Sunday, May 1, 2011

Drew Pomeranz tests hamstring in first start since tweak

Cleveland Indians 2009 #1 pick Alex White rightfully garnered much of the attention of most Indians fans yesterday as he made his first start with the big league Indians, some of that focus will shift to the Tribe's 2010 #1 pick, Drew Pomeranz.

While White was still pitching for Columbus, there seemed to be a growing sentiment that he wasn't the top pitching prospect in the organization.  Many were pointing to Pomeranz, whose first two starts were nearly perfect.  Pomeranz suffered a bit of a hiccup in his third start, giving up three runs while pitching with a tight hamstring.

Pomeranz' injury came in an evening start in Salem, Delaware.  The temperature never went above 60 degrees, and the big lefty found himself sitting a bit longer than normal prior to making his first pitch.  He had warmed up as he normally does prior to the game, but when the K-Tribe offense made a bit of noise in the first, Pomeranz admittedly tightened up.  Instead of stretching, and perhaps warming up a bit prior to taking the mound, he went out cold.  Pomeranz tweaked the leg facing off against Salem's lead-off hitter, Peter Hissey.  Ironically enough, the tweak came on the pitch struck out Hissey.  From that point on, he pitched a different game, even while pitching a solid game.

Pomeranz would give up his first professional homer in the next inning, but other than a visit to the mound from the trainer and manager Aaron Holbert, it was hard to see that Pomeranz was even hurt.  He struck out the first two batters that he face in a perfect first inning.  In the third, after giving up his first professional home run in the second, he pitched out a bit of adversity.  Hissey would hit a one-out double, then steal third.  With his back to the wall, Pomeranz did what he does best...he struck out the next two batters to get out of the jam.

Pomeranz would take himself out of the game, fearing that the hamstring would cause his delivery to change, which in turn could hurt his shoulder.  It's good to know that this kid gets it early on.

Pomeranz admittedly had quickened his delivery in his prior start against Wilmington, which kept his fastball from getting in on right-handed hitters.  While his overpowering fastball is generally too much for the high A hitters, if you throw enough over the plate, sooner or later someone's going to hit it. He gave up three runs during that outing, by far the most of in his first four starts of the season, but had figured how to slow down his delivery.  Then came the injury.
“That’s the way it works, right?” Pomeranz said. “I feel the best I’ve felt in a month and a half, two months. And the third pitch — perfect pitch, curveball — and it does that. I was like, ‘Aw, come on!’ ”

Overall, Pomeranz is 0-0 with a 2.00 ERA.  He's gone 18 total innings, while striking out 27.  He's walked a grand total of five batters.  He's equally tough against righties as he is lefties.  Left-handed hitters are hitting .167 against him, while right-handers are hitting .143.

Today, Pomeranz should be able to pitch on a more normal count, and continue his ascension through the Tribe's minor league system.  As he continues to pitch well, the comparisons with White will surely continue.  Who's better?  I'm sure if you talked with Drew, he'd immediately point to the fact that White has been with the organization for over a year, and has already pitched in the majors.  Of course, that doesn't mean the debate won't rage on.

White piggy-backed with Nick Hagadone during his run with Kinston last season.  He went 2-3 with a 2.86 ERA in 44 innings of work.  He struck out an impressive 41 batters, while walking only 19.  Opposing batters hit only .204 against him, which was third in the league.  White was bumped up to Akron during the third week of May.

Pomeranz enters May without nearly as many innings.  The other numbers not only stand up to White's, but are a bit better early on.  With the organizational pitching shuffling around because of injuries to Mitch Talbot and Carlos Carrasco, Pomeranz may have an opportunity to move up soon.  Will it be before White's late April call-up from a year ago, or will the Tribe brass give Pomeranz a few more starts because of the depth of pitching?

As far as the debate goes, does it really matter?  At the end of the day, these two impressive starters aren't going to be facing off in a steel cage match.  Instead, they'll be facing off against opposing major league hitters, as two aces for your Cleveland Indians.

No comments:

Post a Comment