With the B-Mets in the midst of a June swoon, and back on the road after an eight game homestand,…
Devaney Still Searches for Consistency
But the next batter, Jeff Natale, singled on the eighth pitch of his at-bat, and from there, Devany struggled. He walked the next batter, and the next.
With the bases loaded, Devaney ran a 2-0 count for a third consecutive hitter, on Chad Spann. Pitching coach Ricky Bones went to the mound, and Devaney's first pitch afterward was a strike.
The next pitch was a strike as well, but it sailed over the left field wall between the foul pole and the Press & Sun-Bulletin scoreboard, landing short of the train tracks for a grand slam.
Devaney finished the inning with 34 pitches—17 strikes and 17 balls—and finished his day after just four innings and five runs allowed.
It did not make sense. In his previous outing against Eastern League Northern Division leader Trenton on July 16, Devaney pitched five no-hit innings and finished with a six-inning one-hitter. Inconsistency has been the 2006 Sterling Award winner's problem all season.
"Last year if I had a bad start, I put two or three good starts together after that," Devaney said. "And basically this year it's been good start, bad start all year. And it's been hard to get out of that little rhythm. I'm looking for back to back starts to get me on a role and it hasn't happened."
Devaney, a right-hander, was drafted by the Mets in 23rd round of the 2004 draft out of Concordia University. He is 27-9 with a 2.77 ERA in 73 games (55 starts) over his minor league career.
Last season, Devaney went 12-5 with a 2.13 ERA between Binghamton and St. Lucie. He was named a Florida State League All-Star and tied for the Minor League Baseball lead with four complete games and three shutouts.
With a 4-8 record and a 5.13 ERA in 2007, this year is the first Devaney has had to cope with less-than-desirable results.
"Devaney came from a good year last year," said B-Mets pitching coach Ricky Bones. "He's a kid with a plus curveball and he competes well. The problem that he is confronting this year is that he is pitching behind in counts and going too deep in counts to get out of situations."
Hence, once Natale singled, Devaney unraveled.
"A lot of it is pitching with runners on the base," Devaney said. "As soon as I get runners on base I'm not throwing the ball as well, and it's something that's got to change."
Devaney relies on control of his four pitches, a fastball, slider, a work-in-progress changeup and plus curveball. Using them all, but at the same time not trying to be too fine, is his method for success.
"He pitched away from contact," Bones said. "He couldn't get ahead, couldn't throw a strike. Every time that happens you're going to run into trouble."
The only thing Devaney said he can do get back on track is keep pitching.
"I've tried switching some routines to see if I can fix it," he said. "You can try to just keep everything the same every start, but it isn't always that simple. You just got to keep throwing and hope that something good comes out of it."
Devaney has had success at every level up until Double-A—even at Binghamton last season he did well, posting a 3.06 ERA in 11 games. But, it is not as though one issue is causing his current troubles.
"I couldn't really pinpoint a certain pitch or what I'm feeling," Devaney said. "It's just a couple things that have just not worked out."
Bottom line: Devaney is capable, if just lost at the moment.
"I remember two years ago he wasn't even in the rotation in Hagerstown," Waits said. "And he ended up getting 10 wins for the season. He's a winner."
Unfortunately, Devaney will have to wait for his shot to get back at winning. The day after that start versus Portland, he was placed on the disabled list.
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