Patriot Games: Sauer sizzles with 17 strikeouts
It's a spectacle when a pitcher registers 10 strikeouts, but Matt Sauer went above and beyond for Double-A Somerset. The second-round (54th overall) selection in the 2017 Draft has been steadily climbing the Minor League ranks, and in just his third start with the Patriots, he made history. Although his
It's a spectacle when a pitcher registers 10 strikeouts, but Matt Sauer went above and beyond for Double-A Somerset.
The second-round (54th overall) selection in the 2017 Draft has been steadily climbing the Minor League ranks, and in just his third start with the Patriots, he made history.
Although his team ultimately fell to New Hampshire, 4-3, in 10 innings, the 23-year-old put on a show. Sauer struck out a franchise-record 17 over eight innings, allowing one run on two hits. It was the highest strikeout total in affiliated ball since 2019 when Reds hurler Randy Wynne whiffed the same amount.
"I never thought a record was on the table at all," Sauer said. "I was just trying to go out there and do my job, throw strike one. This is only my third start at Double-A, so it's really a blessing and an honor that I was able to do this. I just want to keep it going for the rest of the year. I just got to build off of this."
The Rangers' Jordy Arias is the only other pitcher with more than 14 strikeouts in a game this season. The 17-year-old also struck out 17 batters in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League.
Sauer exited his historic performance having thrown 95 pitches, 75 for strikes. Chris Sale holds the record for fewest pitches thrown by a Major Leaguer (since pitch counts became official in 1988) in a 17-strikeout outing with 108 on May 14, 2019.
"That obviously gives me confidence going into my next start," Sauer said. "I was really just worried about going out and trying to dominate the zone."
Ahead of his start, Sauer had been working on his command after not being satisfied with his previous performances to begin the second half of the season. Over his last two starts, he's only yielded two walks and is pleased with his progression.
"He really put in some good work between outings, and his last two outings have been really good," Somerset pitching coach Gerardo Casadiego said.
"He's a warrior. He goes in and he will give you everything that he has that day. I love to see him compete. I got him for a little bit last year, and I love the way he takes the mound and the way he pitches. He's aggressive, he's a guy that's going to compete and he's going to challenge hitters."
Sauer began truly focusing on pitching during his junior year at Righetti High School in Santa Maria, Calif. He's played baseball "since [he] could walk." The right-hander said he is living out a childhood dream and feels he has the potential to reach the Majors.
"He can be a good starter in the big leagues, for sure," Casadiego said. "This is a type of starter that goes there and competes in the big leagues. He still has some things to improve on, but I think his ceiling is very high."