Sam LeCure is a control pitcher, so it bothered him that he'd walked seven batters in 9 1/3 innings in his first two starts. Monday night against Columbus was a different story.
LeCure (2-0, 2.08 ERA) didn't walk a batter in a dominant performance that resulted in an 8-2 victory for Louisville. LeCure allowed two hits and struck out nine over eight scoreless innings. He outpitched elite prospect Carlos Carrasco in the process.
"I was able to command the ball early, and I mixed my pitches up early," LeCure said. "That allowed me to get my fastball by them later in the game. I'm a control pitcher, but the first couple of games I [was] very erratic, so I was more focused on that than usual. I got ahead in the count and got those guys in swing mode."
LeCure threw 103 pitches, 72 of them for strikes. He recorded 11 outs on the ground and only four in the air. LeCure hopes that recipe for success leads him to the Majors before the year is out.
"There are things I can't control but that's the goal," he said. "Get to the big leagues, obviously."
LeCure, soon to turn 26, is confident he can pitch in the Majors but realizes there are things he still needs to learn.
"If I throw the ball like I did tonight, I can get [big league hitters] out," LeCure said. "But I'm in Triple-A for a reason. I'm working on tightening up my breaking balls. Nobody's a finished product, not Tim Lincecum, nobody."
The Reds drafted LeCure in the fourth round in 2005 and he's climbed the ladder steadily. He spent '09 with Louisville and finished 10-8 with a 4.46 ERA.