Jason Alexander pitched the way he prefers on Tuesday night: fast.The Angels prospect allowed one hit and recorded a career-high nine strikeouts over eight innings in his longest outing as a pro as Double-A Mobile blanked Jacksonville, 2-0, at Hank Aaron Stadium.
Jason Alexander pitched the way he prefers on Tuesday night: fast.
The Angels prospect allowed one hit and recorded a career-high nine strikeouts over eight innings in his longest outing as a pro as Double-A Mobile blanked Jacksonville, 2-0, at Hank Aaron Stadium.
Alexander (1-0) retired the first 13 batters before giving up a one-out single in the fifth to Marlins No. 23 prospect Joe Dunand. He turned out to be the only baserunner the Jumbo Shrimp got against the right-hander, who set down the last 11 hitters he faced.
Getting the ball back from the catcher, Alexander wasted no time delivering his next pitch.
"You want to stay in that groove and not lose it, so it had to do a little with that," he said. "I like to have a fast tempo, [although] I like to slow my delivery down."
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The fact that Jacksonville counterpart McKenzie Mills was keeping the BayBears off the board was something of a blessing for Alexander.
"It's nice, tempo-wise, because you're not sitting [too] long," he said. "You are able to get your breather to go back out there and throw, and it pushes you because you want to compete against the pitcher, too. You don't want to be the one to give a run up."
Mills blinked first as Angels No. 4 prospectJahmai Jones knocked a 3-1 pitch over the left-field wall for a two-run homer in the sixth. Having a lead stoked Alexander's competitive fire.
"As soon as that happened, it made me want to compete even harder," he said.
The third-year pro also said he was able to command all three of his pitches -- sinker, slider and changeup -- whenever he needed to.
"I think this was actually one of the first games of my career where I felt like I had everything working for me," Alexander said. "I threw all three pitches for strikes early in the count, when I was behind and when I was ahead, so that led to how I was successful."
Having thrown 89 pitches and being an inning away from a complete game, the right-hander was hoping to get the nod to take the mound in the ninth.
"You don't really want to fight the coaches, but I did want it really bad," he said. "But I understand."
Did he try to convince his coaches he was good to go?
"Not really. It was kind of a sigh and an 'All right.'"
The 26-year-old credited his batterymate and the Mobile defense.
"[Catcher Jack Kruger was back there helping me call a really good game and the defense played really well, making some great plays for me," Alexander said.
The California native had waited since April 26 to get another chance on the mound. Against Mississippi his last time out, he lasted 3 2/3 innings and gave up a run on three hits and four walks.
"It felt good, especially coming out after my last outing," he said. "I felt like I was behind a lot of hitters. I just wanted to get out there today, attack the zone and make them swing."
Tuesday's performance also came a year and five days after Alexander combined with Zac Ryan and Sean Isaac on a no-hitter in Class A Advanced Inland Empire's 4-0 victory over Lake Elsinore. The 26-year-old right-hander went seven innings three times last year -- in the no-hitter on May 2, in his next start for the 66ers on May 8 and again on July 19 for Mobile. He hadn't pitched more than four innings in his first four outings this season but lowered his ERA to 1.54.
Making his fourth appearance as a pitcher after reaching the big leagues as an infielder/outfielder, Kaleb Cowart worked around two hits and a walk in the ninth for his first career save.
Brian Stultz is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @brianjstultz.