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Elephant Rumblings: PitchCom catching on with the A’s

MLB news roundup

Oakland Athletics v Philadelphia Phillies
PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 09: Catcher Sean Murphy #12 of the Oakland Athletics uses a PitchCom electronic pitch calling system during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on April 9, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Happy Monday, Athletics Nation!

The A’s lost their opening series but beat the sweep. I hope everyone feels a bit better starting the week off in the wake of an impressive road win in Philly to get the A’s their first mark in the victory column. We’re keeping pace with the Dodgers at 1-2, folks! Since I brought up an NL West team, I’d also like to tip my hat to Bob Melvin for getting the Padres off to a commanding 3-1 start to take an early lead in his new division.

Last week I mentioned that PitchCom, a new “signless” pitch calling technology, would be officially sanctioned for use in regular season games this year. Sean Murphy and several A’s pitchers used PitchCom over the weekend and spoke with Matt Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle about their impressions so far, which seem to portend that momentum towards widespread adoption is already gathering.

As the A’s starting catcher, Murphy will essentially be quarterbacking the PitchCom setup in most games, being the bearer of the wristband used to transmit audio signals to the pitcher (and up to three other players) indicating the suggested pitch and location. So one would surmise that Sean’s buy-in would be essential to making PitchCom work for the A’s. His comments indicate that he’s already willing to commit:

“I like it, ... It has a lot of pluses. There’s still some things that we’re working through as far as getting comfortable with it. But I think it’s good. I think if you take away an element of sequences and sign sets and having to constantly change them, you’re giving the pitcher and myself one less thing to worry about. It helps.”

The A’s are leaving it up to pitchers to decide whether or not to use PitchCom, but it’s good that Murph seems to be an enthusiastic facilitator. Starting pitcher Frankie Montas did not use it in the A’s Opening Day game, but rotation cohorts Cole Irvin, Daulton Jefferies and Paul Blackburn all stated that they are getting comfortable with the system and used (or planned to use) it in their first starts. Blackburn went further to say, “I feel like it just helps the pace of game,” which others have suggested may be a benefit of PitchCom beyond preventing sign-stealing.

Be sure to check out the full story at The Chronicle — Kawahara is doing a great job on the A’s beat over there. And tune in to today’s game in Tampa today at 3:40 PT to see Blackburn — and PitchCom — in action as the A’s bid to serve the Rays their first loss of the season.

A’s Coverage:

MLB News & Interest:

Best of Twitter:

Projected starters for the A’s/Rays series this week.

Kaval was tweetier than usual over the weekend. I must say I concur with this sentiment.

Now that’s efficiency! I wonder if PitchCom helped..

Allen on Jefferies after their first start of 2022.

Gallegos on first series:

Lockard on the same:

Apropos today’s headline,

Gelof raking!

Big if true.

Puk off the prospect list.

Langeliers bombing!

Barrera too!

How the A’s departed stars are faring so far: