After 13 starts with Lake Elsinore, Daigle had amassed a 7.29 ERA and was relegated to the pen. After some struggles there, he was put back into the rotation and has blossomed since, allowing two earned runs or less in five of his next six starts to lower his ERA from 7.34 to 5.72, boasting a 2.29 ERA since the All-Star break.
With just two years of pitching under his belt, Daigle remains a work in progress.
Talk to me a little bit about the off-season and what the goal was coming into the year.
Richie Daigle: My whole goal has been to do everything I can to do the best with what I can control. If I can take care of that you don't need to worry about anything else because you have done what you needed to do. That has been my attitude.
There are always goals but I like to stay flexible. I am going to go and do what I needed to do. As long as I did everything in my ability than everything will take care of itself.
Last year you had a successful year and went out to the Instructional Leagues where you threw 70 percent strikes. While that is important and the Padres love seeing it, do you find hitters being that much more aggressive towards you?
Richie Daigle: I like pitching to aggressive hitters because I get a lot of late movement with my fastball and that works to my advantage. People are swinging early and getting one-pitch outs. They are hitting ground balls and I am happy. A couple will scoot through but so what. If people are jumping at my first pitch, great. Hopefully, I will have some four or five-pitch innings as a result.
I just trust myself and go after them. I want to put the pressure on them. If they feel they know what is coming and offer at it – be my guest. They might be right or they might be wrong. We will see. I want to keep putting pressure on them and not get caught up in tricking people too much. What better way to do that than by going after them with the first pitch?
Have you been at all surprised with your success? You come from the outfield to the mound and have very clean mechanics.
Richie Daigle: Adjust and adapt – survival. Am I surprised? I am not trying not to step back and look at it. I am still caught in it. Take everything one day at a time. I just do my best and whatever happens I am content with. As far as surprised at my success I am not looking at it like that. It is another day and you keep plugging away.
What are the expectations as you go through the rest of the season and does your age factor into anything?
Richie Daigle: Maybe, maybe not. The expectations are the same thing – day by day. I don't put any huge goals – ‘if I don't make it here or don't put up these numbers I am going to be upset.' I am going to do the best that I can do. I know that I am going to have my best stuff and best effort. Hopefully that will get me somewhere.
Have you found yourself pitching a little different to lefties and righties?
Richie Daigle: There is always a little bit of a different mindset. Sliders always affect lefties a little different than righties. Changeup outside to lefties. The constant between both of them is to run fastball and hope they beat them into the ground. It is the same idea overall. I am trying to stay aggressive and put the pressure on them – keep them on their toes. I am still learning some.
What are you learning?
Richie Daigle: There is always something to learn. You see these guys – Maddux and Hoffman – and they are talking about still learning something. ‘Whoa!' If they are learning, I better be learning.
I am learning when to use certain pitches. I am using the changeup I learned in Instructs, which has sort of a split-fingered grip – when to use that and how to use that. Recognizing what counts and just learning everything. I am getting better at everything.
You mentioned being confident and aggressive – can you fall into the trap of being overaggressive?
Richie Daigle: I think you can. There is a nice even keel. I credit my college coach who always told us to try not get too high or too low or not get too big on yourself or too down on yourself. Hitting will teach you that. You might come out one day and go 3-for-3 and the next day come back and go 0-for-4. That taught me that kind of mindset and you take it into pitching and it works out.
I never look at a batter and think, ‘I don't have to worry about this guy. I can slack off on this guy.'
I also don't say, ‘I don't have a chance against this guy.'
I look at the batter and say, ‘Here is your challenge. Do your best and see what happens.'
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