Zach Lee made his professional debut today with the Great Lakes Loons of the Midwest League (Low-A ball). Here's an inning-by-inning breakdown of his day.
First Inning - 13 pitches (7 strikes, 6 balls)
0 Hits, 1 Walk, 0 Strikeouts
-Lee threw his first pitch at 92 MPH, Loons' play-by-play announce Matt Park said on the broadcast. He wasn't afraid to pitch inside, as he threw all fastballs in the first inning. After walking the No. 2 hitter, he got the next two hitters without incident.
Second Inning - 25 pitches (13 strikes, 12 balls)
1 Hit, 1 Walk, 2 Strikeouts
-Lee's fastball topped out at 96 MPH in the second. His first strikeout came on a slider down-and-away from the right-handed hitter. He got his second strikeout on a backup curveball that froze the hitter. Park said it was a slider, but it had much more of a curveball break. He got in a spot of bother with a two-out walk followed by an infield single before getting the last hitter of the inning to ground out weakly to first after an eight-pitch battle.
Third Inning - 11 pitches (8 strikes, 3 balls)
0 Hits, 0 Walks, 1 Strikeout
-Lee started the first two hitters off with off-speed pitches. He got the lead-off man to look at a slider for strike three. The next two hitters hit the ball hard, but both were flagged down by left fielder Nick Akins.
Fourth Inning - 20 pitches (11 strikes, 9 balls)
1 Hits, 1 Walks, 2 Strikeouts
-Lee got the first hitter to foul out to third base before walking the next hitter on four pitches. He then struck out the next hitter on three pitches before a seven-pitch tilt that ended with a single to left field. He got the final out of the inning on a strikeout looking.
And Lee's day would end with that backward "K." Despite struggling with his command, he went after hitters at times. He missed up in the zone a lot, which is something he'll have to work on. But for his first start, it's hard to complain.
Lee's final line
4 innings, 2 hits, 0 runs, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts
69 pitches (39 strikes, 30 balls)
Pitch breakdown*: 51 fastballs (max velocity 96 MPH), 10 sliders, 7 curveballs, 1 changeup
*- By my count