Eduardo Rodriguez is already making an impact in Boston and this weekend saw two of Boston’s top pitchers. Henry Owens and Brian Johnson, both lefthanders, made their debuts at McCoy Stadium against one of the most feared offenses in International League.
Johnson was given the start on Saturday night, and he was able to fight his way through seven innings. In an effort to manage his innings after two back-to-back appearances in which he threw less than 80 pitches, Johnson was aiming to reach 90 for the first-time in June. Johnson had a very interesting outing. Johnson allowed five runs but only one was earned. He walked two and hit four, after not hitting a batter for almost a year. He was able to win despite striking out six batters and working through some jams. He was never intimidated, and his impressive mound presence was evident throughout.
Johnson stated that Johnson felt fine. Johnson said that his changeup was good, but my fastball command was a bit off. Overall, I feel great. There are no complaints about my arm or body.”
Manager Kevin Boles stated that “His command was sometimes a little suspect.” He had to fight through some things out there. However, he was able to complete seven innings with some efficiency. He accomplished some great things. He was competitive throughout, even though we made mistakes.”
Johnson and Boles both cited the pitch as a major reason for their success. Boles stated that the pitch helped him out of big jams, while Johnson claimed it was the best changeup he’d ever had.
Owens came into his start with his team at 1-6 in seven of the last seven games. But he did everything he could to end that funk. His best game of 2015 was Sunday, when he threw 99 pitches and 65 strikes in six innings. He only allowed one run on four hits, one walk, and struck out seven batters for a season-best seven. Pawtucket lost 4-3 without him.
Boles stated that Boles showed “a bit more control of the zone today.” He worked through some jams but gave us six solid innings.
Owens stated that control was a key focus throughout the year. “I feel comfortable out there mechanically, and I made any adjustments quickly.”
Owens was pleased with his performance but disappointed that he couldn’t complete the sweep against the Mud Hens for PawSox. Pawtucket will travel for six more games tomorrow before returning home on June 22nd.