“I cleaned that up and had a clean rest of the outing,” he said. “Whether that’s what it was or not, I don’t know. But I got that taken care of.”
Wright felt better in his second outing, though the third was less encouraging. He struggled in the second inning, ending up with eight earned runs in just 1-2/3 frames. When Triple-A pitching coach Mike Maroth presented his heat map, Wright saw that once again he was living too high in the zone.
“I was throwing the ball harder than I ever had, to be honest with you, so (struggling) was a little puzzling to me,” he said. “I looked at the heat map and literally every pitch was up. I hadn’t been down in the zone at all. So I think guys were setting their sights up and hitting it.”
In his delivery, Wright’s body was way ahead of his arm, pushing his pitches upwards.
“So I tried to stay back a lot more,” Wright said. “Get a little higher leg kick that’s going to keep me over the rubber. Working downhill instead of everything pushing up. Whenever I did that, I threw a lot more strikes.”
He had solid results in his fourth start, allowing three runs over seven innings. Wright felt he could’ve gone longer if he was more stretched out. When his four-seamer and two-seamer are playing down, it opens up his other pitches.
Wright has revisited his three major-league starts. Catcher Brian McCann was the first to point out how he kept trending towards the upper portion of the zone, especially in his final start against the Mets.
“Everything started to leak up,” Wright said. “I talked to McCann about that, he saw the same thing. He said the stuff was really good but it was up in the zone. Have to get that four-seam down and away. That two-seam down in general. I let those play and hopefully they open up my other pitches.
“One little mechanical tweak that helped me get the ball down a lot. It’s just been a process but slowly figuring it out.”
Wright is just here as bullpen insurance, potentially for a very brief time, but it probably won’t be long before he’s called upon again to start. If he recaptures what he displayed in spring training, he won’t have many more late-night calls mandating cross-country travel.