For a team as streaky as the Dayton Dragons, pitcher Andrew Jordan may just be the remedy that steadies the club’s rotation.
Jordan, who stayed in Arizona after Spring Training with a strained forearm, made his second start for the Dragons and threw five stellar innings in the Dragons’ 5-3 win against the Great Lakes Loons at Fifth Third Field on Saturday night.
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Jordan got a no-decision, but struck out five, allowed four hits and walked one. Through two starts that span 10 innings, he has a 1.80 ERA.
Only one Dragons’ starter (Packy Naughton) has an ERA below 5.00.
Jordan was 7-8 with a 4.66 ERA in 2017. When Dragons fans last saw him, he was given the ball during the decisive Game 3 of the Midwest League’s Eastern Division Championship Series.
Things didn’t go Jordan’s — or the Dragons’ — way in the game, but the confidence grown from the experience has aided his development as player.
“I’m trusting my stuff more and I’m actually starting to realize the pitcher I am and I’m pitching to my strengths and eliminating my weaknesses,” Jordan said.
Jordan said the Reds wanted him to work on a strong secondary pitch to complement his change-up. He’s been working on a slider and curve, according to Dragons’ pitching coach Seth Etherton.
“…To be able to have two breaking pitches for strikes? It’s mean. It’s going to be good,” Etherton said.
“I have pretty much good command of both of them,” Jordan said. “It just depends on the count and the type of team I’m facing which one I use the most.”
Etherton, who coached Jordan two seasons ago at Class A Billings, talked abou the maturation of the former 13th-round pick (2015) and how that’s translating on the mound.
“He’s executes his pitches. He has very good stuff,” Etherton said. “Now it’s just excuting his stuff at any given time.”
Game changer: Call Jose Garcia Mr. Clutch for rapping a two-run, two-out single to break a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the seventh.
Thanks to Garcia, the announced attendance of 8,447 ended their night at the ballpark celebrating an offense that didn’t produce its first hit until the bottom of the fifth.
The Dragons would eventually collect seven hits, while walking 11 times.
Dragons tales: Stuart Fairchild, currently the 10th rated prospect in the Reds’ farm system according to MLBPipeline.com, had three of those free passes.
In the bottom of the fifth, Fairchild displayed the power and speed that made him a second-round pick in last year’s draft.
The line drive he ripped to left center scored Michael Beltre from first. Fairchild would score moments later when Montrell Marshall lifted a sky-high triple that bounced off the center fielder’s glove as he leaped into the outfield wall.
Dayton’s lead was short lived.
Manager Luis Bolivar replaced Jordan with no outs in the sixth with Ryan Nutof, who issued a walk to Loons’ first baseman Jared Walker while throwing a wild pitch on ball four.
Marcus Chiu advanced to third on the play, and later scored on another Nutof wild pitch, this time with Heredia at the dish.
Heredia singled walker to third, and later scored on a sac fly from Carlos Rincon, giving the Loons a 3-2 lead.
Two-out walks haunted Great Lakes and Joel Inoa in the bottom of the frame. Garcia was issued a free pass, and then Jeter Downs drew a base on balls, pushing Garcia to second.
Andy Suglio drove in Garcia with a two-out hit to center, tying the game 3-3.