Even though the Threshers played a double header against the Brevard County Manatees, the big story was the return of Kelly Dugan. He played right field in the first game and was the DH in the night cap. He went a combined 2-7 with a BB, K, and his first HR of the season. He hit the ball hard most at bats. The original plan was for Dugan to play the outfield Friday and Saturday, DH on Sunday, then take stock. Friday’s rain derailed that plan. I expect that he’ll play the outfield Sunday. He could return to Reading not long after that. He looks ready.
The Threshers lost the opener.
Victor Arano threw 76 pitches in 4.0 innings. He allowed 4 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K. He pitched well until he got a runner on base. Then he went to pieces. Maybe he has trouble pitching out of the stretch. After a 1-2-3 first inning and after retiring the leadoff batter in the second, Arano gave up a double into the RCF gap. He hit the next batter and gave up a line dirve single to right to load the bases. All of these occured with two strikes on the batter. He hit the next batter on a 75 mph curve to force in the first run. The next batter grounded softly (with 2 strikes) behind the mound and Emmanuel Marrero couldn’t pick the ball up cleanly to let another run score on his fielding error. A fielder’s choice that couldn’t be turned into a double play became another run, also on 2 strikes. Fortunately, Chace Numata picked the runner off first on the second strike to the next batter to end the inning. Looks like he doesn’t have a put-away pitch from the stretch.
The Threshers countered with two-out solo home runs by Mitchell Walding, his second, and Dugan’s first HR of the season, a blast off the brick wall behind the berm.
Arano got the Manatees 1-2-3 in the third inning, even got a strike out. He gave up another run in the fourth before recording an out.
The Threshers countered again with 2 outs. Numata and Walding reached on singles and scored on an RBI single by Marrero and an RBI double by Drew Stankiewicz.
Cody Forsythe was brought in to face the Manatees 100% right-handed line up. (In fact, they don’t even have a switch hitter on their roster). However, since Forsythe has much better splits against RHH than LHH, things looked good. He pitched a 1-2-3 fifth and had an out in the sixth when the batter lined a ball to short that went into Marrero’s glove, he dropped it and couldn’t recover in time to record an out. I don’t know how this was scored a hit and not an error.) The next batter homered, down two.
Chace Numata hit his first HR of the season in the bottom of the inning for the final score. .
The Threshers hit 3 HRs in the game (all solo). They had hit 17 in their previous 60 games.
Arano was mostly 90-92, but he did go higher on 8 pitches, touching 95 once on our “hot” gun.
They won the night cap.
David Whitehead battled for 5.0 innings with less than his normally good control. He threw 86 pitches, but his strike/ball ratio was 47/39. He allowed 2 runs on 4 hits, but walked 4 batters and hit 2 others. He finished with two strong innings after the offense had given him a 6-2 lead. Ulises Joaquin, who was added to the FSL North All Star roster Saturday, finished with 2 strong innings to preserve the win.
The Threshers put together a 6-run third inning on 7 hits that included 5 consecutive hits after a hard line drive out by Stankiewicz. Pullin and Dugan had singled and Cozens lined a drive down the right field line. Pullin scored and Dugan was held at third. This looked to be a cautionary move by Coach Legg. Dugan looked intent on scoring on the play. Andrew Knapp followed with a two-run single. Aaron Brown doubled him in and after a line drive out to the warning track by Astudillo, Walding singled him home. He took second on the throw and scored on Stankiewicz single. All but one of these balls was hard hit.
They tacked on two runs in the sixth. Angelo Mora and Stankiewicz singled and moved into scoring position when the left fielder bobbled the ball. Andrew Pullin stroked a 2-run single to complete the scoring.
Whitehead’s FB were 89-93, and he touched 94 four times on the Bright House gun. Joaquin was 93-95, but he got a lot of weak contact on his 84-85 change.
This game included another iffy scoring decision when, after Whitehead walked a batter in the second, the next batter lined a one-hopper right at the shortstop. The fielder got leather on the ball as he moved AWAY from the ball (ole!), and instead of a double play Whitehead faced first and second with nobody out. Hit no error. Fortunately, he escaped the inning without giving up a run, but it cost him 11 more pitches.
The box score and recap for the games are here.