While entering the dog days of summer, Hunter Brown continues to bring the heat on the mound.
“Definitely the biggest thing was my fastball location today,” said Brown. “Outside to righties, in and out up and down. Pretty much the whole game I was able to locate my fastball which helps set up everything."
The fastball command was prominent in Brown’s outing, as 43 of his 73 total pitches were thrown for strikes. The No. 1 Astros prospect entered the game in the fourth inning and immediately dominated, striking out seven of the first 10 batters he faced. He only allowed two knocks in the seventh inning with two consecutive singles. Brown was removed from the game in the ninth inning after allowing two walks.
Despite the blemishes, Brown’s outing was a reflection of the work he has been putting into his recent routines. The righty only appeared in three games in the month of July due to the Futures game. In those games, he struck out 14 batters yet allowed 8 runs in 13 1/3 innings.
“I haven't really thrown as much as of the last month,” said Brown. “So getting into the longer outings, the later that you throw, the more your mechanics break down. We've definitely been focused on that kind of stuff in the bullpens and programs throughout the week. So I think tonight was a good translation of that.”
Another pitcher looking to join the club of Astros pitchers who have seen success is Forrest Whitley. The fourth-ranked Astros prospect returned to the Space Cowboys’ rotation after leaving his last start on July 10 with shoulder inflammation. The 6-foot-7 24-year-old started the game and tallied three strikeouts in 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Whitley has held batters he’s faced scoreless in four of his last five outings.
“He's really excited and we're all excited for him,” said Brown. “He had that little setback after initially coming off rehab. His stuff looks really good. I'm just glad that he felt good. We're definitely going to be able to take advantage of the stuff that he brings to the table for the season.”