JETHAWKS NOTEBOOK: MCMACHEN GETS HIS CHANCE.Byline: Gideon Rubin Staff Writer
VISALIA - Many factors have contributed to Cliff McMachen landing the fifth spot in the JetHawks starting rotation, not all of which have been within his control.
The most recent development was an injury at the JetHawks' parent Arizona Diamondbacks' Double-A El Paso El Paso (ĕl pă`sō), city (1990 pop. 515,342), seat of El Paso co., extreme W Tex., on the Rio Grande opposite Juárez, Mex.; inc. 1873. (Texas) affiliate, where Dustin Nippert Dustin David Nippert (born 6th May 1981 in Wheeling, West Virginia) is an American baseball player who plays for the Arizona Diamondbacks franchise. Nippert grew up in a small Ohio town of Beallsville where he played baseball in high school. , one of the organization's top pitching prospects, was diagnosed with an elbow injury Monday morning, nixing projected JetHawks starter Sergio Lizarraga's assignment to Lancaster.
But with the JetHawks down to a six-man bullpen - they carried eight for most of the first half - manager Wally Backman
``It's fortunate for me,'' McMachen said. ``I prefer being a starter, so I'm happy about it. I think it fits me better. I've been a starter all my life. It's easier to prepare when you know exactly when you're going to throw and how many pitches you're going to throw.''
McMachen excelled in a spot start June 13 at Rancho Cucamonga Rancho Cucamonga (răn`chō k'kəmäng`gə), city (1990 pop. 101,409), San Bernardino co., S Calif. , striking out five and allowing one run on five hits and one walk in 4 2/3 innings of an eventual JetHawks victory that helped them clinch a first-half title.
On Monday, his first start since learning he had a more-or-less permanent spot in the rotation, he allowed three runs on eight hits and three walks in five innings to earn his first victory of the season.
In Monday's game, his fastball barely climbed into the 80 mph range. He topped out at 86, just twice.
``There's not a whole lot of velocity there, but when he hits his spots he's fine,'' Backman said. ``Hopefully getting to start will help him get a little more sharp.''
Especially impressive about McMachen is his ability to pitch his way out of trouble, which he did in nearly all five innings Monday. He allowed baserunners to reach in every inning and stranded seven.
Opposing hitters are batting .297 against McMachen overall, but just .227 with runners on base and .216 with runners in scoring position In the sport of baseball, a baserunner is said to be in scoring position when he is on second or third base. The distinction between being on first base and second or third base is that a runner on first can usually only score if the batter hits an extra base hit, while a runner on .
McMachen prides himself on disrupting hitters' rhythm by pitching backward, meaning he throws off-speed pitches, sometimes in the 60 mph range, in fastball counts.
``He's got guts,'' Backman said.
The subject of trade rumors this season, McMachen, who was inactive for three weeks in May, is taking his new role as a vote of confidence from the parent club.
``It's interesting going from being on the DL and possibly getting traded and not knowing if you're even going to be with the organization, and now I'm in a starting role,'' he said. ``It seems like they're more interested in keeping me now. It gives me confidence because I know they have confidence in me, so it makes me more confident with where I'm at.''
Now, he's hoping to take advantage of the opportunity.
``It's a chance to really show something,'' McMachen said. ``I'm going to get a lot more innings and hopefully I can put a few good ones together and that improves my stock.''
--``Three Amigos AMIGOS Advanced Mobile Integration in General Operating Systems ,'' Part II? The JetHawks lost the nucleus of the California League's most productive offense when outfielders Conor Jackson Conor Sims Jackson (nicknamed Co-Jack or Action) was born May 7, 1982 in Austin, Texas. He is a first baseman in Major League Baseball who plays for the Arizona Diamondbacks. He bats right handed and throws right handed. He is 6'2" and roughly 225 pounds. and Carlos Quentin Carlos Quentin (born August 28, 1982 in Bellflower, California, is an outfielder who plays for the Arizona Diamondbacks. School years
Quentin attended Saint Pius X Elementary School (Chula Vista, California), and later, University of San Diego High School (San Diego, and third baseman third baseman
The infielder stationed near third base.
Noun 1. third baseman - (baseball) the person who plays third base
third sacker Jamie D'Antona, or the ``Three Amigos'' to JetHawks fans, were assigned to El Paso (Texas) this week.
But through the first two games of the Visalia series, their replacements haven't missed a beat.
Third baseman Dan Uggla Daniel Cooley Uggla (born March 11 , 1980 in Louisville, Kentucky) is a Major League Baseball second baseman for the Florida Marlins. Uggla finished third in the 2006 National League Rookie of the Year voting behind teammate Hanley Ramirez and Ryan Zimmerman of the Washington and outfielders Jay Garthwaite and Doc Brooks have combined to go 6 for 20 with four homers and 10 RBI RBI
runs batted in
Noun 1. rbi - a run that is the result of the batter's performance; "he had more than 100 rbi last season"
run batted in . In his first game back with the team Tuesday, Uggla was 3 for 4 with two homers and four RBI in a 9-7 victory over Visalia. Garthwaite hit a three-run homer in a 6-4 victory Monday over the Oaks.
Gideon Rubin, (818) 713-3607
(ran in AV edition only) CLIFF McMACHEN
Pitcher thrust into starting role because JetHawks are down to six-man bullpen.