Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Flande's start keeps Sky Sox alive before winning rally

By Brent Briggeman Updated: May 6, 2014 at 10:42 pm

Yohan Flande's contributions were all but forgotten by the time the Sky Sox rallied for a victory on Tuesday night.

That's OK, his manager took note.

The 28-year-old lefty gave up one run in five innings, keeping Colorado Springs in the game but not factoring in the decision of his team's 4-1 victory over Nashville. The Sky Sox scored all four of their runs in the seventh, a rally that began with a Kyle Parker home run and later included RBIs singles from Rafael Ynoa, Dustin Garneau and Tim Wheeler.

Well before that came Flande's five innings, which included six strikeouts.

Flande faltered a bit in the fourth, giving up four singles, but he wiggled out of it having surrendered just one run.

Flande (0-5) has improved upon his previous start each time he has taken the mound this season. His past four starts have seen him post a 3.68 ERA with 16 strikeouts and two walks.

"He cares so much and tries so hard that he tends to speed up," Sky Sox manager Glenallen Hill said. "Over the last three starts he's become aware of the importance of maintaining an even tempo. That allows late movement and better fastball command."

Tuesday's performance came against a Nashville team that started nine players with major-league experience. It's the kind of lineup Flande figured to be facing at this point in his career, just on stage a bit more grand.

Flande joined the Philadelphia organization as an under-the-radar international signing from the Domincan Republic and made his pro debut in 2005. He attained prospect status only after earning it with a 2.78 ERA over his first five seasons.

His progression earned him a spot on the World Team in the 2009 Futures Game, a showcase that saw him play along side Giancarlo Stanton, Jhoulys Chacin, Starlin Castro, Madison Bumgarner, Jason Heyward and a slew of other major league standouts.

While those others vaulted forward, Flande's climb stalled.

His strikeout rate plummeted in his second season at Double-A and he was dumped to Atlanta. There, he posted mostly mediocre seasons for Triple-A Gwinnett - good enough that the organization kept investing innings in him, bad enough that his ERA never dipped below 4.00 for a season.

He still hasn't received a sniff of the big leagues.

The Rockies signed him as a minor league free agent on Nov. 25 and he has since made a fan out of his new Triple-A manager.

"He works hard at every aspect of the game," Hill said. "You should see him on his running the bases and his bunt work. He's a pretty intense guy.

"He is a favorite on this team."

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