Hector Noesi dominates Harrisburg
TRENTON - When Hector Noesi first was promoted to Trenton, the hype couldn’t have been higher. He tore up the Florida State League and was poised to add even more power to a rotation that, led by David Phelps, was establishing itself as a dominant force.
The ace of early summer was back in full force last night, cutting through a Harrisburg that, the night before, had its way with Trenton. The result was a 3-2 Thunder win that gave the team a shot in the arm after a deflating loss a night earlier.
Noesi delivered the seven most brilliant innings thrown at Waterfront Park this season, allowing just two hits and no walks and earning his first win since July 4, also against Harrisburg.
“I think that was a magnificent performance from the previous two or three performances,” manager Tony Franklin said afterward. “He was outstanding. Total command of himself, the hitters, the strike zone. That’s major league pitching right there.”
The effort, fueled in part by a mechanical change instilled by pitching coordinator Nardi Contreras, put Noesi firmly back to where he had been before a recent stretch of ugly outings.
From June 1 until July 20 – spanning nine starts – the 23-year-old right-hander from the Dominican Republic posted a 1.35 ERA, tops in the circuit. He fanned 50 against just 10 bases on balls and compiled a league-best WHIP of 0.90.
After nearly two months in the rotation, he had joined Phelps as the team’s twin aces. Then, out of absolutely nowhere, he went very sour very quickly.
Over his next three starts, opponents hit Noesi like he was throwing batting practice. The league reached him for 19 runs (all earned) in 11 2/3 frames. That works out to a 14.66 ERA, or the worst in the league by more than a run and a half.
In his last start, Tuesday at Altoona, there were positives and negatives. Yes, he gave up 10 hits and a walk over five innings, but he also managed to limit the Curve to a lone run. Whether he was out of his funk was unclear.
That is, until last night, when a lengthening of his stride improved the command of his pitches and their corresponding crispness.
“His stride was shortening,” pitching coach Tommy Phelps said. “Nardi’s the one that picked it up. He came into town and saw him pitch last time, so all we did was lengthen his stride a little bit to get the ball out front and help him finish a lot better.”
A throwing error on catcher Devin Ivany allowed Justin Christian, who had walked to lead off the contest, to score the opening run. A double from Corban Joseph and a single from Marcos Vechionacci in the third brought home the other two scores.
Ryan Pope allowed two runs in the ninth, but got a grounder to short from Somerset native Tim Pahuta to ground weakly into a fielder’s choice to end the game.
NOTES: Rehabbing Yankees reliever Alfredo Aceves will make his second appearance on Tuesday against Bowie. Andrew Brackman will relieve him.
That's Marcos Vechionacci in the picture. He drove in a run yesterday.