The Toronto Blue Jays, parent club of the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats, today announced that…
Litsch Untouchable on the Mound
Litsch, the Blue Jays 24th round draft pick in 2004 has enjoyed success at every level he's pitched in his brief minor league career. He had what some would term a "breakout" season in 2006. In 16 games at Single-AA Dunedin, he was 6-6 with 3.53 ERA. His most impressive statistic, however, was his control. Litsch walked only 8 batters in 89 plus innings while striking out 81.
This season has been much of the same. Through his first six starts, he's averaged six innings per start, allowing just over one walk and four strikeouts per game.
"He's been having a little trouble getting into those later innings," said New Hampshire manager Bill Masse. Right around the seventh inning he's been getting tired. Against Bowie (May 5th) he really gathered himself in the seventh and eighth innings to get through it" said Masse.
Although Litsch said he felt he had some more gas in the tank, he also understands that the season is a grind and he can't overdo it.
"We have a strict pitch count here and we have a good bullpen," the right-hander said. "We can call in the closer and he can get the job done."
Litsch has been keeping the Eastern League's hitters off-balance this season with a mix of pitches. Including his new found love, the changeup.
"Last year I wouldn't throw the changeup more than fives times a game. Now I'm throwing it 15-20 times a game. That's what they've told me they want me to do. That's a big pitch for me" Litsch said.
Obviously Masse is pleased with Litch's command of his changeup, especially how it sets up the other pitches in his repertoire.
"Any time you can change speeds and throw strikes with the variety of pitches he comes at you with, you're going to have success. That's the bottom line. I don't care what level you're playing at," Masse said.
"I'm throwing it during 2-0 counts, and getting groundouts. It's a good double play pitch. When I keep it down, it works with my fastball. I throw it the same way," Litsch said.
When asked if he had any pre-game rituals that he's been sticking with through this great stretch, he said, "getting up early, having a good breakfast, trying to stay with the same routine."
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