RiverDogs' Whitlock continues to dominate

Yankees right-hander extends scoreless streak to 25 innings

Garrett Whitlock ranks second in the South Atlantic League with a 0.76 WHIP and third with a 1.06 ERA. (Charleston RiverDogs)

By Nathan Brown / MiLB.com | May 5, 2018 11:48 PM

Opponents have been unable to figure out Garrett Whitlock over the last three weeks. Entering Saturday's contest, he'd thrown 18 consecutive scoreless frames.

After seven more, he remains a mystery.

Gameday box score

The Yankees prospect stretched his scoreless streak to 25 innings, fanning a career-high 10 and giving up two hits and a walk over seven frames as Class A Charleston blanked Lexington, 6-0, at Joseph P. Riley Jr. Ballpark.

But more than what could fill a stat sheet, Whitlock said he's embracing the fact that his success over the past four starts has allowed him to enjoy taking the mound.

"I just want to go out there and have fun. It's a game, it's a lot of fun to have," Whitlock said. "I love being a pro, but I just try to go out there and enjoy every day. It's a kid's sport we get to play, day in and day out."

Whitlock (2-1) retired the first 13 batters before giving up a line drive single to right field to MJ Melendez. He got some help from his defense with an inning-ending double play to erase the single and faced the minimum through the sixth.

Through those nearly flawless frames, Whitlock said he didn't think much about his solid start to the game or his recent success. But one thing he couldn't forget: the amound of backup he's gotten from his teammates as his defense has been errorless during his streak.

"[In the fourth] Dalton Blaser made a diving play at first, and, as I ran over to cover the bag, he tossed it to me. After I got the out, I tossed it back to him, and he laughed and said, 'These things are becoming pretty routine,'" Whitlock recalled. "It's fun to laugh with your teammates. They're succeeding just as much as I am, and it's fun to succeed together. I feed off their energy just as much as they do mine."

The Legends threatened to end the scoreless streak in the seventh after Jeison Guzman knocked a leadoff double to right. After a pair of strikeouts, Whitlock issued his first walk since April 17 to put runners on first and second. He came back and whiffed Melendez for his 10th strikeout on his 87th and final pitch.

Video: Charleston's Whitlock fans career-high 10th batter

But scoreless innings don't mean everything is perfect. Whitlock said he'd enjoy his second win of the season for the night, but Sunday it's back to the practice field. He wasn't happy with his changeup on Saturday, and he and Charleston pitching coach Justin Pope have been working this season on aligning his shoulder tilt for a downward plane when he releases the ball.

For one more night, Whitlock's improvement within the Yankees' organization led to another victory for the RiverDogs. And to Whitlock, that's most important.

MiLB include

"I just try to be a good teammate. I just want to help the team win," he said. "Whatever my role is, I'm going to fight for it ever day. I'm going to fight to help the team win and get a ring this year."

Braden Bristo worked around three hits over the final two innings to close out the RiverDogs' third shutout of the season.

Chris Hess led the RiverDogs at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles to extend his hit streak to six games along with an RBI and a walk. Pablo Olivares also registered three hits and Leonardo Molina drove in two runs.

Nathan Brown is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @NathanBrownNYC. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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