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May 9, 2008 at 7:03 PM

David Laurila Q&A with Michael Bowden

Michael Bowden is getting closer. One of the top pitching prospects in the Red Sox organization, Bowden has brought his game to an even higher level this season, limiting opposing hitters to a .193 average over his first 7 starts. In 37 innings with the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs, the 21-year-old right-hander has fanned 38 while posting an ERA of 2.68. David Laurila talked to Bowden at Hadlock Field prior to Friday night's game.

David Laurila: How has your season gone so far?
Michael Bowden: Lately it's been going a lot better. I've worked out a few kinks, so I feel a lot more comfortable up there on the mound. I'm repeating my delivery well, so it's going good.

DL: I understand that you've made some mechanical adjustments this season.
: I've made a few tweaks with my delivery to where it's more compact, and I feel a lot more comfortable. I've shortened my leg kick to where I'm staying on the same plane -- I'm on the same line with it. I'm not flaring it out like I did last year. Last season is when I started working with it, but it's this past off-season where I really worked on it. I did a lot in the Pilates studio, with the big mirrors.

DL: What is the biggest improvement you've seen since shortening your leg kick?
MB: Consistency. It's a lot easier to repeat my delivery every time. Everything is all the same; I'm just doing it on a more regular basis.

DL: Who initiated the adjustment?
MB: It was a lot of people in the organization, from the pitching coordinator to the front office to (pitching coach) Mike Cather.

DL: Is your pitch mix basically the same?
MB: I'm throwing more off-speed pitches, which is what the organization wanted. I've been doing that lately, and it's actually been helping me out a lot. I've also been changing speeds on my breaking pitches.

DL: What is the slowest you've gotten the ball up to plate this season?
MB: I think I've gotten a changeup there around 78. I think that's good -- the slower the better for my changeup. I'm one of those guys who wants it slower, so that's not even as slow as I'd like.

DL: What kind of movement do you get on your changeup?
: I get depth moving away from a lefty.

DL: Are you still throwing a slider?
: I haven't thrown my slider since high school, so I think some of the scouting reports are a little off. I just throw two- and four-seam fastballs, a curveball, and a changeup.

DL: Tell us something about your two catchers, Mark Wagner and John Otness.
: They alternate every time, and it doesn't really matter to me who I pitch to. I think I can count on one hand the numbers of times I've called them off this year. They both know how to call a game and are very intelligent behind the plate.

DL: Given that scouting reports aren't used as extensively in Double-A as they are in the big leagues, how do go about staying on the same page with them?
: We go over the starting lineup before the game, so the catcher and I, and the pitching coach for that matter, are on the same page. We kind of know how we're going to attack each and every hitter, so we rarely get confused with one another.

DL: What's it like working with Mike Cather?
MB: He's helped me a lot. He's easy to talk to; he tells you how it is with what you need to work on. It's just fun being a player under him.

DL: Did you get an opportunity to watch Justin Masterson's big league debut?
: Of course we did. We put back stretch so that everyone could have a chance to watch him on TV before we came out here to the field. It was so unbelievable. I was just so happy for him. It couldn't have happened to a better guy, so it was awesome.

DL: How hard was it not to picture yourself on that same stage?
MB: I know that I'm close, so I'm just waiting for my opportunity.