The Altoona Curve have been streaking of late both in the loss column as well as the win column en route to their 29-22 record.

Between May 20th and May 27th, two Altoona Curve wins, the teamlost six in a row, failing to score more than three runs in any single game. During that time span, Altoona was shut out twice, the first two shut outs of the season. With their victory on the 27th, the tables turned for the Curve as they’ve since won five of their last six games coming into Friday night’s match-up against the Bowie Baysox.

While the Altoona offense failed to produce large quantities of runs, the pitching staff was everything manager Michael Ryan could’ve wanted and needed at the right time for the Curve. With lack of runs, Altoona’s pitching staff yielded no more than five runs during the six-game losing streak as well as the ensuing four-game win streak.

While players like Tanner Anderson have struggled for the Altoona pitching staff, Buddy Borden has been a major bright spot for a staff who has been dependent upon the bullpen throughout the two streaks as well as the majority of the season. Borden currently boasts a 4-0 record with an .073 ERA in 14 appearances for the Curve so far this season. The right handed reliever got the W to start the four-game win streak before notching another W Tuesday night as a result of Wyatt Mathisen‘s walk-off single.

Mathisen emerging as key contributor for Curve in 2017

 

Curve third baseman Wyatt Mathisen has had no problem making the adjustment to Double-A pitching so far this season. Mathisen helped Altoona defeat Akron Tuesday with a walk-off in the midst of the Curve’s four-game winning streak that ended Wednesday.

The second round draft pick of the Pirates in 2012 has appeared in 41 games for first-place Altoona splitting time at third base with Connor Joe. The right-handed hitting Mathisen is hitting .314 just four points below team leader Kevin Kramer. A Corpus Christi, TX-native, Mathisen has been an on-base machine throughout the first two months of the season for the Curve with an OBP of .410, tops among teammates appearing in 40 or more game.

Pittsburgh drafted the right-handed Mathisen directly out of high school in 2012. Mathisen dealt with a shoulder injury in 2016, but was able to post a .296/.354/.409 slash line in 36 games for Single-A Bradenton. As Mathisen continues his growth as a professional hitter, he remains one of the top third base prospects in the Pirates’ farm system.

Will his growth as a hitter and fielder lead him to be the heir apparent to the third base throne at the MLB level? That remains to be seen, however, should he keep hitting, it will be hard for Pittsburgh to not notice what Mathisen is doing.

Up Next

After a brief three-game homestand against Akron, the Altoona Curve hit the road for six games as they head to Bowie, MD to take on the Baysox this weekend with a three-game series against the Double-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. Altoona has Monday off following the Bowie series before heading to Harrisburg for the final three games of their road trip.

Jarrod Prugar

Jarrod Prugar is 5 and a half feet tall and you can't teach that. Jarrod grew up watching future Pirates light up the Eastern League for the Altoona Curve before going off to Robert Morris for college. Jarrod also covers Penn State for the Pittsburgh Sporting News. Ban the DH!