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PhoulBallz Interview: RHP Shane Watson talks about weak output

Shane Watson, image- Jay Floyd
Righty pitcher Shane Watson, a supplemental 1st round draft pick of the Phillies back in 2012, is having a lackluster season thus far for the Double-A Reading Fightins.  Through 10 starts, the 23-year-old has posted a 2-4 record along with a 5.52 ERA while striking out 24 and walking 26 in 44 innings pitched. 

I recently spoke with Watson about his feelings on his output, what needs to change to improve, the possibility of consulting the Phillies mental skills staff and more.  Read ahead for that full interview.

-What are your thoughts on your output, thus far this season?  I know the starting rotation likely as a group wouldn't be pleased with each of you having high ERA's.

Yeah, all of us don't want to be above five.  Even though the parks are pretty small-- every field I've been at in Double-A so far has been small-- um, working some kinks out.  All of us are competitive and want to do well, like you said, so it's just you know, trying to trust the defense and the players behind us...and try to just battle back and work some kinks out, you know?

-I talked to Drew Anderson recently and he was describing how he doesn't track his stats at all and instead only is concerned if he puts the team in a position to win and if he feels good physically the next day.  I noticed there were a few outings recently where you didn't complete four innings.  What's most important to you from start to start?  

You know, every start it's my goal to give my team the best shot.  Um, not going at least five is always tough.  I went three and then three (and and third), or I forgot what it was...I've just been getting behind in the count and letting the guys get on and mainly, like I said just getting behind on guys.  And my goal is always if I do have a bad start, which you can feel it, just try to keep my team close and give them the best shot.

-So you talk about not getting behind and, with that, getting ahead of the opposition.  What needs to change for you to get that done?

Throw more strikes.  Make it a point to get ahead early.  Get ahead and stay ahead.  You know, I've been falling behind early, you know, ball one, strike one, ball two.  Then it's two-one.  I've got to-- not really let them hit it, but kind of pitch to contact.

-I've heard from guys at times that the Phillies employ a mental skills coach....do you ever deal with him?

That's not for me.  I don't know.  I just try to stay away from that altogether.  He's a great guy, I think he has a lot of good stuff to say, but for me, that's just not for me.  I feel like that's kind of-- once you start getting involved with your mental skills, I think for me personally, that's kind of being mentally soft.  That's just, not knocking his profession, or whatever he needs to do, but you know some guys need it.  For me, I just I have to be aggressive.  That's my mental skills is be aggressive.  Be aggressive.  Be aggressive. 

-So, if you're not dealing with a guy like that, obviously, you might be dealing with (pitching coach Steve) Schrenk and the other coaches more often.  Is there anything they're sharing with you to help you along this year?

Yeah, all the coaches are great.  Schrenk's great.  Legger's great.  Um, they pretty much tell me, like I said, be aggressive.  Somebody gets get a hit off of you, don't let that get to you.  It's not your bad necessarily, it's the pitch that you threw to hit that that swing was bad.  So, it's falling on trusting Legger and Schrenk, 'cause they're good coaches.

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