Reed pitches Fly­ing Squir­rels past Sen­a­tors

Re­cent ac­qui­si­tion from an in­de­pen­dent league strug­gled in first 2 starts

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - SPORTS - BY CHRIS LIBONATI

Lan­caster Barn­storm­ers man­ager Ross Peeples pulled Nate Reed into his of­fice and let him know he had been ac­quired. He told him the Gi­ants had pur­chased his con­tract and gave him a phone num­ber to call.

For the first time since Reed played at the Class A-Ad­vanced level in for Salem, a Red Sox af­fil­i­ate, he had a con­tract in “af­fil­i­ate ball.”

“Here’s a num­ber to the guy you got to call, and they han­dle it from there,” Reed said of how the meet­ing went.

Reed strug­gled in his first two out­ings with the Fly­ing Squir­rels. The Gi­ants ac­quired Reed from Lan­caster of the At­lantic League, an in­de­pen­dent league in

which no teams are af­fil­i­ated with teams in Ma­jor League Base­ball. At Lan­caster, Reed put up a 3.53 ERA with a 1.206 WHIP. In parts of ev­ery sea­son since 2013, Reed has played in the Mex­i­can Pa­cific Win­ter League or Mex­i­can League, which is con­sid­ered to be at the Triple-A level and is or­ga­nized by MLB but isn’t af­fil­i­ated with any MLB teams.

Sun­day, how­ever, Reed had his best outing since he’s joined the Fly­ing Squir­rels. He pitched seven in­nings and gave up just two runs and eight hits. He en­tered the game with an 11.74 ERA but left with a 7.36.

The Fly­ing Squir­rels won 6-2 and split the four-game se­ries with Har­ris­burg.

The Squir­rels gave Reed the run sup­port he needed be­fore he left the game. In the fourth in­ning, Jerry Sands’ triple brought home sec­ond base­man C.J. Hi­no­josa and third base­man Myles Schroder, giv­ing the Squir­rels a 2-1 lead. Al­though Rich­mond left the bases loaded at the end of the in­ning, it so­lid­i­fied its lead by scor­ing two more runs.

“I don’t want to change too much in my game be­cause that got me here,” Reed said of his prior strug­gles.

The Rich­mond left­handed pitcher has a sink­ing fast­ball that man­ager Kyle Haines said is a key to Reed hav­ing good out­ings. If he throws it well, it opens up Reed’s other pitches, which will lead to bet­ter starts. Haines said his break­ing pitches are the best in his reper­toire.

“The first outing was tough be­cause of a lot of cheap hits and a lot of breaks didn’t go his way,” Haines said.

On Sun­day, Reed in­duced six con­sec­u­tive ground­outs, start­ing with a dou­ble play on the last out of the first in­ning. He struck out four bat­ters and used his break­ing pitches to tame the Sen­a­tors’ lineup, which scored 16 runs in the first three games of the se­ries.

Reed was ac­quired be­fore the All-Star break and pitched June 30 be­fore pitch­ing again July 9. The Fly­ing Squir­rels pitcher said he had to ad­just to be­ing added, pitch­ing right away and then tak­ing nine days of rest. Dur­ing the All-Star break, Reed said he kept the same rou­tine as he had in the At­lantic League.

Af­ter he pitches, he’ll rest his arm the day af­ter. On the next three days, he’ll play long toss, throw in the bullpen and then “take it easy,” re­spec­tively. In Dou­ble-A, Reed said play­ers hit more ag­gres­sively than in the in­de­pen­dent leagues, where there are more ex-ma­jor league play­ers and older play­ers. On Sun­day, he han­dled them well.

“I said as long as I keep get­ting op­por­tu­ni­ties,” Reed said, “I’d keep want­ing to play the game.”

Notes: The Squir­rels travel to Erie (Detroit Tigers) to start a three-game se­ries at UPMC Park in Erie, Pa., at 6:35 p.m. on Mon­day. Rich­mond righty Cory Tay­lor (2-8, 5.14 ERA) will face righty Beau Bur­rows (2-2, 5.59 ERA).

See photo high­lights from the Squir­rels’ win at Rich­mond.com.

SHABAN ATHUMAN/TIMES-DIS­PATCH

Nate Reed de­liv­ers dur­ing the Squir­rels’ win over Har­ris­burg at The Di­a­mond. Reed was ac­quired be­fore the All-Star break from the Lan­caster Barn­storm­ers of the At­lantic League.

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