Cy Sneed flirted with perfection earlier this week and was named PCL Pitcher of the Week as a result.
The righty needed just 88 pitches to retire 24 of the 25 batters he faced on Wednesday night, a 4-0 win against the San Antonio Missions. He threw just three balls with 62 strikes to pick up his second win of the season.
The Express took three of four games against San Antonio and won three of their first four on the road against the Nashville Sounds and continue to battle for the top spot in the PCL American Southern Division.
"We care most about developing the players,” Round Rock manager Mickey Storey said. “But with it, we’ve built a winning tradition. Our minor league club seem to win and the better we develop them. It kind of goes hand in hand and that doesn’t change here.”
It’s the second career league award for Sneed, who took home Player of the Week honors in June 2018 as a member of the Fresno Grizzlies.
In the first game of the series, Round Rock starting pitcher Jose Urquidy tied a Triple-A record with 12 strikeouts in an 11-3 win.
While the starters were lights out, the bullpen was not. Round Rock gave up a pair of runs to let the Missions back into the game in the series finale on Friday night, and San Antonio loaded the bases in the ninth before the Expresses escaped with a one-run win.
“The final game right there summed it up on its own,” Storey said. “We’ve struggled in late innings and int he ninth especially. The two starts from Urquidy and Sneed kind of lifted us. Hopefully, we can change the culture in our bullpen.”
Storey said he asks relievers to go longer than other squads — two or three innings — which in turns puts them out of action for the next two games and creates a thinner back end oft eh bullpen.
Six different players have at least one save for Round Rock this season. Rowel Blanco has been getting the ball in the ninth recently and Brendan McCurry leads the team with four saves this year.
“I’m trying to get as many different guys out there for the ninth and see who can establish a role or get on a run,” Storey said. “At this point, I think I’ve given everybody a shot with mixed reviews. Whoever can get outs in the ninth, I’m going to give them the ball.”
The Round Rock offense, meanwhile, is humming along at a high clip.
The Express are second in the league with 92 home runs and outfielder Yordan Alvarez has only cooled off slightly with his 20 long balls this season.
Express outfielder Kyle Tucker, who started the year slowly at the plate, has caught fire, mashing home runs in four straight games between last Thursday and Saturday. he’s second on the team with 16 homers and 36 RBIs
“I’ve seen him make adjustments with his swing decisions and his approach,” Storey said. “With a talent like Kyle Tucker, that’s all it takes sometimes. You’ll see the minimal production and then you see the complete opposite and be one of the best hitters in all of baseball.”
The Express are back at Dell Diamond for four games against the Iowa Cubs beginning Thursday at 7:05 p.m. and continuing through Sunday afternoon.
“San Antonio is right there with us in the standings, they’re a good ball club,” Story said. “They never shut it down and they gave us everything they had.”