One day late in the 2020 season, during Arizona’s last road series in Houston, Diamondbacks left-hander Madison Bumgarner sought out Mike Fitzgerald for a long conversation.

Fitzgerald is the team’s vice president of research and development and under him, the Diamondbacks have become known for their über-detailed and specific game plans for starting pitchers. Bumgarner, in his first season with the club after a decade in San Francisco, was used to a different level of detail. Now, having just allowed eight runs and watching his ERA balloon to 8.53 in his last start, Bumgarner wanted to see if things could be streamlined a bit.

It was a productive talk. “I remember walking away from it thinking, ‘Wow, that was a solid, powerful conversation,’” Fitzgerald said in an interview Wednesday. Later that series, Bumgarner two-hit the Astros over five scoreless innings. He did the same against the Rockies at Chase Field in the season…





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