Ten days have passed since first arriving in Billings and by now everything has pretty much settled into place. I was fortunate enough to get hooked up with a host mother for my stay this summer and moved in last Sunday. I have the entire basement to myself, with my own bedroom and bathroom. Her house is also extremely close to a local bus transfer center, so finding a way to the ballpark everyday is no problem. All of our games between Monday and Saturday begin at 7:05 pm. Position-focused early work begins at 2:00 pm. My routine is to catch the bus heading downtown at 10:10 am, go to the library for an hour or so to use the internet, get some lunch at a nearby DennyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s, and show up to the clubhouse around 1:00 pm.
We opened the season on the road against Great Falls. The White Sox rookie affiliate has recently added many renovations to their stadium and clubhouse to create a very nice park (thanks revenue from the World Series championship). Our opening day starter was Ernie Del Rosario (Ã¢â‚¬Å“RosyÃ¢â‚¬Â) from the Dominican Republic. A solid outing by Rosy mixed with some timely hitting and some excellent defensive plays gave us a great win to start the season. Although we dropped a disappointing game on Wednesday, we were able to win the get-away game on Thursday to take the series. Tyler Rhoden, a pitcher from Vanderbilt University, gave us three impressive innings out of the pen, striking out five. Like I said before, all games during the week start at 7 pm, even the nights teams have to travel. With a four hours ride from Great Falls, we returned to Cobb Field around 2:45 am on a Friday morning in which we began a series against Missoula.
Thanks for the questions and comments this past week and a half. Someone asked what are the strongest and weakest areas of my game; here is my best attempt to answer:
– My strongest asset is the command of my fastball. Although I have hit numbers in the mid-90Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s, I normally sit around 90-92 mph. However, I can normally work my fastball in and out pretty effectively. I also believe, with batters using wood now, my two-seam fastball is going to be a very successful pitch riding in on right-handed hitters.
– The weakest area of my pitching is the lack of a dominant off-speed pitch. My circle-change could definitely become a great pitch, but I never relied on it in the past. I throw a loopy 12-to-6 curve with shaky command. I need to improve the speed and consistency of that pitch. I am also trying to develop a split-finger to use mainly against lefties.
I am the scheduled relief pitcher on Monday against Great Falls at Cobb Field, just in case you are interested in following online. Thanks again for the support.