Dace Kime went into the season knowing that statistically, this might be a tough one for him. But it was all about the progress. As the summer winds down, that progress is starting to show in his stat lines.
The Indians prospect hurled six one-hit innings Wednesday night as Class A Lake County held on for a 1-0 victory at Bowling Green.
Kime yielded only a one-out single to Pat Blair in the second inning and faced three batters over the minimum in his 26th start for the Captains. He struck out three, walked one and recorded nine ground-ball outs.
"One of my main goals for this game was to really work on my fastball command." Kime said. "I really just went out and dominated with the fastball for the first four or five innings. I probably threw about 95 percent fastballs. Later on, I kind of decided to work some off-speed pitches for the first pitch. It was fun to pitch tonight.
"It went really well. I made some tiny mechanical changes my last three outings and it's really helped me keep the ball down and get some late life on the fastball. Even if I do make a mistake up in the zone, I have that life on it that I can blow it by guys. I was able to execute my pitches pretty well, move the ball in and out and keep it low and even elevate it some later in the counts. When you can do that, you're going to have a pretty successful day."
Kime (7-13) lowered his ERA to 4.85. While it might appear to be a tough year for the 22-year-old right-hander, he said it's been all about improving from the start of the season to the end.
"It's been more mentally tough than physically tough," Kime explained. "I went into the season not really focused on stats or numbers or anything like that, I knew I was tinkering on my mechanics. I really knew if I figured all that out and put everything together that everything would come along towards the end of this season. Here I am, the last three outings have been pretty good.
"[I've been] working with our pitching coach, Rigo Beltran, and our coordinators. They've been giving me suggestions on what I can do a little bit better and where I can improve. One of the biggest things for me is that I've been able to make those adjustments in the bullpens and then go out and compete. And luckily, things have gone pretty well."
Over his last five starts, the University of Louisville product is 2-1 with a 2.82 ERA while allowing 23 hits over 28 2/3 innings.
Justin Brantley followed Kime and allowed two hits over two innings before Trevor Frank worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his 16th save.
Dorssys Paulino, the Indians' No. 12 prospect, doubled and scored the game's only run in the fifth on a sacrifice bunt by Richard Stock.
Hot Rods starter Ben Griset (2-7) was tagged with the loss after giving up a run on five hits over six innings. He struck out six and walked one.