Sure, the Modesto Nuts are struggling right now, and yes, that’s all part of each day’s scouting report.
But Visalia’s Spencer Arroyo wasn’t about to let his opponent’s current offensive state dictate his plan of attack.
The former East Union and Modesto Junior College standout aggressively went after each Nuts’ hitter as if the game’s outcome were on the line, and that intensity paved the way to seven scoreless innings in a 7-1 Rawhide victory at John Thurman Field.
“Every team is professional and you certainly can’t take anything for granted, even when they’re struggling, or even when they’re hot,” said Arroyo. “You have to go out there with the stuff you have have that day and give it everything you’ve got.”
Despite pitching close to his Manteca home, Arroyo (1-1) wasn’t the top name on Tuesday’s pitching marquee. The big letters went to Colorado Rockies’ starter Jhoulys Chacin, who was making the first of what the organization hopes is two rehabilitation starts with Modesto as he recovers from a strained shoulder suffered late in spring training.
The plan was for Chacin to throw 50 pitches or four innings, whatever came first, and the former arrived in a hurry. Chacin breezed through two innings, but gave up four runs on three hits and a walk in the third, with his 50th pitch lined through the middle for a two-out, two-run single by Rudy Flores.
The Nuts were hoping for a modicum of success from Chacin, who was to be followed to the mound by Alving Mejias to take the Nuts late into the game with a chance to win. Mejias pitched well, allowing one run in 3 1/3 innings, but the damage had been done.
“Our pitching thing didn’t work,” said Nuts manager Don Sneddon. “The purpose was for him to get his work in, that that was the whole thing, but you certainly don’t like to get behind.”
The four-run cushion certainly helped Arroyo, who at 25 is in his third organization since being drafted by the Phillies out of MJC in 2008.
Arroyo was in the low minors with Philadelphia for two years, then started over with the White Sox in 2010. He won 10 games in Class-A ball in 2011, made it to Double-A in 2012 and finished last season in Triple-A Charlotte.
On March 27 his contract was purchased from the White Sox by Arizona. It meant another new start, again in the low minors.
A few more outings like this one certainly will put the lefty in Arizona’s organizational elevator. He needed only 91 pitches to get through seven innings, allowing four hits (three singles and a double) and two walks against four strikeouts.
“I felt like I had pretty good command with the fastball and my offspeed pitches were there when I needed them,” Arroyo said. “My catcher (Steven Rodriguez) called a great game back there, and it’s easy to work quickly and work ahead when you’re that comfortable.”
Modesto got its lone run in the eighth when Trevor Story tripled with one out and scored when Rosell Herrera bounced out to shortstop. But the Nuts again had very few scoring chances, and made the least of the ones they had.
Modesto went hitless in seven at-bats with runners in scoring position, and for the season are 20 for 109, including one-for-20 through two games of this three-game set.
“We haven’t been a club able to come from behind yet this year,” Sneddon said. “They pitched pretty well again, or we’re not hitting, whichever way you want to look at it.
“Either way, we’re not getting the points on the board we need to win. I’m hoping it comes around.”