GJ Rockies’ pitchers learning their roles

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There’s a reason why, when you score a baseball game, the pitcher is position 1.

It all starts with the guy on the bump.

In the span of seven games, the Grand Junction Rockies’ pitchers have, for the most part, figured out it all starts with them.

Keep the ball down, throw strikes and let your fielders do the work. You don’t have to strike everybody out.

For Sunday’s starter, Alving Mejias, it came down to becoming a stand-up guy.

“Compared to my last start to this one, I was working on standing a little taller and throwing the ball more in front, and that’s what I did today,” he said.

In his first start Tuesday at Ogden, Utah, Mejias lasted only 3 2/3 innings, allowing six runs on 10 hits. He walked two and struck out three. Sunday, he went 4 1/3 innings, allowed two runs on four hits, walked two and struck out four.

He still fell behind in the count too often, which is why he didn’t pitch deeper in the game, manager Tony Diaz said, but progress was made.

“There was improvement. His only blemish was he went deep in counts,” Diaz said. “He got ahead, but then he got behind. It caused him to come out of the game earlier, but his outing gave us a chance.”

Mejias said he felt more confident on the mound.

“The first night I was excited,” he said. “This time I kept within myself and was more confident.”

Pitching coach Ryan Kibler has seen his staff show marked improvement in only two weeks.

“I’m seeing everybody as a whole getting more comfortable with their surroundings and the atmosphere, the day-to-day process of what we’re going to do to get better,” Kibler said. “That just builds confidence, that confidence to throw the ball over the plate and trust their stuff. They’ve got good stuff.”

Sometimes too good. Young pitchers try to do a little too much, and they wind up in trouble. It happened early to Mejias, but he’s starting to figure it out.

“He stuck with that adjustment today and sometimes he tries to do too much,” Kibler said. “I’m tired of him getting ahead of a guy 0-1 and you look at the scoreboard and he’s down 2-1 (in the count). That’s just him trying to do too much.

“He needs to (think), ‘I’m going to keep attacking this guy, get contact with the second pitch and let my defense work for me.’ That’s something he has to realize will make him better.”

Tonight’s starter, Johendi Jiminian, made his first start in the United States last week and struggled from the get-go, walking six in three innings. Kibler is confident Jiminian, who has been dealing with blisters on the two middle fingers of his pitching hand, will be better tonight.

“He had callouses that didn’t callous really well, and now they’ve turned into blisters, with the skin rolling up over his fingernail,” Kibler said. “Hopefully he’ll be more comfortable (tonight), he’ll know what to expect. He’s got some of the best stuff of anybody in this league.”

Acrylic fingernails are helping prevent the skin on Jiminian’s fingers from rolling over his natural fingernails, which were too short.

Hey, whatever works.

The Rockies’ walks-to-strikeouts ratio is getting back in line.

In their first three games, all losses, the Rockies pitchers walked 22 and struck out 18, including the 14-walk, four-strikeout meltdown in the series finale at Ogden, a 13-4 loss.

The past four games (a 3-1 record), they’ve struck out 27 and walked 13.

“We use those bad results from early on last week,” Kibler said. “You’ve got walks and you’re getting behind hitters, look at the result at the end of the night: 13 runs and we’re getting beat.”

They left Odgen and turned it around at Idaho Falls.

“That three-game win streak right there, we were getting ahead of hitters, the walks are cut in half and show them the results at the end of the night, and we’ve got wins,” Kibler said.

“I’d like to think that’s clicking, and they’re recognizing, ‘You know what, we’re onto something around here without the walks and (if) we’re getting ahead of hitters.’ That wins ballgames and creates some success.”

There’s a reason why, when you score a baseball game, the pitcher is position 1.

It all starts with the guy on the bump.

In the span of seven games, the Grand Junction Rockies’ pitchers have, for the most part, figured out it all starts with them.

Keep the ball down, throw strikes and let your fielders do the work. You don’t have to strike everybody out.

For Sunday’s starter, Alving Mejias, it came down to becoming a stand-up guy.

“Compared to my last start to this one, I was working on standing a little taller and throwing the ball more in front, and that’s what I did today,” he said.

In his first start Tuesday at Ogden, Utah, Mejias lasted only 3 2/3 innings, allowing six runs on 10 hits. He walked two and struck out three. Sunday, he went 4 1/3 innings, allowed two runs on four hits, walked two and struck out four.

He still fell behind in the count too often, which is why he didn’t pitch deeper in the game, manager Tony Diaz said, but progress was made.

“There was improvement. His only blemish was he went deep in counts,” Diaz said. “He got ahead, but then he got behind. It caused him to come out of the game earlier, but his outing gave us a chance.”

Mejias said he felt more confident on the mound.

“The first night I was excited,” he said. “This time I kept within myself and was more confident.”

Pitching coach Ryan Kibler has seen his staff show marked improvement in only two weeks.

“I’m seeing everybody as a whole getting more comfortable with their surroundings and the atmosphere, the day-to-day process of what we’re going to do to get better,” Kibler said. “That just builds confidence, that confidence to throw the ball over the plate and trust their stuff. They’ve got good stuff.”

Sometimes too good. Young pitchers try to do a little too much, and they wind up in trouble. It happened early to Mejias, but he’s starting to figure it out.

“He stuck with that adjustment today and sometimes he tries to do too much,” Kibler said. “I’m tired of him getting ahead of a guy 0-1 and you look at the scoreboard and he’s down 2-1 (in the count). That’s just him trying to do too much.

“He needs to (think), ‘I’m going to keep attacking this guy, get contact with the second pitch and let my defense work for me.’ That’s something he has to realize will make him better.”

Tonight’s starter, Johendi Jiminian, made his first start in the United States last week and struggled from the get-go, walking six in three innings. Kibler is confident Jiminian, who has been dealing with blisters on the two middle fingers of his pitching hand, will be better tonight.

“He had callouses that didn’t callous really well, and now they’ve turned into blisters, with the skin rolling up over his fingernail,” Kibler said. “Hopefully he’ll be more comfortable (tonight), he’ll know what to expect. He’s got some of the best stuff of anybody in this league.”

Acrylic fingernails are helping prevent the skin on Jiminian’s fingers from rolling over his natural fingernails, which were too short.

Hey, whatever works.

The Rockies’ walks-to-strikeouts ratio is getting back in line.

In their first three games, all losses, the Rockies pitchers walked 22 and struck out 18, including the 14-walk, four-strikeout meltdown in the series finale at Ogden, a 13-4 loss.

The past four games (a 3-1 record), they’ve struck out 27 and walked 13.

“We use those bad results from early on last week,” Kibler said. “You’ve got walks and you’re getting behind hitters, look at the result at the end of the night: 13 runs and we’re getting beat.”

They left Odgen and turned it around at Idaho Falls.

“That three-game win streak right there, we were getting ahead of hitters, the walks are cut in half and show them the results at the end of the night, and we’ve got wins,” Kibler said.

“I’d like to think that’s clicking, and they’re recognizing, ‘You know what, we’re onto something around here without the walks and (if) we’re getting ahead of hitters.’ That wins ballgames and creates some success.”


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