It was the best of times,it was the worst of times...that's certainly a good way to describe the recent past in Lansing, as the Lugnuts receive excellent starting pitching yet find themselves nonetheless spiraling out of the playoff picture. Exactly two weeks ago, Lansing was 4.5 games up on Great Lakes for the final playoff spot; today they are 3.5 back. That's a swing of 8 games in 14 days, which is a pretty stunning turn of events.
But let's focus on the positive, the great starting pitching performances turned in last week. Jordan Romano started things off last Wednesday against Dayton, though was shaky out of the gate with a leadoff walk followed by a hit. He would only allow one base runner the rest of the game, while striking out 10 (including his last five batters). They simply couldn't handle his 91-93 fastball, with at least nine of the strikeouts coming off it. He struck out the last five batters he faced, but for the second time this year exited with apparent discomfort in his throwing arm, this time 2-2 to the leadoff batter in the 7th. The bullpen did not hold the the lead.
Angel Perdomo followed him Thursday, and put on a clinic of his own. Working 89-93 on his fastball, he "only" struck out 7, including the first four batters of the game, but piled up a lot of weak contact. Of the four hits, he allowed, three were infield singles and the other single was the only truly hard hit ball of the day. He wasn't necessarily filling up the zone, but threw enough strikes to be very effective.
Not be outdone, Ryan Borucki dominated in Friday in Lake County. Like Romano, his first inning was just okay with two hits given up. And then like Romano, he only allowed one more hit and starting striking everybody out. He struck out 9 batters, and 8 the 13 batters he faced after the 4th, getting swings and misses on all three of his fastball changeup and slider. It's just too bad it looks like he has a hard innings cap of 5 innings a start, because he only needed 61 pitches to do that and could have probably gone 7.
Oh, and one last item of note when it comes to Lansing starters: if the above was not enough, T.J. Zeuch has been promoted and is listed as tonight's probably starter.
- Bolsinger and Gabryswzski both got hammered last Tuesday, at roughly the same time. Both have a pretty bad long ball problem.
- Shane Dawson's fastball was topping out at 85, but he did a reasonable job keeping hitters off balance. He really shouldn't have been sent back out for the 7th inning, when he was out of gas and allowed three runner to reach, who all scored as inherited runners and spoiling his quality start.
- Conner Greene once again struggled to throw enough strikes and really command the ball, but was overpowering. With the caveat that the Reading stadium gun was definitely hot, Greene hit 100 three times and was all over the mid-to-high-90s
- Brady Dragmire had two outings, neither of which was very successful in terms of outcomes, but he did hit 95-97, some of his better velocity of the season.
- Justin Shafer was just even more of aground ball machine than usual, and two of the three hits were infield singles. His slider piled up some swings and misses too, the 10 total standing out as well.
- Jon Harris once again managed managed very well, with mediocre peripherals. He sat around 93 with his fastball, touching 95-96 including on his last pitch. Unfortunately, it was ball four and he couldn't finish off the 5th with one of his higher higher pitch counts of the season.
- Tim Mayza touched 95, working more around 92 in a good extended relief outing following Harris. He used a similar formula, not overpowering but managing contact.
- Conor Fisk continued to dominate the FSL. Apparently, he was using a "hard" slider to great effect in this one.
- Justin Maese had a decent start, though overshadowed by the others above. He got a good number of ground balls, but was squared up hard on most of the hits. His strikethrowing fell off towards the end of his outing. Fastball was 91-94, with a high 80s slider
- Let's just underline how dominant Romano and Borucki were: 18 swinging strike apiece, 58% and 51% contact rates respectively. That's ridiculous.
- Tom Robson's line look ugly, but his outing was going reasonably well until his 3rd inning of work, when he walked three. Fastball was 92-94 on the stadium gun, which apparently was accurate.
- Your author may or may not have conked out and missed most of T.J. Zeuch's last start, and doesn't have anything to add contextually to a very good line - other than that &&% ground ball mark may be inflated by the stringer in Vancouver who rarely enters line drives.
- Zach Jackson had a successful outing, though the only velocity reading was at 90, so it seems the inconsistency from outing-to-outing continues.