After leading the South Carolina Gamecocks to two College World Series titles in three appearances, lefthander pitcher and South Carolina native Michael Roth was drafted by the Angeles in the 9th round of the 2012 draft. Assigned to the Travelers, Roth has had a whirlwind summer as he was called up three times to the Angels. He was used in the bullpen but made his first Major League start on April 24 in a losing cause and has a 1-1 record in the Majors.
Talk about your season thus far.
It’s been crazy. My first full year, I didn’t expect to go back and forth. It’s also been tough as sometimes I have not had all my clothes, and I’ve had back-to-back flights.
Talk about the first call.
It was surprise, excitement and glee. I remember texting my dad, and he thought I was lying. That 24 hours when I was called up to my debut was pretty special. I didn’t know anybody, though, because I wasn’t in Big League camp. It was also exciting going from several 1,000 fans to 25-40 thousand-plus fans.
Do you remember your first appearance?
(Made Major League debut on April 14 against Houston in Los Angeles. The Angels won 5-4 in the bottom of the ninth on Albert Pujols’ double with two outs.) It worked out perfectly. We were down 4-1 or 4-2, and I went in to start the 8th. I threw a clean 8th, then we scored a run or two. I threw a clean 9th, and then Albert Pujols had a game-winning hit. It was a crazy night.
Has going up and down been hard?
You know you are going up because someone is the on the disabled list. I tried not to think about being sent down. I give hitters a different look, but since I’ve been back down I’ve been struggling. I also think they like my experience and mental toughness as I’m used to pressure situations.
Which brings us to South Carolina. Tell us about that experience.
(In 2010, Roth pitched the clinching game in the Gamecocks’ first College World Series title and also in 2011.) Those were some of my greatest four years to date. College is special even if you don’t play in three College World Series. I learned a lot from Coach (Ray) Tanner.
On your pitching days, what is your routine?
I basically sit around and wait. I feel my mental preparation is done in my physical workouts. I do eat breakfast between 10:30 -11 a.m. Then will go to a movie or watch a movie at home or read a good book.
What are your goals besides the Big League?
I actually have those written down. One is stay healthy; two is to win 10 games. With my fluctuation I won’t have enough starts. And three is to learn who the hitters are because most of the guys I haven’t played against.
What do you like to do for fun?
I like to travel and last year I got to play with the Great Britain team in the World Baseball Classic Qualifier. I have dual citizenship since my mom was born in England. They contacted me, and I had to get approval from the Angels. They gave it to me and gave me a pitch count.