Threshers Lose Close One, 2-1; May 5, 2015

Colin Kleven battled for five innings.  His 28-pitch first inning set the tone for his night.  He only threw 14 strikes in the inning, walked an uncharacteristic 2 batters, and reached a 3-ball count on another batter.  Although the Manatees loaded the bases, Kleven was able to keep them off the board.

Kleven started the second with 2 quick outs on 4 pitches, and had a 2-strike count on the 9-hole hitter.  But he ended a 7-pitch at bat by hitting the batter.  Two stolen bases later, he ended the inning with a strike out.

He started even quicker in the third with a 2-pitch pop up and a first pitch roller to first base.  However, the ball glanced off the bag before Zach Green could get his glove on it, and the Manatees had another base runner.  Twelve pitches and 3 batters later, Kleven escaped the inning, but his three inning pitch total was now 59.

In the fourth inning, the bottom of the Manatees order finally broke through and put a couple runs on the board.  A single by a .115 batter and a ground rule double by another sub-.200 hitter put runners on second and third.  A ground out to the right side by that 9-hole hitter and a double from the leadoff batter plated 2 runs.

There seemed to be some confusion over who was going to pitch the fifth inning.  The Threshers had action in the bullpen and Kleven had thrown 80 pitches through four innings.  After some delay, Kleven came out of the dugout and threw a 10-pitch, 1-2-3 inning.

Kleven throws 5 pitches – 4-seam, 2-seam, cutter, change, and a slurve.  The majority of his pitches were in the 89-94 mph range.  He touched 95 twice and 96 once, those three were all thrown in the first inning on three consecutive pitches.  He threw 90 pitches, 57 strikes.  I’ve seen him have better command and control last season, and would expect him to be better than the adequate line he posted – 5.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HBP.

Reinier Roibal came on to throw 3 shutout innings, although not without some excitement.  In the sixth, a leadoff single was erased by catcher Willians Astudillo on a steal attempt.  A two-out single put yet another runner on base.  The next batter dribbled a hit-and-run grounder up the middle.  Angelo Mora dove and prevented the ball from going through to the outfield.  He had no play at first, but the base runner rounded second too far and was caught in a rundown between second and third.

A one-out hit batter in the seventh inning became the Manatees 13th and last baserunner of the game.  Roibal’s 1-2-3 eighth inning was the Threshers’ second of the night.

Harold Guerrero followed with a 1-2-3 ninth.

Meanwhile, the Threshers’ bats started to show some life after being set down in order in the first two innings.  Zach Green became their first base runner with a leadoff single in the third.  They couldn’t advance him.  Andrew Knapp and Astudillo singled and doubled in the fourth, but they were sandwiched among 3 Ks.  They finally broke through in the sixth inning.  Drew Stankiewicz opened with a walk.  Andrew Pullin followed with a double.  Knapp’s ground out to short drove in Stankiewicz.  Dylan Cozens followed with a single to right, but Coach Legg correctly held Pullin up at third.  The right fielder launched a throw to the plate that was a little offline and well over the cutoff man’s head.  Cozens alertly never broke stride and ended up on second.  Astudillo faced a new pitcher and lifted the 9th pitch of the at bat (yeah, that’s right, ninth pitch, maybe the tenth) to right field.  The right fielder threw a strike to the plate that easily beat Pullin.  It looked like the Willie Mays Hayes play from Major League without the slide.

Mora led off the seventh with a single and Stankiewicz led off the eighth with a walk, but the Threshers never really threatened after the sixth.

The  box score for this game is here.

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