In the second inning of Springfield’s 3-2 win over the Midland Rockhounds on Thursday, Michael McGreevy experienced déjà vu.

McGreevy jumped ahead 0-2 on Midland RockHounds’ first baseman Logan Davidson, and Springfield catcher Pedro Pagés called for a slider down-and-in to the left-handed batter.

Pagés motioned to the desired location. McGreevy toed the rubber and his mind flashed to June 12, 2022.

“I was pitching that Sunday and Davidson was up, and he was on a hot streak last year,” McGreevy recalled.

It was McGreevy’s fourth start in Double-A, and he had the Oakland A’s 2019 first-round pick in an 0-2 hole. Then he hung a slider and Davidson blasted it for a two-run homer.

“I thought to myself, this is the same exact at-bat right now. Two fastballs for strikes and then a slider back-foot,” McGreevy said. “I’m like hey, trust it, rip it.”

McGreevy did. The ball dipped sharply below Davidson’s knees as he swung and missed for the strikeout – one of McGreevy’s nine victims over six innings pitched Thursday.

Springfield Cardinals starting pitcher Michael McGreevy as the Cardinals take on the Wichita Wind Surge during the home opener at Hammons Field on Thursday, April 6, 2023.
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“It makes it fun. You see that, especially that pitch – I saw the video on it after – I pointed to the spot, he executed there. It worked,” Pagés said. “That makes him feel good, that makes me feel good.”

Hitters chased McGreevy’s slider all night and he says the pitch was a focus during the offseason but remains a work in progress.

“To be honest with you, it’s not really where I want it right now,” he said.

“Kind of dealing with – not mechanical issues, but just pitch shape difficulties…how much it’s breaking, how much it’s dropping. The nice thing about it is it’s been hard. I’ve been throwing it hard.”

Springfield manager Jose Leger is impressed with the stuff, but he raves about the 22-year-old’s maturity.

“For him to remember (the at-bat last year), that tells you right away that he pays attention to details,” Leger said.

“I’m glad he was able to recognize that, and he made better pitches last night, he was aware of it, he worked quick – it was another great outing.”

McGreevy will take his quality start streak on the bus to Memphis, as the Cardinals promoted him to Triple-A on Sunday, a reward for posting a 1.45 ERA and 16 strikeouts over 18 2/3 innings in three starts this spring. There he will join Matthew Liberatore to give the Redbirds a pair of first-round picks in the rotation.

Something else happened during his final Double-A start that shows McGreevy is ready for the next step.

Midland scored in the top of the first inning on three groundball singles, and McGreevy returned to the dugout frustrated.

“I wasn’t really trusting my stuff, wasn’t really throwing it with conviction at all, and that kind of led to some ticky-tack hits that squibbled through,” he said.

“I was (ticked) off and had to hit a reset button in the dugout. (In the second inning) I walked out there and said ‘So what? Hey, so what?’ It had already happened, nothing you could do about it now.”

Then Davidson stepped in to lead off the inning.


Andy Carroll

Andy Carroll

Andy Carroll is a freelance sports writer living in the Ozarks with his wife and four great kids. He loves St. Louis, toasted ravioli and minor league baseball. You can follow him on Twitter @carroll_sgf and Instagram @andycarroll505