I was in Louisville today to work the game. 11:10 start. I love the games they play real early for the school kids. Those kids have a blast skipping school for a day to go to the ballpark.
I sat with my old pal Ken Sr. for the whole game. (He's going to answer those questions everyone sent in don't worry) We always have a great time watching the game together. He does his best to break your concentration. He has more stories than I do so it's a lot easier for him to get me every time.
Of what I saw today....
Elizardo Ramirez was as strong as I've ever seen him. 6IP 3H 0ER NO WALKS and 7K. What was so impressive about his outing is that he worked quick, showed his two seamer early for a strike and used his curve and slider to get guys out. He flat out jammed the lefties with his slider. Much the same way Danny Jackson did to righties. This is the first time I have ever seen him change speeds on any of his pitches. If he puts 4 or 5 of these types of starts together he could really get in a groove for the rest of the season. 92 Pitches 65 strikes. The home plate umpire left a lot to be desired today as well. He could have easily been at 75 strikes.
Syracuse starter Ty Taubenheim was equally ridiculous. He pitches very aggressive and made several of the Bats hitters look silly at times. 7IP 2H 0ER 1BB 3K. Great stuff, great command and he's tough. (not scrappy)
Bergolla is lunging at the ball. I saw him do this last year before he settled in. He is also getting under the ball quite a bit. I wonder if Rick Sweet is going to make him do push ups if he keeps hitting the ball in the air? He played SS but only had one ball hit to him all day. That one ball was waaay deep in the hole and there was no play.
Stratton looks slimmed down. He's also flailing at pitches. He's not locked in but he wants to swing so bad he can taste it. He did get a base hit today that showed just how strong he is. He was seriously jammed on an inside Fastball. The ball hit BELOW the label and he still got it over the Shortstop's head. I saw the 3B and SS just shake their head as the throw came in from LF. Actually you can add me to that list too.
Abad... I really like him. (I like him because of his story) His swing looks pretty goofy. He's surrounding the ball quite a bit. Sr. thinks he's too far from the plate. I agree. They threw him almost all FB's away and popped two in the air to RF, one to short and grounded weakly to 2B. He's an established AAA hitter so it will not be long before he gets settled.
Buchanan played today. The .500 avergae swing was still in bed this morning. He pulled two balls hard but they were pretty routine. He popped out pretty weak to 2B and whiffed mightily on a curve. Some credit needs to be given to Taubenheim as well. He was cruising along the first 4-5 innings of the game. Buchanan will come around. He's pretty awkward in the field. He makes the play but you wonder how sometimes.
Terrence Long is still Terrence Long. SUPER long swing. Bat speed like Pete Rose Jr. How he has a job and Jacob Cruz doesn't is mystifying.
Matt Kata looked bad at the dish too. Sounds like I'm harping on these guys but hey they were out their playing. He did look good in the field. More range than I expected. He's got some decent wheels too.
Earl Snyder had a good day 2-4. He's pretty much the only guy who hit Taubenheim. Not a bad 3B either.
Ryan Wagner was as bad as I have ever seen him. He came in to start the 7th in a 0-0 game. He just came apart right away. Fastball was 92-95 but none for strikes. He gave up a single to Chad Mottola, yep that Chad Mottola, to lead off the 7th. Then came the slider, WHOOPS to the backstop... he got his sinker over to John Hattig who got Mottola to 3B. Facing Rob Crosby he throws a Fastball in that got CRUSHED to LF. 2-0 Syracuse. Figueroa hit a hard shot to 1B but Gutierrez bailed him out with a good play. Mahoney singled and the next hitter Lydon whacked another one to Gutierrez. Wagner owes him big time.
Next inning Wagner got two quick outs and then he gave up a double. You could see the pouting start. Next pitch was over the catcher's head. Then came another wild slider to score the run. He'd have been better off giving up a HR. Sweet saw enough and came to get him. Brutal.
I saw Sabo after the game. We chatted for a few mins. He is like Dick Clark. He never ages. Always good to see Spuds.
Tim Naehring was in town with Mack Jenkins.