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OC Register: Angels work to prevent Jose Suarez from tipping his pitches

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BOSTON — Jose Suarez and the Angels may have discovered one of the reasons that he’s struggled early in his big league career.

Manager Brad Ausmus said Sunday that Suarez’s last bullpen session was primarily dedicated to preventing the 21-year-old rookie from tipping his pitches.

“We don’t know if the other team actually had his pitches,” Ausmus said. “We can’t really say whether it will have an impact or not. Across the board, we want our pitchers to be aware of the fact that stealing signs and stealing pitches has become part of the game.”

Suarez, who will make his 11th big league start on Monday against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Angel Stadium, has a 6.22 ERA. He has been allowed 14 homers in 46-1/3 innings.

Ausmus suggested that another of Suarez’s problems may have been failing to pitch inside effectively with his fastball, which is necessary to set up his best pitch, the changeup.

“For (the changeup) to be effective, you have to use the fastball, which means you have to locate it,” Ausmus said. “Sometimes you’ve got to locate it in. If you’re not pitching in at all, you’re just going away and using your changeup away, it makes a very comfortable at-bat for the hitter. If you have eight or nine hitters that are comfortable in the batter’s box, it’s difficult to be successful as a pitcher.”

Suarez has thrown 26 percent of all of his pitches to lefties inside, and 36 percent of his pitches to righties. Those are both slightly below the major league averages (28 percent and 38 percent) for left-handed pitchers.


Kevan Smith on Sunday was placed on the injured list for the third time this season, this time because of back spasms. The catcher had earlier suffered a concussion and a left hand metacarpal sprain.

Ausmus said Smith began having issues with his back earlier in the week in Cincinnati. Ausmus said he “would think” that the minimum 10 days on the injured list would clear up the problem.

The Angels recalled catcher Anthony Bemboom for the first time. Bemboom was acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays on July 16, and he’d been at Salt Lake since then. Bemboom, 29, had two hits in five at-bats in his only big league game with the Rays. He was hitting .410 in his first 43 plate appearances at Salt Lake.


The Angels have listed TBA for Tuesday’s game against the Pirates, with Griffin Canning expected to come off the injured list to make that start. …

Noé Ramírez pitched a scoreless inning for Class-A Inland Empire on Saturday night. He is scheduled for one more outing on Monday before being activated. Once he’s activated, he’ll serve his three-game suspension for hitting Jake Marisnick with a pitch. The Angels will have to go with 24 players for those three games. …

Keynan Middleton faced four batters, striking out two and walking two, in his outing for Inland Empire on Saturday. Middleton, who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, has a few more outings scheduled before being activated.


Angels (LHP José Suarez, 2-3, 6.22) vs. Pirates (RHP Mitch Keller, 0-1, 10.50), 7:07 p.m., Fox Sports West

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That's a bad sign when the Angels aren't sure if he's topping his pitches, just that the other team is hitting him like they know what's coming.

Also to be fair, Suarez was so good in the minors, and his stuff is good enough that he could be a good #3/4 starter in the majors. Tipping his pitches would explain a lot. Let's hope that's what it is.

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as the rest of the article mentions, it seems that location has been more of an issue.  particularly on the inside pitch.  When he misses, it's in the zone and that's a recipe for home runs.  I still think that the Angels have been asking their pitchers to throw pitches that end up out of the yard even if they miss by a very small amount although Suarez doesn't seem to be missing by a small amount.  

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When you don’t have overpowering stuff you better be able to hit corners and change speeds. I think Suarez needs to learn a cutter to right handed hitters, his fastball lacks movement and he makes too many mistakes in the strike zone. 15 HRA in 48 innings is horrible. At 21, he is not ready for this level. Unfortunately, the PCL is no place to learn. 

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7 hours ago, Dochalo said:

getting close to the point where pitching 3 innings and getting shelled might not be beneficial to his growth.  

A major league introduction for some of these Salt Lake arms should have been through controlled relief roles to get their feet wet instead of throwing them into the deep end and say, Swim! But this is what it is, the Angels are out of options. As long as guys like Suarez understand this is just a mid term exam and that they can ace the final to bring their grades up it should be valuable information for both the coaching staff and pitchers to use.

Let's be honest, Salt Lake sucks for pitcher development. So what they learn about how those products pitch in the majors can filter down to AAA to alter their pitching instruction. The best would be to move the Bees out of that environent that really doesn't help these guys prepare for the majors. The next is change the development process that creates pitchers that can find the combination of pitches and velocity changes that is successful in the majors. 

Someone has to go out there and rack up some innings. The old innings eaters the Angels used to target would really come in handy right about now. These are really back end guys that don't have much stuff but somehow get through six innings without being blown out. Yeah, they give up 3 to 5 runs a game but they don't fry bullpens. Had the Angels picked up couple of solid innings eaters this season they would be much further along in the win collumn but I guess the Jason Vargas options were not out there. 

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Does Suarez have enough stuff on his heat to effectively pitch inside?   Obviously, he is still learning the art of pitching at age 21, a very difficult art to master. 

It looks like Billy was trying to catch lightning in a one year bottle for 2019, instead of finding innings eaters.   Either that, or they just weren't available at sensible enough prices? 

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Sorry, it doesn't take 11 starts to tell if he is tipping his pitches. That's just an excuse. Today with Video from every direction and the ability to break down mechanics by the millisecond. nah, I'm good.


Maybe, the catchers are not switching up their signs in situations? Attempting to save a mound visit? Communication issue? OR, our pitch selection, sequencing has become predictable? An advanced Scout is still around charting pitches, pitchers habits and team tendencies etc.

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