No lemon from Meyer this time

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Pedro Moura pedro.moura@la­ Twit­ter: @pe­dro­moura


Right-han­der finds the com­mand to match his stuff as Angels roll.


Sit­ting on a dugout bench dur­ing Fri­day’s mid­dle in­nings at An­gel Sta­dium, Alex Meyer en­gaged Gar­rett Richards in an ex­tended con­ver­sa­tion about pitch­ing. Richards has missed al­most all of this sea­son be­cause of a strength­sap­ping ir­ri­tated nerve in his bi­ceps, but he has re­tained his plain per­spec­tive about how to re­tire ma­jor league hit­ters.

He in­structed Meyer to con­cern him­self less with where he was throw­ing his fast­ball and more about throw­ing it with con­vic­tion.

“Throw it 0-0,” Richards told him in his typ­i­cally terse fash­ion. “Throw it over the mid­dle. Let them try and hit it.”

Meyer did as ad­vised and pitched the Angels to a 9-0 thrash­ing of Kansas City on Satur­day night. When he first stepped to the mound, he missed wildly with his first three fast­balls to the Roy­als’ Whit Mer­ri­field. He stopped atop the mound, thought of his team­mate, un­wound his 6-foot-9 frame, and tried merely to fire a fast­ball some­where over the strike zone. He started to throw strikes.

“I’m not say­ing that’s the whole key to ev­ery­thing tonight,” Meyer said. “But that def­i­nitely played into it.”

Meyer’s sea­son to date has of­fered a study in what a ma­jor league pitcher can achieve when he throws as hard as any­one and fires off curve­balls as sharp as any­one, but lacks the abil­ity to re­peat his de­liv­ery on com­mand and, thus, throw con­sis­tently to an ex­act area.

Early re­sults have proved pass­able. His 4.05 earne­drun av­er­age en­ter­ing Satur­day was bet­ter than any­one ex­pected. On Satur­day night at An­gel Sta­dium, Meyer added an ex­per­i­men­tal group: What hap­pens when he just throws the ball in­side the strike zone as of­ten as pos­si­ble?

“This is one of the games that you hope for, where he bot­tled the stuff with com­mand,” Angels man­ager Mike Scios­cia said. “He was in the zone with ter­rific stuff all af­ter­noon.”

Through five in­nings, Meyer struck out eight without walk­ing any­one. His de­fense failed him in the sixth. Yunel Es­co­bar bob­bled Drew Butera’s lead­off grounder. An­drel­ton Sim­mons quickly started a dou­ble play on Mer­ri­field’s sub­se­quent grounder, but sec­ond base­man Danny Espinosa did not se­cure the ball be­fore he tried to throw to first base and dropped it. Both Roy­als run­ners were safe.

The same two in­field­ers col­lab­o­rated to com­plete a suc­cess­ful dou­ble play when Jorge Boni­fa­cio next grounded to short. After Meyer walked Lorenzo Cain, he struck out Eric Hos­mer with his hurtling curve­ball and bounded off the mound know­ing the best start of his ca­reer was over.

Blake Parker han­dled the sev­enth, re­turn­ing righthander Cam Bedrosian the eighth, and long man Yus­meiro Petit the ninth.

Cameron May­bin redi­rected Jakob Ju­nis’ first pitch of the game into cen­ter field for a lead­off home run. Mak­ing the fourth start of his ma­jor league ca­reer, Ju­nis hit two Angels back to back in the sec­ond in­ning but oth­er­wise evaded hard con­tact un­til the fourth, when Luis Val­buena, Sim­mons, Martin Mal­don­ado, and Danny Espinosa strung to­gether sin­gles, the last scor­ing two runs.

The Angels (36-36) added four runs in the sev­enth, three scor­ing when Val­buena swat­ted a fast­ball into the right-field bleach­ers. May­bin dou­bled, stole third, and scam­pered home on a ground­out for the fourth.

Mark J. Terrill As­so­ci­ated Press

ANGELS STARTER Alex Meyer pitches dur­ing the third in­ning against Kansas City on Satur­day. Meyer gave up two hits and struck out nine over six in­nings in the Angels’ 9-0 vic­tory over the Roy­als.

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