Lookouts' Aaron Slegers provides hope on the hill

Lookouts' Aaron Slegers provides hope on the hill

May 1st, 2016 by David Paschall in Sports - Professional

Chattanooga Lookouts pitcher Aaron Slegers leads the starting rotation with a 2.90 ERA.

Chattanooga Lookouts pitcher Aaron Slegers leads the starting...

Photo by Dan Henry /Times Free Press.

Less than an hour before the start of Chattanooga's game against Montgomery on Sunday afternoon at AT&T Field, Lookouts manager Doug Mientkiewicz was still feeling the sting of Saturday night's 12-0 loss to the Biscuits.

"Nothing is good," Mientkiewicz said. "Everybody should be concerned at this point. We can't get out of our own way right now."

Lookouts starting pitcher Aaron Slegers turned out to be very good Sunday, allowing five hits over eight innings in a 1-0 win that squared the series entering tonight's 7:15 finale. The 6-foot-10 Slegers collected five strikeouts and lowered his ERA to 2.90.

More importantly, he may have given Chattanooga hope of replacing Jason Wheeler sooner than later.

The Lookouts are playing their first series since the promotion of Wheeler, the MVP of last season's Southern League title series, to Triple-A Rochester (N.Y.). In his first four starts this season, Wheeler went 1-1 with a 1.88 ERA.

"Jason had a great start to the year," Lookouts starting pitcher D.J. Baxendale said. "It was a lot of fun to be at the top of the rotation with him, but we have a lot of really good pitchers on this team. It's just about all of us kind of coming together and finding a way to get more wins out of this and to keep attacking throughout the year.

"It's a long season, and we've got a long road ahead, and we know that as long as we stick together and keep attacking our plan that everything is going to work out."

Baxendale had the lowest ERA (3.41) among the remaining starters until Slegers lowered his Sunday from 3.91. David Hurlbut is at 6.04 through five starts after compiling a 3.59 ERA last year in 17 starts, while Ryan Eades has struggled early in his adjustment to Double-A with an 0-2 record and an 8.00 ERA through four starts.

Mientkiewicz isn't mourning the loss of Wheeler, claiming it was overdue.

"He should have been up there in the first place," Mientkiewicz said. "We're at the mercy of what the big-league team needs. When there is a move up there, there is going to be a trickle-down effect.

"We've got guys here who are going on their third or fourth year of Double-A who really need to start proving that they deserve to wear a jersey."

The Lookouts (10-14) gave Slegers all the run support he needed during the first inning, when Zach Granite led off with a single to center field, stole second and scored on a Mitch Garver single to right.

J.T. Chargois pitched the ninth inning and collected his fifth save.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.