Atkins pitches well by throwing strikes -- amazing
It would be real easy to hammer the offense again -- 12 hits and just two runs; 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and now 0-for-10 in this series -- but it’s late and I’ll end this night on a positive note.
Mitch Atkins, in his first major league start, his first Orioles game and eighth major league appearance, pitched well against a great Texas Rangers lineup.
He was hitting only the low 90s with his fastball. So how did he do it?
It’s a crazy, novel formula that may be new to all of you:
He threw strikes: 58 in 90 pitches. He didn’t walk a guy. He kept attacking the strike zone, and the Rangers kept beating his cutter into the ground or popping his fastball in the air.
“I have got a few pitches I can throw in different counts and I trust in my catcher and what he put down, and that really helped,” said Atkins, who allowed two or fewer walks in six of his eight Triple-A starts this year.
I’m not sure whether Atkins can keep another good offense -- like the Boston Red Sox's if he gets another start on this road trip -- at bay. His margin for error looks pretty small. But you have to be impressed with the way he pitched, especially after not throwing at all this spring because of an oblique injury.
Here is Showalter’s take on the 25-year-old’s start:
“I'll take a little breath at some point and realize what a nice night it was for a young man to come over to a new organization at 25, battled his way back from a few injuries to make starts at three different places and have it kind of get to this point where he can get some return at this point. I know the long face he had during the spring when he just couldn't show us what he was capable of doing. He's battled through this whole season and gave us a good chance to win. We are all frustrated that we weren't able to cash it in for him.”