When Chance Adams takes the mound, he’s focused on helping his team win the game despite the fact his changeup could use some work.
In fact, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders starting pitcher often lets his catcher — whether it’s Kyle Higashioka or Erik Kratz — pick the spots when he should throw his changeup.
After only throwing it twice in the season opener, Adams threw it 15 or 16 times in his second start, which was a no decision on Wednesday against Lehigh Valley, including a punchout pitch to end a bases-loaded threat in the third inning. Just one of them was a ball.
It’s that confidence that Adams is looking to take into his next start on Monday.
“It’s huge for him because it makes his fastball that much better, and it actually did,” RailRiders manager Bobby Mitchell said of the success of Adams’ changeup. “When they started to have to be cautious of his changeup a lot, he got in on a couple hitters — groundballs to second and a popup, or something. That’s going to be huge for him, and he actually through some decent sliders, too. But his changeup was the best I’ve seen by far.”
Aside from his changeup, Adams was effective with his curveball as well.
That pitch also took a step forward from the season opener.
“It’s good. It felt good today,” Adams said of his changeup after Wednesday’s start. “I threw like two sliders, a lot of curveballs, changeups and fastballs today.
“More for like back-door. I got two strikeouts (on curveballs). It was kind of intentional. The one to Dylan (Cozens) was. The other one wasn’t really.”
Pace key for Koerner
Brody Koerner made his Triple-A debut for the RailRiders, and it was an impressive one.
The 24-year-old right-hander pitched five innings and allowed just two runs on three hits and a pair of walks while striking out two, but didn’t factor into the decision.
Koerner credits his quick pace for his success against the IronPigs on Tuesday. By moving quickly from pitch to pitch, Lehigh Valley batters had trouble timing up the International League rookie.
“I think working fast helps my stuff play up — keep the hitters uncomfortable,” Koerner said. “If I’m working fast and it’s 10 seconds between pitches, and I throw a fastball the first pitch and the next one’s a changeup, that makes the changeup look that much slower because the guy’s rushing because I’m working fast. Pace has always been something that I’ve tried to do. I do all of the conditioning for a reason. I want to be in shape enough to be able to work quick.
“I like working quick because the defense plays behind you. They want to play behind guys who aren’t out there taking 30 seconds between pitches. That’s kind of the reason behind it. I want my defense to play behind me.”
Rogers off to hot start
Josh Rogers was supposed to start in the RailRiders bullpen, but with the promotions of Luis Cessa and Domingo German before the RailRiders’ first series of the season was over the 23-year-old was thrust back into the starting rotation. And he’s run with it.
Rogers pitched five innings of two-run baseball before really turning heads Thursday night when he earned his first Triple-A victory. The southpaw pitched seven shutout innings and stuck out an impressive 10 batters.
The 10 strikeouts was a career high.
“He can pitch,” Mitchell said on April 7. “He’s not overpowering, but he knows how to pitch and as long as he keeps the ball around the zone, doesn’t walk to many guys — he’ll be effective.”
Reach DJ Eberle at 570-991-6398 or on Twitter @ByDJEberle