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Distasio settles into relieving role ahead of Harwich

by Jesse Dougherty
Thursday, June 19, 2014

Distasio settles into relieving role ahead of Harwich

Lou Distasio (Rhode Island) came to Chatham having made 14 appearances — 12 of them starts — for the Rams this spring. Sitting in the bullpen as games commence and later, if the matchup’s right, coming in in relief was something of a foreign concept. But Distatio’s early-season work out of the pen has transcended his unfamiliarity with the role. 

“Lou’s been great for us so far,” Chatham manager John Schiffner said after a 4-1 win over Yarmouth-Dennis on Wednesday. “The whole bullpen and pitching has been.”

Distasio’s success is a microcosm of what has been a great start for the Chatham bullpen, and his latest outing against Y-D presented a starter-turned-reliever sailing through his own game. It doesn’t matter when Distasio takes the mound even if he admits that relieving is “weird.” He approaches each hitter with equal doses of efficiency and efficacy, both of which have quickly endeared him to his coaches and teammates. 

Lou Distasio
Lous Distasio (Rhode Island) has been great for the Anglers out of the bullpen this season. 

Chatham (3-4) is heading to Whitehouse Field to take on first place Harwich (6-1) at 7 p.m. on Thursday, and will look for Distasio, and the rest of its bullpen, to stay stingy. The Mariners are expected to start Jason Inghram — the league’s reigning pitcher of the week — who is tied with Distasio, and five other pitchers, with a 0.00 ERA on the season. Harwich’s pitching has been the focal point of its torrid start, only magnifying the role of Chatham’s bullpen in the teams’ first meeting. 

“You just have to respect your starter,” Distasio said after the Anglers beat Y-D. “If a guy throws a good game it’s our job to make sure we carry it the rest of the way.”

Distasio, a 6-foot-3-inch, 195-pound right-hander from Yarmouth, Maine, recently wrapped up his sophomore year at Rhode Island. He started 12 games and finished the season with a 3-4 record and 3.71 ERA. He also struck out 63 hitters while walking 31, and collected an impressive 7.3 punch outs per game. 

He made his Cape Cod debut almost as soon as the season started when he threw two scoreless innings and earned the win against Orleans on Opening Day. Now he’s thrown the most innings of any Chatham reliever (6.1) — and the second most on the team behind starter Andrew Chin (Boston College) (10.0) — while giving up just four hits with no runs to his name. 

“It feels great to be a starter and know those guys are throwing that way,” said Jordan Hillyer (Kennesaw State), Chatham’s winning pitcher Wednesday. “The bullpen has been going strong and it helps you when you know that.”

Against the Red Sox, Distasio threw three scoreless innings and gave up just two hits. He only needed 27 pitches to do so, building a quick bridge to closer Kyle Davis (Southern California) who has been equally impressive on the year. 

It’s been a viable formula for Chatham’s starting staff to get the ball to the bullpen and have them nurse the game to a favorable finish. Until further notice, the arms of Distasio and his counterparts remain mechanical on command. 

Broadcast information 

Broadcast coverage of the Anglers and Mariners begins at 6:40 p.m. with the Anglers Extra Pregame Show. Watch and listen on TRZ Teamline or listen by phone 1-800-846-4700, code 3481. Visit Broadcast Central for more information.