For the year, DeSalvo is 5-1 with a 1.69 ERA and since he has been back with Scranton, he is 2-1. In DeSalvo's latest start, the five-year veteran right-hander found himself on the mound in the biggest game of the first half for the Triple-A Yankees.
With division leading Buffalo coming into town for the start of a four-game series, DeSalvo was called upon to kick-start the Yankees into gear from the start. DeSalvo did not disappoint.
He gave up just three hits in six and two-thirds of work and struck out seven to help Scranton roll over the Bisons 5-0. Mind you, all of this was against the third best hitting team in the league.
Most pitchers, even in the Major Leagues, would take this start as one that had nearly no flaws and went somewhat well. Matt DeSalvo isn't one of those guys.
"Tonight was actually an off-night for me", DeSalvo said after Tuesday's start. "I only threw four changeups for strikes out of 22. Three of the four guys I walked were lefties. I wasn't throwing my changeup consistently for strikes like I usually do. So, today I don't know what happened, but it worked".
Whatever "it" was that worked, DeSalvo rarely found himself in any serious trouble throughout the start. He did, however, get out of a bases loaded jam in the fifth inning with a two-out strikeout, but that was Buffalo's only real threat to score off DeSalvo in the game.
DeSalvo realized after the game, a contest that was a pitchers duel for seven innings, that games of this climate can do a toll on one's mind.
"Games like this are tough because you're always battling with yourself", he said. "You're always thinking, 'don't give up a home run, don't walk guys'. You just have to clear yourself out and talk to yourself a little bit. It's an internal battle, but you just have to relax and be strong."
DeSalvo's main goal, just like everyone else that plays Triple-A baseball, is to get back to the Major Leagues. After tasting what life was like in the majors earlier this season, DeSalvo realizes the mistakes he made that ultimately led to his demotion.
"I talked myself out of throwing my kind of game and using the strengths I have as a pitcher", he admitted. "Up there, I threw way too many fastballs instead of using all the pitches I can throw. I was also trying to be too fine with my location."
Another thing that DeSalvo contributed to his struggles was simple intimidation of big league hitters.
"You trick yourself into thinking that these guys [major leaguers] are giants and if you make one mistake, your going to give up a home run", he said. "I don't know why I was thinking that way, but coming back down here [Triple-A] has helped me step back and reassess what I can do as a pitcher."
If things keep going the way they are going for Matt DeSalvo, he may very well find himself in Yankee rotation someday down the line. He now knows what to expect if he ever gets back there and has one goal in mind if that day ever comes.
"I just want to have the opportunity to go back up there and say hey, I'm pitching to my strengths, see if you can hit them."