07/12/2012 8:29 AM
Catcher Trevor Coleman waits on the mound to talk with relief pitcher Steve Kent. (Photo by Matthew Hicks.)
By Taylor Johnson
T-Bones catcher Trevor Coleman often makes trips to the mound during the game to talk to pitchers. But what do they talk about? In the latest installment of “Covering the Bases,” Coleman explains his three basics for talking to a pitcher during a game.
1. Know the pitcher
“A lot of talking to the pitcher is knowing the pitcher and knowing how he’s going to react to what you’re going to say. There are different personalities within the pitching staff. Some guys might need motivation, some guys need you to calm them down, and some guys may need you to slow them down because the game gets going a little quick for them. It’s really about knowing the pitcher about as much as what’s going on with the hitter and what pitches to call. Relievers a lot of times find themselves in pressure situations. They come in with guys on base and no outs sometimes and it’s late in the game or when it’s a close game. So, a lot of times you have to calm the nerves of the relievers coming in because they come out from the bullpen and haven’t thrown a pitch yet, and that first pitch can get you beat. They have to be prepared both physically with their arm and getting warm, but also mentally and be able to attack the hitter from the get go, or it could cost you the game.”
2. Have a game plan to attack the hitter
“We all have a game plan going into each at bat as to how we want to get the hitter out and what we think are his weaknesses. But, we also know the strengths of our pitchers. Using both the strengths of the pitcher and the weaknesses of the hitter, we try to exploit those weaknesses. So a lot of times some catchers can get caught into a trap of what the hitter can’t hit when sometimes the pitcher isn’t really good at that. Where as, going with what the pitcher is good at, usually you have more success. You want to challenge the hitters with the pitcher’s strengths rather than trying to be cute with them and trying to get them out by tricking them.”
3. Know the pace of the game
“You want to make sure you understand the pace of the game. For example, if a team gets a two quick hits and a guy steals a base, you’re looking at a potentially big inning with multiple runs scored. You want to be able to slow the tempo of the game down so the pitcher executes better and the momentum doesn’t get carried so fast in the other team’s direction that you don’t give your team a chance to win. If they put up five runs, it’s hard to come back, but if you give up one run and limit the damage, you’re able to come back in that game. So, as a catcher, you have to help the pitcher understand the pace and somewhat control it.”
In “Covering the Bases,” the Kansas City T-Bones explain three keys to certain aspects of baseball, while giving fans an inside glimpse of the game on the field.