6.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 10 K.
Add it all together, and you’ve got an outstanding outing from arguably the Thunder’s best starter. Zach McAllister lowered his ERA to 1.84 and improved his record to 4-2 with another impressive performance at Waterfront Park.
“I felt better as the game went on, especially in the fourth and after,” McAllister said.
This was his ninth Double-A start, and he’s yet to allow more than two earned runs in any single outing and has allowed only one home run in 53.2 innings of work.
Suffice it to say, he’s made a successful transition to the next level.
“I’m feeling pretty confident, I’m just trying to continue the success,” he said.
McAllister credited some of that success to some adjustments he’s made since the start of the season, which included getting his arm up so he can stay on top of all of his pitches and focus on driving the ball down.
“Early on, I was kind of side to side and getting a lot of run on the ball, but really not getting downward action on it,” he said.
“I think that’s been a huge part of it. And just mechanically, staying balanced, and little things like that. And just getting the confidence and believing that I can get them out.”
The ten K’s were a season high, and the most he’s had since an 11 strikeout performance on May 15th of last year with Low-A Charleston. And yet, McAllister still feels there’s work that needs to be done to make himself even better.
“My slider and changeup still (need work),” he said.
“And just maintaining my arm motion and keeping it high and things like that.”
– For the second time in three games, a Thunder infielder was removed from the game with no apparent injury. And for the second time in three games, apparently, he’s injured.
Seems like The Jorge Vazquez Experience may be getting a breather, as he was removed from the game with leg soreness.
“It happened during the game,” said Thunder skipper Tony Franklin.
“He said it’s been coming on for the past couple of days and he’s kind of played through it. I’m not sure exactly what the specific injury is. I’m not sure if it’s his groin, knee, hammy or what.”
– The rotation slots for Monday and one of Tuesday’s games are still listed as TBA.
“We just don’t know what we’re going to do,” Franklin said.
“We haven’t gotten a phone call from anyone as to who’s going to start or who should start. No one’s indicated that anyone’s coming. It might just be a bullpen day.”
With the team at the 24-player maximum, a roster move would have to be made to accomodate anyone, including Alan Horne. The most likely scenario would involve Ivan Nova being sent on a magical trip to Staten Island, since according to Franklin, he “might be back Wednesday.”
Nova is currently back home following the death of his grandfather.
As for Horne, it seems he could be on the mound at some point over the next two days.
“I think he’s capable of pitching one of those two games,” Franklin said.
“But I’m not going to make the statement that he is going to pitch, because nobody’s told me specifically that he is going to pitch. I would think that because he pitched in the simulated game and he reported no injury or stiffness or anything like that, he’s available. But whether he’s going to pitch or not, I don’t know.”
– If I had to guess, I’d say Horne gets one of the starts and Eric Wordekemper gets the other. Wordekemper and Josh Schmidt would be the freshest relievers, as neither has pitched since May 28th. But Wordy went one inning his last time out, and Schmitty went three.
Anyone expecting Jason Stephens to come up can toss that idea out, as he threw five innings of one-run ball for Tampa today. Jonathan Hovis — remember him? — struck out two in the 9th for the save.
However, keep in mind that deactivating Nova or anyone else is only a short-term solution. The obvious choices to be deactivated or sent down have all either been deactivated or sent down already. Short of demoting or releasing the struggling Marcos Vechionacci or perhaps doing something with an outfielder, there doesn’t seem to be anything obvious…perhaps Jorge Vazquez is placed on the DL depending on the seriousness of his injury, but again…short-term solution.
– I didn’t get a chance to speak to Noah Hall after the game, but did see him and he seemed fine. WIMG’s David Fenster did catch up with him, and Hall said he was OK after getting nailed in the head by a pitch late in the game.
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com