Game review from Lakewood – 6 July 2011

This was posted in the comments section of yesterday’s box score recap, and I think it definitely merits its own post. Thanks to “nyphilsmaniac” for the first hand account. Check below the fold

It is pretty obvious that the story of the day was Lisalberto Bonilla- I can’t tell you how impressive he was (but I will try). Let’s start with the filler part of our program (the offense)…Hewitt, Mattair and Santana looked awful at the plate. Santana did reach on an error on a hard hit ball to 3B but that was the extent of it. Top hitters on the day were Collier with 2 hits (both off a soft-tossing lefty named Ray that we couldn’t generate much against) and Duran with 2 hits. Bad news is Collier had issues on the bases getting picked off when he left early on a steal against said lefty. Edgar Duran hit the ball hard- he singled in the first. The Hagarstown 3rd baseman dove and got a piece of it but it rolled into LF, Duran tried for 2nd but got gunned out. Edgar ended up being the hero with a hard line single down the LF line after Rupp had opened the 10th with a nice single up the middle (backup catcher Lanning ran for Rupp and scored the winning run). Duran’s winning hit came batting lefty and he went with the pitch nicely. Someone asked about Rupp’s defense. If you haven’t seen him, his body is like a barrel- he has some of the shortest and thickest legs you will see on a ballplayer. Hard to believe as thick as he is that is really 6-1. He did a nice job behind the plate and threw out a runner trying to steal.

Now let’s get to the really good stuff. Bonilla was absolutely amazing. I am not going to pretend to be a pro scout but this kid looked special. In the first inning he struck out the side on 10 pitches (2 swinging, 1 looking). He has a nasty slider that dives down that the Hagarstown guys were swinging over by a wide margin. Then all of the sudden he starts using this change up that had them baffled as well. He had a very large number of swings/misses with both of those off-speed offerings. In inning #2 he did not throw a single ball and got them out 1-2-3. Inning #3 was also 1-2-3 with 2 K’s and a foul popout to the catcher. The first hit was actually a bunt single in the 4th by the leadoff man that was a close play at 1st, but Bonilla cruised through the rest of the inning. In the 5th, he got in trouble with 1st and 3rd but calmly pitched out of it. He continued to dominate all the way through the 8th. I was surprised that Truby sent him out for the 9th (the game was still scoreless) and sure enough after a groundout, the next two batters got on (clean single and then a bunt where Bonilla tried to field and tag the runner but dropped the ball, after picking it up he flipped to first but was too late and Murphy dropped the ball anyway). When Truby came out to the mound, I was sure that would be all for Bonilla. Nope sportsfans, he talked his way into staying out there (assuming he speaks English), and proceeded to induce an inning- ending 6-4-3 DP. Sadly, the Claws did not score in the 9th and get Lisalberto the win he deserved.

Lendy Castillo pitched a nice 10th and then Duran sent the fans home happy with the winning base hit! As far as Bonilla, in the first inning he threw a good amount of fastballs (varied from 88- to an occasional 93) and only used the slider for an out-pitch. As the game wore on, he threw fewer and fewer fastballs and had less velocity on most of them but he had them baffled with the slider and changeup. Suddenly late in the game (it was a very hot afternoon), he reached back and threw 90′s again even matching his high for the day with a 93 mph fastball in the 9th inning. All in all, it was a masterful performance- he had Hagarstown guessing all day long (and usually guessing wrong). His mixing of pitches was great and he seemed to be able to throw any pitch at any time in the count for a strike. Unfortunately, the boxscore doesn’t say how many strikes and pitches he threw but I can assure you it was an impressive ratio.

13 thoughts on “Game review from Lakewood – 6 July 2011

  1. Nice report, Maniac. Love them details. Makes me feel like I’m there.

    Just a thought on watching minor league ball. One year, unless I keel over before my time, I will see all the teams in one season. I just spent a week in Philly and Lehigh Valley with family. On the way home to North Carolina, I was remind about Ripken Park in Aberdeen, Maryland. That’s actually an easier trip than Lehigh Valle–if you live in Philly, it’s about an hour or so away. Aberdeen plays in the NY-Penn League, so you can see the Williamsport guys live when they are there.

    Trip idea: Catch the game in Aberdeen, then off to Baltimore Inner Harbor. We stayed at the Hotel Monaco, which is B&O Railroad HQ restored spectacularly. We got a deal on a fantastic room for $75, probably a $300 room. The lobby is all original marble from the late 1800s, like a palace. Ate in Little Italy, Fels Point, Inner Harbor, etc. all nearby.

    Just an idea.

    1. To make a truly great day—get some tickets for an evening game in Aberdeen but play a round of golf at Bulle Rock just a few minutes away. Spectacular course with a wonderful menu for both lunch and dinner.
      I have done it a couple times–great stadium.

  2. Bonilla threw 10 pitches in the first inning. Getting to see all 6 minor-league teams in one year was always a goal of mine which I finally achieved 4 years ago. Living in the North, I try to see the 4 up here every year which I have accomplished the last couple of years and will do again this summer. It was cool getting to talk to Lidge yesterday too plus Marlon Anderson is the Hagarstown hitting coach so I spoke with him briefly as well. Also got to watch Biddle do his full bullpen from about 5 feet away. Steve Shrenk (Blue Claw’s pitching coach) was right there with him and they were conversing after every pitch. It is truly great to be there in person.

    1. Thanks, but I was just mocking the first guy who asked a question that you clearly stated in your initial post.

  3. Pro scout or not, it’s great to hear a scouting report about Bonilla that matches the numbers he’s putting up. Sounds very promising. Now’s the part where I toot my own horn again and say that he was in the backend of my top 30 last year.

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