The season has just begun for the Las Vegas 51′s and our aliens over on the West Coast have enough talent to rocket up to the big leagues sooner rather than later. Tonight, Rafael Montero was right on the ball with his stuff.
It’s Rafael Montero’s first full season with the 51′s and he has brought the spotlight from Broadway all the way to Sin City. The one thing we all say about Montero is how pinpoint he is with all of his pitches. It’s for that reason that there were so many murmurs about him being brought up to help the bullpen before joining the rotation: he doesn’t miss and he gets guys out.
Start one for Montero was as follows: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 SO. Even better than that flawless line? Montero did it all with only 79 pitches, 55 of which went for strikes. In an area where the ball is supposed to leap off the bats, Montero was able to keep the Grizzlies off the board.
Montero did find himself in a bit of trouble in the 3rd inning when he gave up a two out double to Gary Brown and then a single to Joe Panik. The defense really came through for Montero and saved him a run when Nieuwenhuis threw Brown out at home.
After the third inning, Montero would only give up one more hit (a leadoff double the following inning) before striking out three over his final three innings.
It’s great to see that Montero can successfully pitch to contact and keep his pitch count low in an environment known for being a little thin.
The 51′s offense truly came to life after Montero’s exit from the game all but insuring that he will begin the season with his first win—something that we currently (and sadly) cannot say about our boys in New York. However, this is just a glimpse of things to come. At any other point this season, Montero could’ve continued for another inning or two and come away with an even more sparkling performance. Alas, it’s his first start and we’re going to, hopefully, see a lot more of this.
Notable mention: At the time of writing this, Zach Lutz launched a grand slam to put the 51s ahead 8-2 going into the 8th inning.
(Photo Credit: Brad Barr and MiLB.com)