Fifteen plus innings of scoreless ball, what's that like?
I don't know, things are just working out for me.
Did something just click? First start wasn't great, you had two solid outings, then a tough one, now only one run in your last three starts, what happened?
I think the biggest thing is that our pitching coach, Dan Carlson, made some mechanical adjustments just to try and get me more consistent with my delivery. The first game I think I had some 'first game jitters,' but since then it's just been about getting a consistent delivery. When I do that I can work down in the strike zone, keep my fastball down, and that really allows me to show my slider and change up, because I can throw my fastball for a strike. The biggest thing that was hurting me was inconsistencies in my delivery because I was getting the ball up, and that's when you get hurt.
One of the knocks on you was stamina, but you've gone at least six innings in all but two of your starts, did you do something to address that?
I don't think that stamina has ever really been a problem for me, I think it had more to do with me losing focus in the 5th inning. I've been working hard to keeping focus, keeping my concentration, and I think that's what is paying off. I don't think it was as much me being out of shape or tired. Stay focused, don't give in, don't give away at bats, what I learned was that in Double-A if you lose focus for one second you get burned. It also goes back to my delivery being consistent because I'm throwing more strikes and it allows me to make more quality pitches.
What do you throw?
Fastball, slider, change, splitter.
Where did you learn the splitter?
I started throwing it my last year in college, kept throwing it my first year of pro ball in Yakima and it was a good pitch for me. For some reason last year, it wasn't as good, I wasn't throwing it close to the zone, and so I didn't throw it as much last year, but this spring I worked on it a lot, and it has become my strikeout pitch. It depends on what kind of hitter I'm facing, but I like throwing it, and if I need a strikeout, it's at top of my list.
I first started throwing it because my change was so bad and I had nothing else to throw to lefties. My change up has come a long way now, and I'm gaining confidence in both pitches. I feel like I finally have a change I can throw for a strike, and I finally feel like I have control of the splitter. It's a great 0-2 pitch, but last year I used to hang it, and so I'd throw it 0-2 and leave it belt high and somebody would crush it. It has really helped that I can throw it 0-2, because last year I just didn't have confidence in it.
You're 6'6", how do you use that to your advantage, do you throw straight over the top?
Honestly I don't even know. I think I do, I've had people tell me I'm straight over the top, I've had people tell me I'm more three quarters, you'd have to ask my pitching coach, I've never watched video of myself, so I guess I don't really know. I suppose that's bad, I really should know.
I definitely try to use my height to my advantage. It's probably my biggest advantage because I don't throw 98, so being tall really allows me to get that downward plane and it helps gets my fastball past people. The fastball has been my go to pitch from day one, so being so tall really helps. I can't throw the fastball as much now, because at this level if that's all you can throw you're in trouble, but I still consider myself a fastball pitcher, it just sets up all my other pitches. I throw the slider, change, and splitter to keep hitters off balance, but the fastball is what I work off of.