O'Brien Battling Through

TRENTON, NJ - Back in May, pitcher Mikey O'Brien was new to the Trenton Thunder roster, where he was originally brought up from Tampa to fill in for injured pitcher Cory Arbiso. He did well initially but has hit a rough stretch here lately and now he's battling his way through it.

"He's been doing great," Thunder manager Tony Franklin said. "Like most youngsters who come up here, it takes a little time for them to find their rhythm. For Mikey, he stepped in right away and started pitching very well. He had a couple games where he wasn't as sharp but he rebounded the other day and pitched through a really nice game."

In just a little of a week, O'Brien has found himself on the mound in two starts, both in which gained him a loss.

"[These past games] didn't go the way I really wanted them to go but I'm trying to get there," O'Brien said. "My results aren't really there, but overall I feel good. That's half the battle.

"I keep getting those balls up in the zone; those hitters are definitely going to make me pay for it. I'm really not catching any breaks [right now]. I have to try and get ahead. I have to keep trying to get that first strike in and go from there."

"I've always said that is what this level [of baseball] is for," Franklin said. "You can start off like a ball of fire, kind of go backward a bit, start off slow and then pick up steam. Hopefully there is enough season left where Mikey can get back on track, pick up some steam, and finish well.

"He certainly had the ability to do it but a lot of his pitches lately have been up in the strike zone and when you're [there], you get hit. That's basically what has happened to him.

"I like the way he goes about his business here, though. He is very business-like when he is on the mound. There isn't any wasted time or energy on the mound; he has the ball in his glove, gets it back from the catcher, looks for the sign, and he is ready to go. He has been doing pretty well lately."

When PinstripesPlus last spoke to O'Brien, he vowed that he was focused on doing the same as he'd done in Tampa, only better. Consistency, for him, has always been an open door for improvement.

"Consistency, that is the name of the game," O'Brien said. "There have definitely been some nights where there is a lack of consistency in certain pitches this year. Some starts I'll have my slider and curveball, and sometimes I won't. Sometimes I'll have my changeup but I won't have my other ones. But that's just pitching.

"If you are consistent when you're healthy, you're going to pitch a long time. That's our goal. It's trying to find a feeling where I can have each pitch each and every outing, even though I know that isn't going to happen.

"You have to learn to battle with what you have. Some days it is just finding that key ingredient, I guess, while I am out there. Hopefully we will get there before this season ends. You just have to learn from it."

One way to be consistent, as Tony Franklin would say, is to stay engaged in the game and for long periods of time. Mikey O'Brien does just that.

"I learned at a younger age [that] you just go into the game," O'Brien said. "Being the starting pitcher it is just one of those things where I started the game so I want to finish it. I'm so into the game and my teammates keep me in it. I only get to be out there every one out of five days so I try to lock it in and enjoy it the best I can.

"I like to pitch as long as I can. It's my goal to pitch as long as I can. It saves our bullpen and means that I am doing pretty well myself."

As he hopes to raise his 4-4 record, O'Brien admits that there is a lesson in both a win and a loss and in even the best case scenarios, credit should be given where credit is due.

"I was pitching really well here in my first loss, but I had the bases loaded with two outs and I let one bad pitch up and the guy hit a double and that hurt me a bit," O'Brien remembered. "I'll never forget that because that pitch I wish I could take back. Those little things stick with you.

"Those wins, however, my offense has been helping me out a lot. A couple of games I have given up some runs and probably should have gotten the loss but our offense is one of the top in the league. They keep me in the game, keep me out there, and keep battling for me. I can't really take those wins as credit for myself."

And the modesty that is Mikey O'Brien only continues when it comes to whether or not he could see himself playing in the big leagues anytime soon.

"I would love to say tomorrow," O'Brien said. "You never know, especially in this game. You never know whether its next week or next year or five years down the road. The only thing I can ask for is to stay healthy and wait for my opportunity."

"Continually going out there and getting some good quality strikes, having 5 or 6 good innings, and being pitch efficient - those are the things that will keep them on everybody's mind," Franklin said. "Mikey has done that and is doing that, but I don't know what will happen at the end of this year.

"I would bet you and say it won't be too long [before he moves up]. Hopefully it is not too long. Let's face it, when you are here at the Double-A level, you can jump right to the big leagues. Guys have done it so it is not out of the realm of possibility."

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MadFriars Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\n\"He's been doing great,\" Thunder manager Tony Franklin said. \"Like most youngsters who come up here, it takes a little time for them to find their rhythm. For Mikey, he stepped in right away and started pitching very well. He had a couple games where he wasn't as sharp but he rebounded the other day and pitched through a really nice game.\"
\r\n
\r\nIn just a little of a week, O'Brien has found himself on the mound in two starts, both in which gained him a loss.
\r\n
\r\n\"[These past games] didn't go the way I really wanted them to go but I'm trying to get there,\" O'Brien said. \"My results aren't really there, but overall I feel good. That's half the battle.
\r\n
\r\n\"I keep getting those balls up in the zone; those hitters are definitely going to make me pay for it. I'm really not catching any breaks [right now]. I have to try and get ahead. I have to keep trying to get that first strike in and go from there.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"I've always said that is what this level [of baseball] is for,\" Franklin said. \"You can start off like a ball of fire, kind of go backward a bit, start off slow and then pick up steam. Hopefully there is enough season left where Mikey can get back on track, pick up some steam, and finish well.
\r\n
\r\n\"He certainly had the ability to do it but a lot of his pitches lately have been up in the strike zone and when you're [there], you get hit. That's basically what has happened to him.
\r\n
\r\n\"I like the way he goes about his business here, though. He is very business-like when he is on the mound. There isn't any wasted time or energy on the mound; he has the ball in his glove, gets it back from the catcher, looks for the sign, and he is ready to go. He has been doing pretty well lately.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhen PinstripesPlus last spoke to O'Brien, he vowed that he was focused on doing the same as he'd done in Tampa, only better. Consistency, for him, has always been an open door for improvement.
\r\n
\r\n\"Consistency, that is the name of the game,\" O'Brien said. \"There have definitely been some nights where there is a lack of consistency in certain pitches this year. Some starts I'll have my slider and curveball, and sometimes I won't. Sometimes I'll have my changeup but I won't have my other ones. But that's just pitching.
\r\n
\r\n\"If you are consistent when you're healthy, you're going to pitch a long time. That's our goal. It's trying to find a feeling where I can have each pitch each and every outing, even though I know that isn't going to happen.
\r\n
\r\n\"You have to learn to battle with what you have. Some days it is just finding that key ingredient, I guess, while I am out there. Hopefully we will get there before this season ends. You just have to learn from it.\"
\r\n
\r\nOne way to be consistent, as Tony Franklin would say, is to stay engaged in the game and for long periods of time. Mikey O'Brien does just that.
\r\n
\r\n\"I learned at a younger age [that] you just go into the game,\" O'Brien said. \"Being the starting pitcher it is just one of those things where I started the game so I want to finish it. I'm so into the game and my teammates keep me in it. I only get to be out there every one out of five days so I try to lock it in and enjoy it the best I can.
\r\n
\r\n\"I like to pitch as long as I can. It's my goal to pitch as long as I can. It saves our bullpen and means that I am doing pretty well myself.\"
\r\n
\r\nAs he hopes to raise his 4-4 record, O'Brien admits that there is a lesson in both a win and a loss and in even the best case scenarios, credit should be given where credit is due.
\r\n
\r\n\"I was pitching really well here in my first loss, but I had the bases loaded with two outs and I let one bad pitch up and the guy hit a double and that hurt me a bit,\" O'Brien remembered. \"I'll never forget that because that pitch I wish I could take back. Those little things stick with you.
\r\n
\r\n\"Those wins, however, my offense has been helping me out a lot. A couple of games I have given up some runs and probably should have gotten the loss but our offense is one of the top in the league. They keep me in the game, keep me out there, and keep battling for me. I can't really take those wins as credit for myself.\"
\r\n
\r\nAnd the modesty that is Mikey O'Brien only continues when it comes to whether or not he could see himself playing in the big leagues anytime soon.
\r\n
\r\n\"I would love to say tomorrow,\" O'Brien said. \"You never know, especially in this game. You never know whether its next week or next year or five years down the road. The only thing I can ask for is to stay healthy and wait for my opportunity.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"Continually going out there and getting some good quality strikes, having 5 or 6 good innings, and being pitch efficient - those are the things that will keep them on everybody's mind,\" Franklin said. \"Mikey has done that and is doing that, but I don't know what will happen at the end of this year.
\r\n
\r\n\"I would bet you and say it won't be too long [before he moves up]. Hopefully it is not too long. Let's face it, when you are here at the Double-A level, you can jump right to the big leagues. Guys have done it so it is not out of the realm of possibility.\"
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
\r\n

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\r\n

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