In the best games of the young season, the Clearwater Threshers shutout the Florida Fire Frogs 1-0, last night at Spectrum Field. The Threshers starter, Spencer Howard, went 5.2 inning striking out a career high 11. Nick Maton provided the offense when he drove-in the only run in the game with a double in the sixth inning. Then, Jonathan Hennigan came on in the eight and ninth with a two-inning save.
Howard had the best stuff of his three starts this season. He relied on a mix of his fastballs early in the game and his off-speed stuff later. He struck out two batters each in the first four innings and struck out the side in the fifth. Early on Howard was overpowering with excellent command. He did not walk a batter in his 5.2 innings and allowed only four hits.
He left with two outs in the sixth with no score in the game after giving up what sounded like a broken bat single to right. He had reached 84 on his pitch count. Read HERE. Grant Dyer came on and retired the final batter in the inning.
Our highlight of Howard’s outing was when he registered his first strikeout in the first inning on a 76 mph fastball and came back to pick up another strikeout a with 99 mph fastball in the second inning. His range in velocity was the widest I have ever seen from one inning to the next on the Spectrum Field scoreboard since the pitch speed was added several years ago. Watch his 11 strike threes HERE.
In the bottom half of the sixth inning, Threshers third baseman, Nick Maton drove-in the only run of the game with a double to right-center with runners at first and second. Maton is Mr. RISP. He is now hitting 9 for 14 (.643) in the early going with runners in scoring position. Watch HERE.
Lefty, Jonathan Hennigan is emerging as the top closer for the Threshers. Only a “hit by pitch” batter marred his four strikeout, two innings of work for the save. He is now three for three in save opportunities. Watch his two strikeouts in the ninth, HERE.
Tuesday night’s game was the best Threshers game of the season. Nothing beats watching a 1-0 shutout win built around an eleven strikeout performance by the starter, an RBI double by a batter hitting over .60o with RISP and a two-inning save by the closer! Watch the last out of the game HERE.