It takes some Chattanooga Lookouts a full season to get adjusted to the Southern League.
Maybe pitcher Chris Withrow needed a season and a half.
Withrow had his fourth consecutive solid outing of the second half Tuesday night at AT&T Field, allowing two runs in six innings during a 3-2 loss to Huntsville. The No. 4 prospect in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization entered with a scoreless-innings streak of six and extended it to 11 before allowing leadoff home runs to Stars starting pitcher Cody Scarpetta in the sixth inning and to Zelous Wheeler in the seventh.
“You learn to not go out there and make the same mistakes twice,” Withrow said. “Last year was full of mistakes, and this year I’m trying to minimize them and take it a pitch at a time and let the innings take care of themselves. I’m doing a better job of commanding my fastball, getting ahead of guys, forcing early contact and getting some ground balls.”
The 22-year-old right-hander from Odessa, Texas, was taken out of the game following Wheeler’s homer and did not factor in the decision. Withrow is 3-5 with a 4.04 ERA through 14 starts, but he has allowed just five earned runs in his four second-half starts and has amassed 13 strikeouts in his last two outings.
“Granted, his record doesn’t look real good, but his stuff sure does,” Lookouts pitching coach Chuck Crim said. “You really can’t control how many you win and lose, but you can control how you throw the baseball. He’s attacking the zone better now and has better command of his slider, which is a new pitch to him.
“Everything is coming together for him, and a lot of it is confidence.”
Scarpetta held Chattanooga hitless until Brian Cavazos-Galvez’s two-out double down the left-field line in the fourth inning scored Scott Van Slyke and Kyle Russell to give the Lookouts (8-5) a 2-0 lead. Van Slyke had reached on a one-out fielding error and Russell on a walk.
The Stars (8-5) got within one when Scarpetta took Withrow deep to straightaway center.
“It was the pitcher,” Withrow said. “I guess that was his second one of the year, but I didn’t know that. I didn’t know that he could really hit. I left one right over the middle, and he put quite a bit of barrel on it.”
Withrow was replaced in the seventh by Cole St. Clair, who balked a runner to second and then allowed a single to center by Matt Cliine that put the Stars up 3-2. Chattanooga manager Carlos Subero came out after the balk and argued with first-base umpire Anthony Johnson, and Subero was ejected from the dugout by home-plate umpire Justin Sassaman following Cline’s RBI.
The Stars have defeated the Lookouts six consecutive times.
Allen Webster (1-1, 3.67) is scheduled to start tonight’s 7:15 game for the Lookouts, with Dan Merklinger (5-4, 4.18) scheduled for the Stars.
Lookouts center fielder and leadoff hitter Alfredo Silverio was named by Topps on Tuesday as the Southern League’s player of the month. Silverio hit .354 in June with 11 doubles, four triples, six home runs and 22 RBIs.
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...