Tony Cingrani comes to the mound with a feeling of invincibility. His results have backed that up.
The Reds' No. 14 prospect fanned nine and allowed three hits over five shutout innings as Bakersfield defeated Lancaster, 7-2, on Wednesday.
Cingrani was on his game, recording six of his last seven outs via the strikeout. The 22-year-old left-hander faced four over the minimum while not allowing a run for the fourth time in five starts for the Blaze.
"Just using the fastball, throwing a couple of changeups in there and the slider worked for a little bit," Cingrani said. "Overall, a pretty good outing."
Cingrani (3-1) last allowed a run in the third inning of Bakersfield's 2-1 loss to San Jose on April 15, a stretch of 20 frames. His 0.32 ERA is the best in the Minor Leagues and he is third in the California League with 37 strikeouts.
"Just pitching off the fastball," Cingrani said of his hot start. "Spotting it up on the inside and outside and throwing my off-speed off of that."
His early results have given Cingrani the feeling that he's unbeatable on the mound.
"Yup, pretty much," Cingrani said. "I just go out there and throw my fastball and see what happens."
A third-round pick last June, Cingrani has been nothing short of dominant since signing. He was 3-2 with a 1.75 ERA for Billings, fanning 80 batters in 51 1/3 innings. His performance in the Pioneer League earned him a MiLBY as the Short-Season Starting Pitcher of the Year. Cingrani believes the key to maintaining his success is pretty straightforward.
"Just keep doing what I've been doing, throwing my fastball for strikes, not walking too many and let the hitters get themselves out," he said.
Devin Lohman and Donald Lutz got the Blaze off to a fast start, hitting back-to-back homers in the first inning. Andrew Means smacked a two-run shot and Billy Hamilton, the Reds' No. 2 prospect, stole his Minor League-leading 30th base.
Domingo Santana was 4-for-4 with a double and a run scored while Jonathan Meyer hit a two-run homer in a losing effort for the JetHawks.