VISALIA (Ca.) – Frewsburg native Connor Grey is battling through a rather inconsistent pitching season as a member of the Visalia Rawhides, the Class-A Advanced affiliate for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Grey’s season started well as he won his first four starts, allowing no more than four earned runs in an appearance. Grey, however, began to struggle during his fifth start, an outing in which he failed to last a full inning. From there, he pitched six more winless starts (lost two games and recorded four no-decisions).
The righty recorded a six-inning start just once in the winless streak. Grey attributed his struggles to trouble with commanding his fastball during a recent interview with WNYNewsNow.
“I’m not making good pitches, and I’m not throwing as many strikes with my fastball as I have in the past,” Grey said.
Grey said he’s walked a lot of batters as a result, an area he wants to improve as the season progresses. Grey has walked 21 batters compared to 52 strikeouts.
“The one thing that I want to improve on is walking people,” Grey said. “I’ve been walking too many this year. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves as a pitcher, and I’ve been doing it more than last year.”
The St. Bonaventure alumnus said the battle between success and struggle is just part of the game.
“It’s baseball. The game is made on failure, and it’s going to happen. You just have to battle through the tough ones,” Grey said. “One of my pitching coaches told me you’re gonna have five really good starts and five really bad starts. The rest are going to be average, and those tell you how you’re going to do for the season.”
I asked Grey if he’s felt any pressure to dominate every start after tossing a perfect game last year. He said he really doesn’t focus on a particular game from the past.
“There’s always going to be pressure to perform, but I don’t feel any from throwing a perfect game,” Grey said. “I try to put that in the past and focus on one start at a time and try to go out there and give my team the chance to win.”
Grey said the biggest strength this season has been limiting the damage.
“I’ve been pretty good at minimizing the damage this year,” Grey stated.
Grey’s game log this season would support his statement, considering he’s lasted at least four innings in all but one start.
Grey had one of his best starts since April statistically on June 8th. He tossed six innings, allowing just four hits and one unearned run. He also struck out seven batters, but walked four.
“It showed me that when I pitch like how I’m capable of pitching that I can do well here,” he said.
Grey’s most recent start, which was June 13th, lasted just 4.1 innings. He allowed 11 hits and four runs (three earned).
Grey, however, walked just two batters and struck out seven. He’ll pitch again soon as the Rawhides return from their All-Star break Thursday.