Ten days have passed since first arriving in Billings and by now everything has pretty much settled into place. I was fortunate enough to get hooked up with a host mother for my stay this summer and moved in last Sunday. I have the entire basement to myself, with my own bedroom and bathroom. Her house is also extremely close to a local bus transfer center, so finding a way to the ballpark everyday is no problem. All of our games between Monday and Saturday begin at 7:05 pm. Position-focused early work begins at 2:00 pm. My routine is to catch the bus heading downtown at 10:10 am, go to the library for an hour or so to use the internet, get some lunch at a nearby Denny’s, and show up to the clubhouse around 1:00 pm.
We opened the season on the road against Great Falls. The White Sox rookie affiliate has recently added many renovations to their stadium and clubhouse to create a very nice park (thanks revenue from the World Series championship). Our opening day starter was Ernie Del Rosario (“Rosy”) from the Dominican Republic. A solid outing by Rosy mixed with some timely hitting and some excellent defensive plays gave us a great win to start the season. Although we dropped a disappointing game on Wednesday, we were able to win the get-away game on Thursday to take the series. Tyler Rhoden, a pitcher from Vanderbilt University, gave us three impressive innings out of the pen, striking out five. Like I said before, all games during the week start at 7 pm, even the nights teams have to travel. With a four hours ride from Great Falls, we returned to Cobb Field around 2:45 am on a Friday morning in which we began a series against Missoula.
Thanks for the questions and comments this past week and a half. Someone asked what are the strongest and weakest areas of my game; here is my best attempt to answer:
– My strongest asset is the command of my fastball. Although I have hit numbers in the mid-90’s, I normally sit around 90-92 mph. However, I can normally work my fastball in and out pretty effectively. I also believe, with batters using wood now, my two-seam fastball is going to be a very successful pitch riding in on right-handed hitters.
– The weakest area of my pitching is the lack of a dominant off-speed pitch. My circle-change could definitely become a great pitch, but I never relied on it in the past. I throw a loopy 12-to-6 curve with shaky command. I need to improve the speed and consistency of that pitch. I am also trying to develop a split-finger to use mainly against lefties.
I am the scheduled relief pitcher on Monday against Great Falls at Cobb Field, just in case you are interested in following online. Thanks again for the support.
Blame Chad for creating this mess.
Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.
You can email Chad at email@example.com.