Video research unveils a possible fix for Alex Wilson’s struggles

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
Alex Wilson

Detroit – Another sleepless night for Alex Wilson. Another early arrival at the yard, another couple of hours of pouring over video.

It’s been a hellish month for the Tigers reliever.

“Probably the worst month of my career,” he said.

In 10 games this month, he’s 0-2 with two blown saves. In 8.2 innings, he’s been tagged for eight runs and 16 hits. Opponents have hit .400 against him, slugging .650 with a 1.092 OPS.

“This is the most prolonged stint like this I’ve had,” he said.

Lying awake Wednesday night after he gave up two runs in the ninth inning against the Royals, he may have had a eureka moment.

“I started thinking, ‘What if I moved over on the rubber,’” he said.

Earlier in his career, the right-hander started his delivery on the third-base side of the rubber. That allowed him to get inside on left-handed hitters and work the outer quadrant against right-handers. Recently, his pitches have gone the other way – running over the plate to left-handers and coming in to right-handers.

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“I’ve been flying open,” Wilson said. “So now my struggles have been on the opposite side of the plate, which had always been my strong point. I thought maybe if I move over (toward the first-base side of the rubber), it will give me three or four more inches of extra room that I need.”

Wilson focused his video study on where his feet were positioned, both at the start of his delivery and where he landed, going back as far as 2014. What he discovered was both astounding and encouraging.

“There was about a five-inch difference from when I was coming set to where I was landing,” he said. “It’s one of those things that happen over time. It’s a bad habit. My frustration and stubbornness led me to where I am now.

“Hopefully it’s that simple of a fix. I was looking at everything from was I tipping my pitches to poor selection to just not making pitches. But I really think this mechanical adjustment will be a big help.”

His relief at the discovery was tempered, though.

“I still have to take it to the field,” he said. “When I do that, that’s when I will be relieved. I know I am fully capable of putting on a run of normal baseball for me. It’s just getting out there and feeling comfortable again.

“It’s going to take an outing or two to really lock it in. But once we get there, all signs will point to a good future.”

Twitter @cmccosky