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Brocail: Astros pitchers need to throw more strikes


VIERA, Fla. -- After a frustrating day on the mound when his pitchers struggled to throw strikes and walked nine batters in an 8-5 loss to the Tigers on Monday, Astros pitching coach Doug Brocail on Tuesday planned to talk with his catchers about how to get the pitchers to pound the strike zone more.

"The one thing we need to do is we need to get strike one," he said. "I've always been a preacher that if we have to sit down and talk about a strike zone at this level, we're in trouble. We're going to sit down with the catchers [on Tuesday] and try to figure out if it's we're not throwing enough plate, or too much plate."

Brocail said Astros pitchers threw 184 pitches in eight innings Monday, throwing a first-pitch strike only seven times. When he addresses the catchers, Brocail wants to know how they're setting up behind the plate and how they can get more of the strike zone.

"My theory is one of the first two pitches have to be a strike," Brocail said. "We just need to get out there. Guys are in their third times through [the rotation] and are probably going to go through a little bit of a dead arm phase right now. Hopefully, that's what it is. If it's not, we need to buckle down and start throwing more strikes and trust our stuff and attack the hitters."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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