With a fastball that reaches 98 mph and features movement to boot, Adonis Medina has the ability to dominate on any given night. Tuesday turned into one of those special evenings.
Medina struck out a career-high 12 batters and yielded three hits in seven innings as Class A Lakewood defeated Delmarva, 3-0, at FirstEnergy Park.
The No. 15 Phillies prospect earned his first win since May 12, a four-start stretch that included three losses and a 5.64 ERA. He posted a 2.03 ERA in his first six outings this season, which featured the first two 10-strikeout games of his four-year career.
Gameday box score
"It came down to fastball command. When he does that, his other pitches just fall right into line," Lakewood pitching coach Brian Sweeney said. "He has a great combination of weapons and always has.
"Last year, he was more of a groundball guy, but when you're up there throwing 98 [mph], there will be some strikeouts. But again, when he can command that fastball, which sits between 95-98, and a slider that is already Major League average, he can be tough to hit. That was the case tonight."
Medina (2-5) set the tone immediately, fanning Cole Billingsley and Jake Ring to open the game. The 20-year-old struck out two more in the second before facing his only real jam in the third. He retired the first batter but surrendered consecutive singles to Daniel Fajardo, Ryan McKenna and Billingsley to load the bases. Medina's nice defensive play on a comebacker by Ring forced Fajardo at the plate before he whiffed Preston Palmeiro.
"That was a great inning for his development," Sweeney said. "He was stuck in a jam and took a one-hopper off the heel of his glove. It bounced towards the first-base line and home plate, and Medina barehanded the ball and flipped to [catcher] Edgar Cabral to get the out.
"It was a great play and turned up the intensity for him, I think. His hardest pitch of the night was the fastball to get Palmeiro to end the inning. He stepped it up there and said to himself, 'This inning's over.'"
The native of the Dominican Republic struck out the side in the fourth after a leadoff walk and set down eight of the last nine he faced. The 12 strikeouts were a season high by a BlueClaws pitcher and pushed his total to 75, the fifth-most in the South Atlantic League.
"His fastball, besides the velocity, has some great sink to it and plays really well," Sweeney, a former big leaguer, said of Medina. "I'm trying to convince him to buy into the fact that there are times he can just pitch with his fastball because it has so much movement and velocity. That's a really important thing and helps his off-speed stuff play that much better."
Will Hibbs struck out one over two perfect innings to complete Lakewood's circuit-leading 10th shutout. Hibbs and Medina combined to retire the last 13 batters.
"This has been a tremendous year for us, so far. Still, it's way too early to tell," Sweeney said of his pitching staff. "We're about halfway through the season and I'm very proud so far with the body of work and the effort they've put in.
"We've got [five] pitchers going to the All-Star Game after Hibbs was added today. It's been fantastic, but the key is to be consistent and be better in the second half."
Darick Hall and Henri Lartigue had RBI doubles, while Carlos Duran tripled in a run for Lakewood.