Talkin' Baseball with B-Liv

InsidethePark.com's Jonathan Bianchet sat down with All California League starting pitcher Bobby Livingston to talk about his 2004 season.

InsidethePark.com: It is obvious how your season has gone by looking at the numbers. With another year under your belt what have learned?

Bobby Livingston: I've learned more every year when I come out to play this game. This is a game where you're not going to know everything. You're not going to know all the ins and outs of everything in this game. The hitters get better as you go up. The pitchers have to get better and I have to get better myself. There are going to hard times you have to go through during the season. I just try to feed off the positives that are going on in my life and career.


ITP: Has there been a new approach that you have used this year to continue your success?

BL: I have been using my fastball more. I'll try to watch the hitters when I'm pitching and see what guys do. Whether they are leaning over the plate, guessing at the pitches, or stepping into the hole, I will try to pick up on them. Also their swings they take at a different pitch is something I'll watch. I am not going to change my game to pitch to some one. I try to do the same thing every time I go out to the mound. But if you watch those things it gets me into a consistent routine and that is what I try to do. I like to think that has to do with the success I have had the last couple of years.


ITP: What's the challenge of being a control pitcher?

BL: I'm not a Felix Hernandez. I can't throw a 95-mph fastball. You can get away with a lot more if you throw hard. In my case, I have to make sure I double up on some pitches. I have to go inside and outside. When I am ahead in the count, I throw the curve in the dirt. My main focus, like any pitcher, is to get ahead in the count and make the pitcher hit my pitch. Any pitcher needs to make their pitches. Even Felix would get crushed if threw down the middle. Spotting your pitches is huge. The fastball is going to get hit.


ITP: How are you able to keep such a command of the strike zone?

BL: By bullpens and repetition. Also feeling the ball out in front, mechanics, driving the ball to the plate and keeping your balance. I have a really good feel with my pitches. I'm just blessed to be able to have that feel and be able to throw any of them for strikes.


ITP: If you happen to lose the feel for a pitch, how do you get it back?

BL: I have to focus more, even in bullpen sessions. In the bullpen, I don't throw a slider or a curve, just my fastball and change up because I can throw the breaking ball for a strike without a problem. If I don't feel I can throw a pitch the way I'd like to, I might go with my 2-seam or throw one pitch more than another.


ITP: Who do you try to pattern your pitching after and what kind of effect does the umpires have in the game affect your performance?

BL: I consider myself like Tom Glavine who works away and comes in to show that he will come in. Most of my success is away with my 2-seam and changeup. A lot depends on the umpires on the outside corner as well. You're not going to get every call at this level. The umpires are humans like everyone else. If you don't get those corners and you get behind, you have to throw a strike, which can hurt you. It can get frustrating but that is the game of baseball.


ITP: After each off-season, do you have a problem with regaining your feel for the baseball and the strike zone?

BL: For me, my feel doesn't leave. I think it is more of a mental thing than anything else. The more you have it in your brain and the more you do it, the more your body becomes accustomed to it. As the season picks up the more it comes back. I have never had that problem before. When I come back I have been able to pick up right where I left it.

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