Sunday, August 16, 2009

Putting Up Zeros

That's exactly what the Rock Cats pitching staff has been doing over the past 4 days. In those 4 games, Rock Cats pitchers combined to allow 2 runs on 24 hits over 39 innings, including the combined one-hitter on Friday night and 12 inning shutout on Thursday. After Mike McCardell allowed a run in the 5th inning on Wednesday night against Erie, New Britain's opponents wouldn't score again until the 8th inning last night, a streak of 32 full innings of shutout baseball. And this wasn't against the bottom feeders of the league either: the first two games were against 62-56 Erie (Detroit affiliate) and the second two against first place Akron (Cleveland affiliate). Let's take a look at some of the statistics from this amazing run and the pitchers who made it happen:

-------------------------Total----------------------Shutout Streak
Innings Pitched:-----------39------------------------------32
Opponents Batting:---.172/.221/.201------------------.153/.203/.180

Mike McCardell: McCardell had the shakiest outing of the four starters during this run. He only went 5 innings, throwing 98 pitches and allowing 7 baserunners, though he was the only pitcher who had to deal with any errors as a result of Toby Gardenhire's 4th inning miscue. He still pitched 5 innings of 1 run ball while striking out 4.

Carlos Gutierrez: Gutierrez started the 32 inning shutout streak with a seemingly unspectular 1 inning stint, giving up 2 hits while striking out 1. This was his only appearance in the 4 games, but it continued a good recent run for him with no runs allowed in 5 of his last 6 outings.

Frank Mata: Mata appeared in 3 of the 4 games, missing out only on Friday night's one hitter. He pitched 2 innings on Wednesday and 1.2 on Thursday before an ineffective appearance last night, when he gave up 2 singles to lead off the 8th and was pulled before getting an out. Carlos Rivero eventually came around to score after his leadoff line drive single, charging the run that ended the shutout streak to Mata.

Alex Burnett: Burnett took over closer duties from Anthony Slama after the latter's promotion to AAA and he got the save in both games that he pitched. He picked up a standard 3-out save in the Cats 4-1 Wednesday night and then came in for the more unconventional 5-out save last night. Indians catching prospect Carlos Santana crushed a potential game-tying fly ball off of him, but fortunately it died at the warning track and the lead was preserved.

Ryan Mullins: Mullins continued his unheralded season on Thursday night, padding his Eastern League leading strikeout total with 9 over 7 shutout innings. He also induced twice as many ground balls as fly balls and walked only one in one of his best starts of the season.

Spencer Steedley: The lefty had a rough start to life in New Britain, but pitched well in 3 appearences in these 4 games. On Thursday, he struck out the only batter he faced. On Friday, he got three ground ball outs in a perfect ninth to close out the one-hitter for New Britain. Last night, he did allow an inherited runner to score to end the scoreless streak, but it was on a bloop single followed by a sacrifice fly.

Kyle Waldrop: No longer the giant he once seemed with the call up of Loek Van Mil, Waldrop picked up the win in the 12 inning marathon on Thursday night after pitching 3 shutout innings without allowing a baserunner.

Deolis Guerra: Guerra had arguably the best appearance of any pitcher during this stretch as he threw 6 no hit innings while striking out 9 before his pitch count (93) caught up to him. He looked shaky early on, walking 2 in the first 2 innings, but settled down and really found a groove in the 4th and 5th innings, striking out 5 of 6 batters and winning a fan a Weber grill in the process.

Loek Van Mil: The 7-1 Dutch righthander made his AA debut in relief of Guerra, and he struck out the first batter he faced. He looked impressive over his 2 innings, coaxing ground balls from the next 6 hitters, but unfortunately one of them found a hole and ended the chance for a team no hitter.

Matt Fox: With the shutout streak at 25 innings, Fox got the chance to continue it last night, and that's exactly what he did. Despite struggling over the past month and a half (44 innings, 38 strikeouts, 23 walks, 28 earned runs), Fox shut down the first place Aeros, giving up only 2 hits while striking out 6.

1 comment:

  1. My first comment is about the amazing writing. I think you have a future as a Twins/Rock Cats correspondent, perhaps saving the terrible statisticians and sabermetricians at ESPN. Secondly, I hope their playing this well next weekend when I watch them play.


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