The Missions got another key performance from lefty Nathan Culp (04-06)who led San Antonio to a 4-0 shutout of Frisco at Wolff Stadium Friday night, running their win streak to four games and bringing them within two games of first-place Midland with 11 games to go in the first half of the Texas League season.
Culp turned in a quietly dominant performance, inducing 13 ground ball outs over 7.0 shutout innings to win his fourth game of the year. He fanned Johnny Whittleman to work out of his only real jam with two runners on in the seventh. The southpaw scattered four hits and a walk for his second shutdown performance against the RoughRiders at home this season. On April 29th, Culp also tossed 7.0 scoreless frames, but did not factor in the decision.
"Another excellent outing," said manager Terry Kennedy of Culp's start. "He commanded all three pitches, both sides of the plate."
After a disappointing May, Culp has started June red hot, moving to 2-0 without an earned run allowed over 14.0 innings in his first two starts, allowing just 11 baserunners over that span.
"It was nice to open up a new month and just turn the page on May," said Culp of his sharp turnaraound. "I've been working hard with Webby (Missions pitching coach Bruce Webber) on my sinker and slider."
"He's made the adjustments to the league," said Kennedy. "He's worked really hard and it's paying off."
■ This is really strange (MANS Sports)
Lefty pitcher Rick Zagone (06-07) of the Delmarva Shorebirds was having a brilliant season. He was recently named as the starting pitcher for the Northern Division team in the SALLY League all-star game.
I say was having a brilliant year because of what has happened recently to Zagone.
On May 26th, his record was 4-3 and ERA was 1.92.
Tonight, he gave up six runs in just 2 2/3. That is the third start in a row where he didn't pitch over three innings. Over those last three starts he has given up 18ER in 7 2/3 innings. His ERA has gone from 1.92 to 4.40.
He has allowed 29 earned runs on the year, with 18 coming in those last three starts.
It makes you wonder about an injury, but certainly O's officials must be wondering that too. And, if that were even a possibility, he would not have taken the mound tonight in Hagerstown.
But he did, and for the third time in a row, the results were not good. This is suprising since Zagone is considered one of the best O's pitching prospects below Bowie.
■ MU has ben arming the majors with pitching (Kansas City Star)
Miami is known as Quarterback U. Georgia Tech might be Engineer U. Northwestern could be Movie Star U.
And Missouri, well, the school is making a case for its own designation.
“Yeah, we’re ol’ Pitchers’ U,” says Max Scherzer, who will start for the Arizona Diamondbacks tonight at Kauffman Stadium. “You see so many guys go there and get better and turn into really good college pitchers. It’s really a cool thing to have.”
. . .
Big-league scouts see a commonality in each of Mizzou’s studs.
“Their pitching plan is more similar to a professional pitching plan,” says J.J. Picollo, Royals’ scouting and player development director. “I think that’s why they develop. Their plan is more similar to ours.”
Picollo means that MU’s pitchers work off their fastball, know when to mix in off-speed pitches and are not afraid to come inside on batters.
■ Scherzer, Diamondbacks take down Greinke, Royals (ESPN.com)
Max Scherzer (04-06) held the Royals to two runs on nine hits and three walks, winning for the fourth time in five decisions.■ Diamondbacks 12, Royals 5: Crowning Achievement (AZ Snakepit)
"The turning point was when we started scoring runs off Greinke," Scherzer said. "We took the momentum of the game and we just never let it go. That's a credit to our hitters, grinding it out against one of the best pitchers in the game. I'm not really facing him. I'm facing the Kansas City Royals and the hitters."
Scherzer's outing was full of baserunners and tight spots, but he managed to navigate all of the landmines with minimal explosions. After the first, it went something like this:
2nd: First and second, one out, no runs.
3rd: First and second, one out, no runs.
4th: Runner on second, two outs, no runs.
5th: Runner on third, one out, sac fly.
6th: First and second, two outs, no runs.
Twelve men on base in six innings, but still a quality start with just two runs charged to Mad Max. He struck out five and is now 4-1 in his last seven starts, after waiting so long to get his first big league win. He left nursing a slim 4-2 lead, but this time the offense made sure the bullpen couldn't blow an easy victory.