Ricardo Pinto won his first Advanced A last night against the division leading Daytona Tortugas. The 21-year old began his stint with Clearwater in a high-leverage game. The Threshers can win the division if they sweep Daytona. Pinto was masterful through his first five innings. He allowed a two-out, first inning single then retired 10 Tortugas in a row until a leadoff home run in the fifth. He responded by striking out the side.
There was a 20-minute delay in the bottom half of the fifth inning when the right field lights went out. No doubt some dastardly plot by Daytona to break Pinto’s momentum. After the lights came back on, Pinto struck out the first batter he faced, making four consecutive Ks. Then he gave up two singles to end the inning. Wait! What! Oh, the first single bounced high off the left field wall and Andrew Pullin played the bounce perfectly and threw out the runner at second for his 6th outfield assist of the season. (The batter must have been admiring the high, arching shot to left. It should have been an easy double.) The next batter reached on a single but two pitches into the next batter Chace Numata threw him out trying to steal second. Pinto came out to pitch the seventh inning but was pulled after 2 hard doubles, one down each foul line sandwiched around a ground out to second.
Pinto’s final line was – 6.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 7 K. He threw 81 pitches, 57 strikes. Pinto has a fastball, change up, and a slider that is a work in progress. His FB were mostly 91-94, but he dipped down to 90 three times and hit 95 four times and 96 six times. HIs change was mostly in the 82-84 range.
Edubray Ramos came out firing to strand the 2 inherited runners with 2 Ks book-ending a walk. He gave up a single to start the eighth. Carlos Tocci made a diving catch on a line drive as he charged to his right to record the first out. (Great catch!) Ramos got a double play ground ball on the next pitch. Ramos was 94-97 with his FB.
Ulises Joaquin gave up a solo home run while recording his 6th save. He got 2 Ks on what looked like nasty change-ups. I didn’t notice his velo. I had something else on my mind (see below).
The Threshers pounded out 11 hits and 4 runs in the first five innings. They even had four XBH. They had runners on first and third with one out in the bottom of the fifth when the lights went out. The Tortugas pitcher came back refreshed and the Threshers couldn’t score. In fact they didn’t get another hit the rest of the game, although they did work 4 walks.
Carlos Tocci went 3-4 with a double, a walk, and an RBI. He stroked his hits one to each field. Andrew Pullin went 1-5 with an RBI. Andrew Knapp went 2-2 with 2 doubles and 2 walks. Willians Astudillo went 3-4. His bunt single accounted for the first run when the third baseman threw the ball away allowing Knapp to score from second on the play. Chace Numata went 1-3 with a walk. Angelo Mora went 1-4 with a line drive, RBI triple to the RCF wall.
Andrew Pullin was thrown out when he was sent home from second on an Astudillo single to left. It was the left fielder’s 8th OF assist. Pullin returned the favor when he threw out the left fielder for his 6th OF assist.
I watched the final three outs from the concourse behind home plate. I noticed Dylan Cozens sitting with the pitchers charting Joaquin. After the final out, he stood up and picked up a pair of crutches. I had received a message earlier that Cozens was on crutches but couldn’t get confirmation up on the press level. I asked him what happened. He told me he tweaked it during the game Thursday. Even though he was able to finish the game, it stiffened up during the break. He has a slight strain and may be out a week. He’s still on the active list, so any movement with the roster will likely tell us how severe this is.
The box score and recap for the games are here.