Kasey Olenberger calm in the storm

Kasey Olenberger has seen the tricks his mind can play over the course of a career that began in the independent leagues. Now in his second year at Triple-A Salt Lake, the right-hander knows the bumps in the roads and how to steer clear of excessive potholes.

With a 6-2 record and 3.93 ERA over his first 14 starts, Olenberger has had success and faced some peril. But the bad times are never around for long as he works within himself and doesn't try to force things.

For all intensive purposes, the California native has gotten a little more California – even keeled and understanding that his time will come.

Talk about the success this year and what has been the catalyst through the first two plus months of the season.

Kasey Olenberger: First pitch strikes and getting ahead of the hitters. That is the key right now for any pitcher, but for me especially. I am trying to cut down on my walks. I have had a lot of problems with falling behind hitters in the past. Getting ahead and staying ahead.

You have had more success against lefties than righties this year - are you approaching them differently?

Kasey Olenberger: I have had to really concentrate on getting my fastball in to them which I have been successful at – along with my changeup. My changeup is my pitch. Coming out of college that was my go-to pitch. It keeps them off-balance and keeps them honest so I can throw the changeup away, fastball away and fastballs in – the changeup is the biggest thing for me.

You have given up a few more homers than you would obviously like but at the same time are among the league leaders in inducing double play grounders.

Kasey Olenberger: The biggest thing for the homeruns – if most teams do what we do and that is go in and have a chat about the hitters for the upcoming series – they know I am going to throw a lot of strikes. They know I am going to get ahead. They know I won't have a whole lot of walks. I know them going up there I know they are going to be aggressive so I know I am going to give up some home runs. As long as I give up solo home runs. I would rather give up a solo homer than four hits in an inning and one run.

As far as double plays, I think that works to my advantage that they know I am going to throw a lot of strikes, and I can throw that changeup away or sinker off the plate a little bit – and they are too aggressive with runners on first and second and I get that ground ball.

How do you adjust through the season when things aren't going as well as expected?

Kasey Olenberger: I have had some rough outings but being around long enough you learn to battle through things and adjust when you are not throwing strikes. You just figure out a way to get outs. You can't get too upset – and I had a problem in the past where I would get too upset. For the most part, you have to battle and you can't show your emotions, or at least suppress the emotions as much as possible.

Is it tough to stay focused on your job when the majors are a call away and how do you allow that to just play itself out and keep your mind on your next start?

Kasey Olenberger: I can only do what I can do. I can only control what I do on the mound. Once the ball leaves my hand I have no idea what it is going to do. It is fortunate I have had a defense behind me and gotten offensive support.

I can't control when they are going to call me up. It is a need and right now they don't need anybody. They are going great up there right now. It is tough. I can't worry about that. I am old enough and mature enough to know you can't worry about it. It will drive you crazy and make your season go down in a hurry.

I am focused on what is going on here, going to the playoffs and winning a title. So, that is my focus.


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