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D-backs search for answers for 1st-inning woes

LOS ANGELES -- The first inning has been a trouble spot for D-backs pitchers, as they had a 6.55 ERA in the frame entering Sunday.

Not only are they allowing too many runs in the first inning, but the struggles also force the starters to throw a lot of pitches, which limits how deep they can pitch into the game.

It has left the coaching staff searching for answers.

The coaches have tried having starters sit down during their warmups in the bullpen to simulate a first inning. They've also had hitters stand in the box to simulate the first few batters they may face. They've even tried changing things in the pregame meetings between the pitcher, catcher and coaches.

"We just have to have a couple of times where they get through the first inning and I think we'll be OK," said manager Chip Hale. "And sometimes when we go into a series or a game you know we have guys that we say don't let beat you, and sometimes that leads to a walk or maybe you put too much emphasis on trying to make great pitches and you make a mistake. So that's something to think about."

Sunday's starter, Chase Anderson, pitched a scoreless first inning in the finale against the Dodgers.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.
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