Tuesday, July 30 - Augusta 2, Rome 1
One start is never enough to form an opinion on a pitcher, but the performance by Kendry Flores in this game went a long way toward rethinking my position on him.
Flores looked every bit as good, if not better, against left-handed batters as right-handed batters in this game, thanks to the best changeup I've seen from him this season. It showed excellent fade away from left-handed bats while also sinking down in the zone. It also had good separation and arm action. The pitch induced most of his swinging strikes early in the game.
Flores had a little extra on his fastball, as well, hitting 93-94 a few times, which is where he usually touches. The pitch jumps on hitters late with good movement, especially when it's sitting low-90s. Flores also had a solid cut fastball working around 88-89 that had good movement.
The way Flores worked against left-handed batters and used four pitches (breaking ball was pretty good in limited amounts) to his advantage is something I hadn't seen from him this season. I had held back on him as a projected starter down the road because of a lack of a third offering that could be major league quality, but if he can continue to throw his changeup with the sort of feel he had tonight, he's going places as a starting pitcher.
At the same time, I have to pump my brakes a little because it is one start, and he hasn't done this consistently over a full season yet. But it's certainly promising for Flores and the Giants.
Also promising is a 3-3 night from first baseman Joey Rapp, including his third home run of the season on a middle-in, 2-0 fastball by Braves starter Wes Parsons. Rapp broke a 0-10 skid with this game after going 12-26 in the seven games before that.
Mitch Delfino went 0-4 but hit two balls very hard to left field. Eliezer Zambrano picked up two singles and Trevor Brown doubled and scored a run.
Notable Augusta lines:
Kendry Flores: 7.1 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K, 7 swinging strikes, 8 ground balls, 7 fly balls, 2 line drives, 86 pitches
Joey Rapp: 3-3, HR, RBI
Eliezer Zambrano: 2-3
Notable Rome lines:
Wes Parsons: 7 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K
Edison Sanchez: 3-4, 2B, RBI