On Wednesday in the Arizona Fall League, Steven Brault made his fourth start of the AFL season. In 5.2 innings prior to this game, he has allowed five runs on nine hits and three walks, with five strikeouts. He also had a three inning appearance, in which he allowed one run, wiped off the books when the game was postponed in the fourth inning due to a dust storm. Austin Meadows was in the starting lineup, batting ninth and playing center field. He had a .133/.152/.267 slash line through 11 games coming into Wednesday. Brett McKinney came out of the bullpen following Brault’s performance. Glendale lost 9-8 after allowing five runs in the bottom of the ninth, moving them to 8-9 on the season.
In the first inning, Brault started with a strikeout looking on a 91 mph fastball(PITCHf/x was available for this game). He got the next batter swinging for his second strikeout, throwing three fastballs at 91, 91 and 92 mph. The third hitter lined out to left field to retire the side. Brault threw 12 pitches in the inning, ten for strikes, touching 93 mph.
In the second inning, Brault came out with a 3-0 lead and battled the first hitter, getting a ground out to shortstop on the eighth pitch. He then walked the next batter on four straight fastballs, though he just missed the zone on all four pitches. The next man up popped out to the catcher, then Brault finished off the side with his third strikeout, this one called on a 91 mph fastball. He needed 19 pitches in the second, with only nine going for strikes.
Brault got a ground ball to start the third, then gave up an infield hit. He needed just one pitch for the second out, getting a fly ball to Meadows out in center field. With two outs and two strikes, the runner from first base, stole second. Two pitches later, Brault recorded his fourth strikeout. He threw 13 pitches in the inning, eight for strikes. That was the end of his day, allowing just the one infield hit, plus the walk with all close pitches, making this easily the best outing we have seen from a Pirates’ pitcher during the AFL this season.
In his first at-bat, Meadows saw five straight 90-91 mph fastballs, lining a 3-1 pitch into right field for a single. In the fourth, he came up with a man on second and one out. Meadows grounded out to second base, moving the runner up. He came up again with a man on second, this time in the sixth inning with two outs. Meadows struck out on a fastball to end the inning. He came up with a big hit in the eighth, driving in two runs with a two-out triple. It was his second triple in the AFL and it’s his second multi-hit game.
Brett McKinney pitched the fourth inning and started out with two strikeouts, before along a single and a stolen base. Eight pitches later, he issued a walk and the runner on second, stole third base. McKinney got out of the inning with no damage, recording his third strikeout. He worked hard in his one frame, throwing 30 pitches, with 18 going for strikes. He was sitting 93-95 mph, which is a couple mph better than his last outing. That’s something we have seen with McKinney before. He’s hit 97 mph, but you can see his fastball anywhere from 90-97 in short outings.
Tim Williams takes over AFL coverage for the next week as he travels to Arizona for 4-5 games, plus the Fall-Stars game on Saturday, where Austin Meadows and Reese McGuire will represent the Pirates.