This information and more was on Whiting's scouting report before he and the Cardinals faced the Drillers on Sunday afternoon in a do-or-die Game 5 of the Texas League semifinals.
"We have seen these guys seven or eight times, so we knew what they were about; they were aggressive," Whiting said. "They were swinging so early it allowed me to keep my pitch count down."
Whiting needed only 74 pitches to toss seven one-hit innings as Springfield shut down Tulsa, 3-1, to advance to the Texas League Championship Series for the first time since 2007.
The Cardinals will meet South Division champion Frisco in Game 1 of the Finals on Tuesday, just as manager Mike Shildt told the team before the postseason commenced.
"We were pretty ecstatic having a good time, not much more we can ask for," Whiting said of the postgame celebration with his teammates. "We were cheering because we knew we're going there but reserved because we still want to win the championship. We feel like we have momentum on our side."
One of two walks came back to bite Whiting (1-0), who was otherwise spotless. The 23-year-old right-hander issued a free pass in the third to Chris Pettit, who scored on Corey Dickerson's two-out double to right field.
"We got 0-2 on [Dickerson] pretty quick. Usually in that situation, I go right at hitters, maybe with a changeup, but we wanted to set him up for a changeup because he was leaning out over the plate," explained Whiting, who struck out four. "We went in with a fastball and he jammed it down the line. One of those unlucky breaks."
Whiting was more fortunate on two other occasions, when fielders made difficult plays: In addition to Kolten Wong's smooth moves at second base, left fielder Chris Swauger stretched out to catch a Troy Tulowitzki fly ball, ending the sixth. Swauger left for a pinch-hitter and returned to the dugout with his right arm in a sling.
Tulowitzki, the rehabbing Rockies' All-Star, singled in the ninth but was 0-for-3 against Whiting, who struck out the shortstop on five pitches in the fourth.
"It was awesome. His nephew is on my little brother's team, so I'll have bragging rights when I get home," said Whiting, who retired his final 11 batters. "This was my first time pitching against a big leaguer. I wasn't intimidated or anything. That is who I was trained to face my whole life. ... I know I can pitch against those guys."
An 18th-round pick in 2010, Whiting didn't pitch in a game this season until July 24 due to a strained flexor in his forearm. He rehabbed in the Gulf Coast and Midwest leagues before making his final two regular-season appearances as a member of Springfield's rotation. His first start back at Double-A -- six innings of two-run ball on Aug. 29 against Tulsa -- seems to have arrived right on time.
Eric Fornataro pitched a 1-2-3 eighth and Keith Butler worked around Tulowitzki's hit in the ninth before recording his third playoff save.
The Cards grabbed a two-run lead in the second as Swauger doubled home Jamie Romak, then scored on Xavier Scruggs' sacrifice fly. Scruggs plated Swauger with another sacrifice fly in the fourth.
Drillers starter Dan Houston (0-1) was charged with all three runs on six hits over four frames.
The two hits were a season low for Tulsa.