Saturday, July 30, 2011
Q&A with Joe Wieland on his no-hitter
By Richard Durrett
Rangers’ 21-year-old RHP Joe Wieland threw a no-hitter on Friday for Double-A Frisco. It was his first no-hitter of any kind since tossing a 5-inning perfect game for his junior varsity team when he was a freshman in high school. (His team won after five innings on the 10-run rule.)
Wieland got a bunch of tweets from fans and text messages from many Rangers’ personnel, including general manager Jon Daniels. He said Scott Servais, director of player development, called him to congratulate him as well.
Here’s part of his conversation with us:
RD: Take us through your approach and what was working so well on the mound for you?
JW: I was able to locate my fastball, get ahead of guys and I think the best pitch last night was my slider. I was able to get it in on lefties. I was setting it up by pounding fastballs in and then throwing the slider in underneath their hands and down by their back foot. I was getting a lot of swings and misses and ground balls. I threw my curve ball more to righties.
RD: I know the changeup is a pitch you’ve worked on. Did you throw it and how is it progressing?
JW: I threw the changeup maybe four times. I’m still developing it. I’m not 100 percent comfortable with it. It’s a little too firm, around 84 mph, I’d like to get it down to 80 mph, but it’s making a lot of progress. My bullpens recently have been a lot of changeups.
RD: When did you think about the fact that you had a no-hitter? The whole game or just near the end.
JW: Early in the game, I don’t really think about it. Anybody can go out there and throw up a perfect first inning or two. Once it got to about that fifth inning, I noticed. I’ve thrown a no-hitter into the fifth inning before, but I’ve never gone past that. Once I got through the fifth inning, I realized what was going on. The second the word ‘no-hitter’ came into my mind, I immediately tried to think of a different word that started with ‘no.’ I wanted to keep it out of my mind. But it was tough.
RD: What was the final inning like?
JW: I definitely had a lot of emotions. The adrenaline was going. My legs were bouncing on the bench before the inning. I couldn’t keep them still. Once I got the second out in the ninth, it started to really set in. I was like, ‘I can do this. Just get one more out.’
I saw the ground ball and as soon as it was thrown to first, I pointed up to God thanking him. He gave me the talent to do it. It was one of those moments I couldn’t believe. My teammates grabbed me and picked me up. At the end, I got a nice shaving cream towel to the face.
RD: You’re on twitter -- @JWieland108 – so I know you’re following the trade deadline on there. Your name has been mentioned as a possible trade candidate. How do you feel about it?
JW: It doesn’t bother me. I love the system that I’m in. I love the Rangers. I feel like I wouldn’t be where I’m at if I wasn’t in this system. As a pitcher, I feel like this is the best system to be in for developmental reasons. We have the best coaching staff, on top of that, there’s Nolan Ryan running the show. As a pitcher, you can’t get much better than that. But whatever happens, happens. I try not to think too much about it, but it’s out there.
You can hear Aaron Goldsmith's call of the final outs here.