Bullpen pitches in to support Meyer's strong start
Four relievers combine for 4 2/3 hitless innings to complete Glendale's shutout
After battling through some shaky fastball command in the first two innings Wednesday, right-hander Alex Meyer settled into the game. Soon, he found himself cruising through the Peoria lineup in his best start in the Arizona Fall League.
Meyer threw 4 1/3 scoreless innings and Glendale defeated Peoria, 4-0, at Cambelback Ranch-Glendale. The victory snapped the Desert Dogs' four-game losing streak.
Meyer admitted he didn't have his best command against the Javelinas. Despite that, he allowed just three hits and struck out three batters. Meyer said his curveball was the key to his success Wednesday.
"I was out there battling at the beginning," Meyer said. "I was able to start finding a groove in the middle innings. Whenever I felt out of whack, I was able to go to the curveball."
Meyer, who is ranked No. 31 on MLB.com's Top 100 prospect list, is in the AFL in part to make up for innings he lost due to a shoulder injury this summer. The Twins have been careful with their prized prospect since he returned to action in August.
Wednesday's outing was the deepest Meyer went in a game this fall. He threw 70 pitches and said he felt good when he went out for the fifth inning.
"I thought I had a lot left in me," Meyer said. "After the high pitch count in the [second] inning, I was able to bounce back and get through it and finish with a pretty good day. Now I have to build off this and be ready for next time."
Four Desert Dogs relievers combined for 4 2/3 no-hit innings to complete the shutout. Through 12 games, Glendale already has three shutouts. The AFL record is six, set by Scottsdale in 1998.
Center fielder Delino DeShields had two of the Javelinas' three hits. The Astros' No. 7 prospect went 2-for-4 to raise his average to .324.
While Meyer stymied Peoria, Glendale's offense went to work against right-hander Johnny Barbato. He gave up four runs on six hits in 3 1/3 innings.
Third baseman Colin Moran gave the Desert Dogs the lead in the first inning with a two-run single. They added to the lead in the fourth inning thanks to an RBI double by designated hitter Brandon Jacobs. He eventually scored on a sacrifice fly to increase Glendale's lead to four runs.
With Meyer on the mound, it was all the offense the Desert Dogs needed.
Meyer said the AFL is challenging him every time he takes the mound. Though he has been one of the best pitchers in the league so far, striking out 12 batters in 12 1/3 innings and posting a 2.92 ERA, it hasn't been easy.
"These are the best hitters I've ever faced night in night out," Meyer said. "It's really forcing me to learn how to pitch, even when I don't have my best stuff. Because these lineups are good, but big league lineups will be even better."