In a pleasant turn of events, San Diego Padres starting pitcher Bryan Mitchell put in an impressive outing against the Houston Astros.
That was the Bryan Mitchell that General Manager AJ Preller wanted in a San Diego Padres uniform. The 26-year-old righty put in a noteworthy performance against the Houston Astros on Saturday night, keeping one of the most dangerous lineups in baseball in check all night.
Mitchell lasted 5 2/3 innings, allowing three hits and six walks while striking out one. His first and only strike out of the season came against Evan Gattis on a wicked, knee-buckling curveball in the fifth inning.
Mitchell landed 52 of his 94 pitches for strikes, touching 96 mph with fastball. Even though Mitchell failed to give up a run, he also failed to generate a lot of swing and misses. In fact, only three of his 94 pitches resulted in a whiff. He did, however, force Houston hitters to make much softer contact compared to his first start of the season. Against the Rockies, Colorado hitters posted an 83.4 mph average exit velocity on balls in play. That number dropped to 80.2 mph against the Astros.
On two different occasions, Mitchell lead off an inning with a walk to Jose Altuve. Both times, Mitchell forced Carlos Correa to ground into a double-play to clear the bases. Mitchell’s pitches showed much more life in his second start. Most notably, he began to show a much better command of his curveball.
While Padres’ fans can celebrate a positive outing by Mitchell, the complete lack of missed bats is troubling. According to Fangraphs, Mitchell has a 6.55 FIP and 6.17 xFIP through his first 10 2/3 innings of work this season. Combining this with an anemic offense is going to lead to extremely frustrating evenings at the ballpark.
Despite the shortcomings, let’s give credit where credit is due. Mitchell’s performance on the mound put the San Diego Padres in perfect position to win this game. It was a start which he can build from and improve on going forward. Fans are comfortable in “trusting the process” when it comes to AJ Preller’s ability to land high quality prospects, let’s trust him with Mitchell.
Tyson Ross will toe the rubber tomorrow as the Padres look for a series win over the Astros. First pitch is set for 11 am PT.