JETHAWKS NOTEBOOK: AYALA KEEPS SIZZLING : JETHAWKS PITCHER HOLDS LEAD AS K'S LEADER.Byline: Chris Cocoles Daily News Staff Writer
For a guy who didn't have two of his money pitches working in pregame warmups, Julio Ayala did OK for himself.
``Throwing in the bullpen before the game, my fastball had pretty good location but I felt I didn't have a changeup or curveball,'' Ayala said.
The Oaks play home games at Recreation Park; opened in 1967, the stadium seats 1,800 fans. .
``His pitches looked pretty good to me,'' Slaton said. ``His fastball was looking as good as it's been all year.''
Once Ayala took the mound in preparation for his first inning of work, whatever wasn't working in the pen was solved when it counted.
``In the first inning I felt like I had a good changeup,'' said Ayala, who short-changed Visalia for his first professional complete-game shutout in a 13-0 victory.
On a night when the JetHawks excelled in all phases of the game, they played error-free defense and pounded 18 hits, Ayala flirted with a no-hitter.
Eddie Lara broke it up with a fifth-inning single. Despite three other singles in the final four innings, no Visalia runner advanced further than second base against Ayala.
``For the first time I got strikeouts with my changeup,'' said Ayala, who entered the game leading all Seattle Mariners The Seattle Mariners are a professional baseball team based in Seattle, Washington. The Mariners are a member of the Western Division of Major League Baseball's American League. From to the present, the Mariners have played in Safeco Field. minor-leaguers with 89 strikeouts. He finished with seven to improve to 8-2 with a 3.25 ERA in 17 starts. ``If (top prospect) Ryan Anderson Ryan Anderson may refer to:
After all, Ayala prides himself on being a groundball pitcher A groundball pitcher is a pitcher that relies on getting hitters to hit into ground outs instead of flyballs or strikeouts. Most groundball pitchers rely heavily on the sinker to jam hitters to hit the ball hard to one of the infielders. . He induced 14 of them for outs, including three double plays that ended the fourth, fifth and sixth consecutive innings.
Always humble toward his teammates, Ayala saluted his defense, which has to be on its toes when he takes the mound.
``I'm a ground ball pitcher, and if I didn't have such a great defense behind me I wouldn't be able to stay out there for as much as seven innings,'' Ayala said. ``I always give credit to my teammates. My defense was so good tonight.''
Coming through on three double plays in three innings had manager Rick Burleson
``We haven't been able to turn any double plays in a week,'' Burleson said while grinning. ``Tonight we get three. That's something we have to do when we can do it.''
Ayala, 23, didn't need much. The Puerto Rico Puerto Rico (pwār`tō rē`kō), island (2005 est. pop. 3,917,000), 3,508 sq mi (9,086 sq km), West Indies, c.1,000 mi (1,610 km) SE of Miami, Fla. native, who led the nation in wins with 15 at Georgia Southern University Georgia Southern University, established 1906, is a regional university located in Statesboro, Georgia, USA, and part of the University System of Georgia. It is the largest center of higher education in the southern half of Georgia and is the sixth largest institution in the in 1996, threw just 107 pitches. Slaton wasn't about to deprive his pitcher of a complete game.
``Unless he exceeded his pitch count I wasn't going to take him out,'' said Slaton, who wasn't very popular for pulling a certain young Chicago Cubs prospect when he was the pitching coach at Daytona of the Florida State League The Florida State League is a minor league baseball league which operates in the state of Florida. Before 2002, it was classified as a "High-A" league, indicating its status as a Class A league with the highest level of competition within that classification, and the fifth step in 1996.
``I had to take Kerry Wood out of games with him throwing two no-hitters,'' Slaton said.
Ayala made it easy this time. He did allow a Dionys Cesar single in the ninth but retired the side on infield grounders.
A step back for Sturdivant: JetHawks outfielder Marcus Sturdivant was placed on the disabled list and is expected to be out for 7-10 days after suffering another setback to his rehabing left knee.
After undergoing surgery in the winter, Sturdivant figured to spend a month or two with the JetHawks and then return to Double-A Orlando when the 1996 California League All-Star game was activated on May 22. The 24-year-old was hitting .262 in 29 games.
Team trainer Troy McIntosh described Sturdivant's injury as ``post-operative pain.''
Home run distance?: Mike Goff, the Mariners coordinator of instruction, thought the umpiring crew of Ryan Bleiberg and Matt Head misjudged Brendan Kingman's drive to center field, ruling the ball to be a triple instead of a home run.
Bleiberg ejected Goff from the game, and after the duo got an up-close-and-personal look at each other's dental work, Goff didn't have to witness another potential tantrum tan·trum
A fit of bad temper.
n a sudden outburst or violent display of rage, frustration, and bad temper, usually occurring in a maladjusted child or immature or disturbed adult. later in the game, when Luis Tinoco's blast to left caromed off one of the bookend space shuttles on the scoreboard.
Head originally ruled the ball in play, but quickly changed his mind after Burleson protested.
``In (the umpire's) defense, they have to turn to see the ball and watch the runners on the bases,'' said Burleson, who would prefer the Cal League added a third umpire to the circuit but admitted it probably isn't feasible.