It has been a very good start for former George Washington pitcher Pat Lehman with the Single-A Potomac Nationals. The 6-foot-3, 210 lb., right-hander from Fair Lawn, N.J., is transitioning well to the back end of the bullpen in the first month and a half of the season.
"Things are going pretty well," Lehman said. "It is a new role for me. Back at GW, in the early years, I was a reliever or a spot starter so I have a little bit of experience (doing this). But this kind of a role as a closer is new to me. I am enjoying it so far and I am going to make the best of my opportunity."
The numbers are backing up his comfort in his new role. So far, Lehman has been mystifying to opponents, sporting a 1-0 record with a 0.77 ERA in nine appearances. He has allowed just one earned run on six hits with nine strikeouts and no walks.
Lehman throws three main pitches: a two-seam fastball, a changeup and curveball. He says they are all working well but there is still is one thing he would like to tweak.
"I think I need to improve my breaking ball," Lehman said. "Being able to throw all my pitches in any count and any situation is really a big plus. This is especially true as a reliever. You can't really set up your pitches. You kind of have to be able to throw them right out of the gate."
Potomac Nationals pitching coach Paul Menhart says Lehman has done a good job of grabbing a hold of a role and running with it.
"Patrick has been a very bright spot," Menhart said. "This role is definitely new to him and we weren't really sure how he was going to react but he is so solid mentally and he knows who he is and he knows his stuff that I felt comfortable in giving him the opportunity. But the big thing here is he has taken it."
Menhart said if Lehman can repeat this consistency he could be in Double-A Harrisburg sooner than later.
"We have given others the opportunity and they haven't quite grabbed on as tight as Patrick has," Menhart said. "So Patrick is going to keep (this role as a closer) as long as he is here and he could move pretty quick if he continues to have this success."