After inconsistent season, Angels reliever Ryan Tepera adds pitch to his repertoire

ARLINGTON, Texas — Ryan Tepera was standing on the mound with baseball’s most dangerous hitter in the box. The Angels’ right-hander was looking for something different to try to retire Aaron Judge.

After Tepera threw a curveball that Judge deposited over the center field fence, he realized that wasn’t it.

But out of that moment late last month grew the experiment that has turned into what Tepera believes could be a game-changing addition to his repertoire.

Tepera started throwing a second slider, one that is slower and moves more.

“I’m happy with it,” Tepera said. “I’m refining it and using it as a new weapon.”

Tepera, 34, has made his career on his fastball and hard slider. He had a 3.48 ERA coming into this season, including a 2.79 mark last year that earned him a two-year $14 million deal with the Angels.

This season, though, has been a rollercoaster. Although the sum of his work is a respectable 3.96 ERA and 1.089 WHIP, there have been a handful of slumps and blowups that prompted him to look for something new.

“I’d say I just never really got in a groove,” Tepera said. “I think as a relief pitcher, you kind of get on a hot streak and you just kind of ride with it. I never felt like I got in that groove. I was kind of inconsistent all year.”

After the Aug. 29 game when Tepera gave up the homer to Judge – on one of his 12 curves all season – he and the Angels began looking for something to supplement his slider.

They wanted something slower.

With the help of pitching coach Matt Wise and the Angels’ analytical team, they came up with the sweeping slider. It’s thrown with a two-seam grip instead of a four-seam grip, and it comes in about 79-81 mph, which is about …read more

Source:: Los Angeles Daily News

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