Pitching for a change

Yes, believe it or not, there were some fine pitching performances on Tuesday out in the AFL.

In Scottsdale’s 3-1 victory over Grand Canyon — the Rafters’ first loss of the season — both starters went three scoreless. So kudos to Corwin Malone and Josh Shortslef. Shortslef, the Pirates prospect, now has a 1.59 ERA across two outings. Billy Sadler picked up his second save in that game for Scottsdale with a perfect inning that included two strikeouts. He may be the most dominant reliever in the league so far. The Giants righty has appeared in four games (four innings total), allowed just one hit and one walk  and has struck out nine.

Felfoldi_3The Saguaros got some good pitching, finally. Four pitchers combined on a six-hit shutout of the Desert Dogs, bringing the team’s ERA down to 7.94. Jon Felfoldi became the first pitcher, I believe, to go more than three innings in one AFL outing this season. The Nats lefty went 3 1/3, allowing just two hits, walking none while striking out five. He got the win for his efforts, but that’s not all. He also gets my star of the day.

Sure, there was the usual assortment of offensive playerfs to consider. Anthony Raglani drove in five runs in Mesa’s 14-9 win over the Javelinas. Brett Gardner and Brendan Ryan had three hits and two RBIs each to back the Saguaros’ pitchers in the win over Phoenix. But this was a day to honor the pitchers.

Even with the strong performances, though, the league numbers still should make people want to grab a bat:

All-time batting average record: .296 (2005)
2006 batting average: .290

All-time worst ERA: 5.40 (2005)
2006 ERA: 6.25

All-time homers per game:
2.21 (2005)
2006 HR/G: 1.86

All-tiem runs per game: 12.15 (2005)
2006 R/G: 14.14

All the more reason to play AFL Beat the Streak and have a chance at winning $500. There are plenty of hits to be found. Brendan Ryan got it done for me yesterday. Today, I’m going with the Saguaros’ Chase Headley. The leaders have six-game streaks. Not for nothing, in the days I’ve actually remembered to make a pick, I’ve gotten a hit every time. That’s a perfect five-for-five for those of you scoring at home.

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