Webber keeps things in perspective

The long season. It takes a special person to weather the Storm and pitching coach Steve Webber was in Lake Elsinore to soften the blow. By the time a pitcher makes it to High-A routine enters the equation and a wrinkle could mean inconsistent performances. Webber worked hard to keep changes to a minimum and introduce subtle differences to aid his staff long-term.

As we all know, the game of baseball is highly mental. How can you, as the pitching coach, keep everything in line over a long season?

Steve Webber: I think we established a routine. We go out of a 10-15 throwing program, conditioning, sidelines. We don't let a reliever go more than three days without getting at least a short sideline in. It is a matter of keeping everyone sharp over the course of the long haul.

Is it keeping the wrinkles to a minimum with all the routine?

Steve Webber: Obviously, we want them to be consistent so I think our program is consistent than that will be the outcome. Our starters throw two sidelines between their outings. The first one is a light one and if there is any mechanical work or discussion about approach we will do it then. The second one is getting our pitchers ready at full distance – getting them ready.

While Cesar Ramos was shutdown to end the year, talk about his progression from the beginning of the season until the end.

Steve Webber: Cesar is a stickler for routine. He is very steady. He deals with the highs and lows very well. He is a very consistent worker. It wasn't by accident that he had success because he goes about it the right way.

I think Cesar has four pitches – it is hard to evaluate kids coming in through the draft. They have gone through the grind mentally and physically. Then they go through another grind which is different, from pitching once a week to once every five days. They have the in-between stuff to do and all that weighs into it and makes it hard to evaluate.

In Fort Wayne (2005), he had a couple of outstanding performances for us. His game is command of the fastball and pitching with his secondary stuff. He has two distinctly different breaking balls, a curveball and a slider, a cutter and a changeup. He has the equipment. It is a matter of getting it in the strike zone, keeping the ball down and changing speeds.

Chris Jaile came from a different background as a catcher. This season is pretty much the first time he has been a full time pitcher. What kind of progress has he made?

Steve Webber: I think he has made a lot of progress but towards the end he got worn down a little bit. That was to be expected. When he came he had a fastball, curveball, slider, change. We took the curveball away and that led to more consistency over the long haul. He has great makeup and is another guy that has a good idea about how he should approach the game, in between starts, conditioning, the mental part of it. He has been around a while and has been a catcher so that helps him understand the pitching aspect of it. He is very consistent with his work and it shows up. The results have been very good until late when he had a couple of rough outings. He is a great competitor and a high character guy. Many times makeup is the separator for whether pitchers succeed or fail.

Another position player who made the move to the mound was Richie Daigle. We are converting everyone and bringing them to Lake Elsinore.

Steve Webber: Richie is a pretty good story. He really has a live arm. His fastball has a lot of late movement, he misses the barrel of the bat a lot and gets a lot of ground balls. He is around the strike zone and with experience he is going to have better command of his fastball. He has really done an outstanding job – coming from nowhere to pitch in the California League and putting up the numbers he had is really a great attribute to him and his innate ability. His slider has improved. He is another guy that tinkers, works and comes up with seemingly the answer to his grip or the way his pitches move and slider breaks.

With these guys and the starters, all the guys, have been really good about listening. It is more self-motivation for them because they try and get better. Over the course of the season it has really shown up.


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