"The biggest thing is just trying to win ball games," Whelan said. "My goal every outing is to go out there and put up zeros and help our team win."
Until Tuesday night's game, Whelan had not allowed a run and connected on all six of his save chances in the previous ten outings.
"I want to get ahead of the hitter and if I can get ahead then I can go to my slider or my split and I go to my split a lot for strikeouts," the Texas A&M standout stated.
The 28-year-old relies on his three-pitch repertoire of fastball, slider and splitter to close out the games.
"My slider has been working real good lately," Whelan said, "and the biggest thing is throwing strikes and pounding the zone."
Pitching coach Scott Aldred has praised Whelan's ability to throw more strikes as opposed to last year.
"His split's been good and producing a lot of the strikeouts and getting some easy outs," Aldred said.
The fourth round pick in 2005 MLB draft of the Detroit Tigers made has way to the Yankees the following year as part of the trade package for slugger Gary Sheffield. Since then, Whelan has worked his way through the Yankees organization and that included a June 2011 call-up to the major leagues. In his first outing, Whelan recorded two outs but walked four batters, including three in a row.
"Last year in my first outing I got out of my element, I let the game stay up and I tried to do too much," Whelan said.
After one and two-thirds innings pitched over a two-game span that included five walks, one run and one strikeout, Whelan was sent back down to Triple-A. Despite being sent down, Whelan's confidence was not shaken. He finished the season with 23 saves, tied for second in the International League.
"The biggest thing for me is that it is the same game and you don't have to go up there and try to be someone different or do something different," the 5-foot-11, right-handed closer stated. "You get called up for a reason and obviously you were doing something right in the first place."
Even though his Major League stint has been short so far, Whelan still found time to take valuable lessons he learned from the Yankees pitchers that he hopes will improve his game.
"The biggest thing I learned is to go up there and stay relaxed and continue to pitch with what got you there," he said. "The game doesn't change, I feel like when I went up there I changed it myself and I got out of my element and my routine."
In his 24.1 innings pitched thus far, Whelan has struck out 36 batters while surrendering 12 walks and posting an ERA of 2.96.
"If you go out there and just be yourself and pitch with what you have and what you were blessed with then and then it will be the same thing," he concluded.
Whelan Not Failing
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