Schlact gets results with slider

Tall right-hander Michael Schlact has pitched well at the Double-A level since his late-season promotion last summer. That continued on Saturday night, as he surrendered just two runs in 5.1 innings. Lone Star Dugout spoke with the hurler shortly after his second start of the season.

"I definitely didn't have my best stuff tonight," said Michael Schlact after Frisco's 4-2 win on Saturday night.

Despite not being at the top of his game, the 22-year-old Schlact kept the Cardinals off-balance for 5.1 innings, giving up two runs on three hits. He walked three and struck out five.

"I was really battling throughout the whole game," he said, "but that's the name of the game. When you can pitch and make the best pitch you can make in a situation, you will do the best you can do. That is basically what happened tonight."

Schlact had command issues throughout the game, leading to 97 pitches thrown in less than six innings. With the righty struggling to locate his stuff in the first inning, Frisco pitching coach Terry Clark paid his pitcher a visit.

"He was basically saying ‘you've got good stuff tonight, it's moving all over the place'," Schlact said. "In the first inning for me, it was almost uncontrollable. He just told me to take a deep breath and don't sacrifice stuff for location."

Though it wasn't the most economic of performances, Schlact was able to remain effective. He flashed a four-seam fastball and a sinking fastball – both of which sat in the upper-80s, low-90s – a low-80s changeup, and a low-80s slider. It was Schlact's slider that helped him survive, becoming his go-to pitch as the game progressed.

"I did because I didn't have much fastball command to start the game," replied Schlact when asked if he was throwing the slider more often than in the past. "In the middle innings, my fastball wasn't where I wanted it so I had to throw something in there for strikes. That is why I was throwing more sliders."

After spending much of the last two seasons working to develop his slider, the pitch showed signs of being an above-average offering on Saturday. Schlact knows the breaking ball will be an integral part of his development.

"[The slider] is something I'm trying to get consistent with," he said. "For me, that's a pitch I'm going to have to throw for a strike to be successful."

Schlact was especially effective against Springfield leadoff hitter Tyler Greene. The 6-foot-8 hurler fanned Greene three times in three tries by serving him a steady diet of sliders. After fanning the shortstop on a 91 mph sinker in the first inning, Schlact struck out Greene by throwing three sliders. With such dominant results, Schlact obviously knew how to attack his fellow native of Georgia.

"[Greene] is a guy that played baseball at Georgia Tech," explained Schlact, "so a bunch of my buddies know him. I have had the pleasure of seeing him play before. That was one of those things where the scouting report and the fact that I kind of know the guy played into my hands there."


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