Clarkin Impressive Early

Clarkin is slated to start Wednesday's game

CHARLESTON, SC - Left-handed pitcher Ian Clarkin's move up to the Low-A has been a successful one in the early going. He has started two games for the Riverdogs thus far and has a 0.93 ERA and a win to his name. After dominating Spring Training camp and excelling in Extended Spring Training, Clarkin earned his move to the Riverdogs less than two weeks ago.

He tossed five shutout innings against the Delmarva Shorebirds in his low-A debut and then allowed just one earned run in 4 2/3 innings in his next outing against the Rome Braves, striking out a total of ten batters in the two contests.

Although Clarkin is a newcomer to the team, pitching coach Carlos Chantres is already impressed by his maturity and command on the mound.

"I saw him throw a couple innings in Spring Training," Chantres said. "The way that he handled himself on the mound [impressed me]. He's a nineteen year old kid coming up to this level, his poise, and his demeanor on the mound is excellent."

The nineteen-year-old San Diego native missed most of last season due to injury. He has not let that slow him down, though.

"It's good to be back out there," Clarkin said. "You know, last year I was sidelined with an ankle injury. It just got me thinking I really want to be here, this is what I want to do, and just to be back out there is just a blessing. It's good to be out there.

"[I am] just working on keeping the ball down. Hitters have a tough time with the fastball down and located. That's what I was really working on, arm slot, keeping it consistent and keeping the ball down.

Clarkin's consistent outstanding performances have already set him apart in Charleston. Carlos Chantres did not have much in mind for Clarkin to improve on for his next start, which comes Wednesday night.

"Obviously right now he's throwing the ball good," Chantres said. "I like the way he pitches. He attacks the hitters and throws any pitch at any count. For him, just keep doing what he's doing now. There's nothing I would change or add.

"[I want to see] the same thing I saw the first two outings; keep throwing strikes down in the zone and mixing the pitches.

"[He has to] stay healthy, make sure he goes out there every five days. Fastball command, and throw all his pitches for strikes, and keep them down basically."

Of course, Clarkin, who has been very effective but feels he can be even better, always has in mind his list of things to improve for himself.

"[I'm working on] fastball location and spotting up with a little bit more command with all of my pitches," he said. "That was the only thing that my problem has been.

"I feel like that will come here in the next few starts. It just feels like one of those days when you don't have your best stuff, so I can't wait for that start when I have my best stuff.

"I still haven't felt like I've had my best stuff in those starts, like I just competed both starts. It has been keeping the fastball down, keeping all my pitches down.

"Some pitches, I feel like a couple of them have been a little erratic. But just keeping all my down has been successful. Success comes from keeping the ball down.

"[I consider] my curveball to be my out-pitch. It just depends on the situation. If I'm looking for a strikeout depending on how the hitter is reacting, it will be the curveball.

"If the guy is swinging over, he's connected with the fastball, and I've already thrown him a changeup, I'll come back with the changeup. Really any of the above, it just depends on what the hitter reacts to, what he looks like he's doing wrong."

As inexperienced as he may be, Clarkin obviously has a lot of knowledge about the game and strives to better himself every outing. His maturity and poise, both on and off the mound, are surprising for his young age. His has noticed some differences between the players in the Gulf Coast League compared to the players in the Sally League.

"The players are a big difference," he said. "They're more patient. Down in the GCL they're just swinging away, you know, at anything they can hit.

"Here they're looking for a good pitch to hit and that's the thing as a pitcher; you're not trying to make any of those mistakes or trying to give them a good pitch to hit. You're never trying to give them a good pitch."

While these first few weeks are proving to be a learning experience for Clarkin, he has kept good spirits and an even keel throughout, and he's just excited to be in the long-season leagues.

"It's been going great. I'm enjoying it here. I've got my great teammates and great fans here in Charleston. It's been a lot of fun coming from the GCL from where you have no fans to here where you have 6,000 plus," Clarkin concluded.

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