Isotopes left-handed reliever Derrick Loop will return to his independent-ball roots by taking over as the fifth starter in the ‘Topes pitching rotation. The pitcher boasts a starter’s record already, 6-2, while posting a 3.82 ERA through 37.2 innings of work. He is set to make his first start tonight against the Memphis Redbirds at 6:05 PM.
“I’m comfortable with my role right now, but if my role changes, I’ll embrace it,” Loop said earlier this year when asked how the team can utilize his talent. “I wouldn’t mind starting, I’m comfortable in that position too.”
Loop has appeared in 20 games out of the bullpen this season for Albuquerque. The Isotopes have typically used him in short spans of two to three frames, with his longest outing a 4.0 inning performance where he allowed four runs on seven hits. The lefty hurler currently owns the second lowest ERA of all ‘Topes relievers who have pitched at least eight innings, and his 37.2 frames of work are the second most among all Isotopes relievers.
Pitching Coach Glenn Dishman has been impressed with what’s he’s seen from the Albuquerque pitcher, noting how well Loop has taken advantage of his chances on the mound.
“I’m really proud of what he’s done this season,” said Dishman. “He’s gotten his opportunity and he’s done well.”
The move sends previous starter, lefty Michael Antonini, to the bullpen to fill in as a mid-to-long innings reliever. The left-hander has struggled as a starter through the first half of the season, going 1-6 with a 5.43 ERA through 66.1 innings. Antonini has allowed 14 home runs in 2012, tied for second-most in the circuit as of June 26. His final outing as a starter resulted in a loss with the hurler giving up five runs on seven hits, three of which left the yard.