Five days ago San Francisco Giants rookie pitcher Chris Heston was at the center of the baseball world.
With a called strike three to New York Mets second baseman Ruben Tejada, Heston made his first career no-hitter for the first in the 2015 MLB season. Sunday, in a Sunday afternoon game Heston climbs the mound of AT&T Park in his first start since the no-no.
Only Cincinnati Reds pitcher Johnny Vander Meer, in 1938, was able to fire consecutive hitless complete games. While the sporting world will have one eye on the 27-year-old Giants hurler, Vander Meer will not be on Heston’s mind as he heads to the bump for the 1:05 p.m start, he told the Mercury News:
“You have to think there’ll be some more confidence, But the mindset never changes. It’s all about executing pitches down in the zone.”
Heston was selected three times in the MLB draft, with his highest (and final) pick coming from the Giants in the twelfth round of the 2009 draft. Over the next six seasons, Heston posted a 46-45 record with a 3.56 ERA for five different Giants minor league affiliates. By the time he made his MLB debut with a scoreless inning in a 17-0 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers last September, he had already developed the veteran mentality he displays today.
Now, almost exactly nine months later, the Palm Bay, Fla. native must call on some of the poise to steady his focus on the job at hand – ending the Giants’ seven-game home losing skid.
Despite having watched Diamondbacks starters take no-hit bids into the sixth inning in each of the first two games of the series, Heston’s focus will need to be on Paul Goldschmidt, not history.