Through his first five starts for the Double-A RockHounds, Casey Meisner produced a 7.59 ERA and a 1.92 WHIP in 21 1/3 innings. Since then, he's looked like a completely different pitcher.
Oakland's No. 28 prospect yielded three hits and a walk while striking out six in seven innings as Midland blanked San Antonio, 6-0, on Sunday. It marked the third straight quality start for Meisner, who hasn't given up a run in his last 14 innings.
Video: Midland's Meisner finishes the seventh
"I got moved up and I didn't do so well and that stinks, but I finally found a groove and feel like I've settled in," he said. "I know it's about how I finish and not how I started."
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Meisner (4-3), who hurled six three-hit innings in his last outing, has logged a 0.95 ERA and a 0.68 WHIP over his last three starts for the RockHounds.
"Earlier in the year, I wasn't as consistent with all of my pitches," the Texas native added. "But that's what bullpen sessions are for. In the bullpen, I cleaned up my delivery and tried to be more fluid and make all of my pitches more consistent. That's really helped me."
The 22-year-old right-hander started the game with six straight outs before surrendering a single to Stephen McGee to start the third. Three pitches later, the inning was over.
"I was pounding the fastball down to get ahead in the count," the 2013 third-round pick said. "I tried to make them go on the defensive, instead of me. I was able to throw my pitches consistently so they didn't know what was coming. I just tried focused on making good pitches and hope they roll over. If I throw quality strikes, then they have to swing at it and put the ball in play. My defense made the plays behind me to help keep rolling."
Following a leadoff walk to third-ranked Padres prospect Luis Urias in the fourth, Meisner recorded seven consecutive outs before Alberth Martinez's one-out base hit in the sixth.
Battling some fatigue and 100-degree heat, Meisner got out of the sixth and worked around a single by Franmil Reyes in the seventh to finish off his best outing since getting promoted to Double-A on June 26.
"It always feel good to finish out your game strong and not get pulled. It was really hot there -- like a hundred degrees or so -- and I'm not going to lie, I was pretty tired in the seventh," he said. "That's where the mental part comes into it. You have to keep battling and not lose focus. I was in a groove so I tried to keep it rolling and stay consistent. My pitches were there when I needed them. When stuff hits the fan, you still got to lock it in, focus and stay with your gameplan."
Meisner has posted a 4.15 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP with 108 strikeouts in 115 innings between Class A Advanced Stockton and Midland this year.
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Athletics No. 5 prospect Jorge Mateo hit his third triple in six games with Midland. The 22-year-old is batting .267 with four extra-base hits and three RBIs since being traded from the Yankees.