The Portland Rotation's Reversal of Fortune

A few days back, I wrote this article, in which I explained the need to fix up the AAA Portland Beavers’ rotation, which had two big question marks in fourth starter Josh Geer and a nebulous fifth starter spot that had been occupied by several organizational soldier types who didn’t even have much success at lower levels.

What a difference one turn through the rotation makes.

For once, Josh Geer decided to assume the form that made him a good mid-rotation prospect in 2006 and 2007, before he was bitten with a terrible case of gopheritis. Geer threw a four-hit shutout on Monday, and he’s now only allowed one homer in 28 June innings, which is huge.

Geer only K’d three and walked one, and his K/BB in June is an unimpressive 12/7, but the complete game featured 19 groundball outs. Tough to hit a homer when you’re pounding the ball into the ground, ain’t it?

One good start certainly doesn’t transform the 27-year-old righty from a release candidate to a promotion candidate, but Geer does throw strikes, so if he’s throwing quality strikes, that’s good enough for me…in a Triple-A back-of-the-rotation role.

As for the fifth starter spot, the Padres skipped over Corey Kluber, who I suggested they call on (Kluber had another fantastic night in San Antonio, with 7 K, 0 BB, 4 H, 0 R in 7 IP tonight), and went all the way down to Lake Elsinore to call up lefty Steve Garrison.

Garrison’s callup isn’t an Anthony Bass-esque “let’s skip this guy a level and see what happens” deal, though, as he’s got a full year of Double-A under his belt. He’s missed much of the last year and a half rehabbing from injury after posting a 3.82 ERA with San Antonio in 2008.

Garrison had a 4.50 ERA in three starts with Lake Elsinore, and he’s still not very far removed from injury, so the push to Triple-A for the first time in his career was aggressive.

For one night, though, the 23-year-old lefty made it work, throwing seven innings and allowing two runs on six hits.

It’s worth noting that Garrison had just a 4/3 K/BB, and he only got six groundouts, so his success may not be as sustainable as Geer’s. Still, he deserves another start or two, and if it doesn’t work out, there’s always Kluber.

Good to see the Portland pitching situation getting straightened out somewhat.

Tags: Josh Geer Portland Beavers Steve Garrison

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