Ashton Goudeau woke up Tuesday feeling a little sore. He tossed six innings of three-run ball the night before, but that wasn't the problem. It was cold in Portland, Maine. The temperature at first pitch was 45 degrees and dipped into the 30s overnight. So the right-hander took it easy over the next few days. He threw less. He cut out long toss altogether from his preparation.
"Your body gets tired and you gotta listen to it," Goudeau said.
The 26-year-old retired all 18 batters he faced in Double-A Hartford's 5-3 win over New Hampshire on Saturday at Dunkin' Donuts Park, his first start since that chilly trip north. He fanned five and lowered his ERA to 1.97.
Video: Yard Goats' Goudeau freezes Capra
"Location of the fastball was good today," Goudeau said. "We were focusing on the inner part of the plate, and I was able to hit those spots early on. That kind of opened up the outside corner for the off-speed, especially the curveball and the changeup."
Goudeau (3-2) -- under clear skies and in 74-degree conditions -- won the battle in big spots from the outset. He threw at least two balls to each batter in the first inning, falling behind against two of them. But he fanned Forrest Wall on a 2-2 pitch, used a payoff pitch to get 29th-ranked Blue Jays prospect Santiago Espinal to fly to right and retired Brock Lundquist on a grounder to second to end the frame.
Rockies No 24 prospect Vince Fernandez gave Goudeau a lead to work with when he smacked a two-run homer in the home half of the inning, and that was more than enough of a cushion. He needed six pitches to navigate the second, then capped his first run through the Fisher Cats' order by punching out Vinny Capra. Each of his seven pitches in the fourth was a strike. The defense got all three outs in the fifth before Goudeau struck out the side in the sixth, perfection intact.
Goudeau felt good at that point, having thrown 49 of 70 pitches for strikes. "Man, this is crazy," he thought. But he tried to focus less on the looming milestone and more on whom he'd face in the seventh. He didn't get the chance.
"You just try to keep it in the back of your mind," he said. "Just try to execute and stay in the present."
Gameday box score
The Newport, Arkansas, native is pitching for his third organization in 15 months. He was traded from the Royals -- the club that selected him the 27th round of the 2012 Draft -- to the Mariners last March. After pitching for three Seattle affiliates in 2018, Goudeau elected free agency in November. He didn't know what to expect.
It did not take long for him to get a call from Chris Forbes, the Rockies' assistant director of player development. Forbes sold Goudeau on Colorado's developmental process and desire to craft a Major League roster that's built from within the organization. Old coaches had good things to say. His family supported the move.
So, free agency lasted all of a fortnight.
"You're shooting to get a call the first couple weeks," he said. "You try not to think too much about it. You try to go about your offseason like you would like normal, like years before. Thankfully, I got the call."
The decision to sign with the Rockies paid off. Goudeau's best ERA was 3.22 in 2015, and he's more than a full run better than that in eight starts this year. The 103 punchouts he recorded in 2016 marked the only time he's reached triple digits, but he's already struck out 50 batters while walking only six over 45 2/3 innings.
2019 MiLB include
Hartford's bullpen lost the perfect game on the first pitch after Goudeau's exit, when Wall led off the seventh with a double to center against Chris Rusin. Wall scored on Patrick Kivlehan's sacrifice fly and Blue Jays No. 6 prospect Kevin Smith delivered an RBI double later in the inning. Espinal singled in Wall in the eighth.
But Hartford had piled on five runs over the first six innings, getting RBIs from Manuel Melendez and Ryan Metzler and Arvicent Perez, who crushed his first homer of the season in the third. It was the second big fly against New Hampshire starter Willy Ortiz (0-3), who allowed four runs on six hits in three innings.
Logan Cozart earned his second save by tossing a scoreless ninth.