Robert Lara: That is how it has felt the whole year. I feel like my first two at-bats are about finding the rhythm and the third and fourth I feel back to normal.
Last year, I was playing everyday. If I got 0-2, it didn't matter. I still felt like I was in it. Now, if I go 0-2, I am in a hole. It took me a while to be comfortable with the role.
You get 0-2 or 2-0 – does it seem like you have to make something happen no matter what the count is because this is the last chance for a while? A walk is no longer good enough.
Robert Lara: Oh yea, exactly. Last year, a walk was great. I don't even have that many walks now because I feel like I have to get a hit. I have to get a hit.
As of late, I feel a lot better. It is tough. It is a lot tougher than I thought.
How good is this pitching staff.
Robert Lara: They are really good. It is pretty impressive when you have a staff where all of them can throw their off-speed in fastball counts. They all have really good changeups – that is the hardest pitch to hit. If you can throw a changeup in a 1-0 or 2-0 count, you are going to do pretty well.
Is the mark of a catcher what his won-loss record is. We talk about the pitcher but often forgotten is the catcher calling the pitches.
Robert Lara: I know. I am not sure what my record is but I am pretty sure it is ok. When a guy goes out there and throws six scoreless innings, not only am I happy for him but I know those six innings I did a good job with him as well.
Last year, you said you weren't necessarily happy with how many guys you threw out. You always felt like you could get a few more. This year, you have thrown out quite a few.
Robert Lara: If the guy on the mound gives you a chance, I feel pretty confident I can get it down there. The staff has done a very good job. I feel that confident that I can get it down there with my eyes closed. As long as he gives me a chance, he is going to be out.
You have pitched two games – and have pitched pretty well.
Robert Lara: I was surprised. I actually pitched a few times at school. I kind of put that in the back of mind in case things don't go right. I was surprised I was able to hit corners and go in and out. I was a little upset with the velocity. I thought I could bring it a little bit better than that. I was around 88 to 90.
I threw a split every once and a while. I don't have a feel for the other stuff – it will go into the stands.
Is pitch selection going to be the ultimate key to your success as a hitter?
Robert Lara: Yes – I tell the guys that swagger will be the most important word. I know if you are pressing – chances are you won't do well. If you are confident – like last year, I would fall behind 0-2 and it wouldn't even matter. I feel like 0-2 I am saying, ‘Don't chase. Don't chase.' And you chase.
It took me a while getting comfortable with playing every two or three days. The whole key is the mental side, staying positive.
I have been a negative guy because I thought if you were negative, only positive things could happen. It is a little different now. Stay positive and do whatever you can when I am in there.
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