New Angels lefty Tucker Davidson rode improved slider to major leagues

SEATTLE — Tucker Davidson learned during his first stint at Triple-A in 2019 that simply having a fastball, curveball and changeup was not going to work for him.

“Against veteran hitters, if I didn’t have my curveball that day, I was down to two pitches, so they could just sit hard or sit soft,” the Angels’ new left-hander said. “I needed something that would break that looks like a fastball.”

Davidson adopted the slider thrown by Max Fried, his teammate in the Atlanta Braves’ system. The sport’s shutdown for the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 allowed him more time to refine it.

When he showed up at summer camp, his Braves coaches told him that his new slider was now his best pitch.

“It really evolved quickly during 2020, and became a serious weapon,” said Davidson, who will make his Angels debut by starting on Sunday. “It’s continued to grow.”

The slider helped Davidson reach the majors in 2020. He has bounced between the majors and Triple-A ever since.

Last season he missed most of the second half with a flexor strain. He just pitched once at Triple-A at the end of the season, believing his year was over before the Braves selected him to stay and work out in the event he was needed as an injury replacement during the postseason.

Davidson was watching Game 1 of the World Series last year while having dinner at The Cheesecake Factory.

Then he saw a comebacker hit the leg of Atlanta Braves starter Charlie Morton, knocking him out of the game. And Davidson knew immediately what that meant.

A few hours later, he got the call that he was on his way to Houston for the World Series. He started Game 5 in Atlanta, allowing four runs (two earned) in two innings.

“It was fun,” Davidson said. “It was loud. It’s …read more

Source:: Los Angeles Daily News

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