Hall's Season Full Of Ups And Downs

Josh Hall is a new face for Columbus Clipper fans.  He started out the season playing for the Double-A Harrisburg Senators, but was recalled to Columbus when starting pitchers, John Lannan and Joel Hanrahan, were sent to Washington.  After only a couple of days in Columbus and one official start for the Clippers, Hall is beginning to settle in.

While in Harrisburg, Hall had to make a few adjustments to his game. One major adjustment was being converted into a relieve pitcher, instead of a starting pitcher. This role was very new to Hall because he had been a starting pitcher his whole life. Even though it was his first time coming out of the bullpen, he did well.

"It was fine, I made the adjustment and I did okay but deep down, my heart is in starting," Hall told CapitolDugout.com. "It's all I've known my since I was little playing baseball and It's what I feel most comfortable with."

Sure enough, a month into the season, Hall was switched back to starting pitcher and had something new to concentrate on. The coaches and Hall decided to change his arm angle and work on some of his mechanics. Hall found it to be yet another struggle in the season.

"I wasn't pitching like I wanted to be pitching and I had to get use to a lot of things that I wasn't use to," Hall said. "I had to make a lot of adjustments and in the next few months I made those adjustments and started pitching better. Things started working out and my last few outings, I did well, and well, now I'm here."

Hall had his first Triple-A start for the Clippers this past Saturday and had a decent outing. Despite a few bad innings early on, Hall was able to turn it around in the 4th and 5th inning. Hall contributes the win he earned to the rest of his team.

"I guess you could say I "got away with murder" in my first game here," Hall told us. "It just wasn't pretty. I didn't pitch very well early on and I was all over the place and wild. It was a combination of a few things, including nerves, a fast delivery, and mechanical things, but I ended up settling down and by the 4th and 5th inning, and started making some better pitches. Basically, the guys behind me made some pretty good plays and saved my butt. It just wasn't one of my best performances."

Despite not performing as well as he would have liked, Hall does admits he has come along way since the beginning of the season and knows what he needs to improve on. Earlier in the season, he was walking a lot of guys but now is starting to locate his pitching and get strikes.

"I'm not a guy who throws real hard, but I throw decent between 86 and 92mph. I do have a lot of pitches that I can throw out with I think is a advantage for me and sets me apart from other pitchers," Hall said. "I work quickly and I think I'm efficient and I'm going try and keep the team in the game."

By far, Hall has the biggest variety of pitches on the Columbus pitching staff including a 4-seamer, 2-seamer, fastball, curveball, slider, and change up. Hall feels that it is important to have fastball command but still counts on his curveball as his out pitch.

"My favorite pitch is my curveball. My curveball has been my out pitch since I was 13 or whenever my high school coach taught me how to throw it," Hall admitted. "I have always been pretty good at it and it's my pitch. It kind of sets the tone. I usually pitch off my curveball instead of my fastball. But if I can locate my fastball, then it makes my curveball a lot better."

Hall finds his slider the pitch that gives him the most trouble and the one he spends the most time on. Sometimes he doesn't throw it right and instead of being sharp, it will hang and sit right in the zone and will get crushed by the hitter. Another weakness Hall has is his tendency to over think things.

"I over think and over pitch a lot," Hall said. "Sometimes I catch myself trying to figure out what the hitter is thinking when I should just let things happen. I also find myself over thinking my pitches instead of just throwing them. I need to play on my strengths and not on the hitter's weakness."

As long as Hall is relaxed, he seems to do well. This was another problem Hall faced when he was coming out of the bullpen earlier in the season. He would be loosened up and relaxed in the bullpen but as soon as he got into the game would get tense and do poorly.

"If I'm excited or rushing, I don't do well," Hall stated. "As long as I don't think, I'm fine. If you see me talking to myself on the mound that means I'm not in the zone and not doing as well as I think I can. But usually when I start, I have a clear mind and am able to focus."

Hall is only 26 and is in his 10th season of baseball. Getting drafted straight from high school, Hall said he has learned a lot throughout the years including how to be a pitcher instead of just a thrower. He also learned from experience that as a starting pitcher, you must save some stuff for later innings and that you can't go 110 percent at the beginning or you will burn out.

Three shoulder injuries have also taught him a lot. Hall had surgery on his shoulder in 1999 followed by two other surgeries in 2003. While having to change his mechanics and entire approach, Hall did not get discouraged. He wasn't able to just let loose and throw as hard as he could anymore, but instead found new ways to improve his game.

"I'm resilient. I have been through a lot," Hall said. "I have had 3 shoulder surgeries and a lot of players don't come back from one, two, let alone three. I think my faith in god has gotten me through this and he gives me the talent and strength to keep doing this everyday. If this is what he wants me to do, I'm going to keep doing it."

Hall loves playing the game of baseball and is thankful for everyday he gets to play. He knows that in the sport of baseball, a player can be here one day and be gone the next, never having the chance to play at this level again. He tries not to take the game for granted and tries to be the best player he can be.

"Everyday I try to be a better pitcher. I know that it is kind of a cliché, but it's true. We all have our ups and downs but you can always improve and get better no matter what you do in life, and that is how I live my life."

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