Ducks relievers might as well just buy a ticket when John Brownell starts. It's likely they won't be needed.
The righthander has gone the distance in each of his last two outings, but on Tuesday, it wasn't enough. Brownell (11-5) took the loss in a 3-0 defeat at Camden despite allowing only six hits and striking out eight in eight innings. The 120-pitch performance put his ERA at 3.23.
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Brownell allowed two runs and six hits with seven strikeouts in a complete-game victory over division rival Bridgeport on Sept. 3, throwing 118 pitches.
Those pitch-count numbers are not out of the ordinary for Brownell, either. He threw 139 pitches against Southern Maryland on Aug. 13, his season high. Last season, he threw 146 pitches in a start en route to a Ducks-record 202 innings, which led the league.
After Tuesday's start, Brownell again led the Atlantic League in innings pitched (164).
Brownell's 134 strikeouts led the Atlantic League entering play Wednesday and surpassed his 2014 total (130, which ranked him second in the league).
Our Q&A With Brownell:
Is there a certain number of pitches at which point your arm begins to feel tired?
I wouldn't say there's a number, but there are games where 115 pitches may not feel like 115 pitches. You may feel like you're only at 70 or so, just because they haven't been high-stress pitches. There are other games where you have to battle for every inning and hitters are seeing four or five pitches from you every at-bat. You do start to get a little more tired in those situations. But there's not really a number to it. It's just how the game is going.
How do you explain the high strikeout numbers?
I don't know. Maybe I'm a little more consistent this year, making my off-speed pitches look more like a fastball. I control the off-speed a little bit more than I have in the past. I've had a pretty good feel of my off-speed command. That could be it. The catchers we've had all year have been calling really good games, keeping the hitters off balance. It's probably a combination of things.
Today: Sugar Land at Ducks, 1:35 p.m.