|© 2009 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.|
Saving his best for last11/15/2005 1:55 AM ET
By Tim Leonard / MLB.com
The numbers were startling. As well as Jose Arredondo had pitched in the final month of the regular season, the two starts he made in the Pioneer League playoffs demonstrated the kind of dominance every pitcher hopes to achieve.
The right-hander showed a great sense of timing in having his best starts of the year in the playoffs. And after leading the Orem Owlz to the Pioneer League championship, Arredondo was named the winner of the MiLB.com Short-Season Playoff Performance Award.
Arredondo had what likely was the best start of his life in Game 1 of the Division Series against Ogden. He struck out a season-high 13 and walked only one, yielding an unearned run on two hits over eight innings -- his longest outing of the year.
"I was ready to throw until my arm fell off," Arredondo said in a phone interview from his home in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic. "You have to go all-out. It's the playoffs."
Arredondo's previous highs were nine strikeouts and 6 2/3 innings, both accomplished in an Aug. 30 start against Casper. That was his only victory in six August starts, not that he didn't pitch well enough to win. Arredondo had given up just one run in each of his three previous starts before the Aug. 30 gem.
The 21-year-old struggled early in the season, allowing seven runs over 2 1/3 innings on July 12 against Missoula and surrendering five runs -- four earned -- in 3 1/3 innings in his next start against Casper. He found his groove in an Aug. 12 outing against Great Falls, giving up one run on three hits with seven strikeouts.
Arredondo's second postseason start came in the title-clinching game against Helena, as Orem went on to a 3-2 win and a sweep of the best-of-three series. He didn't get the win but worked seven innings and allowed one run on two hits. Arredondo handcuffed the Pioneer League's best offense, striking out eight and walking three.
In two playoff starts, he was reached for only one earned run and four hits over 15 innings for a 0.60 ERA. The non-drafted free agent struck out 21 and walked only four.
"There was a lot of pressure, but I just put my trust in God and it all turned out really well," Arredondo said.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.