SAN DIEGO -- It has certainly been a whirlwind few weeks for Padres rookie left-hander Tommy Layne, who has been thrust into plenty of high-leverage situations since he joined the club on Aug. 14.
Layne has allowed two runs in his first 15 games and took a 1.74 ERA with 17 strikeouts in 10 1/3 innings heading into Friday's game against the D-backs. His success has largely been the result of his dominance against left-handed batters (1-for-20) but also his willingness to be a sponge to anything and everything.
Especially when it comes to listening and trusting his catchers.
Layne, who on Tuesday picked up his first Major League victory against the Dodgers when he struck out Adrian Gonzalez, Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez, developed a quick bond with catcher John Baker.
It was Baker who suggested that Layne, who occasionally drops down to a three-quarters delivery facing a left-handed batter, do the same against right-handers.
"The first time I threw to Baker, he had me drop down to a righty. That's something I had never done before," Layne said. "It's something they haven't seen. I've only done it a few times. Baker does a good job of making sure we use it in a safe spot."
Layne, who has allowed three hits in 15 at-bats to right-handers, said that Baker has gotten him to think outside the box in terms of approach, like pitch selection and such.
"Baker has kind of opened my eyes to how he wants to call pitches," Layne said. "It's using pitches in different spots, even my misses. It makes a lot of sense."