Robert Fish: Things in Orem have gone well. I feel a lot more comfortable out there than last year. I am throwing a lot more strikes and feel really good.
What has been the key to the turnaround where you feel so much better than last year?
Robert Fish: My mechanics have changed tremendously. My arm slot is a lot higher and I am throwing a lot more strikes. When you throw more strikes you get a lot more comfortable on the mound.
Were you hesitant to make changes considering the amount of success you had growing up and the fact that you have been doing it for so long and it becomes more second nature?
Robert Fish: Actually, I was not hesitant at all. I have professional coaches. Whatever they tell me to do I believe will work. Whatever they have me do – it has been working. I have felt really good about the changes they have made. For some reason this season, left-handers seem to have gotten to you a little bit more than right-handed hitters. Can you pinpoint anything that has led to that?
Robert Fish: They haven't really been hitting me – I have been hitting them more than they have been hitting me. That is one thing – my ball has been running a lot more on me and another thing I have been working on. The ball has been running in a lot on lefties but when I am on and down in the zone they really have no chance to hit me, lefty on lefty.
There hasn't been a whole lot of batters getting good wood on you as the extra base hits are way down.
Robert Fish: I am not getting hit around a lot. I will put guys on and get a slow roller here or a grounder there and they will score.
You got a chance to pitch up in a game at Rancho – what was that experience like, especially as a California guy?
Robert Fish: It was awesome. I was home for a week and a half and got to stay with the family. It was great. The start – I walked about three guys and struck out four. More strikes and I would have been fine. I did give up the home run but didn't feel I got hit hard.
What did you learn from that experience of going up two levels?
Robert Fish: I learned that if you throw strike one and stay ahead of the batters they are going to chase your pitches. They are going to chase what you are trying to do instead of waiting for what they want to hit.
You only had roughly 15 innings last year. This year you have pushed far more innings under your belt. Have you felt any stamina issues now that we are closing in on the end of the year?
Robert Fish: You know what – I feel great right now. My velocity is getting back up there. My stamina is fine. I feel great.
Talk about your repertoire and how it has changed since you have been in the organization.
Robert Fish: I guess I have not changed too much. I am still a funky left-hander with a good arm. But, I am not as funky. My head is not going all over the place. My arm is not way out to the side.
My fastball is sitting 89-92 and top it out at 94 MPH. I compliment it with a slow curveball at 72-73 MPH and come back with a changeup at 78-79.
I did have a curveball that was a lot more loopy but I took a brand new curveball into the game with was a harder, sharper curveball. It was much better. And my changeup has gotten much better.
Was the change in your curveball more of a two-plane since it was tough to get strikes called with the loopier one?
Robert Fish: Pretty much to get the strikes called and to get batters to chase it. When I am 0-2 I can throw it in the dirt and finish them off.
You mentioned bringing the walk totals down. We have had a few games where you had three or four this year. How do you bring that down?
Robert Fish: They gave us our stat papers and I looked at them and said, ‘This has to stop.' I am not getting hit around. The only time I get hit is when I walk someone and they get the momentum going and a base hit here or there. If I minimize those walks I will be fine.
Sometimes it seems like you are a slow starter. Over the first two innings it appears that you get hit harder than later in the game. How do you change that so you are firing on all cylinders from the start?
Robert Fish: I have no clue. I try and go out there and stay focused and pound the zone and go right at guys. I do start out slow sometimes, but lately I feel like I have been going right after guys.
The ball kind of gets away from me and I adjust – you are right. I definitely have to get after it from the first.
You have gone five innings in quite a few starts in a row – how do you get into the sixth? I don't think you have yet, right?
Robert Fish: No, I haven't. You know why – before I would give up the four walks. And then last time I didn't have walks but went to 3-0 counts before battling back and getting a ground ball. If I can throw strike one, strike two, ground ball or strike one, two, three than I can get into the sixth. I have to get rid of the deep counts.
It is almost a catch-22. If you throw too many strikes people sit on it. You are almost effectively wild in a sense.
Robert Fish: I have been in the zone lately but there are times when I want to throw harder and that is when I start getting wild. I have to bear down then to get back in the zone.
What would be a successful season for you looking forward?
Robert Fish: Just throwing strikes. If I can come out here and pound the zone and get ahead of each and every hitter I will have a great rest of the season.