Brooklyn, New York – RHP Rainy Lara (7-2, 3.44) has been consistent in fifty five innings of work, along with a pitching staff that has consistently led the New York Penn League.
His ERA and theirs – starters 2.52, bullpen 2.54- have been impressive throughout the season.
August 21st’s matchup between Lara and Tri-City Valley Cats Juri Perez was a possible playoffs preview, with the Cyclones vying for a wild card spot and the Valley Cats waiting to clinch.
This wasn’t Lara’s best outing, but there was plenty to like.
Going for his fourth straight winning start, he threw few pitches in the early innings, locating his fastball which stayed consistently in the low nineties and topped out at 93 mph. When he missed it was on the outer part of the plate and he allowed his first walk in the third. With runners on first and third, he got out of a jam. Staying low in the zone and not pitching away, he confidently attacked the strike zone to execute.
In the 4th, he still missed in the same spots, high and outside, looking wild at times. Even so, he continued to work through it and pitch to contact, and to the heart of a lineup made up of solid contact hitters.
He lacked control of all his pitches, something he’s not had a lot of trouble with. Lara has walked just nine batters in 55 innings. That lack of control led to three walks through five innings. His mound composure was also on the wild side. He rushed at times and Valley Cats hitters didn’t chase. They remained patient with Lara.
He labored into the 5th, but after giving up a walk to Ryan Dineen, hitting Emilio King, then allowing an RBI double to Preston Tucker, and a single to Jesse Wierzbicki that nailed Lara in the leg, he was pulled.
Two more runs scored, with Lara responsible for four.
Not his best stuff. The walks were the biggest surprise. He wasn’t the same confident pitcher that’s been a solid part of the rotation all season. When he attacked hitters and pounded the strike zone, he succeeded. But when he tried to go away and elevated the ball, he got into trouble. Trouble he can usually get himself out of.