The minor league season is a long grind, especially for players who haven't been through it before. The grind looked like it might have been getting the better of Brewers righty Jake Odorizzi. That is, until the 20-year-old fought back in a big way on Tuesday, throwing eight no-hit innings as part of a combined no-hitter against Cedar Rapids.
Odorizzi, who's traversing his first year in a full-season league with low Class A Wisconsin, was 6-1, 2.98 through the end of July, but August had been a different story. Having thrown 90 2/3 innings to that point, he'd already easily surpassed his career total from his first two seasons (68), during which the Brewers had kept him in Rookie-ball after making him a supplemental first-round pick in 2008. In his first three August starts, Odorizzi gave up 13 earned runs on 21 hits in 17 1/3 innings. He also struck out just nine hitters during that stretch, easily his worst of the year.
The last of those three starts was against none other than Cedar Rapids, who touched Odorizzi up for a season-high six runs (all earned) on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings. Given another crack at the Kernels Tuesday night, Odorizzi found his grove again, mixing all four of his pitches, led by his low 90s fastball and plus curveball, to baffle Cedar Rapids' hitters for eight innings. He struck out 10 and allowed just three baserunners—on an error, a hit-by-pitch and a walk. He was removed after eight innings having thrown 118 pitches.
“I was fired up at the moment,” Odorizzi told the Cedar Rapids Gazette about being pulled. “Wasn’t too happy about it then they told me how many pitches I had. You just have to let it go. Your career is more important than just one game.”
Righthander Adrian Rosario came in for the ninth and pitched around a one-out walk to finish the no-hitter, striking out Kernels first baseman Jose Jimenez to end it. The no-hitter was the fourth in the Midwest League this year, though just the second that went the full nine innings. Three Cedar Rapids pitchers combined on a nine-inning no-hitter against Kane County on April 30. You'd have to go back to June 30, 2004, when Burlington's Chris Coughlin threw a perfect game, to find the last solo nine-inning no-hitter by a MWL pitcher.
Two Of A Kind
Brian Peacock is still looking for his first professional win, but he can still say he was part of a little history on Tuesday. The 20-year-old lefthander with Rookie-level Idaho Falls threw the first seven-innings of the minors' second no-hitter on Tuesday night. Like Odorizzi, Peacock's fortunes hadn't been going well lately. A 31st round pick in 2009, Peacock started the year in the Chukars' bullpen but moved to the rotation in late July. The move hadn't taken so far, as he was 0-4, 7.71 through his first six starts.
Peacock's not going to blow his fastball by hitters, as it resides mostly in the upper 80s, but he has a good curveball and he settled in quickly against the Osprey. Pounding the bottom of the zone, he retired the first 16 batters he faced before an error allowed one to reach in the sixth. He issued a leadoff walk in the seventh, but that runner was promptly thrown out trying to steal second. Peacock finished the frame and was taken out of the game having faced only one hitter over the minimum over his seven innings. He struck out eight, a season-high.
Righthanders Jason Mitchell and Alex Rivers pitched the eighth and ninth innings, respectively. Despite his fine effort, Peacock didn't get a win to show for it as the game remained scoreless until the Chukars pushed across three runs in the bottom of the eighth.
• Tuesday wasn't completely void of noteworthy hitting performances. Leading the way was Triple-A Pawtucket outfielder Josh Reddick, who went 5-for-5 with a home run against Buffalo, continuing his late-season assault on International League pitching. The 23-year-old is hitting .370/.398/.638 in 127 at-bats since the Triple-A all-star break in July.
"Guys like him realize they're one turn away. If they get hot and something good happens, they have a chance to get called up," Pawtucket manager Torey Lovullo told the Buffalo News. "He was a classic case of that last send-down in spring training … he comes down and thinks it's going to be an easy road for him. But it's not really paved yet at Triple-A."
• Cubs righthander Chris Carpenter made his Triple-A debut with Iowa last night but was greeted rudely, giving up a two-run home run to Nashville third baseman Mat Gamel in the first inning. Carpenter, who was 8-6, 3.16 with Double-A Tennessee, went on to give up three runs (all earned) on seven hits in three innings of work. He struck out four, walked four and didn't figure in the decision.
The homer was Gamel's 13th of the year and he went on to finish the night 2-for-4. After missing the first two months of the season with a shoulder injury, Gamel's been coming on strong over the last few weeks. He's hitting .393/.453/.702 in 84 August at-bats and .322/.396/.536 in 289 at-bats for the year. On the other hand, his defense has still been a sore point, as he's made 15 errors in 67 games at third base and has started seeing some action in right field and first base.
• Sinkerballing righthander Zach McAllister made his Indians organizational debut with Triple-A Columbus Tuesday night. McAllister, 22, came over as the player-to-be-named from the Yankees in their deal for Austin Kearns. Making his first start as a Clipper, McAllister, gave up five runs on four hits in six innings, striking out five. McAllister took the loss, dropping to 8-11, 5.19 for the year.
On the other side, Toledo lefty Andy Oliver posted his best Triple-A start, striking out 10 over 6 2/3 innings while allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits. Oliver improved to 2-3, 3.29 in 41 Triple-A innings.
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