Lone Star Dugout Q&A: Zach Phillips

Clinton starting pitcher Zach Phillips tossed six innings of one-hit, shutout ball on Friday evening. Lone Star Dugout caught up with the left-handed pitcher after Clinton's 4-0 victory over the Kane County Cougars.

Jason Cole: What are your general thoughts on your start last night?

Zach Phillips: I went out there and felt pretty good. I was just trying to command my fastball inside and outside and I think I was pretty successful in doing that.

Cole: What pitch was your best last night and, if you had one, which was the weakest?

Phillips: My fastball was definitely my best. My weakest was the changeup. I missed down and away with it a lot. It didn't feel too bad, but I was just missing with it.

Cole: How long have you been throwing your changeup?

Phillips: I started throwing it pretty consistently in my first year in Arizona ball. That was in 2005.

Cole: Even though you played in the Midwest League All-Star Game, was it nice to get a couple of days of rest without games?

Phillips: Yeah, definitely. I was able to get away from it for a little bit and spend time with family and friends. But the All-Star Game was awesome. It was a good experience and I'm glad I was able to go there.

Cole: You really struggled with Clinton last year, but you've turned it around this year. What adjustments have you made between this year and last year?

Phillips: I've mainly been focusing on just attacking hitters rather than trying to strike everybody out. I also want to go out there and command my fastball inside and outside while keeping it low in the zone.

Cole: You've struggled with control in a few starts this year, but you seem to have straightened that out. What were you doing wrong in those starts and what have you done to correct it?

Phillips: I was trying to make perfect pitches, nibble around the zone, and trying to strike people out like I said. Now I'm just attacking hitters and I'm trying to make them hit it and let my defense do work for me. I've got a great defense behind me so I might as well let them do work too.

Cole: You've gotten quite a bit of ground balls this year. Have you always been more of a ground ball pitcher?

Phillips: Yeah, definitely. I don't really give up too many fly balls. I know if I'm going to get a guy on first base, I want to pitch away so I can get a double play and get out of the inning.

Cole: Had you seen Kane County before this past game?

Phillips: Yeah, three of my last four starts have been against them. I didn't do so well against them. I pretty much knew what to do against most hitters so I had a game plan beforehand.

Cole: As you face teams for a third and fourth time, what kind of adjustments do you have to make to stay one step ahead of the hitters?

Phillips: You have to focus on how you've pitched guys before and what you've done to be successful against them in the past like what you do in certain counts against them. You just try not to make mistakes, attack them, and keep the ball low.

Cole: This is your second year here in Clinton. Because you're playing really well, are you looking forward to a promotion to Bakersfield?

Phillips: I like where I'm at right now. I'd like to stay here and win a championship for this team. I'm having a lot of fun this year, so whatever happens will happen.

Cole: Have you set any goals for the rest of the season?

Phillips: Just to go out there, don't try to do too much, and help my team win games.


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