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On The Farm: Young pitches well in Bristol victory

On The Farm: Young pitches well in Bristol victory

Thursday, Aug. 12, 2010
10:00 PM
By Kevin Czerwinski
CSNChicago.com
WHITE SOX
Bristol (Rookie)
Robert Young waited a bit for Thursday night, nearly two months in fact. His first professional victory, however, proved to be worth the wait as Bristol squeaked by Burlington, 1-0, at Burlington Athletic Stadium.

Young, whom the White Sox selected out of Dartmouth in the 31st round of Junes First-Year Player Draft, went a career-best seven innings while allowing only two hits. He fanned a season-high five and walked only one.

His effort shouldnt have come as much of a surprise, though. Young (1-3) didnt allow an earned run in his last start at home against Johnson City and has now allowed only two earned runs in his last 17 13 innings.

Its definitely been a long time coming, Young told CSNChicago.com. I had luck go my way tonight and its better to be lucky than good sometimes and that definitely happened tonight. If a few things go different, its a different outcome. Things are getting better, though and Im making progress each time out.

While Young credits some of his success on Thursday to luck there was also a bit of skill involved. He recently incorporated a slider into his repertoire and used it masterfully against Burlington. Young had never used a slider much before the last few weeks, even in his college days, but when his curveball was beginning to become less effective against right-hander hitters, he knew he needed to find an out pitch.

Bristol pitching coach Curt Hasler helped Young find the panacea, introducing him to the slider. Young worked on it in the bullpen and discussed it with Hasler in between innings the results Thursday were impressive.

I worked on it before my last outing against Johnson City and it proved to be very beneficial, Young said. I was struggling with the curve. It was getting slow and loopy and I needed a breaking ball for right-handers and I started fiddling with a slider. I wound a grip that worked and it worked very well tonight.

I toyed around with it in college but I never got too accustomed to throwing it. My pitching coach was a big advocate of mastering three pitches for strikes. So sometimes I had the curve working, sometimes the changeup and on a few occasions both. So I was never at a point where I needed a slider. But when I got here it was pretty apparent that I needed a better breaking ball. He said how about a slider and its worked well so far.

Young also kept the ball down in the zone against Burlington, adhering to another point Hasler has been stressing. He allowed singles in the third and fifth innings, pitching out of both tight spots. Burlington also put two men on in the fourth but Young got Geoffrey Baldwin looking for the third out.

Things are getting better and better each time out and thats always a plus, Young said. I would have liked to have started closer to where I am now but at least Im making progress.

Chase Blackwoods seventh-inning homer gave Young the victory.

The idea is to go out every outing and not give up a single run, Young said. It just makes it more important when you know were not pushing any runs across. I knew I needed to have a good outing, though. I havent pitched the way I know I can this summer.

So personally, I replayed every inning in my head, took them one at a time and figured out what was working mechanics wise.

Kannapolis (A)
Ryan Buch continued his impressive run as a starting pitcher Thursday night as the Intimidators blanked Savannah, 2-0, at Grayson Stadium.

Buch (4-0) improved to 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA in six starts after scattering four hits over six innings. He tied a season high with six strikeouts and didnt walk a batter. He had been 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA in four starts at Bristol in late June and early July.

Kannapolis scored both their runs on Ian Gacs two-run double in the first inning.

In other action, Winston-Salems game at Wilmington was rained out and will not be made up. The dash also announced that their Sept. 2 game against Lynchburg was moved from 7 PM to noon. Durham defeated Charlotte, 6-2, at Durham Athletic Park. Jeff Marquez (8-6) took the loss after surrendering three runs on seven hits in five innings. Jeremy Reed had a single and an RBI, giving him seven RBIs in the series. ... Birmingham dropped an 8-6 decision at Mobile despite collecting 15 hits. Justin Edwards allowed eight runs in 4 23 innings.

CUBS

Daytona (A)
Mark Reed scored on an eighth-inning wild pitch Thursday night to give Daytona an 8-7 victory over Dunedin at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

The Cubs had scored three seventh-inning runs to tie the score at 7-7. Rebel Ridlings RBI double knotted things up. Ridling also had a two-run homer in Daytonas three-run third inning. Alex Maestri picked up the victory after allowing one run in three innings of relief. The victory, combined with Tampas loss at Clearwater, pushed the Cubs into first place by a game in the Florida State Leagues North Division.

In other action, Tennessee banged out 10 hits at Chattanooga yet still dropped a 5-3 decision to the Lookouts. Brandon Guyer remained hot, though, collecting two of those hits, both of which were homers. He drove in three as he extended his hitting streak to 16 games. Hes batting .459 (28-for-61) during the streak with four homers and 22 RBIs. Beloit bested Peoria, 2-0, scoring both its runs in the seventh inning. Brett Wallach, making his third start since coming over in the deadline deal with the Dodgers, had his best outing with the Chiefs, tossing two-hit shutout ball over six innings. Peoria, however, managed only four hits.

Kevin Czerwinski can be reached at ktczerwinski@gmail.com.

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With or without Justin Verlander, Jake Arrieta expects Cubs to stay in first place: ‘We have the pieces’

With or without Justin Verlander, Jake Arrieta expects Cubs to stay in first place: ‘We have the pieces’

The Cubs already have a Cy Young Award winner, someone who was transforming into the hottest pitcher on the planet around this time in 2015, and then beat the Cleveland Indians twice on the road in last year’s World Series.

So the Cubs can keep discussing Justin Verlander and trying to figure out the price point where it makes sense, what caliber prospects they would have to give up and how much money the Detroit Tigers would have to kick in to cover a bill that could soar toward $90 million. 

But Jake Arrieta showed why the Cubs might finally start to run away from the division and become a very dangerous team in October, dominating the White Sox on Wednesday night at Guaranteed Rate Field during an 8-3 win that vaulted them into first place in the National League Central.          

“We expect to remain in first place,” Arrieta said. “We know it’s going to be a tough task, but that’s kind of what you deal with at the highest level of sports. You expect to have really good competition from teams that are either equal with you or close behind.

“We feel like we have the group to separate ourselves at this point in time and remain in first place for the remainder of the way.”

The Cubs probably don’t have the blue-chip prospects – and the appetite to raid their farm system again – to blow away the Oakland A’s and win a bidding war for Sonny Gray. The Cubs kick the tires on everything, but Yu Darvish would be a rental and the Texas Rangers are torn over what to do with their Japanese star. 

This is another reason why the Cubs are focusing on adding a veteran backup catcher and strengthening the bullpen before the July 31 trade deadline: Arrieta Watch is back, taking a no-hitter into the fifth inning in front of a sellout crowd of 38,517 before Omar Narvaez drilled a ground-rule double into the right-center field seats.  

The Cubs are 10-2 since trading for Jose Quintana during the All-Star break, erasing a 5.5-game deficit against the Milwaukee Brewers heading into this weekend’s showdown at Miller Park. At 53-47, the Cubs are a season-high six games over .500, and it all starts with pitching.  

“I think we’ve got the pieces to get it done,” Arrieta said. “If there’s a situation where we can get another guy and not lose any key players, it might work in our favor.

“Obviously, when we traded for Quintana, that’s a huge addition to our ballclub. This guy’s really good. He works his butt off. And just seeing how he carries himself in between starts is a really great sign. To have a guy like that who works extremely hard and cares about the team winning ballgames – you can’t replace that.

“That trade right there in itself is one that’s going to pay huge dividends for this ballclub, not only for this year, but for the next couple years. But we’re a great team right now, and I think we have the pieces to get it done.”  

Arrieta was on cruise control until Yoan Moncada launched his 98th and final pitch – an 0-2 curveball – 409 feet over the center-field wall with two outs in the seventh inning. Arrieta only allowed those two hits, giving up two runs and finishing with five strikeouts against two walks, continuing the correction super-agent Scott Boras predicted when the Chicago media and Cubs fans wondered about his flashes of diminished velocity and spikes in hard contact during a free-agency push.

Arrieta has methodically put together 10 wins and three straight quality starts after the All-Star break, chopping his ERA down from 5.44 in the middle of May to 4.03. Ricky Renteria’s White Sox are obviously tanking for the future and there are a lot of conditions attached to this statement: 

But if Arrieta pitches like this, Jon Lester continues to be one of the best big-game pitchers of his generation, Quintana excels in a pennant race and Kyle Hendricks regains his feel and rhythm after six-plus weeks on the disabled list, then the Cubs might have a better playoff rotation than the one that ended the 108-year drought.     

“We’re feelin’ it,” Arrieta said, thinking back to last summer, when Theo Epstein’s front office added 100-mph closer Aroldis Chapman to a team with close to a 99-percent chance of making the playoffs. “I remember last year we were in this clubhouse around this same time, and it’s no different.” 

Look at the competition: The Washington Nationals might be forced into adding a frontline starter now that Stephen Strasburg is headed to the 10-day disabled list with a nerve impingement in his right forearm. The Los Angeles Dodgers are hoping a strained lower back won’t stop Clayton Kershaw from making a few tune-up starts in September before becoming their Game 1 starter in October.

With or without Verlander, the Cubs are ramping up to defend their title.

“I’m going to continue to get stronger as the year progresses,” Arrieta said. “I feel like my best baseball, my best pitching, is still ahead of me. And I’m ready for it.”