Miguel Nunez Faced the Brevard County Manatees Sunday afternoon and pitched one heck of a game. He threw a season high 8 innings, and 67% strikes before leaving with a 2-1 lead. The bullpen failed to hold on and a ninth inning rally fell short as the Threshers dropped a heart breaker 5-4.
Nunez got offensive support on solo home runs by J.P. Crawford and Art Charles. Crawford came through again in the ninth but it wasn’t enough.
Nunez throws a variety of pitches – a fastball, slider, change, and curve. His fastball was 91-92 mph. He had a mid-70s curve. His slider was 86-88, and his change was low 80s. After retiring the first two batters on 7 consecutive strikes, he lost the zone for a few batters. Nunez ended up throwing 24 pitches in the inning, but was more effective over the next 7 innings. His pitch count by inning was 24, 12, 10, 14, 5, 7, 7, 10. His final line and pitching numbers were –
- 8.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 5 K
- 28 batters faced, 17 first pitch strikes
- 89 pitches, 60 strikes
- of the 60 strikes – 9 swinging, 10 called, 20 fouls, 21 balls in play
- of the 21 in play – 7 ground ball outs, 6 fly ball outs, 4 infield pop ups, 4 base hits
- the 4 hits were – an infield that Jesmuel Valentin cut off behind second base and almoest got the batter at first, a soft line drive on a jammed swing that barely cleared the infield, a line drive single to left, and a triple that barely stayed in the park when it bounced off the fence that is above the wall in right
- After the lead off triple and with the infield in Nunez induced back-to-back ground balls. The first was right at Harold Martinez. The second was to Valentin’s left. He had to dive to make the stop and made the correct play to first since the runner broke on contact.
- of the 5 strike outs, 4 were swing-and-miss, 1 called strike three
- Nunez issued a walk on a 7-pitch at bat in the first inning, and hit a batter in the second on a 1-0 pitch. He had 3 three-ball counts in the first inning and only one the rest of the game.
Nunez was really in control until the triple, and almost got out of that unscathed. It’s a shame the bullpen couldn’t save the victory.
Lee Ridenhour came in to lock up the save. He started by walking the leadoff hitter in the ninth inning. The Manatees had their three hole hitter and number one prospect, Tyrone Taylor, move the runner to second with a sacrifice. That was the only out Ridenhour recorded. After a trip to the mound by Bob Milacki to discuss strategy with Michael Reed and Victor Roache coming to bat, Ridenhour surrendered the lead on his next pitch, a double into the right field corner. A single, stolen base, walk, and a single ended Ridenhour’s contribution.
Ethan Stewart entered and induced a soft chop to Crawford, but the ball wasn’t hit hard enough to turn the double play and one of two inherited runners scored. A strike out ended the inning.
Up to this point, the Threshers offense had consisted of Crawford’s 7th home run as a Thresher (10th overall) in the first inning, and Charles’ 19th of the season in the bottom of the eighth inning. It was his first home run off a left-handed pitcher this year and made Nunez the pitcher of record going into the ninth inning.
Valentin worked his second walk of the day and Crawford followed with another blast to right, his 8th (11th overall). After Brandon Short grounded out weakly to third, Brian Pointer worked his second walk of the game. Martinez struck out, but Charles lined a single to right and Pointer raced to third. The rally fell short when Corey Bass’ chopper behind the mound was fielded and he was out on a close play at first.
Brandon Short stole a base, and Valentin was caught stealing. Valentin looks like he has Crawford-like speed.
The Threshers set a new single-season attendance record when they surpassed 2012’s mark of 177, 297 after 65 home dates. With one game game left, they have drawn 192, 186. Imagine what they might have drawn if they were better than 45-87 or even just better than 20-50 at home.
For the 11th year in a row, the Clearwater Threshers won the Florida State League’s Best Overall Sports Turf Award.
Sports Turf Manager, Opie Cheek was named the Florida State League Sports Turf Manager of the Year for the 11th consecutive year.
And the Threshers’ mascot, Phinley, was voted the best mascot in ALL of minor league baseball, officially the 2014 Minor League Baseball Mascot Mania Champion.
Last home game is on Thursday. Ladies night AND Thirsty Thursday, 2 for 1 drinks.
So we got all that going for us.