By David Driver
Used with permission
This was a magical Major League Baseball season for the Oakland A’s and Washington Nationals, both of which have treated their home fans to pulsating victories in the last at-bat of many games.
And those walk-off wins — so named since the winning team then heads to its dugout — normally means that a member of the bullpen for the A’s and Nats gets credited with a victory. That has been good news to Oakland’s Jerry Blevins ’05 and Washington’s Craig Stammen ’06, a pair of former Flyer hurlers who are quality big-league relievers.
“We have very similar teams in the sense we are led by good pitching, both in the bullpen and the starting rotation. We have a youthful team and it seems to be the same on both coasts, with us on the West Coast and the Nationals on the East Coast,” said Blevins, a teammate with Stammen at UD.
Blevins, a former Dayton walk-on, was drafted by the Cubs in 2004 and made his Major League debut with Oakland following a trade in 2007. Blevins has been a reliable lefty out of the pen with a solid ERA of 2.61 and a record of 4-1 in his first 43 outings.
“It has been awesome, to be honest. The more we win, the more (the fans) come out,” Blevins said. “It has been the most fun environment in the Coliseum that I have been a part of.” The A’s had 13 walk-off wins by mid-August to lead the majors, while Washington had 24 comeback wins and eight walk-offs heading into August.
Right-hander Stammen was drafted by the Nationals in 2005 and broke into The Show as a starting pitcher for Washington four years later. After mixed success as a starter, Stammen has used a devastating slider out of the pen for a Nats team that had the best record in the big leagues for much of the year. He was 5-1 with an ERA of 2.48 in his first 43 appearances.
“It is going to be exciting. Every player wants to be playing meaningful games in September. We will see how we handle the pressure,” Stammen said.
For Blevins, a reunion sounds good: “Hopefully we can meet in the World Series,” Blevins noted. “That would be cool,” Stammen added.
Besides the two, six former Flyers were with minor league affiliates or independent league teams. Pitcher Mike Hauschild was 1-2, 2.19 in his first 14 games with two saves with the Greenville (Tenn.) Astros in the short-season Appalachian League after he was drafted in the 33rd round by Houston in June.
“It is definitely a dream come true to play pro baseball,” Hauschild said. “I am just happy the Astros
Also with Greenville was infielder Brian Blasik, who signed with Houston as a non-drafted free agent. The former UD star hit .322 in his first 183 at-bats with the Astros after appearing in the NCAA Regionals last spring with Hauschild, now his roommate in the minors.
Pitcher Cameron Hobson was 7-3, 5.02 in his first 16 starts with High Desert in the high Class A California League in the Seattle farm system. Pitcher Burny Mitchem ’11 was signed by the Cardinals as a non-drafted free agent and was 1-0 with an ERA of 2.45 in his first 11 outings in the Gulf Coast League.
Outfielder Bob Glover ’12 and infielder C.J. Gillman ’12 joined the independent Windy City Thunderbolts. Glover was hitting .255 in his first 191 at-bats and Gillman hit .267 in his first 135 at-bats.