The Richmond Flying Squirrels used five pitchers on Thursday for a one-run, four-hit showcase that began with 4.2 innings from left-hander Adalberto Mejia. His second start of the year wasn't as efficient, needing 80 pitches before getting out of the fifth inning, but by allowing just one run on three hits and three walks, he set the table for a talented bullpen to finish the game.
In his two starts, tallying 9.2 innings, Mejia owns a 1.86 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, and .147 opponent's batting average, including just one hit allowed to left-handed batters. On Thursday, Mejia was working with a four and two-seam fastball that moved throughout the night between 87 and 94, a changeup that fades arm-side and is most effective against right-handed hitters, and a low-80s slider that he consistently threw for strikes. If it weren't for a difficult fifth frame, featuring a balk, two hits, and a wild pitch, Mejia would've made it through the fifth and possibly into the sixth.
Still, a combination of Tyler Rogers, Jose Casilla, Dan Slania, and Ray Black sealed the deal by allowing one hit and one walk the rest of the night. Once again, the highlight out of the pen was Black, who was just absolutely lethal. Though capable of 100-plus, Black threw 99 consistently and got five swinging strikes using mostly the heater, but also flashing his sharp slider that he located well in the lower part of the zone.
— Mike Broadway struck out two in the eighth inning of the River Cats game, which is a normal. But who followed him in the ninth? Clayton Blackburn, who was scratched from start Wednesday with the flu. He threw only five pitches in a scoreless inning, in what I'm sure was just some maintenance needed after missing a start. But to only get five pitches out of it? Some thought it was because he was getting called up to replace Sergio Romo on the Giants' roster, but Derek Law eventually filled that void.
— Jason Forjet, somehow still in San Jose, was on point last night in San Bernardino. Five innings of eight-strikeout stuff pushed the Giants back over .500, and handed Inland Empire their eighth straight loss to start the year. The 66ers amassed just one hit and one walk while facing Forjet, who rounded up a 2.67 ERA in 14 starts for San Jose a year ago. Steven Duggar fueled the offense with a double and a home run, while Johneshwy Fargas stole his third base.
— Phil Bickford made the start for Augusta's home opener, striking out six in four innings. He took the loss, his second of the year, but Bickford again contained the opponent and threw strikes that weren't easy to connect. Through two outings, Bickford has an 8:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Tyler Cyr follwed Bickford and struck out six in three innings.
TOP-30 PROSPECT ROUNDUP
- Christian Arroyo: 1-for-4, 2 SO
- Tyler Beede: DNP
- Phil Bickford: 4 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K
- Lucius Fox: 0-for-3, BB, 2 SO
- Chris Shaw: 1-for-4, SO
- Sam Coonrod: DNP
- Mac Williamson: 1-for-5, R, RBI, 2 SO
- Aramis Garcia: 0-for-2, 2 BB, SO
- Andrew Suarez: DNP
- Adalberto Mejia: 4.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K
- Clayton Blackburn: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
- Jalen Miller: 0-for-4, 2 SO
- Ray Black: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
- Chase Johnson: DNP
- Jordan Johnson: DNP
- Steven Okert: DNP
- Kyle Crick: DNP
- Jarrett Parker: 2-for-4, SO
- Hunter Cole: 2-for-4, RBI
- Austin Slater: 1-for-4, 2 SO
- Joan Gregorio: DNP
- Michael Santos: DNP
- Ty Blach: DNP
- Mac Marshall: DNP
- Ronnie Jebavy: DNP
- Derek Law: DNP
- Chris Stratton: 5 IP, 9 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 6 K
- Ian Gardeck: DNP
- Jake Smith: DNP
- Dylan Davis: 0-for-4, SO