During a recent visit to Colorado Springs, I had a chance to sit down with former Tulsa Drillers and current Colorado Springs Sky Sox pitcher Tyler Matzek. After posting an 8-9 record and 3.79 ERA with the Drillers last year, Matzek has logged a 5-4 mark and 4.05 ERA at the Triple-A level (as of games of June 9).
Shortly after this interview, Matzek received his first Major League call-up and is scheduled to face Atlanta in his big-league debut on Wednesday, June 11.
Kevin Henry: How has the transition to Triple-A been for you?
Matzek: It’s been good. I’ve really enjoyed it. The travel is a little bit different but that’s really the only noticeable thing that I’ve seen.
Henry: How about the hitters you’ve faced?
Matzek: Definitely a better quality. Teams have guys who have played in the big leagues and you have to deal with them, along with the talented guys who are on every Triple-A roster.
Henry: What did you work on during the offseason?
Matzek: Definitely my changeup. I’ve really focused on throwing that the last two or three weeks and I’ve been trying to mix it in with my slider.
Henry: There’s a lot of altitude difference between Tulsa and Colorado Springs. Have you noticed it?
Matzek: When I run around, I can tell there’s a difference. I don’t think it affects the ball as much as people think it does. Guys hit home runs here just as well as they do anywhere else. I don’t think it’s that big of a deal.
Henry: What did you learn in Tulsa that has helped you here?
Matzek: I learned a lot about how to pitch. When you face a team so many times you do in the Texas League, you start learning how to get a guy out multiple ways. You learn from experience and it helps you improve as a pitcher.
Henry: What kind of goals do you have for yourself for the rest of the season?
Matzek: I am taking things one game at a time. If you start looking any further ahead than that, you get unfocused and that’s when bad things can happen.