Michael Schlact posted his best start of the season on Tuesday with eight strong innings.
The 6-foot-8 right-hander took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, but he lost it when former RoughRider Adam Morrissey hit a ground ball single into right field.
In all, Schlact surrendered one run on six hits in eight innings, walking none and punching out one.
Although the sinker has generally been Schlact's bread-and-butter, he was going to his four-seam fastball fairly often early in the season with Frisco. But that wasn't the case against Arkansas, as he pounded the zone with 89-91 mph sinkers all night long. Even though he had just one strikeout, it was not until the seventh inning that an Arkansas hitter was able to square up a ball and hit it well.
Schlact's slider was also an effective pitch throughout the night, ranging anywhere between 84-86 mph. His low-80s changeup was inconsistent in the game's early innings, but he was able to command it and catch hitters out in front when necessary in the seventh and eighth frames.
Lone Star Dugout chatted with the hurler after the gem.
Jason Cole: What are your thoughts on your start tonight?
Michael Schlact: I just wanted to go in and attack the zone. I wanted to just pound the mitt low and let my defense work – just stick with the same gameplan I had in past starts.
Cole: You had a lot of ground balls tonight. Were you throwing mostly sinkers out there?
Schlact: Yeah, it was mostly sinkers tonight. I mixed in a few four-seamers. A couple of the fly ball outs were four-seamers. But for the most part, I was pounding with the sinker.
Cole: Are you throwing the four-seam fastball as much as you were earlier in the season?
Schlact: No, not at all. I've really settled into throwing the sinker. I have pretty much gone to roll with that.
Cole: You didn't throw a changeup until the third batter of the third inning, but it seemed like you were relying on it more in later innings. Is that a plan you had going into the start?
Schlact: I think the reason I threw more changeups later in the game is because my fastball began to elevate as I tired a little bit and I wanted to keep them off of it. That was pretty much the main reason for that.
Cole: How do you feel about your season with Frisco as a whole?
Schlact: I feel like I'm getting better. I feel like I have been working on some things that we've addressed at the beginning of the season. As long as I can continue to improve and work on the things that I need to work on, I feel like it'll be a success.
Cole: What are those things that you have been working on?
Schlact: Really just getting down and extending my stride on the mound, pounding the zone, and not giving in late in games. Basically once I hit that sixth and seventh inning – if I'm still in there – just letting it all go and just giving it all I've got until I'm done.
Cole: I could be wrong, but I noticed that when you come set out of the windup, your right elbow appears to be a bit higher than it used to be. Is that the case? If so, why?
Schlact: Yeah, a little bit. That's basically just trying to get the grip of my fastball – just whenever I hold it there. There's no real reason behind it. I think it's something that over the past five or six starts, I've developed. It has got my hands going easier. I don't come close to my body or I don't hit my body or anything, it's just more free feeling.
Cole: You have pitched much better lately, going at least seven innings in four of your last five starts. What do you feel is the reason for that?
Schlact: I feel like it has just been because I'm pounding the zone. The name of the game is to throw strikes. I think now that I am finally able to throw strikes more consistently and let my defense work, it's showing game-wise.
Cole: Is there a reason that you feel you've been able to pound the zone much easier lately?
Schlact: To be honest with you I think it is because I'm not trying to throw as hard as I can. I'm not trying to be a pitcher that I'm not. I think early, I was like, ‘maybe I can be a power pitcher, I don't know.' I was basically just throwing as hard as I can, when in reality, if I can pitch at 90 percent and command the ball, that's going to get me a lot better results.
Cole: When you were trying to throw as hard as you could early in the season, was that because you weren't confident that you would be able to succeed at the Double-A level with your stuff?
Schlact: I wasn't sure what I was going to need to do coming in. I definitely came into this season saying that I wanted to four-seam it and drive it past them. For me, that's not my game. I realized that.
Cole: Was that something that was your decision or did it come from a coach?
Schlact: That was my decision. I was probably trying to be a tough guy.
Schlact settling in at Double-A
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