Tuesday, August 13 - Augusta 2, Greenville 0
The GreenJackets got a return start from Martin Agosta, and it was a good one.
Agosta threw three hitless innings with one walk and four strikeouts. He threw primarily fastballs in the low-90s with some tail, mixing in a few sliders with inconsistent feel. His command was shaky in the first, and the one slider he threw in the inning was left up and arm-side. But he regained the feel for his pitches in the second and third, throwing quality fastballs and showing the ability to work up in the zone with it, while also spinning three or four quality sliders.
Agosta reached his 50-pitch limit after three innings and was pulled. Initially, I feared a possible return of his blister that kept him out since July 21, but manager Mike Goff confirmed Agosta felt fine after the outing and it was strictly for pitch count that he was pulled.
GreenJackets reliever Ian Gardeck was again very impressive, throwing four scoreless innings with two strikeouts. Gardeck worked primarily fastballs in the mid-90s with tailing and downing action, getting good plane and staying on top of the pitch well. Gardeck has been very impressive over the past few weeks, and Goff echoed this after the game.
Steven Okert also threw a solid two innings. He didn't have strikeout stuff, but he kept the fastball in the zone and commanded it well, avoiding hard contact.
Getting Agosta back is huge for the GreenJackets after Joan Gregorio went down with a blister of his own. Agosta looked very good in his three innings, and as he works back to full starts, that could be big for the GreenJackets down the stretch. More importantly, it's big for Agosta's development to have a strong finish after sitting out for an extended period more than once this season.
Greenville's Brian Johnson was also impressive in seven innings of work, allowing one run on four hits with no walks and six strikeouts. He didn't get a lot of swinging strikes and was neutral between ground balls and fly balls, but he avoided hard contact and kept Augusta hitters off-balance all night.
Johnson worked low-90s with a fastball spotted well to both sides of the plate. It became a trend for the left-hander, as he showed the ability to command four pitches well. His curveball was excellent, spinning it to the back door on right-handed hitters for the most part, but also burying a few on shoetops. The pitch had tight spin and good break in the high-70s, and it has plus potential.
Johnson's changeup was equally impressive, although he didn't throw it as much as I expected. He threw a plus offering to strike out Mitch Delfino in the first and threw a few more of quality, showing good arm-side fade and separation. The pitch is made better by Johnson's deception, which also helps get his otherwise average fastball on top of hitters quicker than they expect. He hides the ball well.
Johnson didn't throw many sliders, but the pitch flashed average with good spin and break. It's a good change of pace from the curveball and offers a third look off the fastball.
Overall, I support the No. 3 ceiling I often see on Johnson's reports. He's a polished left-hander with four pitches he can command well to both sides, he repeats his delivery extremely well, and he gets the most out of his stuff. He has the body and mechanics for 200 innings, and he's not a one-trick pony after the fastball. His changeup and curveball are both excellent secondary offerings.
Notable Augusta lines:
Martin Agosta: 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K
Ian Gardeck: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K
Trevor Brown: 2-4, RBI
Chuckie Jones: 2-3, 2B, RBI
Notable Greenville lines:
Brian Johnson: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K