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Chirinos dazzles again for Bowling Green

Righty lowers season-long ERA to 0.31 across three Class A levels
July 14, 2015

At some point this season, Yonny Chirinos will find himself in a big jam on the mound or so the logic of the game would seem to dictate. But he barely has encountered trouble thus far in 2015 and his numbers show it.

In his latest dominant outing, the Tampa Bay right-hander allowed one hit over six shutout innings, as visiting Class A Bowling Green topped West Michigan, 4-2. He struck out four and walked two.

Monday's effort lowered Chirinos' season-long ERA to a miniscule 0.31. With seven combined appearances for Class A Short Season Hudson Valley, Bowling Green and Class A Advanced Charlotte, the right-hander has allowed just one run. Total.

"He really hasn't been in a whole lot of trouble. But when he has been with runners on base, he seems to keep his composure really well, which is key," Hot Rods pitching coach Bill Moloney said. "He doesn't seem to get excited and he just makes his pitches."

Chirinos (2-0) yielded Michael Gerber's two-out single to right field in the first inning and walked Rashad Brown with two gone in the third, but didn't see another baserunner the rest of the night. The 21-year-old finished his performance by retiring the final 10 batters he faced, earning the win on the heels of five two-hit innings in a July 7 victory over Dayton.

"Tonight was actually better than his first time out in that he located his fastball much better in and out, up and down," Moloney said. "He kept the fastball down, but for me tonight, the big difference was he threw some more sliders than he did in his last game. We wanted to get them involved early, and it worked out really well for him."

Opposing hitters have batted just .149 this season against Chirinos, and the only run he allowed came on a solo homer on June 25 for Hudson Valley. Over his 29 total innings, Chirinos has allowed 15 hits while striking out 25 walking just four.

"I think it's all mind-set for him or for anybody for that matter," Moloney said. "He used his changeup tonight 1-0, 0-1, 1-1 to get some outs early in the count. He located his fastball, got a lot of outs there, 0-1, 1-0 things like that. He's being very efficient, but I think it's a mind-set where he says, 'I'm not going to pick. I'm going right at them.'"

The Hot Rods gave their starter a cushion early. Bralin Jackson started the scoring in the opening frame with an RBI single to left field. Tampa Bay's No. 18 prospect Justin Williams followed with a run-scoring groundout, and No. 11 Rays prospect Nick Ciuffo added an RBI single one out later.

"West Michigan has kind of given us fits all year," Moloney said. "For us to get a three-spot off the bat probably made him even more aggressive just saying, 'I'm going right at you. I'm not going to give this lead up.' Again to his credit, he's shown that he can handle it.

"Now the question is going to be when adversity hits, how's he going to handle that? He hasn't had any yet."

Tyler Maun is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @TylerMaun.