Gallagher Not Himself

PEARL, Miss. – "Lucky," "frustrating" and "out of whack" were just a few words that Cubs pitching prospect Sean Gallagher used to describe his start Monday night at Trustmark Park.

"I'm lucky I only gave up two runs," opined Gallagher (6-2), who went five innings, surrendered four hits, walked three and hit a batter in his ninth start of the season for Double-A Tennessee.

But by the end of the night, the right-hander had won his fourth consecutive start as Tennessee (23-20) beat Mississippi in the finale of a five-game series, 4-3. The Smokies won the series three games to two.

A win is a win, but Gallagher didn't necessarily see his performance that way.

"My mechanics were way out of whack. I was flying open and I had no balance point," he said. "I was pretty much fighting myself the whole game."

Mechanics have been at the center of Gallagher's work this season.

This spring in big league camp, he worked with Chicago pitching coach Larry Rothschild to repeat his mechanics by finding a consistent release point.

Gallagher threw 86 pitches in his five innings Monday, but had been overly happy with his recent work leading up to the outing.

He had gone at least six innings in his previous three outings, all of which resulted in a win, including his best outing of the year on May 11 when Gallagher tossed seven shutout innings to beat Montgomery.

"I'm getting more consistent with throwing my fastball and locating it where I want," said Gallagher, who has a 3.51 ERA in 48 2/3 innings. "My changeup, last year I'd have it every few starts and it was more of a show-me pitch. This year, it's a pitch I feel I can throw at any point in the game."

Gallagher's coaches were also pleased.

"His curveball is the best ratio he's had. He's located his fastball pretty well and has thrown some good changeups," Tennessee pitching coach Dennis Lewallyn said.

Said Smokies manager Pat Listach, "He's getting to the point where he's getting pitches across earlier in the count so he can go deeper."

Gallagher had gone six innings or more in his three previous starts.

But on Monday, "I had no control, no curveball, and no changeup. That's just the way it was," Gallagher said after the game. "It was one of those games you had to fight through. I started getting really frustrated. It wasn't me."

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