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November 14, 2023 41 mins

The Book of Joe Podcast with hosts Tom Verducci and Joe Maddon welcomes World Series Champ Josh Sborz to the podcast!  Josh takes us inside how he closed out the Series in historic fashion then celebrated the experience.  We get an amazing insight between a player and former manager about how Josh worked on his pitches through the season.  Josh looks back at his time with the Dodgers and how his path as a reliever led him to the Rangers.  We discuss adding pitches and how Josh had to find the balance of using technology and analytics while still doing what works for him.

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Speaker 1 (00:04):
The Book of Joe Podcast is a production of iHeartRadio.

Speaker 2 (00:14):
The latest edition of.

Speaker 1 (00:15):
The Book of Joe Podcast with me, Tom Verducci, Joe Madden, and.

Speaker 2 (00:19):
A very very special guest.

Speaker 1 (00:22):
Think about this, people, there have been one hundred and
nineteen World Series played, and only eleven times has someone
closed out the clinching game of the World Series by
getting the last seven outs for a save, and only
one time the first time when it was finishing off

(00:42):
a shutout in the clinching game of the World Series.

Speaker 2 (00:45):
And our guest is the one who did exactly that.

Speaker 1 (00:48):
Say Hello Jo to Josh Spores the saving Game five
of the twenty three World Series for the Texas Rangers.

Speaker 3 (00:56):
Hey Josh, and congratulations you did the rolly fingers thing
right there. That's kind a dinosauric. We don't permit that
to happen anymore. Actually, I think I had one chance
with Wayne Davis a couple years ago, but it was
not the World Series was National League Division Championship Series.
But anyway, regardless, great job. Really enjoyed watching you, pitch.

(01:19):
I'm just curious about the adjustment you made as you
got into the World Series from the regular season. Just
little things like that but nevertheless, nobody could ever take
this away from you from now on, your World Series champion.
It's a pretty awesome feeling.

Speaker 4 (01:33):
Yeah, thank you guys, thank you for having me on. Yeah,
it was an honor. I mean, pretty wild playoff front.
We just had.

Speaker 1 (01:41):
You know what's interesting, Josh, is two of the last
three times of the eleven times someone's got the last
seven outs for a save clinch the World Series, Bruce
Bochie was the manager, of course. The other was Madison
Momgarter back in fourteen. Listen, I know you'll take the
ball anytime anyway, but how cool was that that you

(02:03):
just kept going back out there for Bruce Bocci.

Speaker 3 (02:07):
Uh.

Speaker 5 (02:08):
You know, one, you know, when you have a coach
like Boccie, you know everything's up up for grabs in.

Speaker 4 (02:15):
Regards to you never really know what he's going to
want from you.

Speaker 5 (02:18):
But you know, as long as you're open and ready
to go, you know he's he's always.

Speaker 4 (02:23):
Going to give you the ball.

Speaker 5 (02:23):
But you know, I think efficiency really played into it,
uh being able to go back out there. I mean
the way Lecleric was pitching the whole postseason. Uh, you know,
I really truly thought he was going back out.

Speaker 4 (02:37):
But right when the athan he ended, the mad Dog
came up and was like, you're ready to go back down,
and I said, well, let's do it.

Speaker 5 (02:43):
And then sure enough we routed off four runs and
I felt a lot better come back out.

Speaker 1 (02:49):
Well, you've got an amazing backstory, and we will get
to that. But real quickly I got to know, you
know what the last week has been like for you
Take me through the moments after the game. Hopefully you
had some family there at the ball game that you
share immediately with and you know, a couple of days later,
going through the parade and everything that's happened in your
life in the last week.

Speaker 4 (03:11):
It's been. It's been NonStop.

Speaker 5 (03:14):
I was blessed to have a lot of my family out,
a lot of my wife's family out to all the games,
so to be able to celebrate them, celebrate with them
was It was a pretty cool experience. You know, not
too many times does the entire family get to get
on the field. But you know, after after the game,
we got to celebrate at the bar. You know, we

(03:36):
stayed until it closed and then we kept going and
then you know, day off, you know, good recovery day
for everybody. It was a tough flight home, you know,
just to relax a little bit, and then we had
the parade.

Speaker 4 (03:48):
And that was that was something cool.

Speaker 5 (03:50):
And you know, I think they said five hundred thousand
people came out and we lapped the field and I
mean there wasn't an empty spot anywhere. So I mean,
just chaos, grateful, and you know, I'm just happy I
get the experience that.

Speaker 3 (04:05):
Yeah, I'm just trying to relive my experience as you're
talking about that. The one thing I try to relate
to my players and I try to do for myself
is to take like mental snapshots at the moment. They
don't happen very often. I mean, of course, Boach has
been blessed since fourth time with for him three times
at San Francisco. You're first here. Did you really intentionally

(04:28):
try to slow things down and again try to take
that mental snapshot so remember for a very very long
period of time because again it might be your only
chance it might happen again. But did you ever did
you have that kind of reflection at all?

Speaker 4 (04:41):
Yeah, I mean.

Speaker 5 (04:44):
One of my teammates, Ian Kennedy, you know, played for
eighteen years and I think this is either first or
second time being the World Series, so you know, be.

Speaker 4 (04:52):
Able to you know, live through issues where you know you.

Speaker 5 (04:55):
Only get this opportunity maybe once if you're blessed, you know,
like you said, you'll get a few more. But you know,
right when it started, I told my wife, I was
like a with you guys at every game. You know,
we don't know how many of these we get, and
so I just try to appreciate every every series because
I mean we ran through some pretty good, pretty good teams,
so you know, just being able to slow down.

Speaker 4 (05:17):
And enjoy it, you know, we were fortunate that I
was able to Josh.

Speaker 1 (05:21):
I know it's a cliche, but it's a cliche, but
because it's true, and that is pitching, taking it one
pitch at a time.

Speaker 2 (05:27):
So you take them down there.

Speaker 1 (05:29):
And as I said, he got the last seven outs,
but when it came down to a two strike count
on Cantel Marte, at that point, you have arrived at
the point where, let's face it, every kid with the
ball in his hand in the backyard wants to be
a pitcher, dreams about closing out a World Series with
the last pitch, and appropriately enough, because I think your
catchers do just an amazing job of receiving, calling, stealing pitches,

(05:52):
you name.

Speaker 2 (05:52):
It, it's a called strike three.

Speaker 1 (05:55):
So if you can remember back and think about being
on the mound getting the pitch call from Jonaheim, what
was going through your head, and then kind of take
me through that pitch as you see you get to
get the call for strike three.

Speaker 4 (06:10):
Yeah, set In.

Speaker 5 (06:11):
I mean, I mean, my scattering port is pretty pretty
basic to lefties.

Speaker 4 (06:16):
I'm going to throw you a bunch of curveballs, a
bunch of heaters, and.

Speaker 5 (06:19):
You know, Kettle is a really good hitter, so I
was you know, it's kind of one of those things
where best pitch, best location, let him try to hit it. Obviously,
the location wasn't really where I wanted it. Top deck curveball,
not exactly the best pitch, but you know, my goal
there was I just didn't want to walk them. I

(06:40):
didn't want to put any added stress, you know, I
wanted them if they were going to beat me, put
in play. But ended up being one of those high
street curveballs, kind of an auto take pitch for good hitters.
But you know, in the back of my mind, it
was the moment was definitely creeping in. I think the
first two batters, I kind of was able to, you know,

(07:03):
put that out on that sensation of wanting to celebrate early.

Speaker 4 (07:07):
But you know when that strike came, that final.

Speaker 5 (07:09):
Strike, I was just I was just trying to get
it over the plate and see what happens, and you know,
bust for him to take it, and then bust to
be able to celebrate the way we did.

Speaker 3 (07:19):
High entry curveball. I never heard that said before the
pitch was that the pitch was so bad that it
was good. That's what I o. The pitch was so
bad that it's a good pitch because it is a strike.
Nobody can hit it. You're not taught to throw it there,
but eventually it works out well for you. But good
for you, man. But I love that. I never heard
of the high high entry curveball. Is that what it was.

Speaker 5 (07:40):
It's kind of one of those because I actually have
a lot of bite to them, so you know it's
probably starting out their head and then ends up right
at their at their chest. So it's kind of a
frustrating pitch for hitters.

Speaker 3 (07:52):
Just just to get off the top of the topic
but not topics. So it's a curveball. You're throwing there right.
It's not a it's okay, spike, Okay.

Speaker 5 (07:59):
It's I personally try to slurb it. I used to
throw twelve six it was big. I just could never.

Speaker 4 (08:07):
Command troll it right or you know, just you know, when.

Speaker 5 (08:11):
You throw those twelve six is, it's just hard to
get a call strike. So when I started trying to
slur of it, I was able to one throw it harder,
which I liked, but also just kind of command it overall.

Speaker 3 (08:24):
One of the things I've learned because anytime I was
with a pitcher that had a good breaking ball, and
started with Burt bl Levin, always wanted to see their
grip because normally a really good breaking ball has somewhat
a unique grip to that particular pitcher, like he had
his thumb on the side as an example, Mike Butcher,
the pitching coach, but you used to have a really
good hook. I had him in the minor league's thumb
on the side. Then, of course, the knuckle curve that

(08:45):
started when I was in the seventies, primarily when I
was in Boulder, Colorado. Bert Houghton had been there before that.
Bert had come up with the knuckle curve and that
became very popular. I think it was the first time
I heard about it. But I've what I've always researched
good breaking ball. What's the grip look like? Because I
think too many times and teaching that pitch, everybody wants

(09:05):
to go conventional. This is how you did. The Spalding
guy says, put your longer finger here, the shorter finger there,
pulled down the lampshade, whatever. But almost always when a
guy ends up with a good breaking ball, there's a
grip that's unique to him.

Speaker 5 (09:18):
Yeah, like you said, I was the same basic curveball thrower,
you know, foreseing curveball make a drop, but we transitioned
into like a sweeper grip. So we had the backwards
c I'm putting my hand on the middle part of

(09:39):
it and just spiking it and I don't know, it
just sat in my hand perfectly, and I'm just able
to rip it. And I think, you know, in this
league you have to absolutely sell your off speed. You know,
it has to be fastball arm speed. These hitters are
too good. They're just able to pick up on little
things like that. And I think that's also why it's
played up so well. It's just it's hard to recognize

(10:02):
because it's coming in so quick and it looked like
my heater, but really unusual grip for sure.

Speaker 3 (10:07):
Yeah, you get to the point where it's all about feel.
I mean, you're not even thinking about this. The ball
gets in your hand, it feels proper. I pick up
my target to throw the ball hard. Yeah, pretty much
got to that point.

Speaker 4 (10:16):
Yep, it's it sits.

Speaker 5 (10:18):
In my hand, and I think the only thing with
me and that pitch is that knuckle. I might tip
it sometimes, okay, you know, so when there was guys
on second I'll try to knuckle my fastball occasionally, just
you know, mess them up a little bit, and you know,
just not giving away those free, free pitches because when

(10:38):
when they know it's coming, it's a little bit easier
for him, and you know, just trying to take away
that advantage.

Speaker 4 (10:43):
That's all we try to do with pitchers.

Speaker 3 (10:45):
It's probably easier for them to take but not necessarily hit.

Speaker 5 (10:48):
Yeah, I think I think some some parts of the
year this year, I think I was tipping it pretty badly,
just based on you know, the results of most of
the year it was pretty unheittable.

Speaker 4 (11:00):
And then there was a small two week gap where
it just got.

Speaker 5 (11:03):
On a pumble at a really unusual rate and there
was no real change in shape or velocity.

Speaker 3 (11:10):
I mean, let me just one more time, because I
thought they were kind of answering that question. I mean,
based on the regular season in which you did in
the playoffs, something had to happen, you did something differently.
Was it coming down to a minute adjustment like that? Yeah?

Speaker 4 (11:24):
Yeah, oh yeah. The beginning of the year.

Speaker 5 (11:26):
I mean I felt like first three months I was
pretty darn good pitcher.

Speaker 4 (11:29):
You know, you know you're gonna.

Speaker 5 (11:31):
Have ebbs and flows. I hurt my shoulder and then
I think when I came back I just tried to
rush it too much to get back. But yeah, nothing,
my hands usually flush when I throw four seams sliders.
Everything just kind of here or here, that's it. And
every pitch on the edge of tronics. And I was

(11:53):
just saying that, hey, like, if you're this is a
good pitch, just your hand flushed behind the ball. I
was just slightly on the side of everything, you know,
And for me, I have good carry on my heater.
I wasn't having that. And so when you go up
in the zone with fourteen fifteen inches of vertical break.
Those hitters pumble that stuff. You know, they don't miss,
you know, so you know, just getting that edge back

(12:15):
of getting the movements right and you know, location right,
and it just kind of restarted me and put me
back in the beginning of the year.

Speaker 3 (12:23):
It's a classic example where technology is very helpful.

Speaker 5 (12:27):
Yeah, and I think I think give a lot of
credit to mad Dog with he doesn't doesn't kill you
with information, you know, and you know, not getting lost
in the data stuff like hey, this game, I only
had fifteen inches avert in this game, I had twenty one.
You know, I think we use it a little bit,
but you know, we still got to pitch. Can't be

(12:47):
warned about how you know your stuff's moving. You still
got to go out there in battle.

Speaker 3 (12:51):
Cool.

Speaker 1 (12:51):
Yeah, it's interesting just by the way Josh's postseason numbers
twelve innings, zero point seventy five ERA in a one
oh three betting average against. I mean, that is getting
it done in the pressure packed games. And Josh, I
remember talking to you during the World Series about your
pitch mix because to me, you've always been known for

(13:14):
that special fastball that you have, the great induced vertical
break great ride top of the zone. But things kind
of change for you this year and you were throwing
more breaking balls, and we can see why with the
results being great, especially in the postseason. And you mentioned
something to me about, you know, hitters making adjustments on fastballs.

(13:34):
Why don't you talk about your development in terms of
going more breaking ball than fastball, because I'm sure you
probably came up as a fastball being the staple of
what you throw.

Speaker 5 (13:46):
Yeah, So, I mean we're always told hitters can hit bullets, right,
So you know, I think with when we just throw
all heaters, just say per seing a vacuum, it just
gives them a really good opportunity to hit the ball
and do damage, right, And I think for me just
the avoidance of damage was kind of the goal this year.

(14:06):
And I know, I know off speed's obviously played better
across the league than heaters, so you know, I figured
stop trying to be someone that can only throw heaters.
You know, I don't have a I have a good heater,
but I don't think it's you know, Bartolo Cologne sinker
something that he can just dominate with one pitch. But

(14:27):
it just kind of slowly transformed into you know I
have three good pitches.

Speaker 4 (14:31):
Why don't we use them all? It's only going to
make my heater better.

Speaker 5 (14:36):
So you know, I think the playoffs was the biggest
usage of my offspeed. I think I threw my curveball
sixty percent of the time, and obviously I had good results.
And I think, you know, when we're commanding off speed,
you don't have to be as.

Speaker 4 (14:51):
Fine compared to heaters.

Speaker 5 (14:53):
You know, I think if I go top shelf heater,
I have to get it up there every time to
protect myself. Whereas you know, you can throw a middle
middle curveball, you might get a take, might get a
ground ball. I just think the risk reward factor of
throwing more off speed, it's just a better gives you
a better probability to get out right, and that's all

(15:13):
we're looking for.

Speaker 1 (15:14):
Well, I mentioned we'll get into Josh's backstory. We'll get
into that. Keep this in mind, folks, just two years
ago he was dfaed by the Dodgers. Imagine that two
years later he is closing out the World Series. We'll
ask him about that right after this message. Okay, Josh

(15:43):
I mentioned being DFA hate to bring up a source subject,
but obviously it turned out great for you. I'm sure
you didn't realize that at the time. No one likes
to be taken off a roster, but that's what happened.
February twenty twenty one. You'd been with the Dodgers since
they drafted you out of Virginia and they needed a
roster spot for Trevor.

Speaker 2 (16:04):
We just signed with the Dodgers as a free agent.

Speaker 1 (16:07):
They were about to have his press conference to introduce
him to the Dodgers media. It's a day they'd like
to forget at this point. But anyway, for Josh, that
meant he was DFA. That means your future is basically
up in the air, waiting for maybe a trade to
work out. If nobody claims you you're a free agent.
Tell me about how you found out about that, Josh,

(16:27):
because we're talking about really just about when spring training
is about to begin, and how you got through that
period before the trade.

Speaker 4 (16:34):
Yeah.

Speaker 5 (16:35):
I mean, never a great moment, you know. I think
my time with the daughter who was great. I'm grateful
for everything they did, fantastic organization. But uh got a
quick call from the GM and just said, hey, we
need to make a we need to make room for Bauer, and.

Speaker 4 (16:52):
You know we're going to DFA. You and I think,
you know, I think just ripping the band aid off,
telling the truth.

Speaker 5 (16:58):
Is what every player wants to hear. So, you know,
just being up front was all I wanted to hear.
It wasn't a long conversation, probably thirty seconds that max.
But you know, I think we solked. I sold for
about an hour and then I was like, you know,
this could be an opportunity. You know, I think as
relievers these days, unless you hear the closer, there's a

(17:21):
lot of movement, right there's always guys getting DFA picked up,
you know, So just being open minded, knowing it's a
long year, I just tried to approach it like whatever
opportunity I get next, I'm gonna I'm gonna try to
maximize my ability. But you know, I was fortunate the
Rangers picked me up, and you know what, three years,

(17:43):
three years from that day, we're we're we got the trophy.
So pretty blust lucky. I guess I think it was
probably the best scenario for me, you know, because breaking
that bullpen for the Dodgers at the time was dang
near impossible with the guys that they were rolling out.

Speaker 3 (18:01):
I just have a curious question. This is on topic,
but maybe not by throwing more breaking balls, they getting
off the fastball a little bit and relying more on
your breakaball on that shoulder span of time. Is it
recovery more difficult the next day do you have Do
you find that to be part of it or less than.

Speaker 5 (18:16):
I actually feel better throwing my off speed and I
think it's I don't necessarily perfectly I don't perfectly tunnel
my pitches right off each other. I think my arms
slightly lower on off speed, so it's a little less
stressful on my shoulder. So you know, personally, I didn't

(18:36):
hate throwing that many off feed pitches, but I would
argue generally speaking, yeah, throwing more off speed pitches not
better for you.

Speaker 3 (18:47):
Yeah, but you know what I like. I like that
kind of a breaking ball to a left handed hitter. Yeah,
I like good. I like good breaking ball. I could
I really well developed curveball, slurf, whatever you want to
call it, to get underneath the lefty. It seems like
everybody you know when they talk about breaking ball, I
mean I prefer slider, cutter, slider, same side I like
cutter curveball opposite side, and guys like yourself can really

(19:10):
get good and very valuable because whether the here comes
the pinch it or I mean, as a manager, I
really wanted to study the reverse guys because reverse guys,
I want to keep the same side guy on him
and not always relinquish it to the pincherter from the
other side. Actually doing you a favor when you're when
you're looking at the left hand hitter, you're actually in
a big hole to throw the ball to as compared

(19:33):
to maybe throwing the ball off of a right handed hitter.
How do you how do you see your strike zone
with the lefty versus a right hand hitter.

Speaker 5 (19:39):
It widens right because now I have with that curveball alone,
I have the back door get me over that lets
them see nothing right and then that well, the curveball
also sets up heater away, heater up and end, and
then I can finish it back leg.

Speaker 4 (19:56):
So I think just opening up the entire zone.

Speaker 5 (19:59):
On the outer half where most lefties don't necessarily do
too much damage on a speed pitches, you know, just
lets it forces them to have to cover that side right,
so you know, once they showed me that they're covering
up and away or down in a way on a curveball. Yeah,
I'm immediately going inside, you know.

Speaker 4 (20:18):
So I think.

Speaker 5 (20:20):
I know my splits this year were especially punch out wise.
I think I struck out lefties way more at a
higher rate.

Speaker 4 (20:27):
And obviously it's because I threw my curveball more.

Speaker 3 (20:30):
So.

Speaker 5 (20:31):
I think it's just allows me to throw that third pitch.
It's why we created it because prior years struggled against lefties.

Speaker 4 (20:39):
You know, with sliders, it's you got to.

Speaker 5 (20:41):
Execute the pitch perfectly for them not to hit it,
you know, kind of speeds.

Speaker 4 (20:45):
They're bad up.

Speaker 5 (20:46):
You know, they're in the pull happy phase, so they
lift it, it's gone ground ball. It's one hundred and
ten off the bat. So with the curveball just gives
me more room. I feel like, just overall against lefties,
and I think next year, going into next year, I
want to be able to throw it more to righties,
you know, just even if it just sets up my

(21:08):
slider for a little fish huck or something. I'm just
being able to use it more against them because I
think I just struggled overall punching righties out compared to lefties.

Speaker 3 (21:19):
That's a great explanation, and I can't agree with you.
I just wanted to bring it up because I think
a lot of people, or a lot of young players,
young pitchers, don't realize the effectiveness. And when you do
have multiple breaking balls, you have to really understand which
works better against the same side and which works better
against the other side. Again, not to become overly predictable,
but even if you are, I mean, we'll execute it.

(21:40):
Like you said, backdoor breaking ball to a lefty on
the outside edge, you just make that play so much wider,
that becomes so east west. Yeah, and then it opens
up of writing things have you ever done? I'm not
even sure do you throw a change up at all?

Speaker 5 (21:55):
Mad Dog was pushing for it. I threw it a
few times in live. It was more of one of
those things if we're going to commit to, we're going
to commit to in the off season, right But I
think for me right now, I need to do a
much better job of.

Speaker 4 (22:12):
Getting writings out. Just overall, I'm.

Speaker 3 (22:16):
Just gonna say change change, change up under a right
handed hitter after everything else you did is pretty That's
a James Shields pitch. That's an Alex Cott pitch. I mean,
he's the writings that can get underneath Righty's right hand
to pitch underneath the right hand hitting swing the guys
at real flat swings. I look at flat swings and
look at swings that are a little bit more upper
cut launch angle kind of swings. If a guy's got

(22:36):
a flat swing right on right, if a guy's got
a flat swing on you, man, you could definitely get
underneath that guy.

Speaker 4 (22:41):
Just dominate them with it.

Speaker 5 (22:42):
I mean, like I said, I'm definitely open. We tried splitters.
I think I have a better feel with change ups.
I mean before before pro ball, I was kind of
a sinker slider primary mix with a four team at
the end, and then obviously got to LA four seams
at the top were the hot topic, and you know,

(23:04):
fifteen to eighteen that was end.

Speaker 4 (23:06):
All, be all. You have one, you're going to use
it a lot, right, But you know, I like having
multiple outs, right.

Speaker 5 (23:14):
I want to be able to get a guy out
in a variety of ways, only to make it harder
and definitely adding a pitch I'm always open for.

Speaker 1 (23:23):
Yeah, Josh, I was going to bring out the point
that you are a part of this generation that has
now grown up understanding the whys and hows of the
way pitches work. In the old days, you didn't have
all this data, you didn't have the high speed cameras.

Speaker 2 (23:38):
And of course you.

Speaker 1 (23:39):
Pitched in the World Series before in Virginia with Virginia
and the College World Series the most outstanding player thirteen scorelessennings,
three wins, and yeah, a save in that World Series
as well, which is pretty cool. But from I understand,
it really was when you got drafted by the Dodgers
that you were able to dive into some of the
technology and learn about your stuff. And it sounds like

(24:00):
it it opened your eyes, Josh, and what you through
and how you've developed as a pitcher changed almost instantly.
And once you go into that and you know, getting
on the cameras and the technology, yeah, I mean.

Speaker 6 (24:15):
I think of I said, I got dropped in fifteen,
and I felt like the Dodgers were kind of at
the forefront of, you know, implementing those things, those those
cameras track man's.

Speaker 5 (24:29):
But to say that I had a grasp of the
depth of this knowledge and being able to use it myself,
it definitely took some years, and then you know, you
get into this, you can start comparing yourself to other people,
and then you start using that to see how they pitch,
how they use their stuff. And I think, you know,

(24:50):
for me, I had no idea what vertical break was
in twenty fifteen. You couldn't tell me anything about that.
I would have no knowledge whatsoever. And you know it,
like I said, it took me a while to understand it.
And you know, once I learned how to the field
versus real using the cameras, seeing where my hand is
and slowly making those adjustments, I think that's when you

(25:11):
know it started to work with me. For me, I guess,
but like I said, it took me three or four
years at least even be able to grasp the knowledge
of this stuff. And you know, I think the last
couple of years, I kind of I've kind of gotten
lost in it a little too much, you know, too

(25:31):
worried about vertical break instead of just pitching. And I
think this year is that's what I did better, was
just I know I have good stuff. I need to
worry about getting outs because at the end of the day,
we play a sport. No one cares about your vertical break.
They care about getting three outs and winning the game.
And so I think getting back to just basics, you know,

(25:53):
make sure your stuff's good. But at the end of
the day, we are pitching, and that's how that's all
you got to worry about.

Speaker 2 (25:59):
That's a great point, you know.

Speaker 1 (26:00):
I've heard too many pitchers after a game where they
get hit and they'll go to the metrics. Maybe it's
a kind of a false confidence they get, but they're like, well,
I threw a good pitch.

Speaker 2 (26:09):
It's exactly the kind of breaking on it.

Speaker 1 (26:11):
But my line is the hitters will tell you everything
you know about your stuff, right.

Speaker 4 (26:16):
Yeah.

Speaker 1 (26:17):
And this is where Josh, I think it's someone like
Mike Maddox can come in. I mean, this guy's been
a pitching coach for forty two years, or at least
in professional baseball for forty two years, including his.

Speaker 2 (26:26):
Own time on the mound.

Speaker 1 (26:28):
What makes him such a good pitching coach for someone
like you?

Speaker 5 (26:32):
It's over simplified pitching, like our scouting reports. Hey, you're
gonna put this, You're gonna throw this pitch here, this
pitch there, and that's all you're gonna worry about. And
I think you said it earlier. We have phenomenal catchers.
We have three of them, all Gold Glove level. Jonah
obviously got his deserved it. You have hedges Garb. So

(26:56):
when you have great catchers right the scouting report, you
don't have to worry about too much because they got.

Speaker 4 (27:01):
It into control. We had a great deal.

Speaker 5 (27:04):
So you know, for me, it just honestly became execute
this pitch where he wants it, and we'll worry about
the next pitch.

Speaker 4 (27:12):
When it comes.

Speaker 5 (27:12):
So, you know, for Maddox, it was just we're not
going to look at data really ever, unless you know
there's a couple of outings where your stuff looks different.
And you know, I think the lower you get, the
more you understand it. You know what your stuff's going
to look like before.

Speaker 4 (27:30):
You go out on the field, you know how you feel.

Speaker 5 (27:33):
Visually, what the balls are doing out of the hand,
and just you know, so being able to use your
own senses, having coaches, great catchers, using everything you can
is I think the best outcome. I guess, you know,
it's fortunate to have. I mean, we didn't really have
too many holes in this team, so, you know, just
being able to trust these guys doing their homework. I mean,

(27:54):
mad Doc seems to know about every single hitter what
they do right wrong, without even looking at film. So
just having that depth of knowledge was really cool and
it was cool to experience.

Speaker 3 (28:04):
I can't argue with any of that. That's a wonderful explanation. Again,
he must have done a University of Virginia. Did you
go to school at Film Goslin by any chance?

Speaker 4 (28:12):
A little bit older? But I know I know a
lot about Phil the heck of a player.

Speaker 3 (28:17):
There, beautiful man. No, that's really good stuff. I mean,
what you're talking about there, I think is balance, simplification.
I've always haad do simple better, utilizing everything at your disposal. Absolutely,
But when the game begins, there's theory and then there's reality.
Theory could occur as much as it wants. Before the game,
you could get all these wonderful, well paid plans, and

(28:40):
I think part of it. Sometimes people or coaches believe
that if they inundate you with stuff, that they're actually
doing their jobs. To me, a really good coach will
take all this inundation and call it down to the
point where you're just getting drops nuggets of information. Because
what people don't understand is when you're in a hot
moment like you had been just recently, there's no time

(29:02):
to disseminate all that about all that. It's like, like
you said, you trusted your catcher, you trusted your ability
to trusted the feel, you trusted all the work you
have done at that point, and in that moment, everything
comes together. In that moment, that blink moment, your intuitive
moment just occurs. And that's what you're doing. Man. That's
a great explanation for my money, and also screams to me,

(29:24):
while you were so successful in a hot moment, you
were just being the picture that you are, the athlete
that you are competing in the moment, and you were
successful because of that.

Speaker 4 (29:34):
Yeah.

Speaker 3 (29:35):
Perfect.

Speaker 5 (29:35):
I mean I think you know, everyone has a plan
until they get punched in the face, right, And I
think when we played the Astros, it was just a
game of who's going to adapt faster, right, And I think,
I mean, you look at our series throughout the entire year.
We beat them the first series, and they came back
and just absolutely dominated us, right for ten straight games, and.

Speaker 4 (30:00):
Then we go to the playoffs. It's the same thing.
It was.

Speaker 5 (30:03):
We had a great plan, it worked, two games. Then
they come to our place and they just they changed, right.
They know what we're doing, so they're going to try
to take that away from us. And then we go
back to their place with a little bit of a change, right,
and it panned out, And so I think just being
adaptable in.

Speaker 4 (30:21):
This game, right.

Speaker 5 (30:23):
The scouting report might say this, but you play a
team three times, you're going to need a change. You
can't throw two strike heaters up and in every single time.
They're going to cheat to it and then they're going
to hit it out.

Speaker 1 (30:35):
Hey, Josh, I got to bring you back to I
call it a Mike Maddox moment because I was joking
with Mike throughout the postseason that we should keep a
stat for ops after a mound visit, and his was
like zero.

Speaker 2 (30:47):
I mean, it was amazing.

Speaker 1 (30:49):
So I want to take you back to the situation
in the clinching game. Is the eighth inning, there's two
outs and Electronics gets on base.

Speaker 2 (30:55):
We know we can run.

Speaker 1 (30:57):
It's still a one nothing game at that point, and
Mike comes out to the mound and I'm thinking, like,
Thomas has to run here. I mean with two outs,
bottom of the lineup, defensive outfield is playing deep, so
it's going to take two hits to get him in.
To me, the DNA of the Diamondbacks is play fast
and loose, and that's the guy who can play that

(31:17):
kind of game at first base. I think the stolen
base is in order. I was shocked he didn't run
in the course of that plate appearance. You did not
throw over, you didn't slidestep. So take me through the
mound visit of Mike Maddox and just concentrating on the out,
which you got obviously with a cold strike.

Speaker 3 (31:35):
Three.

Speaker 4 (31:36):
Yeah.

Speaker 5 (31:36):
I mean when Matt Doc comes out, it's it's one
of two situations, you're pitching pretty poorly or pinch hitters
coming in right. And you know the pinch hitter with paving.
Smith played with him in college of the kid, phenomenal player.

Speaker 4 (31:55):
So immediately we just talked about the.

Speaker 5 (31:56):
Scounter report and for him it was kind of keep
it away, don't go in that inn aff lefty swing,
and so we talked about curve balls, heaters up, no siders,
pretty much the whole game plan. I knew. I knew
Thomas was fast, but I think I think what kind

(32:17):
of slowed them down a little bit was Jonah him
throwing I think he only threw out two guys over
in the series, maybe, but I think just that little
bit of doubt that Jonah put in the runners by
throwing guys out was was enough for them to you know,
deter them from running.

Speaker 4 (32:37):
And I knew it was gonna be Thomas was going
to steal the first two pitches, I felt like, and
that was it.

Speaker 5 (32:44):
So once I got to that gap, I just immediately
worried about, you know, the guy in front with pe
then and I think I went one two, three pitches
it was one two count, and then my immediate focus
was get this out, don't worry about the runner, and
so executed that curveball back door punch out and you know,

(33:09):
happy he didn't run. But you know, again, I keep
saying it over and over again, but you know, having
a catcher like Jonah can do a lot of things
to a game.

Speaker 4 (33:17):
Just change it overall.

Speaker 3 (33:19):
I thought you're gonna mention the fact that there was
two outs for saying, correct, there was two outs at
that moment. Yeah, so just just really bear down on
the hitter, please, you know, if he's gonna run, he's
gonna run. We're gonna just do your normal thing. But
for me in that situation, I want all of your
energy put on that hitter right there, more than because
what you're trying to do for the Diamondbacks perspective with
Tom's talking about, I want to split your concentration. I

(33:42):
want you to think about me and your stuff is
so good right now, just let's just get this hitter
out walking to Doug out worry about the next inning.

Speaker 4 (33:51):
Yeah.

Speaker 3 (33:51):
So to me, that was once you got to that
one two count by just totally discounting him, And for me,
you could have just discounted from the very first pitch.

Speaker 5 (33:58):
Yeah, I think I think the first pitch I was
a little worried, and I think I feel a pretty
pretty bad pitch overall.

Speaker 4 (34:06):
And then after I was I still got a pitch
on them.

Speaker 5 (34:08):
So let's just just bear down and figure it out
from there.

Speaker 2 (34:11):
Very good, just clutch pitching.

Speaker 1 (34:13):
By the way, I have to ask you, Josh, because
you were with the Dodgers in twenty twenty, the year
they won the World Series, the Bubble year. You spend
most of the year at the alternate site. You did
throw a few innings for the Dodgers that year, where
were you were you in the bubble with the team
in the course of the postseason, and I'm assuming you
did get a World Series ring from that year.

Speaker 5 (34:37):
Five weeks in a hotel, sure enough, it was we
were our whole the whole time.

Speaker 2 (34:43):
I was with you, brother, I was there in that bubble. Man,
that was a long month.

Speaker 4 (34:47):
I was.

Speaker 5 (34:47):
I was about ready to go home, I'll tell you that.
But I mean, I think I watched every game from
the Rangers home gym, just watching it there. It was
a long five weeks. But you know, I was able
to learn a lot. I think they went down three
one to the Braves, you know, just the way they
were able to stay together, stay as a team, stay relaxed.

(35:11):
You know, I was able to learn a lot from it.
You know, I wasn't happy that I got to play,
but you know, I tried to be a good teammate,
be out of the way, essentially, just be non existent
that way they can do their jobs. And yep, blessed
to get a ring. And you know, like I said,
got nothing bad to say about the Los Angeles Dodgers.

(35:33):
They're phenomenal organization.

Speaker 1 (35:35):
Well it's a great story, man. We're so happy for you.
Thanks for jumping on with us. You know you've learned
yourself how quickly this game can turn over, going from
DFA to the World Series clincher and listen, it looks
like there's nothing but good things ahead for both you
and the Texas Rangers. So congratulations. I'm sure you enjoyed

(35:55):
the after glow. I hope it lasts throughout the off season.

Speaker 4 (35:58):
We got a little short of the season, shorter off
season this.

Speaker 2 (36:01):
Year, but that was the best kind.

Speaker 4 (36:03):
Yeah, so you know you did something right. But yeah,
thank you guys for having me on.

Speaker 3 (36:07):
It was really cool, great job, but I just wanted
to just make I just really enjoy your process. I
think it's outstanding. There's no reason for me to believe
that you're not going to continue the longest path. This
is just the beginning for you. Man, a great job
and just keep thinking the way you are. It's it's outstanding.
Your process and your program sounds like it's right on
the money.

Speaker 4 (36:26):
Yeah, thank you, I appreciate it.

Speaker 1 (36:27):
We'll have some closing thoughts all right after this. Well, Joe,
that was really fascinating. I'm always curious kind of what's
going on between the guys ears in the heat of

(36:48):
the moment, and.

Speaker 2 (36:49):
That was a really cool look from Josh.

Speaker 1 (36:51):
Inside the process is what it takes to get big
outs in a postseason environment, what it takes just to
be there in that situation. So thanks to Josh, that
was really really enjoyable. I found that fascinating, very clear,
very lucid, and regards to his approach, I think he's
twenty nine years of age.

Speaker 3 (37:08):
Is that accurate?

Speaker 2 (37:09):
Something that's right?

Speaker 3 (37:10):
Yeah, and that's almost sometimes. I mean when back with
the Angels and then the Rays, I always like getting
relief pictures that were twenty seven to twenty eight, twenty
nine years of age from someplace else where they had
not really gone it done, but had good arms and
had a nice potentially a nice future about him because
all of a sudden, once it hits, it does, and

(37:32):
it did for him. So again, he understands himself extremely well.
He knows exactly what he's doing and why he's doing it.
I love that part of it. And then he also
demonstrated why where technology could be very good and also
where sometimes you have to do exercise judgment regards to
how much to utilize exactly the kind of balance that
I think is necessary, But yeah, I was really impressed

(37:54):
with him as a person. I thought he sounded great
and again he's he's set up. He set up for
a really bright future.

Speaker 1 (38:01):
Absolutely. I mean, Joe, he's got closers types. He's in
a ninetieth percentile in terms of fastball v. Low with
rate ride on that pitch, and yet as we heard
him talk, you know, the breaking stuff has played up
more than his fastball, especially in a postseason environment. I
thought that was really fascinating, and I'm sure you've seen it, Joe,
the postseason where you know breaking ball percentages are going

(38:22):
to go up in the postseason.

Speaker 2 (38:23):
It's not here it is hit. It kind of challenge mentality.

Speaker 1 (38:26):
He can get by in the regular season, and he's
got the stuff to get you out either way.

Speaker 2 (38:30):
That was really impressive the whole arc of his career.

Speaker 1 (38:32):
As you mentioned, the technology aspect helped him learn what
he has and how to use it, but then he
got a little too deep in it and had to
get away with it. And that's where a manager like
Bruce Boche and a pitching coach like Mike Maddox can
get you back to square.

Speaker 2 (38:46):
You know, just be an athlete on the Mountain, go compete.

Speaker 3 (38:48):
That's what I heard. I heard all of that, And
again I never really had met him before. You could
tell the University of Virginia education. He's a very bright
young man. So again I just was I was really
impressed with the style we spoke with us, equally impressed
with his work in the World Series.

Speaker 1 (39:06):
Yeah, and again I gotta get Bruce Boache a lot
of credit. I mean, he just let him ride. You know,
there are situations where by the book it would have
called for, for instance, Pevin Smith Smith Pinch hits a
role as chapman to come in and take that plate appearance,
or if it's the ninth inning, automatically give the ball
to your closer, jose leclerk. Boach is a guy who

(39:28):
pays attention to what he's looking at, and in all
these cases in the postseason, he saw that Josh Spores
was his guy, reliable guy. There was no reason to
take him out based on the way he was throwing.

Speaker 3 (39:38):
Agreed, it's all it's about. It's about the eyeballs. It's
not about knowing your guy. To what extent the clerk
might have been swreed that night, we don't even know.
There's all little different did he's going on there that
plays into that particular decision, But it is it's an
eyeball decision. It is a gut decision. For those that
don't want to hear that, it is a decision of experience.

(39:58):
Boach has been through that before. He saw it in
his mind's eye, and it was the right move.

Speaker 1 (40:02):
Great stuff from Josh, and we really appreciate him hopping
on with us. And he was the closer for the
World series Joe. You're our closer for the Book of
Joe podcasts.

Speaker 3 (40:12):
So what do you got, Well, he set me up.

Speaker 2 (40:14):
He set you up.

Speaker 3 (40:15):
He set me up.

Speaker 2 (40:16):
He's your setup guy.

Speaker 3 (40:18):
Yeah, he's talking about when he got dfaight, and he
said something to the effect that the GM came down
and told me the truth. He told me the truth,
exactly what's going on, and I was able to deal
with that. And he's talking about till this day how
much he really has respect and likes the Dodgers organization.

(40:38):
So tell me the truth that I might not like
you for a week or ten days, but light to me,
I mean hate you forever. So I went to my
own archives right there, he exactly what he said and
It's so true when you're dealing with professional people everybody,
which I shouldn't just say professionals, but in our game,
professionally speaking, tell the guy the truth. Tell him the truth.

(40:59):
You don't have to remember what you had said. It's
going to be there again when you need it. And
he's might not like it, but I promise you the
respect will remain and eventually it'll come back to you.
And that's exactly what he just said. And I really
appreciate it.

Speaker 1 (41:11):
That great advice and a great episode. I really enjoyed
that one. Thanks Joe, Thank you, buddy. The Book of
Joe podcast is a production of iHeartRadio. For more podcasts
from iHeartRadio, visit the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever

(41:33):
you get your podcasts.
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