When everything is right with his command, Matt Wisler can be one of the more fun pitchers to watch. And he was in command on Friday night.
The Padres' third-ranked prospect recorded a career-high 10 strikeouts and gave up three hits over seven shutout frames, but Double-A San Antonio lost to Midland, 2-0, in 11 innings.
Wisler did not walk a batter and yielded only three singles. No batter reached second base against him until Miles Head and Colin Walsh singled in the sixth. Wisler ended his night in style, striking out the side on 15 pitches in the seventh.
"The first couple of innings I was feeling everything out," the 21-year-old right-hander said. "The third or fourth, everything started clicking. I think I struck out all but one on my slider. The strikeout pitch was definitely the slider, and getting ahead with the fastball was big for me."
The outing proved to be a milestone in more ways than one for Wisler, who eclipsed his previous career high of nine strikeouts, set on Aug. 11, 2012 with Class A Fort Wayne. It was also marked the second time in his career that the Ohio native has pitched seven innings and the first since last May 23.
"That was cool," Wisler said. "I've never reached double digits and it's the longest I've gone this year. It was cool to strike out the side in the seventh. I felt really good, in command that inning."
While he's generally been solid this year, the 2011 seventh-round Draft pick struggled a bit in his last outing, allowing three runs on six hits over five innings on April 20 against the same RockHounds.
"Fastball command [was the difference]," Wisler said. "I've struggled with that all year. I've gotten away with that a little more than I should have. That's the biggest thing for me right now, is just consistency in my fastball command."
The Ohio native spent most of last season in the Texas League, where he was 8-5 with a 3.00 ERA in 20 starts. That experience has helped him this year -- he leads the circuit with 30 strikeouts and ranks ninth with a 2.16 ERA.
"It was huge," MLB.com's No. 75 overall prospect said. "I felt really comfortable coming back to this league. I know some of the hitters who are back here. I feel really comfortable, I know the coaches really well. I feel good -- good teammates, everything feels good here."
Midland starter Drew Granier nearly matched Wisler, giving up three hits over six scoreless innings. Murphy Smith (1-0) tossed four hitless frames for the win and Seth Frankoff worked around a hit in the 11th for his fourth save.
Two relievers kept the Missions' shutout intact until Dusty Coleman delivered a two-out, two-run double in the 11th.