Nick Adenhart entered the season as the No. 1 pitching prospect in the Los Angeles Angels organization and he immediately showed why for the Salt Lake Bees with a brilliant month of April. Adenhart was so good, in fact, that the 21-year-old earned himself a call-up to the majors.
But a couple of weeks later he was sent back down to the Bees and he hasn't been the same pitcher since. Adenhart's troubles continued Sunday afternoon at Franklin Covey Field, as he was the losing pitcher in Salt Lake's 6-3 loss to the Sacramento River Cats.
"It's just been a rough stretch," admitted Adenhart, who fell to 5-7 on the season for the Bees.
Adenhart, like all the Bees, got off to a quick start, going 4-0 in five starts in April with a minuscule 0.87 earned run average. He then got called up to the Angels, where he got three starts, winning one game and posting a 9.00 ERA.
Upon his return to Salt Lake, however, he's struggled. He's 1-7 in his eight starts since returning to triple-A.
"It's frustrating," said Adenhart, who said he's never had a stretch like this before in his life. "I'm just trying to keep working."
Adenhart got off to a decent start on Sunday, keeping the potent River Cats scoreless through four innings. He got into trouble in the fifth, however, giving up four runs before getting taken out of the game.
"He's not getting ahead in the counts," said Bees manager Bobby Mitchell of Adenhart. "When he's working ahead in the counts he's tough because it forces the other team to swing at his change-ups. But when he falls behind hitters and they are patient with him then they are starting to hit him. He's been getting in trouble with some walks and with his command."
The Bees, after a breakout offensive performance with a dozen runs on Saturday night, couldn't get much going against Sacramento lefty Dan Meyer. Salt Lake plated only two earned runs on four hits 6 1/3 innings against Meyer.
"We didn't hit today, so we've got to give (Meyer) credit," said Mitchell, whose team had only five hits for the game.
Salt Lake, owners of the best record in the PCL at 46-30, is now just 15-15 in games against left-handed starters. And the bad news for the Bees is that Sacramento is sending two more lefties to the mound in the next two games. The River Cats, which downed the Bees last season in the playoffs, lead the PCL's Pacific South Division with a 46-31 mark. A win today by Sacramento will give them the best record in the league by a half game over Salt Lake.BEELINES: Matt Brown hit a double to extend his on-base streak to 30 games, second longest in the PCL this year. The franchise record is 41, set by Mike Moriarty when the team was known as the Buzz in 2000 ... The third game of the series is set for tonight at 7. Salt Lake's Dustin Moseley (2-4, 5.48 ERA) is scheduled to start against LHP Gio Gonzalez (3-5, 5.01). The series will conclude Tuesday night ... Attendance Sunday was 4,015.