MOOSIC — Bobby Mitchell wanted to tell Chance Adams in person, but it couldn’t wait.
At 12:30 p.m. he called the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders right-hander. And when Adams picked up, Mitchell thought he had woken up his pitcher.
Adams is going up to the bigs. He’ll make his debut Saturday at Fenway Park against the Boston Red Sox.
“Bobby called me this morning. Well, my agent called me and said, ‘Have you heard anything?’” Adams said. “I said, ‘Have I heard anything about what?’ And I found out about all of the stuff. Just the way things lined up.”
“He needed to get on the move and needed to get up there as soon as possible, today, so that he could go to the hotel and report to the ballpark tomorrow,” Mitchell added. “That was a little disappointing because I want to see the look on their face all the time. It was good to see him here, coming in. He was happy, focused going up there.
“He doesn’t look, act, like he was nervous at all. I’m sure he will be as time passes, but it’s a tough situation, man. To go up there — the situation — and pitch against a pretty dang good team. We’re hoping the best for him. I’m sure he’ll do fine.”
In a year filed with ups and downs, Adams has been working toward this moment. And he perhaps will make his debut as confident as ever.
Adams will come into Saturday’s start against the Red Sox with a 1-2 record and 3.06 ERA in his last seven appearances. That includes Monday’s outing against the Rochester Red Wings, when he pitched 7.2 innings of two-hit baseball. The only run he allowed was an unearned run, which came across the plate in extra innings after the base runner started on second base.
However, Adams admits that the first-place Red Sox are a completely different animal compared to the Red Wings.
“My mechanics and how I was yes, but the approach and stuff, no,” the 23-year-old answered when asked if there’s anything he takes out of his last start. “The Red Sox are a completely different team.
“I’m just going to go up there and do my best. Give the team a chance to win.”
Adams’ early struggles, when he sported a 5.98 ERA in April and May, are partially due to the side effects from that offseason surgery to remove bone spurs in his right elbow, which he had to pitch through in 2017.
Even though he was healthy to start the season, he wasn’t back to his old self, when he saw a lot of success in 2016 and the beginning of 2017. So after his struggles, Adams worked with Tommy Phelps on his mechanics and has seen his slider turn into an effective cutter.
Plus, he’s finally starting to throw his changeup more consistently. Considering he was afraid to throw it at times early in the season, he’s made some great strides with the pitch.
“My slider — my cutter I’ve been throwing has been working really well. Kind of really threw it for the first time last game,” Adams said. “Just kind of feeling my fastball back with the life it has and the velocity has been climbing, so we’ll see if it gets back to where it was in 2016.
“The changeup has been kind of hit-and-miss some games. Some games it’s been working really well. I just have to get comfortable with it. It’s been the toughest pitch I’ve ever had to learn how to control, but it’s been working well.”
If Adams is going to be effective against the Red Sox, like Mitchell says he can be, the first-year RailRiders manager believes that Adams will have to stay away from hitter’s counts and when he does fall into hitter’s counts he’s going to have to throw his off-speed pitches for strikes.
His ability to throw his curveball and cutter close to the zone in two-strike counts could be the difference between success or an early exit.
“He can pitch anywhere, really, if he has that confidence going and he’s throwing strikes. That’s the main thing,” Mitchell said. “He’s got to go throw strikes, he has to hit his spots and he has to have good command. It’s not just one pitch, he has to throw a lot of different pitches for strikes. … You start relying on a fastball and you’re in trouble against those guys.”
Reach DJ Eberle at 570-991-6398 or on Twitter @ByDJEberle