Sunday, June 8, 2008

Horne K's 7 In AAA Return

Alan Horne reportedly did not have good command Sunday night in his first AAA start since leaving his April 10th outing with a bicep injury. Horne did, however, show his great stuff and an uncanny ability to bare down by keeping the damage to a minimum.

Horne lasted only four innings, allowing three hits, one run and striking out seven to two walks. Over those four erratic frames Horne used 82 pitches with only 44 going for strikes. Impressively, Horne was able to strike out the side twice, both times coming during high pressure situations.

According to the SWB Yanks blog, Horne was gassed early on in the outing because of a rushed bullpen before the game began:
Alan Horne said he was really struggling to stay cool. He felt light-headed on the mound through the first two innings and things got so bad in the second that he thought he was going to have to tell the bench to take him out. It's not a matter of not being in shape -- "All I've been doing is lifting and running in the Tampa heat and humidity," he said -- but he had to rush his bullpen, then rush out to the field and he never had a chance to catch his breath.
Maybe even more impressive was the fact that Horne could not command his fastball, was unable to grip his curve and consequently threw sliders and changeups for the majority of his outing. Even without his best stuff and obvious discomfort on the mound, Horne was able to sit down Syracuse batters with regularity.

Apparently Horne's fastball was 88-90 mph Sunday night which certainly is not representative of his ordinary velocity - especially considering how little Horne utilized the four-seamer.

Following Horne on the mound was rising prospect Dave Robertson who tossed three scoreless innings of relief. Robertson allowed only one hit Sunday night, struck out four and walked zero.

Over his 44.2 innings split between Trenton and Scranton this year, Robertson has an aggregate ERA of 1.77 as well as a WHIP under 1.00 - to go along with 56 strikeouts and 17 walks. Allowing just 23 hits in his 44+ innings works out to a .162 opponents batting average.

These are sickly numbers. Another three weeks of this type of dominance from Robertson should lead to a big league call-up.

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