Pitcher Mike Devine fell just one strikeout short of a franchise single-game record – twice.
ST PAUL, Minn. — Mike Devine wanted to be a pilot when he was younger.
“I went to VMI (Virginia Military Institute) out of high school,” says Devine. “Every time I went into a cockpit, I just liked the way the looked. I thought they were so cool.”
But his eye sight wasn’t good enough
“They tested my eyes and I was legally blind, and I had astigmatism,” says Devine. “I wear contacts. It’s fine but contacts aren’t good enough for the military.”
However, it’s easy for anyone to see he’s definitely taken off this season for the St. Paul Saints
“This is a guy that for the last few seasons has been one of the best relievers in the league,” says manager George Tsamis. “In the offseason he asked for a chance to start. I was unsure of it because he was just so good out of the bullpen. But we gave him a chance and he’s turned out to be one of the best starters in the league. He’s done a great job.”
Devine has been so good, he recently came one strikeout short of tying the Saints record for strikeouts in a game in two consecutive starts. That’s right, 13 strikeouts in each of his last two starts.
“Yeah that was pretty cool,” says Devine. “I was able to make pitches and feel comfortable on the mound. I think that is a big thing to feel comfortable and confident in your stuff.”
It’s not uncommon for starters to become relievers. But at 30, Devine decided to go a different route. Leaving the bullpen behind to join the starting rotation.
“I was successful pitching aggressive coming out of the pen,” says Devine. “And I wanted to bring that to starting too. 30 years old, I figured that would be the best move for my career.
“I was unsure of it because he was so good out of the bullpen,” says Tsamis. “And I don’t like to mess with a guy out of the bullpen. But we gave him a shot and he was one of the top guys.”
Devine will likely finish the regular season as the league leader in strikeouts with a total of 89. For a guy once told he couldn’t fly, he certainly has soared for the Saints.
Author: Dave Schwartz