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Relievers say they need to pitch inside more

Relievers say they need to pitch inside more play video for Relievers say they need to pitch inside more

CHICAGO -- Zach Putnam certainly doesn't want to speak for the entire bullpen, but he agrees with Matt Lindstrom's assessment following Monday night's defeat that the White Sox relievers need to pitch inside a bit more to be effective.

"Throwing inside, it doesn't matter who you are facing, it's going to open up some other things you can do as far as throwing to the other side of the plate and keeping guys honest a little bit," Putnam said. "In a game like last night, those guys were taking some pretty good swings right from the get-go.

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"In terms of how that affected the game last night, I mean that going inside and getting guys off the plate probably would have helped us out a lot. For me, whenever I see guys coming out and just taking huge swings and looking real comfortable in the box, that's always kind of alarming as a pitcher.

"Really, the only way to kind of counteract is just to throw inside and maybe knock a few guys down. Obviously not throw at anybody, nothing dangerous. But keeping them honest and getting them off that outside pitch and offspeed stuff away."

Manager Robin Ventura believes that the need for more inside pitches might be a bit of overanalysis following a night when the relievers simply were too much in the middle of the plate.

"If you have good hitters, you have to pitch inside and establish that and your offspeed stuff," Ventura said. "Again, being in the middle of the plate more often, you're going to get hit like that. Last night we definitely missed some spots. That's part of it, but to get people out, you have to establish your fastball inside.

"It's an unforgiving position. The bullpen is a glaring position. You come in, you get everybody out, it's great, and if you don't it's sitting there for everyone else to see. It's always going to be that kind of position. When it goes well, it's great, but when it doesn't it doesn't make you feel good."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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