While the outing overall didn’t look great in the box score, Joan Adon had some impressive stretches in his start against the Los Angeles Angels last week, and he tested himself when he faced the likes of Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, Anthony Rendon and the rest of LAA’s hitters. Adon struck out six in five innings of work in which he threw 85 pitches, and gave up three hits, five walks, and three runs.
“He did really well,” manager Davey Martinez said after the outing, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman.
“It’s a tough lineup, and after the first inning, he settled down and threw the ball really well.”
“I talked to him after I took him out, and I said to him: ‘You’re going to win a lot of games here,’” Martinez added.
“And he came to me and said: ‘I’ve got to stop walking guys.’ And I said: ‘Yep, that’s my point. When you throw strike one and get ahead of hitters, you’re nasty.’”
Adon said he did enjoy the challenge of facing such an impressive lineup.
“A lineup like they have, which is obviously a very great lineup, it gives me the excitement to try to prove myself,” Adon said, via interpreter Octavio Martinez, and MASN.
“It’s such a great lineup, and if I can hold my own out there and do what I need to do, I can show people that I belong up here.”
That outing left the 23-year-old right-hander with a 6.99 ERA, a 5.25 FIP, 18 walks, and 27 Ks in six starts and 28 1⁄3 IP, over which opposing hitters had a .261/.376/.460 line against him.
Going into start No. 7, Adon’s manager said he wanted to see the young starter keep calm in tough situations and do what he needed to in high-leverage spots without speeding up in the tough at-bats.
“I think he just speeds up a lot,” Martinez said.
“We’re trying to get him to control his heartbeat a little bit in those situations. Some of those start because either he gives up a hit and he wants to get through the inning, get quicker, so he gets quicker, so we tell him, ‘Hey slow everything down, and focus on every pitch and just try to throw strikes.’ He has gotten better. His last outing, he did well, really well, and so hopefully he goes out there today and gives us five or six strong innings, and we’ll go from there.”
Talking about what he wanted to see from Adon against the Mets, Martinez said he wanted the righty to work his secondary pitches into the mix, after he threw his four-seam fastball 67.2% of the time in his first six starts.
“We talked a lot about him utilizing his secondary pitches. Not just throwing fastballs,” the manager said.
“He had a good bullpen the other day, so go out there and let him compete. He’s done well.
“He always has one inning where things get out of hand, so we talked a lot about just staying in the moment with him.”
Adon’s whole outing was pretty much out of hand on Thursday, and he didn’t last long out there on the mound against the NY Mets in Nationals Park.
Adon walked three batters in the first inning, loading the bases with two out with the third free pass, and Mark Cahna made him pay for the walks, lining a 95 MPH, 1-1 fastball into left field for a two-run single and a 2-0 Mets’ lead in the opening frame.
Adon walked two more in the second, but completed a scoreless frame, and retired the side in order in a 10-pitch third which left him at 66 pitches overall.
A single and a HBP in the first two at-bats of the Mets’ fourth pushed Adon up to 75 pitches overall, but he got a double play on a grounder up the middle by Luis Guillorme, then gave up a two-out RBI single by Tomás Nido on a hanging 0-2 slider the catcher hit to left field to drive in the third run of the game, 3-0.
Joan Adon’s Line: 3.2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 5 BB, 2 Ks, 84 P, 44 S, 4/1 GO/FO.
“He couldn’t repeat his delivery,” Martinez said after a 4-1 loss for Adon and the Nats. “He was flying open, a lot of arm-side misses, a lot of yanked curveballs, like I said, he just couldn’t really get into his body today and mechanically he just wasn’t there today.”
As the manager explained, there was no easy fix to sort things out on the mound, but plenty that needs to be done before Adon’s next turn in the rotation.
“You really — it’s something that we try to get him to just focus on your head, focus on your feet going straight to the catcher, but when you’re in the middle of a game like that it’s tough to do that sometimes so today he just couldn’t do it. I’ve seen him do it in the past, but today he couldn’t do it.”
“Ever since I started warming up, I just felt like I couldn’t find the zone today for some reason,” Adon said, as quoted by MASN’s Bobby Blanco. “Even as I was warming up, it’s hard to explain, just couldn’t find the zone.”
“For what it’s worth,” the manager added, “.., he gave us 80-something pitches. It could have been even uglier than that, and it could have destroyed our bullpen for the weekend, but he battled as far as he could battle. At a certain point I got to make a decision that he’s had enough, but he threw some double play balls which helped him out throughout, but when you’re walking that many guys, it’s tough, and your pitch count is up to 80-something in 3 2⁄3 innings it’s tough, but [Pitching Coach Jim] Hickey is going to work with him, we’re going talk to him about a few things that we think might help him, and then we’ll see where he goes in five days.”