Double-A Harrisburg right-hander Taylor Jordan won his sixth straight Eastern League game Wednesday in a 3-1 win at Bowie.
Going eight innings, Jordan demonstrated again he has the stuff to get batters out. But critical to his maturation at this level is also the mental side of the game and Jordan is having success keeping himself focused and on target.
Harrisburg pitching coach Paul Menhart referred to Jordan's biggest attributes as "his ability to slow the game down."
This is a very important point to what can make a pitcher good and how a pitcher can get to the highest level. The 24-year-old Jordan is showing these signs.
"He doesn't let his heart rate get up," Menhart said. "That is slowing the game down. He is able to just relax and say, 'OK, here is my new situation,' and he attacks that new situation, without getting too amped up about it."
In the fifth, Jordan got into one of those "situations." First man up hit a clean single. Second man up walked on four pitches. Menhart describes how Jordan worked his way through this game-changing jam.
"He had a lapse of command there where his hand was finishing across his body," Menhart noted.
"It was a mechanical thing that he knows how to adjust to. And he was able to do that in the next couple of batters. We talked about it in between innings. And he goes, 'Yeah, I know. I am coming across the ball.'
"And whenever that happens, if he is away from here and he is at a higher level, or what have you, I think he will be able to make that adjustment. He will know that that is the problem."
Right-hander Nathan Karns made this a point to me when he was up with the Nationals last week - he looks great, by the way, with a serious new beard trimmed close to his jaw bone - that he was working on getting out of trouble on his own, by what he had learned from the coaches.
Menhart said Jordan did just that in the win over Bowie.
"That is what we do here," Menhart said. "We try to get them to where they can coach themselves. And to figure out exactly who they are."
"I try not to get crazy out there," Jordan said. "I got to focus every pitch. If I just give up a single or that four-pitch walk, you've got to buckle down and get the next one. Just take your time and make your pitches."