun at Petco Park in San Diego, Reds manager Dusty Baker wondered aloud about the reliability of ballpark pitch speeds, espousing a conspiracy theory many believe to be true.

Baker said some major-league teams crank up the scoreboard readings for their own pitchers and dial it down for the visitors. Whatever it takes to gain even the slightest psychological advantage.

Turns out he had reason to be skeptical. Especially of the gun in San Diego.

“We used to dial it down,” said a smiling Diamondbacks General Manager Kevin Towers, formerly the Padres’ GM.

“I know for a fact that every time Brad Penny pitched for the Dodgers in San Diego it was probably the lowest velocities he ever had. He liked velocity. He’d stare at the board. He was throwing 95-96 (mph), but we’d have it at 91 and he’d get pissed off and throw harder and harder and start elevating.”

As recently as 10-15 years ago, pitch velocity was the exclusive domain of radar gun-toting scouts. Now, every ballpark in the majors displays velocities.

Some parks have their own radar guns beaming the velocities to the scoreboard. Others employ the advanced Pitch-f/x system, which uses three cameras to track the speed, location and movement of every pitch and is installed in all 30 major-league ballparks.

I love finding out little things like this.  Gets me all happy inside.

[Arizona Repupblic]

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Troy Tulowitzki Is On Fire Right Now

The Rockies shortstop has been on a tear since coming off the DL with a healthy wrist.  Last night he knocked in seven RBI, including two home runs, to help the Rockies beat the NL West-leading Padres.  The Rockies are now only 2.5 games back in the division and the Wild Card.  From the Denver Post, “Over his last 13 games, Tulowitzki has batted .365 with 11 home runs and 25 RBIs. The Rockies are 11-2 in this span.  ‘I remind myself to enjoy this because I know the game is not this easy,’ Tulowitzki said. ‘I am just really hot right now.’  Along with Gonzalez, Tulowitzki has dragged the Rockies back into the race and is determined to keep them there for three more weeks, if not beyond. His 11 home runs are one shy of a Rockies record for a month, and there are 13 games remaining. He has three multi-home run games over the last eight days, crediting the improved health of his left wrist.”

[Denver Post]

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San Diego Padres with the Shadiest DL Move of the Year

by Matt Corder

It was rumored before the All-Star break that the San Diego Padres were looking for any excuse to give their young pitching star Mat Latos some rest.  The Padres are intent on keeping his innings total well below 170 for the year.  Well, thank God! There was a miracle!  Latos conveniently injured himself while “attempting to hold back a sneeze” at Coors Field last week in a series against the Rockies