Nabil Crismatt's command keeps getting stronger -- and his ERA keeps getting lower.
The Texas League's stingiest starting pitcher this season put his league-best 2.17 ERA on the line in the rubber match between the Arkansas Travelers and Northwest Arkansas Naturals on Wednesday night at Dickey-Stephens Park.
ARKANSAS TRAVELERS AT SPRINGFIELD CARDINALS
WHEN 7:10 p.m. Central
WHERE Hammons Field, Springfield, Mo.
RADIO KARN-AM, 920, in central Arkansas
PITCHERS Travelers: RH Darren McCaughan (7-4, 2.55 ERA); Cardinals: RH Johan Oviedo (1-4, 6.08 ERA)
THE WEEK AHEAD
TODAY at Springfield, 7:10 p.m.
FRIDAY at Springfield, 7:10 p.m.
SATURDAY at Springfield, 6:10 p.m.
SUNDAY at Springfield, 6:10 p.m.
TUESDAY vs. Midland, 7:10 p.m.
WEDNESDAY vs. Midland, 7:10 p.m.
Crismatt didn't flinch.
The 24-year-old right-hander from Barranquilla, Colombia, was masterful, pitching a two-hit, complete-game shutout with 14 strikeouts and no walks. Of his 95 pitches, 73 were strikes.
Crismatt lowered his ERA to 1.94 as the Travelers cruised to a 3-0 victory over the Naturals to take two of three games in the series.
"Oh my god, tonight was awesome," Crismatt said. "This is the first game that I feel I got everything. We mixed the pitches that we had to mix.
"It's one of the best starts that I've had in my career."
Travs Manager Cesar Nicolas was stunned afterward, calling Crismatt's outing "without a doubt" one of the best he's seen at this level.
"I honestly don't have the words. It was just an unbelievable pitching performance," Nicolas said. "The fact that he showed up today and took it upon himself to give us that type of outing, impressive -- really impressive."
With the bases loaded and no outs in the bottom of the third, first baseman Evan White smacked a two RBI, ground-rule double to deep right-center field to put the Travs up 2-0. In midair, the ball appeared to have a chance to clear the fence before it dropped a few feet in front of it.
"I didn't think it was going to be gone, knowing the ballpark," said White, who played in the All-Star Futures Game in Cleveland on Sunday night. "But I didn't think it was going to get down with how well the outfielder moves. I was pleasantly surprised it got down, and it worked out for us."
Moments later, a passed ball flew too high for Naturals catcher Meibrys Viloria, allowing Aaron Knapp to score from third to make it 3-0.
In the top of the eighth inning, as Crismatt continued to cruise on the mound, Viloria, a fellow Colombian and friend of Crismatt's, came to the plate with one last shot at spoiling the shutout. But Viloria lined out to center field.
As he jogged back toward the Naturals' dugout, he passed Crismatt. The two shared a laugh, and Crismatt slapped Viloria on the leg with his glove.
Viloria finished 0 for 3 with a strikeout.
"Two days ago, [Viloria] was like, 'When you pitch, I'm going to hit a home run.' I said, 'I'm going to strike you out,' " Crismatt said with a grin. "Good guy, and he's hitting pretty well right now, but no chance tonight."
Crismatt, who signed a minor-league contract with the Seattle Mariners in January after spending his first seven professional seasons in the New York Mets' farm system, was demoted from Class AAA Tacoma on April 19 after three consecutive rough outings.
He's made 13 starts for Arkansas since then. In his past six, he's allowed a combined 4 earned runs, 21 hits, 5 walks and struck out 44.
With the way he has pitched of late, Crismatt's return to Tacoma could be imminent.
"I'm being really confident. I'm having fun every time. I'm working with my game," Crismatt said. "My game is attack faster, try to get the guys [out] in less than three pitches, and that's what I'm trying to do right now."
All times Central and subject to change
11;at Springfield;7:10 p.m.
12;at Springfield;7:10 p.m.
13;at Springfield;6:10 p.m.
14;at Springfield;6:10 p.m.
24;at Midland;6:30 p.m.
25;at Midland;7 p.m.
26;at Midland;7 p.m.
27;at Frisco;7:05 p.m.
28;at Frisco;6:05 p.m.
29;at Frisco;7:05 p.m.
30;at Frisco;7:05 p.m.
5;NW Arkansas;7:10 p.m.
6;NW Arkansas;7:10 p.m.
7;NW Arkansas;7:10 p.m.
8;at Springfield;7:10 p.m.
9;at Springfield;7:10 p.m.
10;at Springfield;6:10 p.m.
11;at Springfield;6:10 p.m.
12;NW Arkansas;7:10 p.m.
13;NW Arkansas;7:10 p.m.
14;NW Arkansas;7:10 p.m.
15;NW Arkansas;7:10 p.m.
16;at Springfield;7:10 p.m.
17;at Springfield;6:10 p.m.
18;at Springfield;4:10 p.m.
20;Corpus Christi;7:10 p.m.
21;Corpus Christi;7:10 p.m.
22;Corpus Christi;7:10 p.m.
26;at Corpus Christi;6:15 p.m.
27;at Corpus Christi;6:15 p.m.
28;at Corpus Christi;6:15 p.m.
29;at Corpus Christi;6:15 p.m.
30;at Amarillo;7:05 p.m.
31;at Amarillo;7:05 p.m.
1;at Amarillo;6:05 p.m.
2;at Amarillo;1:05 p.m.
Sports on 07/11/2019
Print Headline: Travs win as Crismatt's gems become routine