Understanding that a baseball season is filled with peaks and valleys, Jordan Romano never allowed himself to get too high. Even after winning his first eight decisions for Double-A New Hampshire and earning a spot start for Triple-A Buffalo on May 27.The attitude paid off after a difficult June that prompted
Understanding that a baseball season is filled with peaks and valleys, Jordan Romano never allowed himself to get too high. Even after winning his first eight decisions for Double-A New Hampshire and earning a spot start for Triple-A Buffalo on May 27.
The attitude paid off after a difficult June that prompted the 27th-ranked Blue Jays prospect to work closely with Fisher Cats pitching coach Vince Horsman on some mechanical adjustments.
Romano immediately began to notice the positive impact of such modifications, and the results were obvious Saturday as he cruised through a career-long eight innings to set up New Hampshire's 2-0 blanking of Harrisburg at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium. He allowed three hits and fanned eight without issuing a walk.
"I felt pretty good today. I had a good mix going. My heater was there and I was locating that well, I used my changeup more and my slider had good bite," Romano said. "I knew that they have a good offensive team and I didn't want to give them any breathing room or let them think that they had a chance for a big inning. So I went right at guys, and whenever someone reached, I tried to stop it right there. And I wasn't going to give any free bases."
Unable to capitalize on his hot start, the right-hander posted an 0-4 record with a 7.52 ERA in June. Romano always began his delivery with his hands high, around his eyes, but has recently tried moving his hands to his waist to start his motion.
"I think I was just showing the ball too much and hitters were getting comfortable against me, but now it's tougher for the hitters to pick it up and it just feels smoother," Romano said. "The last four starts I've been feeling like myself again and it's been huge for my confidence."
The simple tweak came at Horsman's suggestion. Romano (9-4) worked at least six frames in his past four outings and has not allowed more than three runs or two walks in any game throughout that stretch. The 25-year-old has also accumulated 21 punchouts over that time, and his 95 strikeouts on the season stands fourth in the Eastern League. The eight whiffs Saturday tied a career high, which he set on June 24 over 5 2/3 frames against Reading.
"[The adjustment was] something that I had in mind for a while, but when you start 8-0 that's no time to start changing anything," Horsman said. "But that rough patch in June was tough on him, so he was open for suggestions and he really took to this. I think it smoothed things out for him and he immediately started to notice the swings guys were having off of him changed."
Romano retired the first five hitters he faced Saturday night before yielding a single to Jake Noll on an 0-2 blooper to left field. The righty quickly bounced back by sitting down the next six batters.
Gameday box score
With two outs in the fourth, Nationals No. 9 prospectRaudy Read sent a floater to left field for a single, but was stranded there as Romano fanned 29th-ranked Taylor Gushue to end the frame.
"The mechanics change has definitely got me throwing strikes more frequently, and that's always the gameplan -- to attack the zone," Romano said.
Noll got the next inning started by lining a single to right, but he was the last runner to reach against Romano. The Oral Roberts product retired the final 12 hitters he faced. He threw 72 of 91 pitches for strikes without allowing a runner into scoring position.
"He showed me he was a Major Leaguer out there tonight," Horsman said. "He had everything working, good balance, great command and he just really executed his pitches."
Southpaw Travis Bergen worked around a hit and struck out a pair to nail down his fourth save.
New Hampshire's offense tagged Harrisburg starter Kyle McGowin (4-3) for two runs early. Toronto's No. 19 prospect Cavan Biggio hammered an RBI single into right on a 1-1 offering in the first to get the Fisher Cats on the board, and Connor Panas smoked his seventh homer to right off the right-hander on the first pitch of next frame.
Rob Terranova is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @RobTnova24.