Threshers Win on the Road in Dunedin, 2-0; April 10, 2015

The Threshers rebounded from their season opening home loss against the Dunedin Blue Jays by beating them in their own home opener.  The payback didn’t come easy as the Threshers were no-hit through 5 innings and scored their first run without benefit of a hit.  But fortunaetly they scored enough to reward David Whitehead with a win for the solid effort he produced.  Lee Ridenhour was perfect in a set-up role, and Ulises Joaquin persevered to save the victory.

The game again featured rehabbing major leaguers, Michael Saunders as DH and leadoff hitter for the Blue Jays and RF Domonic Brown batting third and playing 5 innings for the Threshers.  Neither figured in the scoring.

Friday’s line up.

Line Up 4-10-15

David Whitehead pitched a solid 6 innings for the Threshers.  His fastball was 90-93 most of the night.  When he dipped below 90 in the last 2 innings, he was able to reach back and find the extra velocity when he needed it.  He used an effective curve ball to record half of his 8 strikeouts.

Whitehead started out strong.  After a one-out double down the LF line in the first inning, he recorded 2 strike outs, catching both batters looking at called third strikes.

David retired the Jays on 8 pitches in the second inning, the first two by strike out before a ground out to Mitch Walding at third.

In the third inning, Whitehead got two more ground balls to Walding.  Saunders followed with single off Zach Green in the hole between first and second.  A fielder’s choice ended the inning.

The Jays hit a couple of balls hard in the fourth inning – a fly ball to D. Brown on the warning track in RF and a line drive to Drew Stankiewicz at second.  A routine fly ball to right ended the inning.

The fifth inning began with a chopped single over Walding.  An errant pickoff throw allowed the runner to reach third with no outs.  Behind in the count, 2-1, Whitehead bore down and threw a 91 mph fastball and a 75 mph curve ball past the batter for the first out.  He got the next batter swinging at another curve ball.  He ended the threat with a fly out to Aaron Brown in center.

The Jays mounted another rally in the sixth when Saunders doubled into the left field corner.  Whitehead walked the next batter on 5 pitches.  Once again, he bore down and struck out the next two batters on 6 pitches.  He followed that up with a routine ground out to Stankiewicz.

Whitehead left with a 2-0 lead and this line –

  • 6.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 K, 81 pitches, 56/25 strikes to balls

Lee “Rocket Arm” Ridenhour took the mound and dominated for the next 2 innings.  The Rocket retired 6 straight batters in 17 pitches.  He threw fastballs on 14 of those pitches and all were 92-93 mph.  The first slider he threw resulted in a strike out to end the seventh inning.  His third slider had the same result to end the eighth inning.  His line –

  • 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 17 pitches, 13/4 strikes to balls

Ulises Joaquin earned the save but made it interesting.  He allowed a broken bat bleeder up the middle, Lohman had no chance at throwing the runner out.  Joaquin has some nasty movement on his slider.  His first fastball was clocked at 94 mph and resulted in a 6-4-3 double play.  Joaquin threw an array of off-speed pitches and fastballs to the next two batters but conceded a line drive single to left and a ground single to center.  Joaquin quickly got ahead of the next batter and struck him out with a 95 mph fastball.

Joaquin’s fastball runs 93-95, but he is equally confident in his off speed pitch which comes in at 84-85 mph  His line –

  • 1.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 20 pitches, 16/4 strikes to balls

Defensively, the Threshers were flawless behind Whitehead.  The only error was his errant pickoff throw.

On offense, the Threshers were stymied for most of the game.  There only base runner was Andrew Knapp who walked to lead off the second inning.

Mitch Walding gave the Threshers their second base runner when he walked to lead off the sixth inning.  Manager Greg Legg had Devin Lohman sacrifice him over to second base.  With Drew Stankiewicz at the plate, Walding advanced to third on a wild pitch.  Here’s where it gets interesting.

Stankiewicz ripped a hard ground ball up the middle.  The Jays pitcher stuck his glove out and snagged the ball in such a way that his glove was knocked off but the ball was in his bare, ungloved hand.  He tossed it to the catcher and Walding was trapped.  He retreated to third and tried to keep the rundown going until so Stankiewicz could advance.  But the catcher ran him aggressively (and correctly) back toward third.  However, Walding ducked under the tag.  The catcher wheeled to throw home but nobody was there.  The pitcher had gone to retrieve his glove and nobody covered home.  Walding scored and Stankiewicz slid under the tag at second.  At this point, the Threshers’ line for the game was – 1 R, 0 H, 1 E.

The Jays brought in a reliever to replace a starter with a no-hitter.  (The recap on the MiLB site is wrong.  So much for it being more accurate than my box score.)  He was greeted with a double by Andrew Pullin, into the LCF gap.

After Pullin’s double, the Jays bullpen shut down the Threshers again.  They managed 2 more singles and a walk, but 5 batters struck during the Jays 3.2 innings of relief.

The Threshers drew 3 walks tonight.  I don’t recall them getting very many walks last season.

The Threshers’ pitchers struck out 11 Jays and walked only one.

The box score for this game is here.

Brandon Leibrandt starts tomorrow in the third game of the series back in Clearwater.  It is fireworks night, always draws a big crowd.

15 thoughts on “Threshers Win on the Road in Dunedin, 2-0; April 10, 2015

  1. Jim-
    Is Whitehead a prospect? 90-93 isn’t great velocity for a RHP but it isn’t nothing either and while his K numbers last year weren’t great his K/BB ratio was impressive.

    Is he just beating up on younger competition (since he’s already 22) or is he someone we should be paying more attention to?

    1. Probably no better than a middling prospect, but that sure is a good start to his season after skipping a level. Still, he’ll turn 23 in a few weeks and though his BB and K ratios were fantastic last year at short-season Williamsport, he was also pitching against players 3-4 years younger than he.The 8 Ks in 6 innings last night is a good sign though.

      Someone to keep an eye on certainly

      1. I’m probably as big a believer in the importance of velocity as anyone else around here. That said, a really good pitcher who throws 90-93 with multiple pitches and great command, can be good and even dominant. Sometimes guys like this slip through the cracks. Brandon Beachy wasn’t drafted and before he got hurt, I thought he was, perhaps, the best young pitcher in baseball.

        I’m really happy about the low hit totals and the K/BB ratio. It’s a great start, but, with these college pitchers, you really don’t know what you’re getting until they hit Reading. Austin Hyatt and others have dominated in Clearwater and then hit a wall at Reading. Still, this is very encouraging.

    2. BR had the age difference last season at 6/10 of a year older than the mean, and 1/10 older than the mean this year in the FSL. So, he’s pretty much age appropriate. I don’t know if people consider him a prospect, but I like him. He throws a heavy fastball with sink.

  2. Just when you think you have seen everything thee is to see in baseball…the sixth inning happens. What an unusual sequence of events!
    Great description Jim. Stan H. could not have written it any better.
    Baseball is so unique and entertaining in that regard.

  3. re: David Whitehead, is there anywhere an accessible study of recovery from TJ surgery? You’d think that there are so many who have come back to pitch after it, even a number I can recall younger than David (drafted knowing that they would need TJ), that the data would be sufficient for a pretty good one, but I have not seen such.

    1. BP has studies on it in their archive.
      Do know this ….the average shelf life calculated for a pitcher after one TJ surgery…….400 to 600 innings pitched ( most likely starters) or 8 years (most likely relievers)

      1. Thanks. Although only 3 games in, the Clearwater pitching staff have all done very well so far. Hopefulyl keep it rolling and get some run production going.

        1. Lee pitched well in his 2 innings. One of the batters he faced was the MLB rehabbing Michael Saunders. He got him to ground out to second.

          I had Lee at
          92 (ball),
          92 (F9),
          92 (called strike),
          93 (1-3),
          93 (foul),
          93 (foul),
          92 (foul),
          83 (K swinging) in his first inning. And

          92 (F9),
          93 (called strike to Saunders),
          81 (ball),
          92 (ball),
          92 (4-3),
          92 (called strike),
          92 (foul),
          93 (ball),
          81 (K looking) in his second inning.

          I dusted off the Rocket Arm nickname because he was introduced at the season ticket holders party by the radio announcer as Lee Rocket Arm Ridenhour. I spoke to him later he didn’t seem to mind. One of his team mates, Kevin, said Lee loves it as does the team. Supposedly, the name stuck in the club house.

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