Tribe pitchers aiming for more strikes

Tribe pitchers aiming for more strikes

CLEVELAND -- The numbers are glaring enough on their own. And they're made all the more glaring when you consider that "pound the strike zone" was the mantra impressed upon Tribe pitchers throughout spring camp.

On the Indians' season-opening, six-game road trip, their pitchers walked 40 batters in 52 2/3 innings of work.

The mantra didn't stick. At least, not initially.

"They know that can't happen," pitching coach Tim Belcher said. "That doesn't mean I won't keep telling 'em. But they know they've got to throw it over the plate, and they will."

Fausto Carmona, who started Monday against the Rangers, walked six White Sox batters in six innings last week, Jake Westbrook has walked seven batters in 9 2/3 innings and Mitch Talbot walked five Tigers hitters in five innings Saturday. The main offender in the bullpen has been closer Chris Perez, who has walked four in three innings.

"[The problem] is different with every guy," Belcher said. "But generally, it's guys not trusting their stuff in the zone. We've got to get them in the mind-set that hitting is hard. Don't give the hitters too much credit and let them get themselves out."