The Los Angeles Dodgers’ starting rotation has been the backbone to their season and climb in the National League West standings. While the pitchers have garnered much of the attention, pitching coach Rick Honeycutt also deserves recognition.
Honeycutt is currently the longest-tenured member on the Dodgers’ staff and has been the pitching coach since 2006. Honeycutt has made a name for himself by being able to prolong the careers of veteran pitchers and helping them figure out how to adjust their pitches after exiting the prime of their careers.
I think Rick’s just solid at everything he does, from preparation to mechanics. One thing nobody talks a lot about is Rick had pretty much every role in his career. He was a starter, he was a long man, he was a late-inning situational lefty. He went through all the stages in his career. His stuff was one way when he was younger. He got older and was pitching through some stuff when his arm wasn’t exactly right.”
Honeycutt has credited his mentality of helping pitchers to Dave Duncan, his former mentor. Duncan was Honeycutt’s pitching coach and was known for using a pitcher’s strengths to exploit a hitter’s weakness as a pitcher lost velocity during his career.
Haren discussed what he hopes to get from Honeycutt at this point in his career:
I’m 33. My mechanics are going to be the same pretty much every time out. For me, the biggest thing has been the prep work he does. My stuff is not as dominant as it once was, so if he can point out specific areas to get the best hitters in the planet out, I’m all for it.”
During innings when the Dodgers are on the field and are pitching, Honeycutt can be found in the video room in the clubhouse analyzing his starter’s pitches. When the pitchers come back into the dugout, Honeycutt will collect his notes and converse with the pitcher on what he saw.
The Dodgers’ starters lead MLB with a 3.03 ERA and have a fifth-best ERA of 3.23 with relievers included. With Mattingly’s belief the Dodgers will go as far as their pitching can carry them, Honeycutt’s ability to have a positive influence will be key moving forward.
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