Many thanks to Macay McBride for taking the time to speak with me before a game several weeks ago. Macay is one of the more approachable guys in the clubhouse, and he's always very willing to take the time to answer my questions.
Martin Gandy: You had a great August and a good September, have you finally figured out how to begin to pitch up here?
Macay McBride: I'll never used the words `figured out' because this is baseball and things happen and sometimes you're going to struggle and you don't know why, but I definitely have a little bit more confidence in what I'm doing, and I have that extra swagger, I guess, that I know I can pitch up here.
MG: I told you the last time we talked that you look a little bit meaner on the mound.
MM: It's just a little more concentrated, I think.
MG: There were some whispers about you maybe starting or trying to start, is that something you think you could do?
MM: Really and truly as long as I'm here it really doesn't matter. Obviously starting is something I did my whole minor league career, and I like it - I really, really love it, but the bullpen is also a lot of fun. So, whatever they need me to do I'll take the ball and throw it until they take me out.
MG: What kind of pitcher are you, what should the fans know about you as a pitcher?
MM: I would just say, `competitor.' [I] go out there some days and I don't have my best stuff, I'm [still] going to give one hundred percent, and if I have my best stuff I'm going to do the same. You're going to get the same attitude every day whether I'm really good or really bad.
MG: Does being local to Atlanta help?
MM: You know last year it really helped me. Just that pride of having a Braves uniform on, and I still have it, but it kind of got me through having that extra adrenaline. And now that the newness has worn off and you feel a little more adapted to what you're doing, it still helps having your family close, but it's not as big as it was last year.
MG: How have you and the team handled the end of the division streak?
MM: No one's really thought about it. I haven't heard much rumblings about it. It's not like it's a big shocker that we lost in the last week or something, or the last two games of the year, we've known now for probably a month and a half that we probably weren't going to win it. Now we didn't give up on it but we knew we probably weren't going to win it. You know we kind of cut our losses and went after the Wild Card, which now San Diego is playing really good ball and it's going to be tough for us to do anything.
MG: What positives do you think you can take away from the season?
MM: Just have gotten better, you know, gotten more adapted up here, and I've felt more like a big league pitcher verses a guy that's filling a role. Actually dealing with a little bit of failure, that's where you really get better is when you fail and learn from it.
MG: The team is full of injuries, but you've been healthy most of the season after that initial stint on the DL. Have you had any injuries of any kind to struggle through?
MM: I started the season on the disabled list with a pulled muscle on my forearm from the first of Spring Training, it just took forever. The muscle actually was better but the blood in the wrist kept pulling up and causing a discomfort. They took it real easy with me, thankfully. You know if it had been during the regular season I probably would have tried to pitch through it, but since I wasn't going to risk injuring something else they treated me great. Other than that I felt great.
MG: Was it tough to come to Spring Training, get prepared for the season, and then all of a sudden go on the DL?
MM: Yeah, because I had to spend a month - basically April was my Spring Training - starting over again.
MG: Is that why this second half of the season you've finally pulled it together?
MM: I don't know. There were definitely some things in my mechanics that I was compensating for, that I had gotten bad habits with a little discomfort in April - as far as not finishing pitches and really trying to protect it. Finally when I trusted my mechanics and trusted my forearm and the wrist everything got better so. I won't blame any one thing. You know, I didn't have a terrible first half, but it definitely wasn't what I wanted. So, now it's a lot better.
MG: Got any plans to pitch winter ball or anything?
MM: No, if they don't ask me to go, I'm not gonna.
MG: Do some hunting?
MM: Yeah, do some hunting, working out, just take it easy. Last off season was hectic, this one's going to be nice and easy.