Marshall Back To Competing

There were times in 2013 where things got real ugly for right-hander Brett Marshall. In fact his 7.36 ERA in his first four Triple-A starts this year did not accurately reflect just how messy things got for him at the start of the year. He did, however, turn things around in the second half of the season and he finally got back to competing against somebody other than himself.

He had pitched well in big league camp back in Spring Training but things went off the tracks in a big way once he was sent down to minor league camp. The Yankees changed his placement on the rubber, going from his normal third base side to the first base side, and they took away his slider in favor of a brand new cutter.

"That didn't work," he admitted. "I was getting hit pretty hard. So I went back to the other side of the rubber and everything was off [at that point].

"My mechanics were all messed up. My landing spot was so far to the right that it looked like I was throwing the ball to our dugout. There were so many things that had to be fixed so once they were fixed I threw the ball a lot better."

Going just 4-7 with an astounding 5.99 ERA in the first half of the Scranton season this year -- nearly two and half runs higher than his ERA the year prior -- to say he never got comfortable with the tweaks prescribed to him would be the understatement of the year.

"I think transitioning to the other side of the rubber really messed me up," he added. "I'm usually on the third base side [of the rubber] -- that's where I had been for five years -- and they wanted me to move over to the left side because since I'm a sinker-baller, [Gil Patterson] felt like if I moved over to the left side that it would give my sinker more room to work.

"It makes sense, what he said, to have more room to work over the plate with your sinker. But when I moved over there it didn't sink and we were like 'that's a problem'.

"I moved back over [to the other side] and it would sink. I think it's just the way I've learned how to throw since high school and that's what my ball naturally did. When I moved over everything was staying straight or I wouldn't know what it would do."

It just wasn't his fastball either though. His new cutter never really materialized and the slider, a pitch which seemed to have turned a corner down the stretch in 2012, wasn't being utilized.

Right before the All Star break Marshall and the Yankees scrapped the new placement on the rubber and brought back the slider, and while it took a little while to find his consistent groove, the fact is he instantly became much more comfortable on the mound.

"When the season started in Triple-A I was so mentally messed up mechanically-wise that during games I wasn't going out there competing against other hitters -- I was competing against myself," Marshall said. "I was just non-stop thinking about 'am I stepping wrong here? Is my foot landing right?'

"I didn't even think about the hitters. I didn't even think about where I was throwing the ball. It was all mechanics. That's not a good thing when you go out there and compete against yourself instead of the hitters.

"When you do that you're going to lose 98 percent of the time. That's what I was doing this year. I wasn't competing [and] I wasn't having fun because I was so worried about getting my mechanics straight that it made me a lot worse than I am.

"I think one game after the first month or so I said 'screw it, we've got to buckle down' and I started competing against hitters. When I did that I had two or three good games in a row and then I got called up [to the big leagues] for the first time.

"When I came back down I kind of lost it. My mechanics went back to being bad again and I had to fix them. Around the All Star break I started competing again and it was pretty good."

He was a completely different pitcher in the second half of the season, posting a solid 3.60 ERA in Scranton before making the necessary adjustments in his second call-up to the big leagues where he posted a 1.42 ERA in his only two September appearances.

"Towards the end of the year, that last month or so, everything felt like it was working for me," he said. "And in the couple of games in September in the big leagues it felt like everything was working for me.

"Towards the end of the year I felt like I got everything together. It was just a little too late to fix the numbers that already happened."

Looking back at his season in its entirety, Marshall realizes that between the pressure he put on himself being so close to the big leagues and then letting his mechanical issues get the best of him, he simply was over-thinking on the mound.

"That's exactly what it was. I was overthinking and kind of got worked up too knowing that I was in Triple-A and one step away from being called up, and I was trying to do too much instead of what I had been doing the past three years. I learned from my mistakes.

"I think going into this next year I learned from my mistakes this past year at what I should not do. [Thinking about] the mechanics, you've got to throw it away. When it comes to game time you've got to throw them away and compete.

"When I compete things are a lot better. Just from the last month of the season and with my September call-up my confidence is back up. I believe in myself and I know I'm working hard, and I want to compete for a spot on the roster next year."

He is the first one to admit that his 2013 season was far from ideal, but he also realizes the importance of taking the learning lessons with him going forward and getting back to what works for him.

"I want to stay competitive, to compete in games and not think about anything else. I'm going in next year competing for a spot. If I throw like I have the past two Spring Trainings I feel like I have a good chance to make the team. I'm just going to be prepared," he concluded.

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\r\n \r\n\r\nHe had pitched well in big league camp back in Spring Training but things went off the tracks in a big way once he was sent down to minor league camp. The Yankees changed his placement on the rubber, going from his normal third base side to the first base side, and they took away his slider in favor of a brand new cutter.
\r\n
\r\n\"That didn't work,\" he admitted. \"I was getting hit pretty hard. So I went back to the other side of the rubber and everything was off [at that point].
\r\n
\r\n\"My mechanics were all messed up. My landing spot was so far to the right that it looked like I was throwing the ball to our dugout. There were so many things that had to be fixed so once they were fixed I threw the ball a lot better.\"
\r\n
\r\nGoing just 4-7 with an astounding 5.99 ERA in the first half of the Scranton season this year -- nearly two and half runs higher than his ERA the year prior -- to say he never got comfortable with the tweaks prescribed to him would be the understatement of the year.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think transitioning to the other side of the rubber really messed me up,\" he added. \"I'm usually on the third base side [of the rubber] -- that's where I had been for five years -- and they wanted me to move over to the left side because since I'm a sinker-baller, [Gil Patterson] felt like if I moved over to the left side that it would give my sinker more room to work.
\r\n
\r\n\"It makes sense, what he said, to have more room to work over the plate with your sinker. But when I moved over there it didn't sink and we were like 'that's a problem'.
\r\n
\r\n\"I moved back over [to the other side] and it would sink. I think it's just the way I've learned how to throw since high school and that's what my ball naturally did. When I moved over everything was staying straight or I wouldn't know what it would do.\"
\r\n
\r\nIt just wasn't his fastball either though. His new cutter never really materialized and the slider, a pitch which seemed to have turned a corner down the stretch in 2012, wasn't being utilized.
\r\n
\r\nRight before the All Star break Marshall and the Yankees scrapped the new placement on the rubber and brought back the slider, and while it took a little while to find his consistent groove, the fact is he instantly became much more comfortable on the mound.
\r\n
\r\n\"When the season started in Triple-A I was so mentally messed up mechanically-wise that during games I wasn't going out there competing against other hitters -- I was competing against myself,\" Marshall said. \"I was just non-stop thinking about 'am I stepping wrong here? Is my foot landing right?'
\r\n
\r\n\"I didn't even think about the hitters. I didn't even think about where I was throwing the ball. It was all mechanics. That's not a good thing when you go out there and compete against yourself instead of the hitters.
\r\n
\r\n\"When you do that you're going to lose 98 percent of the time. That's what I was doing this year. I wasn't competing [and] I wasn't having fun because I was so worried about getting my mechanics straight that it made me a lot worse than I am.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think one game after the first month or so I said 'screw it, we've got to buckle down' and I started competing against hitters. When I did that I had two or three good games in a row and then I got called up [to the big leagues] for the first time.
\r\n
\r\n\"When I came back down I kind of lost it. My mechanics went back to being bad again and I had to fix them. Around the All Star break I started competing again and it was pretty good.\"
\r\n
\r\nHe was a completely different pitcher in the second half of the season, posting a solid 3.60 ERA in Scranton before making the necessary adjustments in his second call-up to the big leagues where he posted a 1.42 ERA in his only two September appearances.
\r\n
\r\n\"Towards the end of the year, that last month or so, everything felt like it was working for me,\" he said. \"And in the couple of games in September in the big leagues it felt like everything was working for me.
\r\n
\r\n\"Towards the end of the year I felt like I got everything together. It was just a little too late to fix the numbers that already happened.\"
\r\n
\r\nLooking back at his season in its entirety, Marshall realizes that between the pressure he put on himself being so close to the big leagues and then letting his mechanical issues get the best of him, he simply was over-thinking on the mound.
\r\n
\r\n\"That's exactly what it was. I was overthinking and kind of got worked up too knowing that I was in Triple-A and one step away from being called up, and I was trying to do too much instead of what I had been doing the past three years. I learned from my mistakes.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think going into this next year I learned from my mistakes this past year at what I should not do. [Thinking about] the mechanics, you've got to throw it away. When it comes to game time you've got to throw them away and compete.
\r\n
\r\n\"When I compete things are a lot better. Just from the last month of the season and with my September call-up my confidence is back up. I believe in myself and I know I'm working hard, and I want to compete for a spot on the roster next year.\"
\r\n
\r\nHe is the first one to admit that his 2013 season was far from ideal, but he also realizes the importance of taking the learning lessons with him going forward and getting back to what works for him.
\r\n
\r\n\"I want to stay competitive, to compete in games and not think about anything else. I'm going in next year competing for a spot. If I throw like I have the past two Spring Trainings I feel like I have a good chance to make the team. I'm just going to be prepared,\" he concluded.
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
\r\n

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\r\n

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