Curve hurlers in a groove

Pitchers typically have an advantage over hitters early in a season, but what the Curve pitchers have done so far goes well beyond that.

“I think we’re just that on right now,” right-hander Jason Creasy said Thursday night.

Creasy pitched five scoreless innings, giving up just two hits, in the Curve’s 2-1 win over Akron in 11 innings.

So far, the Curve’s starting pitchers have combined to allow only one earned run in 37 innings. The group of Creasy, Angel Sanchez, Zack Dodson, Chad Kuhl and tonight’s starter, Tyler Glasnow, have been as effective as any group of starters in all of pro ball, with a staggering 0.24 ERA.

Seeing their teammates go out and shine just makes the other members of the starting rotation want to do the same.

“It does,” Creasy said. “It really doesn’t put any pressure on us. We all know that we’re good. But it does help that when one starter goes shutout and it keeps adding on and adding on, it’s a good feeling to have.”

The Curve have a 4-3 record despite some major offensive struggles, but every night out the pitching staff has kept the team in games. It hasn’t just been the starters, either.

In seven games – a total of 64 innings – the pitchers have only had two bad innings. One was really bad as Richmond scored seven runs in the seventh inning Monday, and the other came in the very next inning as the Flying Squirrels scored three times.

Aside from those two innings, the Curve pitching staff has allowed a total of nine runs in the other 62 frames.

Altoona leads the Eastern League in team ERA at 1.97, offsetting an offense that ranks at the bottom of the league in runs scored (14).

“They’ve been throwing the ball over the plate, challenging hitters, moving the ball inside and mixing in their breaking balls consistently,” manager Tom Prince said.

Prince praised pitching coach Justin Meccage, saying he “does an outstanding job with these young men.”

None of this comes as a surprise to Prince, who had many of the pitchers on this team with him at high-A Bradenton last year.

“They’ve done exactly what they did last year, and that’s why they’re here,” Prince said. “They’re consistent, they do the little things, they hold runners and they are able to compete with their offspeed stuff.”

Just like it’s too early to be overly concerned with the offense, it’s also too early to think the pitching staff will continue to be this dominant. But as things even out and the offense starts producing more, the pitchers won’t have to shoulder as much of a burden as they’ve carried thus far.