After easily has worst start of the season on June 12th, where he was only able to get five outs before allowing 12 hits and eight runs, Adrian Sampson bounced back with a strong start on Friday night.
In the outing, Sampson worked seven innings and allowed just one run on three hits. However, one was a home run to left center field that he got beat on, coming off an elevated fastball. Sampson did not walk a hitter and had five strikeouts.
Additionally, he was extremely pitch efficient, as 59 of his 81 offerings crossed the plate for a strike.
In his previous start, Sampson had real issues controlling the fastball. He was all over the plate and was elevated. However, the command issues did not create pitches outside of the zone, but rather getting too much of the plate.
On Friday, Sampson was still working up in the zone, but had much better command of the 91-93 MPH fastball. While he was working out over the plate before, he was mixing the location around on Friday and kept the hitters guessing.
Working up in the zone is nothing new for Sampson this season, as he has been doing it for much of the campaign.
However, what makes working up in the zone successful is the work that he has done with the slider. Sampson has been using it has his put away and go to pitch. Even on the nights where the command is not there with the fastball, the slider has bailed him out. Sampson picked up four of his five strikeouts with 83 to 85 mile per hour sliders on Friday night.
Sampson also has a third pitch in the arsenal, his change-up, which he may need to go to more often in the future. The comfort with the pitch does not seem to be there and he has not thrown it many times in his past few starts. While he has not been utilizing the change-up as much, it still gives him a third different look and speed to keep hitters off-balance, as the pitch comes in around 87 MPH.
With some concern on how the right-handed prospect would bounce back after being left in to be beat around by interim Indianapolis manager Grady Little while Dean Treanor was away, Sampson rebounded nicely and showed that his confidence level is just fine.
Even though his ERA skyrocketed by around a point after the last outing, Sampson certainly showed that the previous start with just a blip on the radar and that his prospect status and readiness for the next level is still there.