'Riders' Mendez rebounds, posts seven zeros

Rangers' No. 2 prospect gives up three hits, strikes out seven

Yohander Mendez ranks fifth in the Texas League with a .206 opponents' batting average. (Tammy Tucker/MiLB.com)

By Kelsie Heneghan / MiLB.com | June 21, 2017 12:26 AM

Some of Yohander Mendez's best starts this season have come after his worst. And after allowing a season-high six runs in his last outing, he bounced back with style.

The Rangers' top pitching prospect gave up three hits and struck out seven over seven innings Tuesday as Double-A Frisco blanked Midland, 1-0, at Dr Pepper Ballpark.


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"I think it shows that he's maturing, he's understanding what he's capable of doing and realizing that you can't dwell on the past," RoughRiders pitching coach Brian Shouse said. "I think in a sense, he has a short memory and he's ready to focus and take it to the next start."

Video: Frisco's Mendez notches seventh K

After allowing six runs on nine hits over six frames on June 15 at San Antonio, MLB.com's No. 48 overall prospect worked with Shouse to get back to the more dominant pitcher he's been at times this season.

"We were just working on the acceleration at the end with his hand and his arm, getting through the pitch so you can allow everything to work out front better," Shouse said. "And what that does is make everything a little bit sharper and crisper, and that's what his pitches were. Everything had good finish at the end."

Mendez's (5-4) only real jam came in the first when he allowed one-out singles to A's No. 10 prospect Yairo Munoz and No. 16 prospect Max Schrock. But he got Tyler Marincov to ground into a double play on his next pitch.

"I thought it was good. He didn't panic about anything," Shouse said. "He was making good pitches before that, just balls found holes. I thought it was a good pitch, breaking ball to [Marincov], which he knew he could get a ground ball with that, and it worked out perfectly. And it was good after that. It was pretty much shutdown for the next 18 hitters."

Including the double play, Mendez retired 12 RockHounds in a row. The 22-year-old worked around a two-out double in the fifth by J.P. Sportman before setting down the final seven batters he faced.

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"He got the leadoff batter every inning, so that's always a plus," said Shouse, a former Major League. "And then that just snowballs into continuing to make good pitches to the second hitter, to the third hitter, and it just continues to carry over. He was attacking with his pitches, with his fastball, with his secondary. Guys were getting in swing mode and he was getting quick outs."

Mendez threw 58 of 87 pitches for strikes and did not issue a walk for the second time in 14 starts this season, something else he's been working on with Shouse.

"That's just repeatability of his mechanics and we tweaked a few things here and there with his mechanics," the coach said. "He's able to repeat better and better each outing and it shows when he's around the strike zone. And he did a good job with that again."

After Reed Garrett allowed a hit and a walk in the eighth, Nick Gardewine fanned two in a 1-2-3 ninth for his second save. It was the RoughRiders' sixth shutout of the season and first since June 3.

"I think in general, the whole pitching staff did a good job," Shouse said. "It was a nice win for everybody."

Jose Cardona laced an RBI single to center field in the fourth for the only run Mendez and the Frisco staff needed.

A's No. 3 prospect Grant Holmes (5-7) took the loss after allowing an unearned run on eight hits and no walks with seven strikeouts in six innings for the RockHounds.

Kelsie Heneghan is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @Kelsie_Heneghan. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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