Reliever Kyle McKenzie has been a solid part of a solid Charlotte Stone Crabs club (32-14) whose 2.12 ERA leads all of professional baseball. The team is firing on all cylinders, offensively strong, with excellent pitching by the rotation and bullpen. McKenzie has come through in 12 innings of work, since reporting at the end of April. In nine opportunities he's allowed just 4 walks and struck out 8, allowing just 2 earned runs, good for a 1.50 ERA/0.92 WHIP.
He spoke last night after the Stone Crabs won their 32nd game behind starter Jacob Faria's 7 inning gem and a 3-hit performance from SS Willy Adames.
"We've definitely been in a good groove all season, the one thing I've noticed with this team is every guy shows up to the yard with some jump in their step, even during BP there's a ton of energy and it's contagious. We're a very competitive bunch and guys want to get to better. That competitiveness breeds confidence. I know there's this stigma in the minors that there's no real team concept, but that's definitely there with us. We have a lot of guys on this team that hate to lose."
On Keys to His Success this Season: I don't think its the pitches themselves that have been working for me but rather the locations. I've been working hard on pitching inside and I think that's been a huge part of it. This is the first year I've really gone inside on guys regularly and it's led to a lot of success. Not only being able to jam guys but I think pitching inside is huge because it opens up that outer half of the plate. Hitters start worrying about that 4-seam in on their hands and that's when you can attack that outside corner. It's all about making them uncomfortable
Putting Him on the Spot... I don't think there's been a standout [on team], just because everyone's been so damn good. There's a ton of talent on this team and so many guys have been playing so well lately it's hard to pick a standout!
Last Words... We expect to win every night and we take pride in it.
FSL Notes: The Daytona Tortugas have the second best record in the league, going 28-18. They've surrendered just 10 home runs, good for 2nd lowest in the league. They're also 2nd in strikeouts with 348. Offensively they lead the league in home runs with 28.Phillip Ervin is tied for 2nd in the league in home runs (9).