Dan McDaniel (STAFF PHOTO/PAM DAVIS)
DAYTONA BEACH -- Dan McDaniel was the story for Class High-A Daytona on Saturday, tossing six shutout innings of one-hit ball in his first career pro start as the Cubs blanked Brevard County at Jackie Robinson Ballpark, 4-0.
McDaniel (1-0) struck out three batters and walked one. He carried a no-hit bid into the fourth inning before Manatees outfielder Cole Gillespie tripled with two away on a fly ball that right fielder Drew Rundle lost in the lights for Brevard County’s first hit.
McDaniel got out of the inning unharmed by getting Caleb Gindl to fly out, and then proceeded to retire the next six batters he faced before exiting.
“I just went out and pitched the way I know I can do,” McDaniel said. “I had some good stuff tonight and everything went the way I wanted it to go. I was throwing a lot of sinkers and at first I was throwing a lot of pitches, but (Mark) Reed, my catcher, was telling me my sinker was on, and I started throwing it and getting a lot of ground balls and a lot of quick outs.
“My command was pretty good tonight so wherever (Reed) was setting up, I was punching it in there.”
With his sinker on, McDaniel was near perfect, Cubs pitching coach Tom Pratt said.
“His two-seam sinker was phenomenal,” Pratt said. “The good thing about it, he was using both sides of the plate. He was throwing his four-seam fastball in on guys and jamming them, and then when guys were looking in, he would throw the fastball on the outside corner. The kid didn’t do anything wrong tonight.”
Cubs manager Buddy Bailey said McDaniel set the tone in Saturday’s win.
“The pace of that game is as good as a big league game, and it always comes down to the starting pitchers,” he said. “We gotta tip our hat to him. He was on a 75-80 pitch limit and he finished with only 61 in six innings, so if it had been later in the season and he’d had more innings, we’d probably let him go for longer. But since we’re coming out of spring training, he hadn’t pitched five innings much less six. We were thinking about taking him out after five, but he was pitching so good we left him in.
“He’s got an extra day’s rest with this off day (Sunday),” added Bailey. “I mean, he had a one-hitter going into the sixth, and the one hit that he did give up, Rundle said he lost it in the twilight so he almost had a no-hitter going into the sixth inning. To be honest with you, I’m glad (Rundle) didn’t catch it because it took the heat off me as a manager. I wasn’t about to take him out with a no-hitter going.”
The Cubs drafted McDaniel in the 14th round from Chabot College in California. He pitched in 20 games a season ago for short-season Low-A Boise, going 2-0 with a 1.67 ERA in 20 appearances. He notched 45 strikeouts in 32.1 innings. At the end of the season, McDaniel was named Boise’s Pitcher of the Year by the club.
Pratt was McDaniel’s pitching coach last summer at Boise and the two have developed a nice rapport.
“He had thrown a lot of innings in college,” Pratt said of McDaniel. “We basically took care of him and got him some experience, put him in some situations to battle out of and work on his pitches and his mechanics.”
“I was fortunate enough to pitch under Pratt last year so we developed a good relationship,” added McDaniel.
First baseman Russ Canzler paced the Cubs’ (2-1) offense, going 2-for-3 with an RBI. Canzler is a familiar face in Daytona, as the infielder spent 2008 in the Florida State League and batted .273 with 12 home runs and 22 doubles in 98 games. He drove in the game’s first run with an RBI single in the second inning.
“It was kind of a weird game with tempo and everything,” Canzler said. “Dan was cruising and luckily I was able to get a good pitch with two strikes my first at-bat and was just really thinking about putting the ball in play. I got the RBI early and that set us up for the rest of the game.
“Dan had them swinging at first pitches, getting quick outs, and any time you can do that it translates into a solid defensive game,” Canzler added. “When you got guys swinging at first pitches, you get guys on their toes ready to play defense.”
InsideTheIvy.com staff writer Corey Ann Dobridnia contributed to this report.
AROUND THE MINORS
IOWA 6, ROUND ROCK 1 (CLASS AAA)
At Round Rock, Texas, RHP Esmailin Caridad (1-0) tossed five shutout innings for the victory Saturday. He allowed a walk and five hits to go with six strikeouts. 1B Jake Fox carried Iowa’s (2-1) offense for the second straight night, as he finished 3-for-5 with a triple and three RBIs.
TENNESSEE 6, JACKSONVILLE 2 (CLASS AA)
At Jacksonville, Fla., RHP Casey Coleman (1-0) held the Suns to one run and five hits over five innings en route to the victory in his 2009 debut Saturday. He struck out six batters and issued one walk. LHP Jeremy Papelbon provided 2 2/3 scoreless innings in relief, allowing three hits. 1B Blake Lalli (2-for-4) paced the Smokies’ (2-1) offense with two hits, including a double and a solo home run. RF Jim Adduci (2-for-4) and C Welington Castillo (1-for-4) each had run-scoring hits.
KANE COUNTY 3, PEORIA 2 (CLASS A)
At Peoria, RHP Christopher Archer made his Cubs debut, tossing three scoreless innings to open the game without allowing a hit. He allowed four walks and struck out five batters in a no-decision. 3B Ryan Flaherty (2-for-4) led the Chiefs (1-2) with two hits as seven Peoria players totaled eight hits. RHP Erik Hamren (0-1) suffered the loss in relief, allowing the winning run to score in the 10th inning.