Clarkin Throws Four Shutout Innings in Tampa Yankees Loss - Pinstriped Prospects
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Clarkin Throws Four Shutout Innings in Tampa Yankees Loss

Ian Clarkin made a rare relief appearance (Mark LoMoglio/Yankees)

Tampa came into Wednesday night’s game just two games behind first-place Dunedin in the FSL North. Albert Abreu was on the mound making his fourth start back from the DL, but in each appearance, until Wednesday he had only pitched three innings each as a caution due to his previously reported elbow inflammation. Abreu has been looking better the more he pitches, and his start on Wednesday was his chance to pitch a bit further into the game.

His velocity was there for the first three to four innings. His fastball was a steady 97 mph, and he hit 99 mph at one point as well. His first two innings he was dominant, his fastball had great movement, and his slider was disappearing every time he threw it. Abreu totaled three strikeouts in the game, but following the second inning his fastball, though still coming in at 97, lost its movement and was visible coming down the middle. The first two hard-hit balls both went to center and could’ve been caught, but with a struggling Mateo who’s still getting used to the position, both found grass. He still went on to give up five earned runs, but it was still a promising performance. Abreu has consistency issues, but when he’s on, it’s evident that he can be a top-of-the-rotation pitcher. Keeping in mind, this was his first game going over three innings; there’s nothing to get bent out of shape over. His next outing will be one to watch as it seems his performance will determine how far he goes in the game.

Abreu totaled three strikeouts in the game, but following the second inning his fastball, though still coming in at 97, lost its movement and was visible coming down the middle. The first two hard-hit balls both went to center and could’ve been caught, but with a struggling Mateo who’s still getting used to the position, both found grass. He still went on to give up five earned runs, but it was still a promising performance.

Abreu has consistency issues, but when he’s on, it’s evident that he can be a top-of-the-rotation pitcher. Keeping in mind, this was his first game going over three innings; there’s nothing to get bent out of shape over. His next outing will be one to watch as it seems his performance will determine how far he goes in the game.

It appears Wednesday’s plan was set before the game as Ian Clarkin would come in after Abreu (also just returning from the DL) to get a short four innings of work in. He would strike five out and give up four hits in his work, looking just as good as he has all season. Clarkin’s secondary pitches, just as Abreu’s in the first two innings, were fooling batters one after the other.

Clarkin isn’t going to blow smoke by anyone, but it speaks to how great his movement can be despite expecting 90-91 mph fastballs at most. Clarkin would most likely be in Trenton by now, but with their rotation being packed, he’ll have to wait his turn. The ideal time for him to make a move to Double-A will be when Chance Adams gets called up to the Bronx, as Trenton has a couple of guys also deserving a promotion to Triple-A Scranton themselves. Until then expect Clarkin to give Tampa his usual quality starts as there’s not much for him to work on besides length at this point.

As for the Yankees’ bats, they were held to just four hits in the game, luckily one of them was a three-run home-run by Trey Amburgey, following a Tito Polo triple and Chris Gittens walk. Nick Solak continued his dominance at the plate, adding on two hits and a walk on the night. The Yankees had a chance in the ninth to tie or win the game after one of Solak’s singles, but they couldn’t move him forward and were defeated 5-4.

They go back at it with the Stone Crabs on Thursday, and starting tomorrow, they’ll have Greg Bird as he makes his three-game rehab stint in Tampa. Brody Koerner will make his second appearance of the season and get the start for the T-Yanks.

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