As a first-round pick out of college pitching in the low Class A Midwest League, righthander Chad Jenkins ought to have been able to dominate his younger competition. Instead, Jenkins was good but not great for Lansing, going 5-4, 3.63 in 79 innings. His control was excellent, as he walked just 13 hitters in 13 starts. But his other numbers were fairly ordinary. He gave up 87 hits for a .277 opponent average and struck out just 7.26 batters per nine innings. Again, good numbers, but a little less than you'd expect from a 22-year-old with a low 90s fastball and the makings of a plus slider pitching in the Midwest League.
The Blue Jays promoted Jenkins to high Class A Dunedin for the second half, and he debuted there last Thursday, giving up six runs (three earned) on seven hits in six innings in a loss to Daytona. Back on the mound last night against Clearwater, Jenkins turned in one of his best starts of the season. He tossed seven innings and gave up just a run on five hits to pick up his first FSL win. It'll go in the books as a complete game, as well, since the contest was shortened to seven innings by rain. Jenkins fanned five and induced 13 groundouts, another thing he's been doing well—he put up a 1.72 groundout-to-flyout ratio with Lansing.
Ups And Downs For Matzek
Tyler Matzek has some of the best stuff you'll find in a teenage pitcher, with a fastball that's reached the upper 90s and a true four-pitch arsenal with his curveball, slider and changeup. Not surprisingly then, the lefthander has fanned 39 hitters in 35 innings since joining low Class A Asheville in late May. For the most part, the only person that's been able to slow Matzek down has been himself. He handed out 24 walks over his seven starts, and in his previous start, he tossed 5 2/3 no-hit innings while walking five. The walks are a big reason that three of his first six starts lasted fewer than five innings.
Matzek was at it again last night against Kannapolis, striking out seven over 5 2/3 innings but also issuing three walks. He gave up three runs on five hits as well, both of which matched season highs. He had to work hard most of the night, retiring the side in order only once. But when that's one of his worst outings of the season, you know there hasn't been too much to complain about so far.
Heredia Getting On Track
Righthander Jairo Heredia helped low Class A Charleston snap a nine-game losing streak with six strong innings against Augusta. He's no stranger to the South Atlantic League. Heredia spent the entire 2008 season with Charleston and then made four starts there in an injury-shortened ’09 season. He didn't fare much better in his first four starts with the RiverDogs this season, going 1-1, 6.17, after being demoted from high Class A Tampa, where he was 0-6, 6.93 in 24 2/3 innings. But Heredia has turned things around lately. He's given up just three runs over his last 18 2/3 innings, covering four starts. He gave up only one run on three hits over six innings last night, fanning seven and walking two. Heredia's still only 20 years old, so there's still plenty of time for him to re-establish his prospect status if he keeps producing at this rate.
Line Of The Night
Some lines in the box score simply jump out, for good reasons or bad. Triple-A Charlotte righthander Clevelan Santeliz falls into the latter category. The 23-year-old hadn't allowed more than two runs or three hits in any of his first 19 appearances before he entered the Knights' game with Norfolk last night in the seventh inning. But he allowed the first five men he faced to reach base, punctuated by his giving up a grand slam to Tides third baseman Josh Bell—Bell's 10th homer of the year and second of the game. Santeliz came back out for the eighth and gave up two more runs, finishing with a line of 1 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 2 BB, 0 SO. As is the danger for relievers, the one bad outing spiked his ERA from 3.81 to 6.00.
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