Miguel Gonzalez was activated today and began his Major League Rehab Assignment. He started for the Threshers and was less than impressive. I went down to the bullpen to watch his pre-game warmups. It wasn’t pretty. He was consistently high with most of his pitches. At one point, the pitching coach (Bob Milacki, I think) stopped him to pantomine a delivery and release. A few pitches later, Gonzalez launched a wild pitch that Logan Moore could barely get leather on. The ball rattled around in the walkway and eventually rolled through the open door into left field.
When the game started, Gonzalez’ control problems continued. He struck out the first batter he faced, but fell behind all three 1st inning batters 1-0, in an 11-pitch inning where he threw only 6 strikes.
In the 2nd inning, he continued to deliver pitches that were high out of the strike zone. And he continued to pitch behind in the count to most batters. Gonzalez loaded the bases with nobody out on two singles and a walk. The Hammerheads only managed one run on a sacrifice fly. Gonzalez threw 20 pitches, only 10 were strikes.
Gonzalez’ 3rd inning was a little easier thanks to his defense. With a runner on first and one out, a ball was hit deep into the right-center field gap. Pete Lavin chased down the ball and made a run-saving, running, leaping catch. After crashing off the wall, he threw the ball back into the infield to easily double the runner off first for his 8th outfield assist of the season. This was a 10-pitch inning, 6 strikes. By now the Jupiter squad was hitting him hard.
Gonzalez pitched himself into trouble again in the 4th inning. Two singles and his second walk sandwiched another diving catch by Lavin. He looked like he was going to escape the inning unscathed when a ball was hit sharply to Art Charles at first base. He stabbed at the bag with his foot and threw home to Logan Moore who applied the inning ending tag. The base umpire ruled no force at first. A subsequent single plated 2 runs. Gonzalez threw 20 pitches and 13 strikes.
The Threshers’ rallied to score 3 runs in the bottom of the 4th inning, so Gonzalez took the mound in the 5th in a 3-3 tie. He breezed through it with an 8-pitch, 5 strike inning. His evening was over after that. His line on his 69 pitch, 40 strike night was –
5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 K
Gonzalez did not look sharp tonight. His last outing was against XST batters. Against Advanced A players, he was consistently high with his pitches. He showed a nice off speed pitch that froze a few hitters early in the count, but wasn’t in a position to put a hitter away very often. Frankly, it appeared that they didn’t respect his fast ball. The batters were swinging early and often at his pitches. If it hadn’t been for 2 great catches by Lavin, Gonzalez’ line would have been uglier.
The game ended as so many Threshers’ games have ended this season, with a loss. However, tonight they battled back twice to tie the game and actually taking the lead in the 8th inning. But the bullpen coudn’t preserve the game.
Nick Ferdinand drove in two runs with a single.
Malquin Canelo drove in 1 run with a single but commited a costly error that allowed an unearned run.
Harold Martinez put the Threshers ahead with a 2-run single.
Andrew Knapp lined a single to center in his first at bat, he finished 2-4.
Brian Pointer, Art Charles, Harold Martinez, and Logan Moore also had 2-hit nights.
Threshers are on the road for the next 10 days.