Mike O'Reilly finished off his latest shutout Monday afternoon and got some simple words of encouragement from his pitching coach, Dernier Orozco."He just said, 'Good job and keep pitching,'" O'Reilly said.
Mike O'Reilly finished off his latest shutout Monday afternoon and got some simple words of encouragement from his pitching coach, Dernier Orozco.
"He just said, 'Good job and keep pitching,'" O'Reilly said.
O'Reilly has been making that look easy. The Wading River, New York native gave up one hit while striking out a career-high 12 and did not walk a batter in his second nine-inning shutout of the season as Class A Peoria blanked Cedar Rapids, 3-0.
The Midwest League All-Star took a perfect game into the seventh before Christian Cavaness' leadoff double broke it up. The Kernels had just one other baserunner when Caleb Hamilton reached on an error in the eighth, but it wasn't enough to halt O'Reilly's scoreless streak, which grew to 26 2/3 innings.
"I felt good all day," the right-hander said. "I had command of all three of my pitches, and me and [catcher] Brian O'Keefe were on the same page. It went well."
Gameday box score
O'Reilly's gem comes a little more than a month after he two-hit Kane County. He's the first Chiefs starter to have two shutouts in the same season since Mark Nussbeck in 1997 and leaves the 5-foot-11, 180-pound hurler one shy of tying the team record, which has been accomplished four times. According to the Chiefs, O'Reilly is the first starter to throw two complete games in a season since Tyrell Jenkins in 2013.
"It's been great," the 22-year-old said of the season so far. "I've been lucky to have good defense behind me. I've been able to execute my pitches and attack hitters. I just hope to keep it going."
The Chiefs have seven shutouts this season and O'Reilly has had a hand in five of them. He struck out nine last Wednesday when he held Beloit to four hits over seven shutout innings. He also fanned nine on June 30 at Kane County, limiting the Cougars to a pair of hits over eight scoreless frames. His previous high for strikeouts came on May 20 when he whiffed 10 over 8 1/3 scoreless innings against the Snappers.
"I've just had better command of all three pitches, and the changeup was working today, so that helped," he said.
O'Reilly (8-2), who has just one loss since May 20 and was the league's Pitcher of the Week on June 11, lowered his ERA to 1.56. He said a perfect game was on his mind, but was more concerned about winning a close contest.
"It's definitely in the back of your mind, but at the same time, it's a 1-0 game, so I'm just trying to keep them off the board," he said. "I wasn't sure what my pitch count was -- I thought maybe that would be it [after the seventh or eighth], but I felt good enough to go out there. My pitching coach asked me and I said, 'Yeah, I got it.' And that was it."
O'Reilly finished with 80 strikes among 101 pitches, both season highs.
A 27th-round pick last year out of Flagler College in Florida, O'Reilly seems like a good candidate to move up from the Midwest League soon. He said St. Louis hasn't given him any hints about a potential promotion to the next level, Class A Advanced Palm Beach.
"It's just the way the Minors work -- I try not to think about any of that," he said. "I let the guys who get paid to make those decision decide."
Peoria scored in the first when Stefan Trosclair hit an inside-the-park home run with one out. The Chiefs tacked insurance runs in the ninth on a sacrifice fly and the second passed ball of the inning.
Eduardo Del Rosario (7-5) allowed one run on six hits with two walks and two strikeouts over six innings for Cedar Rapids.