Dakota Chalmers had a unique advance scout in attendance for his third outing of the season Monday night -- himself.
Piggybacking off the outing of starter Michael Murray, Oakland's No. 14 prospect dominated with a career-high 10 strikeouts over four scoreless innings of relief as Class A Beloit fell at Kane County, 2-1, in 11 innings. Chalmers allowed one hit and didn't issue any walks.
Video: Chalmers fans 10th batter in relief
"Whenever you get to see a team the night before, it's always advantageous," he said. "But whenever you get to see a team that night, you know what the tendencies are for each hitter on that given night. You get to see what the tendencies are for that umpire that night. I think if you look at it the right way, it's a huge advantage."
Waiting his turn in the bullpen, Chalmers watched Murray carve through the Cougars over four scoreless innings as the Snappers starter allowed three hits with four strikeouts and no walks. When he entered, Chalmers had already prepared an exhaustive gameplan.
"I had a feel for the zone," he said. "I had a feel for what was working for Murray, and I was kind of able to feed off that. I saw early that the breaking ball was going to have a little trouble, [go with] fastballs in since it's a little cold tonight, ... You have a whole repertoire of things coming in vs. just coming in open for a start. It's a unique experience for sure."
Chalmers struck out the first six batters he faced before allowing a leadoff infield single by Kane County's Ramon Hernandez in the seventh. He rebounded to strike out two in that frame to strand Hernandez and finished his night by fanning two in a perfect eighth. Monday was his second appearance of the season in relief with Snappers pitchers alternating starts each outing.
"In my past, I tried to beat everybody with stuff," the righty explained. "I've been a little bit of an overthrower. Attacking and being aggressive toward the plate is something I'm going to keep because that's something that makes me who I am, but I feel like exerting that aggression a little later in my delivery -- not trying to coil up so hard on my back side -- just stay easy over the rubber and finish aggressively, I think it keeps my head on line better. I was able to throw fastballs for strikes, and my curveball was working really well. I threw a couple changeups in there to some lefties, to some righties just to show it. But really fastball-breaking ball was in or around the zone."
One knock on the 2015 third-round pick through his first two professional seasons was command. Last year, he struck out 62 but walked 37 in 67 innings for Class A Short Season Vermont. On Monday, Chalmers threw 37 of 49 pitches for strikes. He's struck out 18 while walking just four this year.
"It's just part of maturing as a pitcher, trying to establish that you're going to throw strikes early and not trying to do too much," he said. "In previous starts, last year or the year before, I would have pitches or innings where I would stay within myself and throw strikes, and then that would get to my head and I would try to do too much the next inning. Just using what works that night and not trying to do more -- because you don't need more than you can use -- I'm trying to stay within myself."
The 20-year-old has also embraced the opportunity to work in relief every other outing.
"It's something that I feel like developmentally is really important because you're just trying to take whatever path you can to the big leagues," he said. "I feel like a lot of guys get kind of shell-shocked when they get to that level and have to come out of the bullpen for the first times in their careers. I think it's a good tool to have in your belt."
The Snappers and Cougars went to extra innings scoreless. Beloit broke through in the top of the 11th when Nate Mondou lifted a sacrifice fly to score Edwin Diaz. Kane County rallied for two runs in the bottom of the frame with No. 3 D-backs prospect Jasrado Chisholm's single scoring Arizona's No. 21 Marcus Wilson with the game-winning run.
Video: Jasrado Chisholm comes through for the Cougars
Next time out, Chalmers will take the ball to begin a game again. But his goal will be the same.
"Everything with pitching is feeling the ball out of your hand," he said. "It's a completely feel, athletic movement. I'm just going to try to mimic that feeling throughout the next three days, try to keep that going, keep the momentum moving. Once I get out there for my start, I'm just going to go out and pitch. You've got to take the bad with the good. Just like a bad outing, you can't think about it too much. I can't be all up on my high horse for the next three days going into my next start. It's back to work tomorrow."