With one of the liveliest arms in Minor League Baseball, Enny Romero boasts all the tools to put together a dominant night on the mound. When it all came together Thursday, his manager couldn't have been more pleased.
The Rays' No. 6 prospect allowed just one hit over six innings in his first scoreless outing of the season as Triple-A Durham earned a doubleheader split with Buffalo with a 1-0 win in the nightcap.
"That was fun to watch," Bulls manager Charlie Montoyo said. "That was his best outing to date. That was very good. His fastball was 98, 97, 96 (mph), and he hasn't been there all year because he's been trying to aim the ball a little bit. Today, he was just letting it go and his breaking balls were good. He was fun to watch. That's the Enny Romero that I know he can be."
Romero pitched with limited traffic on the basepaths. The lefty walked Jared Goedert in the second inning and pitched around Darin Mastroianni's two-out infield single in the third. He issued a free pass again to Goedert to lead off the fifth, then retired nine of the final 10 batters he faced.
"That's the one thing about prospects, sometimes you think, 'Oh man, this guy can get it. The sky's the limit.' Today, he did it," Montoyo said. "He had all his pitches. The first three or four innings, he was going at them with fastballs. The last two innings, he was mixing it up, so they had no idea what was coming."
In addition to his supercharged fastball, Romero delivered an effective spread of breaking pitches after his first trip through the Bisons order.
"After the third inning, he knew he had all his pitches," Montoyo said. "He knew he had the fastball. He knew he was throwing his breaking pitches for strikes. I'm really happy for Enny, because he needed an outing like that."
The 23-year-old had allowed three runs in each of his last two starts entering Thursday night in the midst of one of his best stretches of the season. After going 3-10 with a 5.62 ERA in 17 starts before the Triple-A All-Star Break, the Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic native improved to a 2-1 record with a 2.78 ERA in his last four.
"It was huge for him to have an outing like that," Montoyo said. "I'm hoping he can keep it going like that. He knows that he doesn't have to aim. If he can throw like he did tonight, he's going to be tough to hit."
Nick Franklin's cracked a solo home run in the sixth. The blast was Franklin's first with Durham since being traded to Tampa Bay as part of the three-team deal that sent Cy Young Award winner David Price to Detroit.
Josh Lueke allowed a hit and struck out one in the final frame to pick up his eighth save.
Buffalo's Kendall Graveman (0-2) allowed a run on three hits while striking out four and walking two over six innings.
Durham lost the opener, 5-1.