NEW BRITAIN - Anthony Marzi continues to show the New Britain Bees they made the right decision to move him into the starting rotation when the season began.
Faced with the prospect of both getting swept and having its losing streak extended to six games Sunday afternoon, New Britain needed a quality outing from its starting pitcher. Marzi more than obliged.
The Berlin native allowed one run over six innings to earn his second consecutive victory in an 8-3 Bees win over the Lancaster Barnstormers. And in doing so, continued his development from successful reliever to successful starting pitcher.
“You go on those losing streaks and it’s tough,” said Marzi, who is now 3-2 with a 3.81 ERA in six starts this season. “It kind of snowballs and it was good to break that.”
After a shaky start to the year, perhaps the biggest reason to Marzi’s recent success has to do with what he is not doing - walking opposing hitters.
Over his last two starts (13 innings pitched), the left-hander has only issued three. Hitters had been awarded a free base a collective 10 times in his previous four starts.
In other words, in games where Marzi has struck out more batters than issued walks (13 strikeouts to four walks), he is 3-0. In games when he has had trouble finding his command (three strikeouts to nine walks), he is 0-2 with a no decision.
“The major thing is getting ahead of guys,” Marzi said. “I don’t have [a] 95 [mph fastball] to blow past guys, so when I fall behind, I’m more dependent on the hitter making a mistake than the other way around.”
And by controlling the amount of base runners, the 24-year-old is able to limit the damage done to him on the scoreboard. In both of his losses, the left-hander gave up at least four runs and six hits.
“[Look at] his start in Texas, you go out there and you give up a couple soft-contact singles and walk a guy, that puts you in a tough spot,” Bees pitching coach and relief pitcher Shawn Gilblair said. “He was pitching in jams a lot, putting himself in tough situations. [The last two starts], he’s said ‘here you go, this is what I got, let’s see what you can do with it.’ It’s been really nice to see.”
But it has also helped that his own offense has come through with run support early and often in his last two outings. During Marzi’s start on May 16 against the Bridgeport Bluefish, the Bees lineup provided him with four runs through the first four innings and on Sunday - thanks in large part to Jamar Walton’s three home runs - they scored seven of their eight runs for the Berlin native.
“It’s the whole morale out there with the whole team,” Marzi said when asked about getting the run support. “Everyone has a hop in their step. It just makes things easier. Just the aura in the dugout and on the field, it kind of all contributed to keeping a good rhythm.
“We didn’t have much of a spring training and you can see the bats starting to heat up. It was kind of similar last year. We found our stride a couple months in and hopefully we can go on a role here.”
The Bees certainly hope so.
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @DavidGlovach