James Paxton made his third start since returning from the DL yesterday, and he continues to look like a different pitcher on the mound. Paxton went 6 innings, allowing 8 hits, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, and 6 K in the Generals 6-1 win over Tennessee. He now has allowed just 2 walks in 14.1 innings since his return. Compare that to the 5 walks he had in 2.2 innings before hitting the DL, or the 23 walks he had in 46.1 innings for the season before hitting the DL and you'll see how surprising this change is.
And he's doing it without losing much in the way of strikeouts, though he's given up more hits. Batters are hitting .296 off of Paxton in July and he has allowed considerably more flyouts than groundouts. In order to be successful, Paxton will have to find a balance between getting strikeouts without allowing walks, but also not throwing it right down the zone to allow more hits and to not have those hits go into the air more often than they stay on the ground. Oh, the trials and tribulations of being a starting pitcher.
Still, the southpaw will be more successful in Safeco as a strikeout/flyout pitcher than as a strikeout/walk/walk/walk/walk pitcher.
Joe Dunigan was 2-for-4 with 2 HR, and he now has 18 home runs on the season. Stefen Romero was 2-for-5 with a HR and 3 RBI, and Chih-Hsien Chiang was also 2-for-5 with a home run.
Anthony Fernandez, who is 4-0 in four starts with Jackson, makes the start tonight.