David Hale did prefer pitching out of the bullpen. That is, until he was successful as a starter…
Hale Turning Things Around
But soon after the start of the season, Hale began having some trouble with consistency as he posted a season-high 4.78 in the month of April.
"My very first start was kind of a rough one," he said. "I had some bad luck that turned into some unfortunate runs that hurt my numbers. After that inning, I just had to tell myself to keep doing what I had been doing, to not change things too much.
"Because there was just some bad luck and I'm glad that I just stuck with everything the way that I did. Eventually, it's going to work as it always has. And I'm going to do well with it. I just had to tell myself to not get too analytical about it and try to change things."
Repetition is Hale's strategy for continued improvement and that has certainly been the case as the season has gone on, posting a 3.81 ERA in May before posting a 3-1 record and a 2.97 ERA in the month of June so far.
"Everything about pitching is just repeating," Hale stressed. "Do the same thing every time. It's hard enough to do the same pitch every time.
"If you're changing the mechanics every day or something like that, then it's hard to stay in the routines. As long as you do the same thing every day then you will get better."
Mike Alvarez, pitching coach for the Mississippi Braves, is pleased with Hale's improvement over the course of the season, his first at the DoubleA0 level.
"He's really dedicated to his work, he's all ready to go on his game day, and so his preparation is good," Alvarez said. "I think mainly he is handling situations with some adversity during the game where all of the sudden he's going well and then something happened here, and something happened there, maybe a base hit, a walk and how he handles and manages that particular inning. He's gotten better at it."
For Hale, his successes have been welcomed but it's how he has bounced back that has been his highlight of the season.
"My two worst outings - the outings after those were the two best that I've had this year," Hale said. "I'm really proud of that, that I was able to come back, to bounce back after that. That has been my highlight of the year."
But that might not be his last highlight of the year. Hale has been chosen along with Sean Gilmartin, Andrelton Simmons, Ryan Buchter, Zeke Spruill, Christian Bethancourt, Gary Moran and Todd Cunningham for this year's Southern League All-Star Team.
Hale's selection is proof positive of his ability to turn things around and right now he is enjoying his improvement.
"I'm very proud of myself for getting back on it and turning it around. I've been pretty successful since then," he concluded.
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