FRISCO — About a month ago, Frisco pitching coach Terry Clark admonished his 23 year old, 6’7″ righty Michael Schlact (4-5; 4.55) to lengthen his stride to the plate, and “drive it in there.”
Like many tall pitchers, Schlact had been coached throughout his life to stay tall, use his height and pitch downhill, so stretching out and incorporating more leg drive into his delivery was something totally foreign to him.
But as always, Schlact the student listened, did his best to do what his coaches were asking of him, and the lessons are really starting to pay off.
Last night’s seven-inning performance, holding Corpus Christi to two runs on nine hits and no walks, was Schlact’s third seven-inning outing in his last five starts. As always, he kept the ball in the yard — he’s surrendered just three long balls in 83 innings of work this year — and showed the best command of his arsenal this year.
Schlact got through his seven frames in 97 pitches (13.86 per inning), 67 of which were strikes. And his sinker — always his best pitch — was nastier than ever, inducing 13 ground ball outs, including a fourth-inning double play.
Though there were a few bumps along the way, Schlact has come to feel as if the increased length in his stride has helped him immensely. “I don’t even think about the stride anymore,” says Schlact. “We’ve put the work in on the side so that it feels second nature now. I believe it’s helped me add more depth to my sinker, stay behind my slider and really just get the most out of his body. I’ve never had the length of stride I should have relative to my height.”
Steve Murphy (.294 / .328 / .531), who finished 2-4, smacked a two run bomb in the first to give Frisco a 2-0 lead. Craig Gentry (.267 / .330 / .350) went 2-4, driving in a run and stealing his 15th bag of the year while once again providing plus defense in center field.