By Todd Johnson
Jose Albertos made his fourth start for Eugene last night. He allowed one hit in five innings and threw just 63 pitches. He struck out five, walked one, and did not allow a run. Only one ball was hit hard and that was a line drive to center field.
Here are six things you need to know about the latest start from the Cubs top pitching prospect.
1. Of his 63 pitches, 46 were for strikes. That’s an amazing percentage! This is the type of command that has been hinted at the past year and a half.
2. He is not going to strike out everybody, but he does work efficiently, which might be better in the long run. He was looking good in his last turn before a series of errors evolved into three runs. On Thursday night, most at-bats were only three or four pitches and the defense was outstanding behind him.
4. He was able to maintain his velocity through the fifth inning. In the past, he tends to start off in the low 90s and velocity increases along with the innings. Last night was no exception. By the second inning he was sitting 95, 96, and he even touched 97.
5. The fact that he threw 63 pitches should not be alarming. The Cubs are still handling him with kid gloves after he missed two starts over two weeks in July. He did throw 80 pitches earlier in the year and is working his way back to that number.
6. He threw all three of his pitches for strikes. He has been throwing his changeup more the last two starts than he did in the first two. Eugene broadcaster Pat Zajac commented often about the poor swings the pitch kept getting all night.
As a result of his excellent outing, his ERA dropped from 4.63 to 3.24. This was his first start on the road and that is a very encouraging to see him do so well in different environs. His next start should be on the 9th in Boise.