Scuffling Adams trying to clean up mechanics

Scuffling Adams trying to clean up mechanics
June 8, 2013, 1:15 pm
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Mike Adams spent time on the DL last month with a back strain, and he’s hurting again. This time it’s his bicep and shoulder, but Adams really hasn’t been right for quite some time.

An elite setup man from 2009-12, Adams’ rates of walks and home runs are way up this season. Over the four previous seasons he walked 2.4 batters per nine and averaged three homers allowed per year. This season, he’s walked 4.4 per nine and already served up five jacks.

Some of it has to do with velocity. Adams’ fastball has averaged 88-90 mph in 2013, down from his career average of 92.

Former reliever and current CSN Phillies analyst Ricky Bottalico had interesting points on Adams’ adjustments, and how they may be doing more harm than good. Adams is laboring each time out and noticeably falling off the mound with every pitch. It’s an almost violent motion that is more pronounced than ever before.

“I really believe when pitchers fall off the mound, especially [when] right-handed pitchers fall to the first base dugout, I think they’re trying to get more movement on the outside part of the plate,” Bottalico said earlier this week on’s Phightin’ Words. “But with Mike Adams, I looked back on some of his films in the past years, he was not falling over, and that’s what he’s doing now.”

“He’s taking a huge step towards the first base dugout and it doesn’t look right. It doesn’t look like he’s got his legs behind him ... when you’re falling off the mound, you’re going to lose velocity to home plate.

“When you think about a boxer hitting somebody, he’s stepping into the punch. Mike Adams is stepping away from home plate right now, which is taking velocity off. He may have a little more movement but he hasn’t controlled it as well this year.”

Adams admitted that the new delivery hasn’t worked and is trying to correct his mechanics.

"It is more pronounced,” Adams said Friday of his fall-off. “I'm actually trying to clean that up. That's why I've been going to the windup some. It's not to get more velo[city]. It's more of a bad habit."

The Phillies were unable to use Adams Friday night because of his nagging arm injuries (see story). They were instead forced to go to Jeremy Horst in the ninth inning of a tie game. That’s a spot where Adams would ordinarily be used.

Things didn’t go according to plan in the late innings Friday and, through 62 games, they haven’t gone smoothly for the Phillies’ high-priced, well-hyped, eighth-inning man.

“Adams right now, when you look at him, you don’t expect him with runners on base every inning,” Bottalico said. “Well, that’s what we’re seeing right now, he’s got to work his way out of jams all the time. When you do that as a relief pitcher, it wears on you.”

Jim Salisbury contributed to this report.