Houston Astros: What does Joe Musgrove need to Learn?

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Apr 22, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; General view of Minute Maid Park before a game between the Houston Astros and the Boston Red Sox. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 22, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; General view of Minute Maid Park before a game between the Houston Astros and the Boston Red Sox. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /
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After reading my co-contributor’s article regarding the woes of Astros Joe Musgrove. I wanted to explain how he can learn to be much more productive on the mound.

Colin Gay wrote a great article regarding the issues facing the Astros’ Joe Musgrove. A lot of this has to do with his inability to close out hitters and to use his defense to his advantage. Colin touched on the statistics of his performance, but I’d like to approach it from a situational, psychological perspective.

"Astros’ Joe Musgrove is not fooling hitters at the moment"

Defense wins Championships

Obviously, we don’t use this phrase in baseball, but it can be pertinent to a pitcher’s success. For example, Dallas Keuchel has been very open to letting his defense generate outs for him. Look at last night’s performance were Dallas allowed runners on in each of his innings pitched.

However, he didn’t allow this to interrupt his rhythm. He remained calm and let the game come to him. Musgrove relied on his off-speed pitches to force ground balls. If I were Musgrove, I would be paying close attention to how a Cy Young winner approaches each situation.

He remained calm and let the game come to him. He relied on his off-speed pitches to force ground balls. If I were Musgrove, I would be paying close attention to how a Cy Young winner approaches each situation.

More from Climbing Tal's Hill

Pitching is like Chess

When you face a hitter, you look to exploit his weaknesses, identify his tendencies and be cautious of his strengths. Utilize certain pitches and location to keep the hitter off-balance. When you create uncertainty in a hitter’s mind, you have a huge advantage in. You want to force your opponent to make moves that work towards your strategy. Pitchers want to force ground balls and certain situations that work towards the strength of him and his team.

Find Your Way

Pitching is like art. There are many ways to project your image on a canvas. You can use numerous techniques. Musgrove is not going to overpower opposing hitters, and the development of new methods, like his use of the sinker, are ways to counteract this fact.

Next: Astros: Top Statcast Moments of the First Fifteen Games

One of the greatest pitchers of all time, Greg Maddux, used many different methods to generate outs. It is one thing to be great at one method, but adaptation is key. Variate your velocity, create movement and develop a change-up. That is my advice for the young right-hander.

***Stats and Data gathered from ESPN and Baseball-Reference***

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