During Spring Training, the Texas Rangers’ coaches stressed the importance of throwing strikes to the pitching staff--and, in particular, the importance of throwing first pitch strikes. To this end, Rangers’ reliever Mike Adams seems to have been paying close attention.
David Stein of ESPN Dallas points out today that of the 69 pitches that have come out of Adams’s hand this year, 53 have been strikes. He’s started 15 of the 20 hitters he’s faced with strikes.
"It's probably the most important pitch of the at-bat," Adams said, per ESPN Dallas. "If you're ahead, then you're in control of the at-bat. It's something we focus on every day."
Certainly, with those sort of numbers, it’s no wonder that Adams has started the year so hot.
In five innings this season, Adams has given up five hits and a run while striking out three and walking none. On Thursday, he recorded his first save of the year, and even though he gave up the first run of his season on a bloop by Seattle catcher Miguel Olivo, he was happy with his control.
"He just did his job and put the bat on it," Adams said of Olivo’s RBI base hit.
As for explaining the surgeon-like precision we’ve seen out of Adams this year, he can’t put his finger on any one factor.
"I can't pinpoint anything I'm doing differently," Adams said. "Just make sure I'm attacking the zone. Even the ones today that are a little off the plate and are balls, you get it in the back of their head that you're throwing strikes."