Bats/Mud Hens series - 5/24-25
Got to see the Bats play a pair here against the Mud Hens the past two nights. First game was ugly, a 7-0 loss, but at least it was mercifully quick. The second game was freezing cold, but the Bats rallied from 6-2 to win 8-6, so it was worth the weather. Here's how things looked:
Starting pitchers - 2 game series and I draw Darrell May and Chris Michalak. Boy, there's some good luck. May struggled to throw harder than 84, especially early. If you like Dave Williams, you'll love Darrell May. He did get as high as 91, but not very often, that took a lot out of him. Wasn't much of a difference between his "fastball" at 84 and his off speed stuff at 80. The scoreboard radar was only up on occaision, but I was lucky and had a scout sitting a few rows in front of me so I could read his gun. Interesting that he was following Louisville's pitchers but didn't care about Toledo's. May's location was inconsistent. Sometimes he was on, he struck one guy out on three straight pitches at the knees, and sometimes he was scattershot. He gave up a pair of homers, including a 412 foot shot to straightaway center.
If Darrell May wasn't good, Chris Michalak was flat awful. He got two batters into the third before finally getting yanked. Gave up two long homers, not to mention allowing 12 base runners in that time. He managed to hit three batters, and committed a balk as a bonus. Ugly.
Relief pitching - Ryan Wagner threw 1 2/3 innings the first game. Came into the 6th with one out and runners on first and second. He gave up an RBI single before allowing a three run bomb to left that you knew was gone as soon as he swung the bat. Pitched a quick 7th, but it didn't really matter at that point. He wasn't too tough to key in on, his fastball was exactly 91 and his off speed stuff was exactly 84. I think there were all of two pitches that didn't come in at those speeds. He didn't mix them up that well either, though he did catch a couple guys off guard and made them look silly on a couple swings. Jason Standridge threw an uneventful 8th. He was actually the hardest thrower of the night at 93, and did a little better job of changing speeds. Confused one batter when he dropped a 75 mph curve on him, but he only broke that pitch out once.
Can't give you as detailed a report on the second game, I was there with a batch of friends so it was more goofing around than game study. Tom Shearn did a really nice job of bailing out Michalak. Came on with runners on first and second and got out of the inning unscathed. Got some help from a play at the plate, don't remember if it was Kata in left or Denorfia in center who nailed the runner, but he had him beat easily. It was funny watching the guy bounce off of Sardinha covering the plate.
Shearn went 2 2/3, 3H, 1BB, 4K. Sort of an odd time for a pitching change, he got the first two guys out in the fifth and then was pulled for another righty, not sure what was up with that. Mike Burns came in and shut the Bats down for 2 1/3, 2Ks and no baserunners. Standridge was back again for the 8th, and was shakier, getting one out but allowing a hit and a walk. Mike Venafro came in to do his funky lefty sidewinder thing and gave up a single. Effective outing by the LOOGY there. That brought in Scott Chiasson with the bases loaded and one out. He got out of the jam without giving up a run, and pitched a quick ninth, getting a 6-4-3 DP and a fly out to get the save.
Hitting - Not much to say about the first game. There weren't many balls even being hit out of the infield. Denorfia had a pair of hits, as did Abad, who went opposite field and dropped a nice double down the left field line. They never really came close to scoring though.
Things were much better the second game. Denorfia and Earl Snyder each homered to left. Snyder was hot, going 3-4 with two doubles to go along with the homer. Denorfia had two hits for the second night in a row. Need to see a little more speed or a little less greediness on the basepaths though, Robert Stratton and Terrance Long both got thrown out trying to stretch hits into doubles.
Fielding - Nothing to say about the first game really, no errors and nothing but mostly routine plays. Olmedo did make a nice play at SS, going to his left to snag a ball and throw out a runner at first, but that's about it. Bergolla played SS the second game and garbled a grounder that led to an early run, that was the only error of the series. I already mentioned the nice play at the plate. Matt Kata also made a nice play in left, playing a ball off the wall and turning to gun down a runner trying to stretch a double (that seemed to be the theme of the night).
That's the last I'll see of the Bats for a few months, for some reason the IL schedule maker doesn't believe in sending Louisville here for a mid-summer game, it's always April and August.