Bowie Baysox left-handed pitcher John Means may just be ready to put his early season struggles behind him. His most recent start certainly suggests that he is.
On the year, Means has started 7 games and has produced a 1-4 record over 40.0 innings of work. He owns a 4.50 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP with 10 walks and 38 strikeouts. Eastern League batters have tagged him for 25 runs (20 earned) and 4 homeruns while hitting .255 off of him.
Means entered his most recent start, Thursday night at home against the Hartford Yard Goats, on a 4-game losing streak. He has given up 3 runs or less in 3 of his 6 games coming into Thursday; 2 of those 3 games were no decisions and the other was a hard-luck 1-0 loss.
Thursday’s game was a stellar one for Means. Means earned the win in a start in which he pitched 7.0 innings and surrendered 7 hits and 2 runs (earned) while walking 1 and striking out 6. He stranded 4 runners over his 7 innings and faced the minimum number of batters in 4 of the 7 innings. The bullpen made it a close game, closer than it should have been, as the Baysox went on to win by a final score of 7-6.
Significant in Thursday’s victory is the fact that Means pitched to a 2.57 ERA. That number says a lot as Means’ ERA at home is nowhere near what it is on the road: 6.04 at home and 2.53 away from home. Home versus away, Eastern League hitters bat similarly against Means, .258 and .233 respectively. The difference in home versus away is simply the number of runners that cross the plate.
The hope is that Means has begun to turn his 2018 season around. He is a better pitcher than his 1-4 record indicates. His last start says he can be better; how he pitches from here on out will either prove it or debunk it.
Now that Means is in his 5th year with the organization, a successful 2018 could prove to be vital to his future in Baltimore. I think this 25-year-old southpaw is up to the task and will produce better results from here on out.
**UPDATE (5/21/2018)** Means was promoted to the Norfolk Tides on May 18th.
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