Opening Night for the LA Dodgers Low-A affiliated Rancho Cucamonga Quakes featured a collective shutout starring the organization’s first-round pick in the 2021 draft, the 20-year-old lefty Maddux Bruns, on the bump versus Angels rehabbing starter Griffin Canning. The Quakes collected 16 Ks across the nine-inning shutout with Bruns leading the first seven strikeouts, reliever Chris Campos dealing for six across 3 IP and Lucas Wepf closing out the 9th by striking out the side. Angels starter Griffin Canning opened the Inland Empire 66ers season with 5 IP rehab start that saw the Quakes tally up six hits for two runs (1 earned) while striking out 10 across the affair.
Our 2023 Opening Night Starter, Maddux Bruns pic.twitter.com/pcqZ1Tz5jy
— Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (@RCQuakes) April 6, 2023
The Quakes’ offense hit Canning for two doubles, the owners of these extra-base hits being outfielder Chris Newell and infielder Jose Izarra. Newell brought home a run on a double that could have scored two had the 66ers not made a perfect relay home to catch Rayne Doncon at the plate. The other run tagged to Canning came off a Thayron Liranzo single in the first inning. Liranzo would make noise again in the 8th inning with a solo home run off of 66ers reliever Roman Phansalkar.
A calm and collected approach saw Bruns match his highest single-start strikeout total from last season, that start being his final outing in 2022. The young star’s first professional season saw a few ups and downs as the (then) 19-year-old pitcher adjusted to professional baseball.
“I was figuring my stuff out and there were some bad outings mixed in with the season. I felt like I had figured out a little bit with that last start.”
The Dodgers’ first-round pick struggled with his control last year as he allowed three or more walks in 9 of his 21 appearances, none of those outings lasting past three innings. Opening Night told a different story as Bruns threw 57 pitches across his four-inning start, marking the longest start of his young pro career thus far. Best of all he allowed just two walks throughout the night. Bruns had this to say regarding the Dodgers’ outstanding development process.
“They’re the best, they’re able to diagnose probably better than any other team and they’re able to figure out what you need to do to become your best self.”
The night featured a new weapon in Bruns arsenal, a fresh changeup developed over the last offseason. This pitch assisted the young lefties’ efficiency as he allowed just three hits, all being singles with two being infield hits. Of all the outs recorded on the night, only two came from balls struck out of the infield. The vast majority of recorded outs on Bruns’ night came by strikeout or groundout with one GIDP recorded.
The Quakes will continue their series versus the 66ers as fellow 2021 draftee Peter Heubeck takes the mound aiming to open the Quakes season with a winning streak.
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