Owens Continues Hot Start to 2012 With Seven Shutout Innings

Rudy Owens pitched seven shutout innings tonight.

Rudy Owens had a big start tonight for the Indianapolis Indians, throwing seven shutout innings, while allowing six hits, one walk, and striking out six, while leading Indianapolis to a 2-0 win. The start for Owens was his second straight outing with seven shutout innings. It did come against a rare lineup that was completely full of left-handed batters, which definitely gave the left-handed pitcher an advantage. Even without that advantage, the pitches from Owens looked good.

“Changeup was a big pitch for me tonight, definitely keeping them off-balance,” Owens said of his start. “I’m still working on that curve ball, trying to be more consistent with it, but I guess I can just call it a show pitch right now until I get that down. Changeup was huge for me, and definitely worked out in my favor.”

“It was a couple of big innings,” Indianapolis manager Dean Treanor said. “Leadoff double in the first inning. Got out of that. And then the other one, where they had a runner at third and one out, and he got out of that. He made pitches, and I think he’s gaining a lot of confidence, so today was another big day for him.”

On the season Owens has a 2.08 ERA in 26 innings, with a 19:1 K/BB ratio. The one walk came tonight in the fifth inning. That’s a big change from last year in Triple-A, when Owens had a 5.05 ERA in 112.1 innings, with a 71:32 K/BB ratio.

“I think it’s just confidence, and definitely my mechanics,” Owens said of the changes from last year to this year.

The left-hander came down with a shoulder injury toward the end of the year. It showed up late and gradually got worse. The injury forced him to miss the final months of the 2011 season, and put a focus on his mechanics over the off-season, starting during instructs, then continuing in mini camp. He looked much better in Spring Training this year compared to his performance last year, and has carried that over in to camp.

“I think [the injury] was a blessing in disguise, just to get me back to my mechanical issues that I had,” Owens said.

The injury helped Owens to get back on track, but it wasn’t the cause for his struggles last year. The jump from Double-A to Triple-A is the toughest to make for a pitcher. Owens started getting hit around at the start of the year, and the end result was that it affected his command, something that was a big asset for him during the 2009 and 2010 seasons.

“There’s some veteran hitters in this league, and he wasn’t getting a lot of swings that I’m sure he was used to getting on his pitches,” Treanor said. “I think he got hit around a little bit last year that he wasn’t used to. I think there was probably a confidence factor in there last year. But he’s pitching with a lot more confidence this year, really trusting his ability. So I think the command comes back. I think when you’re trying to miss bats, you miss the zone. And now he’s in the zone, wants them to put the ball in play, and now he’s pitching with a lot of confidence.”

A big key for Owens prior to 2011 was his ability to put the fastball anywhere he wanted it. He also had a good changeup, which is by far his best pitch. That hasn’t disappeared.

“It’s definitely my bread and butter,” Owens said of the changeup. If I didn’t have my changeup, I wouldn’t have much of a off-speed pitch right now.”

“The changeup is becoming a big pitch for him,” Treanor said. “He’s able to command that.”

Owens continues working on the curve, sharpening the pitch up. However, with his fastball command returning to 2009-2010 levels, and that command carrying over to his changeup, it’s easy to see why he’s off to a great start this year. These are the same types of performances that led to him being named the Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2009, and again in 2010. Just like then, Owens is doing it on a good changeup, and plus fastball command.


**The two runs for Indianapolis came in the second inning. Brandon Boggs hit a triple to left-center, scoring Jordy Mercer from first base. Boggs scored when Gorkys Hernandez hit a sacrifice fly to right field.

**Owens was 86-90 MPH with his fastball tonight.

**Indianapolis only had three hits tonight, with one each from Jordy Mercer, Brandon Boggs, and Jose Morales. They drew five walks, all off of starter Chris Archer, who has dealt with some serious control issues throughout his career.

**Starling Marte went 0-for-4 tonight, and was caught looking at strike three in his first two at-bats. He made some nice catches in the outfield, although he made them look easy. Marte covers a lot of ground, and robbed at least two hits tonight playing in a very tough center field that is almost shaped like a box at the wall.

Enjoy this story? Pirates Prospects will be switching to a subscription site on 4/13, so that we can continue bringing you the best Pirates coverage there is. For a very small monthly price, you can continue getting articles like this, along with coverage from every minor league city. Get more information here, and subscribe today!

Share This Article

Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

Indianapolis Bats Explode For 13 Runs on 18 Hits

Next Story »

Justin Wilson Leads Combined No Hitter For Indianapolis

  • st1300b

    If you read between the lines, one could make an argument that the best place for Owens to show in the bigs is as a lefty reliever. He lacks pitch selection, and velocity but can get lefties out. We could use a guy like that right now in the bigs to take Resop or Meek’s spot – one of two of them needs to go – both preferably.

    • Lee Young

       definitely not a Resop fan….

  • Lee Young

    st1300b….I was thinking the same thing…..you can go a long way as a reliever with a good changeup. See John Grabow.

Latest Analysis

  • Keller Supak Hinsz

    Even With the New Draft Rules, the Pirates Are Still Loading Up on Projectable Pitchers

    1 day ago

    From 2008-2011, the Pittsburgh Pirates spent a lot of resources on projectable pitchers out of high school. So far, this approach has led to breakout performances from ...

    Read More
  • Josh Bell made the move to first base over the off-season. (Photo credit: David Hague)

    Why Should You Care About Prospects?

    3 days ago

    Yesterday I had a shorter day than usual. The Pirates had cuts at the MLB level, and a road game. The day was shortened at Pirate City, ...

    Read More
  • Gregory Polanco

    Q&A: Trading Prospects For Rentals, Polanco Concerns, Meadows vs Appel

    4 days ago

    I missed the Q&A last week due to a common problem in Spring Training: I forgot what day it was. It was around 6:00 that I was ...

    Read More
  • Nick Kingham f

    Improving His Two-Seam Fastball will Make Nick Kingham a More Effective Pitcher

    5 days ago

    With Jameson Taillon returning from Tommy John surgery, and unlikely to make an impact at the Major League level early in the year, the top prospect to ...

    Read More
  • Arquimedes Caminero 3

    The Roster Situations That Could Impact the Makeup of the Pirates Bullpen

    7 days ago

    There are less than two weeks remaining in Spring Training, and the one area where the Pittsburgh Pirates had actual position battles is heating up. There were ...

    Read More
  • Jordan Luplow

    How the Pirates are Trying to Stay Ahead of the Curve With the New Draft Rules

    1 week ago

    The 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement brought a lot of changes to Major League Baseball. The biggest change for the Pittsburgh Pirates came in the draft. From 2008-2011, ...

    Read More
  • Alen Hanson

    The Key For Alen Hanson to Help the Pirates in the Majors This Year

    1 week ago

    When the Pittsburgh Pirates moved Alen Hanson to second base last year, part of the plan was to get him to the majors faster by putting him at ...

    Read More
  • Tyler Glasnow 2

    What the Stats Don’t Tell You About Tyler Glasnow

    1 week ago

    The stat line for Tyler Glasnow’s start at Pirate City yesterday looked great: 3 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K. The lone run ...

    Read More
  • JaCoby Jones Josh Bell

    JaCoby Jones Did Fine in the Move to Shortstop, But Needs to Cut Down on Strikeouts

    2 weeks ago

    The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted JaCoby Jones as an outfielder in the third round of the 2013 draft, then surprised everyone the following year when they moved him ...

    Read More
  • Cody Dickson is a lefty with the upside of a middle of the rotation starter. (Photo Credit: Mark Olson)

    The Mental Adjustment that Led to Cody Dickson’s Dominant 2014 Second Half

    2 weeks ago

    Trusting his stuff and not trying to do too much — that has been the key for left-handed pitcher Cody Dickson so far in his professional baseball ...

    Read More
  • Browse More Articles