The Dominator took to the mound for the Binghamton Mets tonight, in temperatures that made it seem more like an April night in the upstate New York city, than a night in the middle of May. Rafael Montero stood on the mound, with his glove in front of his face, so the batter could only see a pair of eyes staring in, and his mouth breathing steam like a locomotive.
He didn’t shut down Akron like he has shut down teams in the past — he gave up eight hits and two runs over six innings, but what he did on the mound tonight was still very impressive.
Montero was working quickly again tonight, which on a night where the temperature was in the mid-40s, was a blessing to the defenders. The last thing a guy playing defense wants to do on a cold night is stand around — everything stiffens up and your feet and toes go numb. Montero stuck with his fastball for the majority of the night, which could have also been attributed to the cold. The only reason for throwing so many fastballs tonight would be because he couldn’t get a good grip or feel for his off-speed pitches.
As I stated earlier, Montero did give up eight hits. However, when you take into account that he was throwing mostly fastballs, and he is always around the strike zone, the opposition is going to tag you for some hits unless you mix in some off speed stuff or throw 97 mph. This was also Montero’s third time facing Akron, which could have played a part in giving up the eight hits. Once a team sees a pitcher a few times, it can get get a little easier when hitting, not that Akron did much damage anyway. But the eight hits are the only negative thing that can be said about Montero’s start. It was the second-most hits he has given up in a game this year (gave up ten hits on May 1). And he was still pretty darn impressive even though he did surrender the eight hits.
Montero threw a total of 98 pitches, 66 of them were strikes. He struck out six Akron hitters and walked none. He now has 48 strikeouts on the year, and only 6 walks. That’s good for an 8:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Montero isn’t going to give any teams free runs, but because of the type of pitcher he is, he isn’t going to hold many teams scoreless. Not for the time being anyway. If he can live on the corners, he may be the type of guy that eventually develops into a shutout threat every time he takes the hill. He is always around the strike zone, which could be good and bad for him all at the same time. When he is nipping the black, Montero dominates. However, even when he doesn’t, he still keeps the opposing hitters off balance enough to put his offense in a position to win games. They may get some hits, but Montero forces the opposing team to earn every run that crosses that plate — nothing is easy. That is what I really like about him.
Final Stat Line: 6 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K