Q&A with B-Mets Pitching Coach Ricky Bones

Inside Pitch caught up the Ricky Bones following the team's Saturday win at Portland. He explained his hopes for his young arms, the development of Kevin Mulvey, Michael Devaney, Tim McNab and others. With his pitchers in full swing, he knows mental toughness will be a key to their collective success.

Inside Pitch Magazine: What did you think of Marcos Carvajal's start?

Ricky Bones: I think it was a good six innings. It was only that one inning he got in trouble by leaving the ball up. He got in trouble by getting away from his strengths. He was throwing too many fastballs and not mixing in his other pitches, especially his changeup. He left his fastball up in the strike zone and that's when he got hurt?

Inside Pitch: What do you think have been Brandon Nall's struggles so far this year?

Bones: I think it is more confidence than anything else. He is simply throwing the ball okay to get strike one and strike two, but then he is having trouble finishing batters off. When something happens in the field, if he gives up a walk or a hit, it is affecting him mentally. He's having trouble bouncing back, regrouping and going after hitters.

Inside Pitch: Overall, how would you rate the pitching staff's performance this season?

Bones: It's been okay, inconsistent at times though. However, I think now that the weather is better, we can stay in a routine. We've start to get our daily work and workouts in, get our bullpen sessions in, they are playing better and they are showing the talent they all have. Overall, many of the guys need to learn how to battle and not let one bad inning or one bad start affect them the next time they pitch.

Inside Pitch: Kevin Mulvey is the youngest guy on the staff, and he's been one of the most consistent. What do you think of his full body of work so far this season?

Bones: Mulvey, everybody knows, he's got the talent on his fastball and his other pitches. It's about putting it all together, and facing and overcoming adversities, and gaining strength. When everything is going well, he's going to be excellent. For him, it's about learning how to come back after a rough start and having the success he knows he can have. He needs to learn to be more of a pitcher and not so much of a thrower.

Inside Pitch: Tim McNab and Robert Paulk are two of the older guys. Do they work at all with the younger guys? Do they provide a leadership role since they have been in the system longer?

Bones: Yea, the younger guys have a lot of respect for Paulk and McNab. McNab is a guy who is a guy who talks to the younger guys on breaking down hitters. He also lets them know what hitters look for and how to approach the different opportunities out of the bullpen.

Inside Pitch: Salvador Aguilar, Jose Sanchez, and Carvajal all have high ERAs. Is that more because of the weather? Is there something mechanically with these guys that needs to be fixed?

Bones: Once we get the young guys in a normal routine things will come around. They get out of their comfort zones, they get lost, and then they try to do too much and they get in trouble.

Inside Pitch: Carvajal was visibly upset after that 4th inning, how did you help him regroup? What did you say to him to make sure he went back out on the mound and finished strong?

Bones: That's what I'm looking for from Marcos. Carvajal is a good guy with great talent. I want him to learn how to bounce back. He had a rough inning and he finished strong. That's a sign of his maturity. He's growing, learning and he knows I want him to mix his pitches well. What I saw from Carvajal, is what I'm looking for from the entire pitching staff.

Inside Pitch: Michael Devaney has yet to register a win this year. Is he pressing too hard or does he know it will come eventually?

Bones: Devaney's knows with his size and arm, it will eventually come. He's having good side sessions and good bullpen work. He's even had good starts lately. He's had that one bad inning which hasn't helped his numbers. He may not have started well this year, but I expect him to put his pitches together and finish the year strong.

Inside Pitch: Many of the pitchers have almost a walk-to-inning ratio. How are you working with them? Is it a general control problem? Is it their pitch selections?

Bones: I think many times our guys are giving too much credit to the batters. They know how to tighten the zone and they can get ahead in the count. But too often, they get ahead of the hitters and they can't put them away. Sometimes by trying to be too fine in the zone, they get all the walks. All the walks are something that with the entire staff, I'm a little disappointed. If the offense is going to give us the runs, I want our pitches to be aggressive, throw strikes and minimize the walks. The walks too often are coming around to score.

Inside Pitch: Carvajal had much success getting ahead of hitters. He threw first pitch strikes to the first five hitters and did it consistently throughout the game and it gave him a noticeable advantage.

Bones: The pitchers have been doing well with first pitch strikes and 1-1 counts. The big thing is getting ahead in the 1-1 count and put it on our favor. But when they get the 1-2 count, they need to be more consistent with their put away pitches.

Inside Pitch: How would you rate the bullpen so far this season?

Bones: They are holding their own and doing the best they can. They went through the first two weeks of the year pitching a lot. Now, they are getting a bit of a break as the starters are going five or six innings. Hopefully they bounce back and give us some outings so we can get this whole thing together.

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