Fall ball is a time to get work in and see who is going to contribute on the field in the spring and who needs another year to mature and work before they are ready to be a major player on the collegiate level. That is why scrimmages are so prevalent during this fall season.
Today was an intersquad scrimmage, where we divide up the roster into two sides and play it out like a real game. Pitchers each throw an inning, and are on 15 pitch maximums.I was slated to be the fourth pitcher on the mound today, pitching the bottom of the second inning.
Saturday intersquads are usually a very relaxed and fun, but still competitive atmosphere. Today was no exception. Everyone arrived to the park by about 10:30 for the noon scrimmage. There was a lot of field work to be done following the days of rain we have had in the Twin Cities. After we got the field, especially the mound and home plate, in playable condition, we ran, stretched, and played catch to get loose.
All morning my shoulder and pectoral muscle on my left side were much tighter than usually. It took me a lot longer to get loose than normal, and even after playing catch to about 100 feet, my arm still felt tight. I knew I had to get my body ready to pitch so I asked one of the freshman pitchers to come to the bullpen with me. I went through my wind-up over and over just lobbing fastballs and change-ups down there, getting my arm warm and my body used to my mechanics off the mound. I probably made 50 throws before I finally felt loose enough to open up and put something on the ball. I went through my pregame bullpen routine throwing fastballs and change ups on the inner half from the full wind-up, and fastballs and breaking balls down the middle from the stretch. Once I feel like I have command of my pitches, I like to go through all my pitches throwing them to particular spots and executing them with game like mentality. I always finish the bullpen by saying 3-2 fastball and spotting up a good down in the zone fastball.
I took the mound and made my eight warm-up pitches with the best game-like mentality, hitting spots and making the ball move. Then the first hitter stepped in and the game gets real. The first hitter worked his way to a 3-2 count (keep in mind we start with a 1-1 count) before a fastball on the outer half was cued of the end towards the third baseman. The long wet grass of the infield slowed the ball and we never had a chance to get him. An infield hit, the worse! You make a great pitch and can’t do anything about it. With a runner on first and no outs I automatically made a throw over to first base to check for the hitter squaring to bunt, he didn’t. After the runner moved up to second on wild pitch on a slider thrown far too outside trying to get a strikeout, the left-handed hitter rolled over to the second baseman for the first out of the inning, but moving the runner up another 90 feet to third base. After a first pitch strike, I wanted to throw a change-up down and away, but missed right down the middle. If the pitch hadn’t of fooled him and let his weight get out front, the ball might still be flying. As is, he was out front and hit is squarely to centerfield for a sacrifice fly. With two outs and no one on, the next hitter flyed out to centerfield to end the inning. I felt I had made good pitches outside of the one slider and the one change-up, but I was still a little frustrated allowing my first run of the fall.
As always I went over to get my statistics for the day, and they were as following; 13 pitches, eight for strikes, five for balls, which is 62% strikes. I gave up 1 run on 1 hit with no strikeouts and no free bases. A pretty solid outing for a fall scrimmage I think. All I can do is keep working towards my goals and giving my self the best opportunities to be successful. If I handle my business the rest will work out.
Fall Stat Line thus far:
63 Pitches (38 strikes-25 balls, 60.3%)
ERA 0.53 (1 earned run allowed over 17 outs collected or 5 and 2/3 innings)
Opponets Batting Avg, .105 (2 hits in 19 at-bats)
Strikeout-to-Walk & HBP Ratio 3 to 2 (1 BB, 1 HBP)
These stats mean nothing, they aren’t going to get me the baseball on the weekend. Being successful and confident in the execution of my pitches is the only way to earn the spot I want in the weekend rotation.