Friday, May 16, 2014

Chase Whitley

Pitching Phenom
Rookie Shutout Mets for Second Straight Night

By Howard Goldin

BRONX, NEW YORK, MAY 16- The final game of 2014 Subway Series was the first game in the majors for each of the starting pitchers. It is a rare game in which both starters are debuting in MLB. The most recent time it happened was on September 7, 2010 when Dillon Gee, who was scheduled to start Thursday for the Mets, faced Yunesky Maya of the Washington Nationals.

Chase Whitley, an Alabama native, 24 years of age, was given the ball for the Yankees. Whitley was drafted by the Yanks in the 15th round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft while he was a student at Troy University.​

Until this season his time was primarily spent in the bullpen. He started only eight of his first 144 minor league games. In 2014, the righty started in six of his seven appearances with Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He compiled a record of 3-2 with an ERA of 2.39.

Jacob deGrom, 25, the starter for the Mets, was drafted by them in the 9th round of the same draft as Whitley. The Floridian was attending Stetson University when drafted. Unlike his counterpart on the Yanks, deGrom started each of his minor league games. His record with Triple A Las Vegas was 4-0 with a 2.58 ERA.

Of his rise to the majors, deGrom commented, “I was surprised when they called me. I was thinking it would be a little later, but I’m really glad it happened now.”

Both starters pitched as if they were experienced, veteran players in front of a small crowd rather than major league neophytes pitching in front of a crowd in excess of 40,000 during the Subway Series.

Whitley pitched 4.2 innings, yielding only two hits and two walks while blanking the Mets. Girardi explained he was lifted because, “We felt he started to tire.”

Other than that, both managers were extremely impressed, Girardi enthused, “His performance was spectacular. He was able to control his emotions. He continued to throw strikes.”

The opinion of Mets skipper Terry Collins was quite similar, “He executed his pitches. He was very impressive.”

Although deGrom suffered the loss his outstanding performance on the mound did not earn it for him. He hurled seven innings, giving up only four hits and two walks but also the only run of the game.

The run came in his final inning as Mark Teixeira drew a walk and scored on a double by Alfonso Soriano.”

DeGrom also earned the praise of both managers. Collins remarked, “Tremendous command of his stuff. As the game went on, he got better. [He] kept us right there.” Girardi was in agreement, “I thought his change-up was excellent. He seemed to relax a little bit. He did the little things i.e. batting, fielding, that helped.”

Interestingly, both starters got base hits. The hit by deGrom was the first for a Mets pitcher this season.

After the contest, deGrom explained his feelings, “In the first, I was nervous. It was awesome facing those guys. I watched Jeter when I was growing up. I couldn’t have asked for a better team to face. It’s a feeling I’ll never have again.”

A native New Yorker, Dellin Betances, did the most impressive pitching in the contest. In 2.1 innings of relief, Betances gave up no hits and fanned six of the seven batters he faced. Girardi opined, “He continues to grow in front of us.”
The 2014 Subway Series has now concluded.

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