Alex Meyer blanks Royals while Angels bats explode
ANAHEIM — Before Alex Meyer came along, there was Garrett Richards: a hard-throwing pitcher with command issues, who some figured might be better off in the bullpen.
On the eve of Meyer’s best big league performance, in the Angels’ 9-0 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Saturday, he sat in the dugout with Richards and went to school.
Richards told him what pushed him over the hump.
“He just kind of simplified things,” Meyer recalled. “Trust (the fastball). Just throw it over the middle and let them hit it. I’m not saying that’s the whole key to everything, but that definitely played into it.”
Although obviously an oversimplification, the point is that Meyer’s raw stuff is good enough that he doesn’t need to worry about painting corners. He needs to worry about throwing strikes, because that puts hitters in a hole and leaves them vulnerable to his curve and slider.
On Saturday night, he did it all in impressive fashion, blanking the Royals on just two hits. He struck out nine and — most impressive — he walked just one.
“That’s one of the games you hope for,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “He bottled the stuff with the command. He was in the zone with terrific stuff all afternoon, and gave us a big lift.”
Meyer has gradually been putting the pieces together ever since the Angels got him at the trading deadline last summer. He was inconsistent in the big leagues last September. After a winter tightening up his delivery, spring training was a story of ups and downs. His initial starts this season in the big leagues were more of the same.
Now, though, he’s posted a 1.91 ERA over a six-start stretch.
“If you go back to where he was last year or where he was in spring training, he’s moved light years ahead,” Scioscia […]