'Caps' Bass hurls best career outing

Tigers prospect strikes out nine over career-high 7 2/3 frames

Brad Bass has posted a 2.22 ERA with 26 strikeouts over 28 1/3 innings for West Michigan. (Emily Jones/West Michigan Whitecaps)

By Brian Stultz / MiLB.com | July 22, 2019 5:45 PM

Brad Bass had all his best stuff working Monday afternoon.

The Tigers prospect struck out nine while working around four hits and walking none over a career-high 7 2/3 innings as Class A West Michigan shut out host Wisconsin, 3-0, at Fox Cities Stadium. 

Bass (2-2) allowed a single to Jesus Lujano with one out in the first, but a pop fly by David Fry and throw to second from catcher Cooper Johnson to catch Lujano stealing ended the frame. 

Video: 'Caps' Bass K's ninth batter

A two-out single by Kekai Rios in the second proved no threat as the 6-foot-6 right-hander fanned Chad McClanahan on six pitches. Leugim Castillo led off the third with a single before Bass retired the next eight batters in order before a fielding error by third baseman Nick Quintana allowed Castillo to reach with two outs in the fifth.

The next nine Rattlers hitters had no luck against the 23-year-old until Yeison Coca singled to center with two outs in the eighth to end Bass' outing.

"I think I was just doing a good job mixing all of my pitches together," the hurler said. "I felt like I was able to break it down to what each hitter was and what I needed to throw to them and executing the game plan well. Once I got through the lineup the first time, I felt like I knew how to attack every hitter."

Gameday box score

Bass was efficient, throwing 65 of 95 pitches for strikes and regularly getting ahead in the count, giving him the upper hand against the batters. The Rattlers never really threatened, putting only one player in scoring position against the righty. That helped keep Bass loose, but he says his mentality stays the same no matter what's happening on the basepaths.

"It's always nice when you don't have people on base and stuff like that, but I usually try to go out there no matter what game it is and stay relaxed no matter the situation because if you are too tense, that's when the ball gets rolling and your stuff starts to fall out of control," he said.

The nine K's matches the Chicago native's career high, which he accomplished in just five innings on June 14 of last season against Great Lakes. His previous longest outing was seven innings, completed five times in 2018.

A factor in the high number of strikeouts is Bass' trust in his slider, the pitch he used to get Gabriel Garcia swinging for the final K of the day.

2019 MiLB include

"I feel like I have really good command of it right now and I think it is confidence," he said. "Anytime you feel like you can throw your breaking ball for a strike in any count, it always benefits the pitcher. If you lose that confidence, sometimes it's tough to go to it in tough situations. My slider has been that pitch that I have been able to go to in tough situations."

The 2017 seventh-round pick holds a 2.22 ERA and has whiffed 26 batters over 28 1/3 innings in five appearances since joining the Whitecaps on June 21. Bass made six appearances for Class A Advanced Lakeland earlier this season, posting a 5.17 ERA in 11.2 innings.

During his time with the Flying Tigers, the Notre Dame product worked out of the bullpen, something that he thinks contributed to a slow start.

"It was a little bit different feel for me," Bass said. "I feel like I was a little bit out of sync to start the season out and my pitches weren't where they were supposed to be. I feel like now everything is starting to come into sync, especially today. I like starting over being in the bullpen. Each and every time I throw, things are feeling more and more comfortable."

Ulrich Bojarski put the 'Caps on the board with a RBI single to left to score Johnson in the fifth. A double by Daniel Reyes in the seventh brought home Johnson and Bojarski to add two insurance runs.

Brian Stultz is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @brianjstultz. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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