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Bisons pitcher Pat Misch was a dominant force in the International League last season. Before being called up to New York on August 14, he led the IL in innings pitched (150.2), was tied for third in wins (11), and was fifth in ERA (3.23).
In his last game of 2010, Misch went eight innings for the Mets and became only the third New York pitcher to record double-digit strikeouts in a game last year with 10 punch-outs.
Conventional wisdom indicated that Misch was primed for more success in 2011. With each passing month, last year’s prolific season becomes more and more of a distant memory.
Misch started off the year back in Buffalo and struggled early on, going 0-2 in his first four starts, and allowed 18 runs in 23 2/3 innings. Because of injuries in New York, the Mets brought him up to work out of the bullpen, but Misch just wasn’t up to the challenge.
“[Players] go through phases,” said Bisons manager Tim Teufel. “When you go up to New York and you have all the buzz and excitement about being a Met, it can be a let down when you have to come back down. Different guys handle it different ways, Pat came down and has just worked on his stuff. He’s working on his pitches, his repertoire, and how he wants to pitch.”
Putting in work is what has allowed Misch to recapture some of the magic he had a year ago. Since returning to the Bisons, he’s gone 2-2 and has been arguably the Bisons most consistent starter the past two weeks.
Teufel explained that the dedication Misch has to getting better is evident in the way he’s turned around his season. Misch has displayed consistency with his pitches, he isn’t walking as many guys, and he’s making more quality pitches, according to Teufel.
Misch felt good after his most recent start on June 24 against Norfolk. He didn’t factor into the decision but he went six solid innings and allowed Buffalo to hang around long enough for the winning run to cross the plate. Keeping his approach simple by forcing hitters to put the ball in play so his defense can get back into the dugout has allowed Misch to thrive in recent weeks.
“I had to get back to what I know how to do and that’s just to pitch,” Misch said. “I was trying to work a little bit too hard and not exactly pitch to my strengths [in New York]. Now I’ve been working with [Pitching Coach] Ricky Bones and we’ve been concentrating on tape from last year. It’s brought back my focus.”
Some wondered if the transition to the bullpen was an issue for Misch in New York but he shrugged off that notion immediately.
“Coming out of the bullpen or starting [makes no difference], I feel fine,” Misch said. “I had a couple of rough ones up there where I was trying to do a little too much and my mechanics weren’t exactly where they are right now and that is just something I had to figure out and get back.”
Misch has used his experience this season to get better. He said that while no player wants to lose or give up runs, it’s going to happen. It can be frustrating at times but he reminds himself that it’s a long season. He keeps grinding and that work ethic has improved his results on the mound.
Perhaps a longer stint in the big leagues would serve to help Misch gain some momentum and get into a rhythm at the next level, but that isn’t what he is thinking about.
“I need to prove myself here and there’s still work to be done,” Misch said. “When you get up there you have to be prepared and know that every day is a challenge. Right now I’m working down here to get back up there and hopefully stay for a long time.”
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