After a relatively shaky (for him, at least) stretch of outings, Eddie Butler appears to have righted the ship.
Butler tossed seven scoreless innings, allowing six hits and a walk while striking out four in Double-A Tulsa's 8-1 win over Springfield on Wednesday. Butler had surrendered at least one earned run in each of his previous seven starts, including giving up seven runs while walking four batters and striking out only two in his last 13 innings of work entering Wednesday, but his "issues" -- which likely stem from taking a line drive off of his pitching hand on May 1 -- certainly appear behind him now.
Butler threw 64 strikes against only 19 balls while shutting down the Cardinals' offense. The 23-year-old right-hander didn't show his usual groundball tendencies, inducing only four outs on the ground as opposed to eight in the air. Still, an onslaught of strikes will be what makes Butler successful given the difficulty hitters have historically faced with barreling up his pitches.
His strikeout rate -- just 31 in 51⅓ innings, or about 5.4 K/9 -- remains a concern, but that could be as a result of the organization's persistent insistence on pitching to contact. Perhaps at some point, Butler -- whose fastball has lost a couple of ticks -- will be allowed to let loose upon his inevitable arrival in Denver.
Offensively, the Drillers were just as dominant as their star pitcher, racking up eight runs on nine hits against Springfield pitching. Tom Murphy, who fell into a deep early season slumber, is now showing significant signs of busting out. Murphy homered and drew a pair of walks, raising his season line to .215/.324/.419. Things have looked a lot better for the 23-year-old catcher over the past 10 games, during which time he has hit .286/.405/.571 with a couple of home runs.
Jiminian, Tourists routed
Low-A Asheville starter Johendi Jiminian was not helped by McCormick Field's tendency to yield home runs on Wednesday. The promising 21-year-old right-hander allowed seven runs on eight hits -- including three long balls -- in 5⅓ innings en route to an 11-2 loss to Lexington.
Each of the homers allowed by Jiminian were of the solo variety, but he also hurt himself by walking a pair of batters and hitting one. Jiminian entered the game having not allowed more than two earned runs in any start, resulting in the ballooning of his ERA from 1.88 to 3.09.
Ryan McMahon went 0-for-2 with a pair of walks for the Tourists, who were held to just five hits. Correlle Prime had the team's lone extra-base hit and scored one of its two runs.
Modesto being Modesto
The Nuts lost their 30th game in 40 tries this season, dropping a 7-2 decision to Rancho Cucamonga. Modesto's offense compiled just three hits and whiffed 13 times. Trevor Story accounted for most of the Nuts' production, going 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI and a run scored.
Matt Flemer struck out four and didn't walk a batter in 5⅔ innings, but he also allowed five runs on 10 hits.