Alex Meyer's dad, David, is in Alex's estimation "a road warrior." The elder Meyer has driven from Indiana to see his son pitch three times already this year, including Monday night.
If his son strings together a few more outings like his last two, Dad might need to learn the roads toward Minneapolis sometime soon.
The Twins' No. 3 prospect tied a career high with 11 strikeouts for the second straight start. In the process, he picked up his first victory in five attempts for Triple-A Rochester, a 1-0 shutout of Charlotte in International League action.
Meyer allowed two hits and walked three over six innings. He slimmed his ERA to 2.70 less than a week after a breakout performance at Pawtucket, in which he struck out 11 while breaking in a new changeup.
The Red Wings hurler used the changeup again Monday, though with a little less success. He filled that gap with his plus breaking ball, racking up most of his eight looking strikeouts with knee-buckling benders.
"I still used the change, but not as much," Meyer said. "They weren't swinging at it as much as they did last week. I went with the curve a lot tonight. I was throwing it off the fastball, and it was good.
"I feel like at Pawtucket, I really got [the curve] going. I was getting strikeouts with it there, and that carried over from there to tonight."
Meyer's consecutive gems came after one of his worst performances in pro ball, when he allowed five earned runs and walked four over 3 2/3 innings at Syracuse on April 18.
"The start against Syracuse, nobody would be happy throwing like that," Meyer said. "I didn't go out that night and put my team in a position to win from the get-go."
The hurler went to work with Rochester pitching coach Marty Mason, sharpening his fastball command and curveball while tinkering with a new changeup grip learned from teammates Deolis Guerra and Yohan Pino.
Meyer used the new three-finger change 15 times in the Pawtucket game, utilizing that and his fastball to set up his curve. He tried repeating the recipe early against Charlotte, but when the Knights held off the change, he stuck mostly with fastball-curveball in large part because it worked.
The hurler spoke after the Pawtucket game about the confidence he discovered during that outing and said carrying that over to Monday was a big part of his success.
"I didn't want to change anything," he said. "Just keep the same mind-set of attacking guys and making them beat me."
Having his father in the stands was just icing on the cake. David Meyer attended Alex's first two starts, but missed the lackluster outing at Syracuse and the rebound performance at Pawtucket. He traveled roughly 8 1/2 hours from Greensburg, Indiana, on Monday to see his son pitch and will head home early Tuesday with hopes of returning to work by lunch time.
Meyer's dad attended all but one of his college starts at Kentucky, which is a two-hour drive from Greensburg. The one start he did miss wasn't for lack of effort but rather a misstep in travel planning.
"My mom had set up his flight for him, and when he showed up at the airport, they told him his flight had left two weeks ago," Meyer said. "She'd bought the tickets for the wrong date, so he didn't get out to San Diego."
Meyer's mother, Sandy, doesn't travel to see her son as much as David does, but still pays close attention to Alex's performances.
"I always talk to my mom before I come to the field," Meyer said. "She always has words of advice, is telling me what to do. I always have to hear what Mom has to say. I know she's probably upset she can't be here, but I'm sure she gets worked up watching on the computer."
It may not be long until Sandy and David get to travel together to a big league stadium to see their son pitch, particularly with Monday's outing coming with Minnesota assistant general manager Rob Antony in attendance. Meyer said he knew Antony was there, but tried not to let his presence affect his performance.
"I saw him yesterday and was able to say hello," Meyer said. "When you're out there, you try not to think of it. Those guys are there almost every night and they have video too. There's always something to go back to. They get reports from our manager.
"You just try not to change anything. It is always good to throw well in front of them. I was lucky tonight to have a good one."