San Diego Padres RHP Bryan Mitchell made his last start of the 2018 season Monday night against the San Francisco Giants and he made it count.
The 2018 season is over for San Diego Padres pitcher Bryan Mitchell. The right-hander made his final start of the year on Monday night against the San Francisco Giants with his entire Padres career on the line. Before the contest, manager Andy Green discussed the fact that everyone is currently auditioning for a role on next year’s pitching staff, with Joey Lucchesi as the front-runner and everyone else trying to fall in line.
Bryan Mitchell responded by pitching 8.2 innings of shutout baseball, falling just one out short of a shutout victory.
For much of the early part of the season, Mitchell was one of the worst pitchers in all of baseball, leading the league with the highest walk-rate of 2018. After an injury sidelined him for nearly three months, Mitchell returned to make a handful of starts to try and salvage his season.
As I mentioned yesterday, Mitchell gave up just six earned runs across 16 innings and recorded more strikeouts than walks in a single month for the first time all season in his return from the disabled list (before Monday night’s start).
Mitchell went fastball heavy on Monday night (81 of 118 pitches), maxing out at 96.1 mph and limiting the Giants lineup to no runs on seven hits. He allowed three walks and struck out a season-high seven hitters over the 8.2 innings he tossed.
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As Andy Green stated before the game, there’s a wide-open competition for next year’s rotation. Lucchesi has put up on the best rookie seasons ever by a Padres pitcher and is sure to find himself at the top of the rotation in 2019. You have to assume Clayton Richard comes back and takes a spot. Eric Lauer has shown enough improvement over the course of a season to warrant a rotation spot. That leaves two available slots for Mitchell, Jacob Nix, Luis Perdomo, Brett Kennedy, Robbie Erlin, Matt Strahm, and possibly Logan Allen and Cal Quantrill.
That’s an absurd amount of names for two rotation spots and doesn’t take into account any potential free agent signings.
Regardless of potential future moves, Bryan Mitchell may live to see another outing in a Padres uniform. He put in the best outing of his career and one of the best pitching performances any Padres pitcher has put up in 2018. Even more important, it was against a divisional opponent, one who he struggled against just a week ago (2 HR, 9 H in 5 IP).
It’s also hard to deny how effective his fastball was last night. Averaging 94.3 mph, Mitchell produced 10 swings and misses with his fastball (14 in total) thanks to the best command he’s exhibited all season and some impressive late movement. He continued to pump in 94-95 mph fastballs, even as his pitch count went over 100. It was the first time in his career he threw more than 100 pitches in a start.
Should the Padres give Mitchell another chance in 2019? No, but they will.
Congratulations to Mitchell on the fantastic start. See you next season.