In his last start at the DBAP, Brent Honeywell had to go out to the bullpen to warm up, because the Durham Bulls batters were scoring so many runs for him.
He didn’t have as much down time in Durham’s 1-0 win over Charlotte on July 4.
On June 24, also against Charlotte, the Bulls staked Honeywell to 11 runs in the second inning en route to a lopsided 17-3 blowout. On Tuesday, Durham had just five runners reach second base in a pitchers’ duel.
“Baseball’s a funny game, man,” Honeywell said with a shrug. “There are so many things you can’t control, and that’s just one of those things.”
The righthander, who made his final start before an appearance Sunday in the MLB Futures Game, which will kick off Major League Baseball’s All Star Break, struck out nine batters, while walking one over six three-hit innings.
Honeywell credited a few adjustments with his off-speed pitches for the strong performance.
“I didn’t try to do anything out of the ordinary, today,” Honeywell said. “I talked with (pitching coach Kyle) Snyder about it before the game: Everything fits together, pitch-selection wise. That was the big thing I took into today. I think I had all my strikeouts on the changeup. Adding a little bit of deception to what I’m trying to do, to the really good changeup that I already have. That’s about the gist of what I was trying to do.”
Jake Bauers’ solo home run in the fourth provided all the scoring for the game. The slim margin of error, especially compared to his last start, helped keep Honeywell engaged.
“I think it was a good time for me to still be in the ballgame,” he said, “because I didn’t have a cushion. Not saying that run support is a bad thing.”
Chih-Wei Hu pitched two scoreless innings, and Diego Castillo picked up his first save on the year with a scoreless ninth to help Honeywell, who has earned a decision in every one of his starts this year, to improve to 8-7.
“I had no problem turning a one-run ballgame over to our bullpen,” Honeywell said. “Especially knowing the offense can blow up for 11 runs at any given time.”
Even if the offensive explosion on July Fourth was significantly smaller.