It's been a great month for Bailey Ober.
The Twins prospect produced another strong outing on Friday, tying his career high with 12 strikeouts and allowing four hits over eight innings as Class A Cedar Rapids blanked Great Lakes, 1-0, at Dow Diamond.
Video: Ober records his 12th punchout for the Kernels
Ober (7-1) struck out a dozen two starts ago, then carried the momentum into his next outing by fanning 10 over 6 2/3 innings on his 23rd birthday on July 12.
"I'm just taking this one day at a time," he said after that game. "I want to keep every day coming out with the mindset to get better; the goal isn't to be in [Class A]. The goal is to be in the Major Leagues one day. So I'm going to keep getting after it."
He was back at it against the Loons, working around a single in the opening frame by retiring Deacon Liput on a strike-em-out, throw-em-out double play.
"Today it was all about his fastball," said Cedar Rapids pitching coach Cibney Bello. "It was overmatching people. He was able to get it on one side of the plate and then get it on the other. He did a really good job."
Devin Mann opened the second with a double, but Ober got a groundout and back-to-back strikeouts to strand Mann at third base. The right-hander allowed a leadoff baserunner again in the third, walking Hunter Feduccia, but he retired the next 11 batters before Liput singled in the sixth.
Gameday box score
"He's not afraid to go after them," Bello said. "He's a guy who's always attacking the zone and working ahead in the count. One thing that's been a little different, when he falls behind he's started to take chances. When he gets behind, he can pitch to contact. That's been a big key for him. He's confident and been getting better and better. We let him know what type of pitcher he is. Any night from him, we think he can do something like this. With him, we want him to continue working on his delivery and keep putting them in the strike zone."
The 23-year-old pitched a perfect seventh and worked around Brock Carpenter's single in the eighth, exiting after throwing 72 of 97 pitches for strikes. He's won his last seven decisions and is 6-0 with a 1.58 ERA in seven starts since the end of May.MiLB include
"I've really been able to square up hitters to where I really want to put them away once I get up to two strikes," Ober said after his start on July 12. "The majority of my strikeouts have been on fastballs up in the zone or a little bit out of the zone. Being able to keep those pitches up and get ahead of hitters has been big."
Rickey Ramirez breezed through the ninth for his first Midwest League save, nailing down the Kernels' league-leading 11th shutout.
Cedar Rapids scored the game's lone run in the eighth on an RBI double by Twins No. 26 prospect Jose Miranda.