In his last start, Juan De Paula recorded six hitless innings. On Thursday night, it looked like deja vu all over again for the reigning New York-Penn League Pitcher of the Week. The Yankees right-hander carried a no-hit bid into the seventh inning, allowing just a triple with two outs in
In his last start, Juan De Paula recorded six hitless innings. On Thursday night, it looked like deja vu all over again for the reigning New York-Penn League Pitcher of the Week.
The Yankees right-hander carried a no-hit bid into the seventh inning, allowing just a triple with two outs in the frame as Class A Short Season Staten Island blanked Connecticut, 4-0, at Richmond County Bank Ballpark. De Paula finished the night with a season-high seven strikeouts, one walk and seven ground-ball outs over seven frames.
"I've never seen anything like this since I've been a coach," Yankees pitching coach Travis Phelps said of De Paula's run. "He's been very consistent as of late and has proven that he can go out there and dominate hitters."
In addition to his gem against Williamsport on Aug. 10, the Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic native also starred in a combined no-no with Jhony Brito, Alex Bisacca and Justin Kamplain against Tri-City on July 29.
"He's got the unique ability that, once he gets ahead of you, he puts you away," Phelps added. "He doesn't make a lot of mistakes over the plate whenever he's ahead in the count. And when he gets behind, he's not afraid to challenge guys. He's not afraid to come at them with his fastball and challenge them and he beats them."
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Following a 1-2-3 first inning, De Paula (4-3) issued a leadoff walk to Colby Bortles to start the second. The free pass didn't come back to bite the right-hander as he used a pair of strikeouts and a lineout to end the frame.
"His first two innings were a little inconsistent, he was around the zone but he wasn't particularly sharp," Phelps said. "Then in the third inning, he found it and put it on cruise control after that."
De Paula worked four straight clean innings after the second, recording three strikeouts and five ground-ball outs along the way. Phelps credited an in-game adjustment by the 19-year-old.
"Tonight was a little different for him. Usually he drives the ball down in the zone and throws his changeup off of it. But tonight, he pitched up in the zone more, intentionally," the Yankees pitching coach explained. "They couldn't seem to pick it up or catch up to it and put good swings on it, so he pitched at the top of the zone more than normal.
"Early on, we wanted to throw the ball down in the zone, because he's a tall guy who gets good angle on his fastball. But after seeing the swings they were taking, we made the adjustment to work in the top of the zone and it worked out in his favor."
After getting two quick outs to start the seventh, Bortles ended a run of 17 straight outs and De Paula's hitless streak at 13 2/3 innings with a triple to left-center field.
De Paula struck out Reynaldo Rivera to preserve the shutout.
Over his last four outings, the 6-foot-3, 165-pound righty has produced a 0.78 ERA and a 0. 87 WHIP with 21 strikeouts in 23 innings. In total, he sports a 3.06 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP in 47 innings and hasn't given up a home run this year.
"A lot of that comes from him not living out over the middle of the plate," Phelps said. "He works different locations and doesn't try to be too fine early in the count. When he gets ahead, he attacks and beats guy to their spots. I think that his ability to make pitches is a big reason he hasn't given up a home run yet."
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Staten Island's Will Jones faced one over the minimum in two innings of relief. The 24-year-old right-hander has amassed an 0.83 ERA in 21 2/3 innings this season.
Kendall Coleman, who almost made the play on Bortles' triple, drove in three runs for the Yankees.
Michael Leboff is a contributor to MiLB.com.