Young pitchers hear it a lot: "Trust your stuff and throw strikes."
Not a problem for Luis Ortiz lately.
Twenty-five days and four starts after the Pirates' No. 24 prospect threw an immaculate inning, he went out and repeated the trick.
No Major League pitcher is known to have ever thrown two immaculate innings in so short a timespan. Boston's Chris Sale has come closest, having thrown a pair 28 days apart in 2019.
The 23-year-old right-hander is in his third full season -- first at the Double-A level -- and has 103 strikeouts compared to 32 walks over 99 1/3 innings for the Curve. He's 4-8 with a 4.89 ERA over 21 games -- 20 starts -- with Tuesday night's victory his best outing of the year so far.
Up against the Double-A affiliate of the Mets, he opened the game with a pair of strikeouts, induced a groundout from MLB No. 49 prospect Ronny Mauricio, then made historically quick work of Brandon McIlwain, Carlos Cortes and Luke Ritter in the second. Ortiz finished with eight punchouts, permitting two hits and two walks over six shutout frames.
His July 15 immaculacy came against the Giants' Double-A squad, with Frankie Tostado, Sean Roby and Tyler Fitzgerald dispatched at the fastest possible pace. He fanned six over four scoreless innings that night, allowing three hits.
The 6-foot-2, 240-pound Ortiz features a 60-grade fastball that can get up to 99, and that offering is complemented by a solid slider in the mid-80s, which comes out of the same arm slot as the fastball. He also features a changeup, which has developed considerably over the last year.
There have been four immaculate innings in the franchise history of the Altoona Curve, meaning Ortiz has half of them.