For most of the season, the starting pitching for the Buffalo Bisons has been, well, much maligned. The Herd has the worst earned-run average in the International League, but lately the rotation has started to turn a corner. Case in point, Tuesday’s outing by Dave Bush.
The right-hander pitched a beautiful game, no-hitting Gwinnett into the seventh inning. But the first hit he surrendered proved costly – an RBI single by Brandon Boggs, and the Braves went on for a 2-0 win at Coca-Cola Field.
Bush pitched 6∑ innings, giving up just the one run on one hit. He struck out five, issued two walks and hit two batters. In all, he allowed five baserunners before giving up the hit.
It was the first outing for Bush in nine days, but he picked up where he left off. On June 9 in Scranton, he pitched six shutout innings to pick up the win. Until that run in the seventh inning, Bush had pitched 12 scoreless innings, dating back to a relief effort against Lehigh Valley on June 5.
Even with the layoff, Bush felt some momentum in his work. “I’ve been feeling pretty good when I’ve been out there and throwing a lot of strikes,” Bush said. “That’s probably the most important thing for me.
“I don’t throw it very hard so I’m working on corners. I can’t just throw balls down the middle, so for me, throwing strikes is not just as simple as getting it over the plate. It’s throwing effective strikes, working the corners, keeping the ball down, moving in and out. That kind of stuff.”
Bush’s performance comes three days after Thad Webber threw seven no-hit innings in Pawtucket. The Herd lost the bid for the combined no-hitter with two outs in the eighth when Buddy Carlyle gave up the only hit, a home run, in a 2-1 win.
“I think guys are starting to understand what they need to do and not overdo things,” Bison manager Marty Brown said of the starting pitching. “We’ve seen that out of a lot of starts here of late. It’s a good sign.”
Bush threw 101 pitches, 61 of them for strikes. It was his first time throwing over 100 pitches since May 20 against Charlotte.
“I’m sure I was getting a little fatigued,” Bush said of the seventh inning, which started with a walk, fielder’s choice and hit batter. “Usually I try to avoid putting runners on base. But I felt like I wanted to stay out there as long as I could. I still felt strong. I thought the hit was pretty good pitch and sometimes things like that just happen.”
Meanwhile the Herd struggled to find hits against Gwinnett’s Cody Martin, who made his Triple-A debut on Tuesday. The 23-year-old righthander was ranked as the No. 13 prospect in the Atlanta Braves system and started the season with Double-A Mississippi. Martin had an impressive debut, striking out seven, walking one and yielding one hit in seven innings.
Andy LaRoche started the game at second base, but left after the top half of the second inning. “He made a throw and had some tightness in his arm so we got him out of there,” Brown said. “Hopefully it’s nothing too serious.” … The series continues tonight (7:05 p.m., Radio 1520) with lefty Ricky Romero (0-1, 8.22 ERA) scheduled to start for the Herd. In his last outing, Romero pitched six shutout innings. Yohan Flande (3-6, 5.82) is scheduled for Gwinnett.