COLUMBUS - Joel Zumaya has a fastball that runs in the mid-to-upper-90s, good off-speed stuff and stellar ratios for hits-per-nine-innings and strikeouts-to-walks. Oh, by the way, the right-hander is still three months away from his 21st birthday.
Yesterday, Zumaya picked up his first Triple-A victory, limiting Columbus to one run on three hits over six innings. He struck out seven and walked four to lead Toledo to an 8-2 win.
"He's obviously got great stuff," Mud Hens catcher Brandon Harper said. "He throws a fastball in the high 90s, his curveball is hard and he has a good change-up. I mean, 20 years old and with electric stuff like that - he definitely has a bright future. Hopefully he stays healthy. He has a good head on his shoulders and he loves to compete."
After struggling a bit in the first inning - Clippers leadoff batter Kevin Reese walked and scored on a Russ Johnson single for a 1-0 lead - Zumaya surrendered just two hits and two walks over the next five innings.
"I didn't really get loose. It was one of those days where you really have to pitch," he said. "But in the fifth inning, I looked at the scoreboard and saw I was pitching real well."
"I think he tried to do too much in the first inning," Harper said. "He settled down and threw well after that."
In five starts with Toledo, Zumaya (1-2, 3.29 ERA) has allowed 20 hits and 17 walks while striking out 34 in 271/3 innings. In his last three outings, he has allowed two earned runs on 12 hits with 25 strikeouts and 10 walks over 18 innings.
"It's overwhelming. I mean, I got my first Triple-A win," said Zumaya, who was 8-3 with a 2.77 ERA in 18 starts with Double-A Erie before being promoted. "The way I've been pitching lately, that's the way I pitch. The first start [July 17 vs. Buffalo: six earned run in 31/3 innings] I was nervous.
"Now, I'm settling down and doing what I'm capable of to help this team win.
"I'm not going to say that I'm going to do this every outing and there's going to be days like today where I don't have my good fastball, but I will put up zeroes for the team and let them score some runs."
Toledo scored three runs in the second inning. Alexis Gomez had an RBI double, Ryan Raburn followed with an RBI single and Harper added a sacrifice fly.
The Hens added two more runs in the third, aided by an RBI triple by Gomez for a 5-1 lead.
Just like Monday night, when the Mud Hens padded a four-run advantage, they pushed across another run in the sixth and two in the eighth on Harper's two-run home run.
Curtis Granderson got two more hits, including his 13th triple of the season - which set the modern-day Hens record.