By Lance Reynolds
SOUTH YARMOUTH, Mass. ? Josh McMinn knew he was going to have to make a change in his approach on the mound even after throwing a scoreless top of the first against the Orleans Firebirds.
The Y-D Red Sox starting pitcher Wednesday didn?t have to worry for much longer about what that change was going to be.
Drew Mendoza led an explosive offensive attack in the bottom of the first by hitting a grand slam, and the Red Sox jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead after one full.
The result? McMinn gained all of the confidence to attack the strike zone with his go-to pitch ? a fastball ? and he turned in one of his most impressive starts of the season in a 11-2 victory over the Firebirds at Red Wilson Field.
?My command was struggling and then we went and scored five runs. I had all of the confidence in the world to let them really hit it,? McMinn said. ?If they hit it, it hits one of my guys, and even if they don?t, we?re up five runs. Whenever your team scores that many runs, it just makes everything so much easier on you.?
Last Wednesday, McMinn struggled with his command and lasted three innings in a 7-3 loss against the Harwich Mariners, as he gave up three runs on five hits and walked three.
The loss was a bitter one for McMinn, but it made him focus on his mechanics with pitching coach Austin Knight leading up to Wednesday?s start against Orleans.
All of the extra-work McMinn put in on his off-days was worth the reward. The righty allowed just four Firebirds to reach base ? all on base hits ? in five shutout innings while walking none and striking out four.
?Austin [Knight] and I really worked on mechanics in bullpens, and every single day we talked about stuff like that,? McMinn said. ?I was really blessed to have our guys swing the bats extremely well.?
With McMinn?s win Wednesday, he is now 2-0 in his two starts against Orleans. McMinn picked up his first win against the Firebirds in Y-D?s home opener back on June 15.
?Both times I?ve played them my fastball command was really on point,? McMinn said. ?That?s the thing for me. If I can command a fastball, it opens up a lot of things because if I can locate the change up as well, they?re super off-balance.?
Y-D (19-11-1) visits McKeon Park Thursday to take on the Hyannis Harborhawks for the final time this season. First pitch is at 6:00 pm.