Reed rides fastball to victory

SAN JOSE, CA - Starting pitcher Evan Reed helped Bakersfield pick up a series win against the division-rival San Jose Giants on Wednesday night. Reed pitched six innings, giving up only two runs. Lone Star Dugout spoke with the pitcher after the game.

Evan Reed, the Rangers' third round pick in the 2007 MLB Draft, earned his eighth victory of the season with Wednesday's win over the San Jose Giants.

The San Luis Obispo native pitched six innings, surrendering two runs on three hits. Reed walked two batters and did not record a strikeout.

Without question, Reed's best pitch of the night was his fastball, which sat between 90-92 mph for all six innings of his start. Reed's ability to hold his velocity deep into the game was an encouraging sign, particularly because the 2008 campaign is his first as a full-time starting pitcher. His fastball reached 93 a few times and topped out at 95 once.

Reed was able to have success with his fastball by running it in on the hands of right-handed hitters. He was able to induce popups and broken bats by jamming hitters with the pitch.

As the right-hander explains in the interview, his second-best pitch of the night was an 80-82 mph changeup. Reed struggled to locate his changeup early in the game, but it became an effective offering as the game progressed. The change is still a fairly new pitch to Reed and looks like it should at least become an average pitch down the line.

Reed's 82-84 mph slider was his least effective pitch of the night, as he struggled to throw the pitch for strikes. His lack of a reliable slider on Wednesday was the primary reason he did not record any strikeouts in six innings. Even though he consistently worked ahead in the count, Reed was unable to put hitters away. Regardless, Reed's solid fastball-changeup combination was good enough to keep the San Jose hitters from squaring up on the ball, even if they were not swinging and missing very often.

Lone Star Dugout caught up with the 22-year-old prospect after the game.

Jason Cole: How did you feel about your start tonight?

Evan Reed: My start was good. Before the game, I was talking to Chava [Bakersfield pitching coach Dave Chavarria]. I just wanted to keep the ball down and try to get ahead – just get after them and not try to be too fine. Sometimes I get too mechanical with myself. I just wanted to go out and throw, keep the ball down, and work ahead.

Cole: How did you feel about your changeup tonight?

Reed: My changeup was definitely my second best pitch tonight. It got me out of a lot of jams. It has been my most consistent second pitch tonight. I was having trouble spinning [the slider] tonight. Some big situations came up and they always stack the lineup with lefties against me, so I knew I had to have it.

Cole: You didn't throw the changeup very often in college, did you?

Reed: I threw it, but in college, I could more just grip the seams. I threw a slider pretty hard – a pretty good one. Here, I have had to really focus on that, being a starter. If I had to tell you now, I'd say it was my second best pitch.

Cole: Are you using the same grip on the changeup as you did at Cal Poly?

Reed: When I was at instructs last year, I was having a little trouble getting the feel for it. I worked with Matt Harrison, who is actually in the big leagues right now. He showed me his changeup. I just tried to get a feel for it coming off the middle finger.

Cole: It seemed that a lot of your fastballs had quite a bit of armside run, getting in on the hands of right-handed hitters. Were those two-seamers?

Reed: Sometimes I throw two-seamers, but as the season has gone on – I don't know if it's my grip or just the fact that I'm getting more worn down – it keeps running and sinking more and more. It can get me into trouble with lefties because sometimes it runs back over. But it's just something I'm going to have to fine tune and try and figure out how to do it every single time.

Cole: You had some success in a spot-start with Frisco earlier this season, pitching five scoreless innings. What allowed you to have that success even though you hadn't even pitched in High-A yet?

Reed: The thing about baseball that you're going to learn is that there are nicer stadiums and hyped up people, but in the end, it's about executing quality pitches. Most of the time for me, I'm competing with myself. If I get too hyped up against somebody else and if I get too fine, that's when I get in trouble. Most of my good games is when I just throw that out the window, I go about doing what I do, and just try to make quality pitch after quality pitch.

Cole: Because you were a reliever in college last year, the Rangers kind of eased you into the starting role after you were drafted. Have you been on any kind of pitch count at all this season or have they just let you go?

Reed: They've pretty much let me go. In about three years, I think I threw maybe 80 or 90 innings. Here I'm well over 100. It has been an adjustment and I've had some ups and downs this year. But I'm just trying to finish it out strong. I'm a big, strong guy, so I think I can handle it year in and year out. I'm just trying to prove that right now.

Cole: Since you are throwing so many more innings than you're used to, is your arm starting to tire a bit?

Reed: I haven't had any arm pains or anything, but there are days when it's not feeling there. But it's something everybody goes through. They call it dead arm. I'm hoping that I'm just starting to get out of another dead arm phase. Hopefully I can stay fresh for the rest of the season.

Cole: Because you hadn't really ever gotten up in into the 70-80-90 pitch mark in games before this season, has it been difficult for you to grind through once you get deep into your outings?

Reed: As I get deeper into games, I think my intensity goes up. I think the innings I struggle is when I try to cruise, maybe that second through fourth inning if you look. It would probably be the first couple of innings. Once I get comfortable and I've proven to myself and everyone else that I can throw my pitches for strikes, it seems to be later in games that I have a tendency of getting stronger and my fastball starts moving more. But all in all, I haven't gotten deep into as many games as I would like to. That is something I'm working on. Just like Chava was saying before the game – just try to attack them down in the zone and not be too fine.

Cole: With just over one month to go in the season, have you set any goals for yourself for the rest of the year?

Reed: A couple of weeks ago, Scott Servais came into town and encouraged us to set goals for ourselves. What I really wanted to do was get deeper into games and prove I can be a guy that can give quality start after quality start. I wanted to keep my walks down. At that time I had eight more starts and I wanted to have no more than one walk per game. I think I've got about two or three to work with, with six starts left. I'm going to have to be pretty good these last six if I want to reach that goal.

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