Blue Wahoos pitching their way to victory

Pitching has been the heart and soul of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos’ success through the first eight games of the season.

The starting rotation has combined to allow just 10 runs while striking out 42 and walking only 13. It’s impressive to say the least, fueling Pensacola to a franchise-best 6-2 start to the year, a far cry from the 2-6 record it owned at this time last year.

Second-year manager Pat Kelly has seen a lot of talent in his 20-plus years of managing and said the Blue Wahoos’ rotation, headed up by top prospects Nick Travesio and Amir Garrett, has a lot of potential.

“All five (starters) have a chance to pitch in the big leagues,” Kelly said. “It’s fun to watch them go about their business. They feed off each other and are very competitive. They want to top what the guy did the night before.”

The bullpen hasn’t been bad either. In fact, in Thursday’s 4-1 win over Jacksonville at Blue Wahoos Stadium, Barrett Astin struck out two in the sixth inning before Wandy Peralta ended the seventh and eighth innings with strikeouts.

“We have guys giving us quality innings,” Kelly said. “We have a lot of flexibility and good arms.”

Garrett struck out seven in his second start of the season last Wednesday. He pitched six scoreless innings before coming out. The Suns ended up winning 2-1.

Despite not getting a decision, he loves the way his first season of Double-A baseball has played out so far. He agrees with Kelly’s assessment of the staff as well.

“It’s fun to go out there every five days and I also love watching the other guys pitch,” Garrett said. “We feed off each other and we all want to go out and give 100 percent every day.”

It’s a safe bet Garrett enjoyed watching Sal Romano pitch Thursday.

Romano followed a night later with a seven-strikeout performance. He worked five innings and didn’t walk a batter in Thursday’s victory. He allowed only one run.

Read more  in the April 21 edition of Navarre Press or subscribe online here.

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