In a rematch of the 2015 FSL North Division Playoff, the Threshers got a measure of revenge against the team that eliminated them when Tom Eshelman shut down the Daytona Tortugas, 4-1.
Eshelman again went 7.0 innings. This time he allowed a run on back-to-back doubles to start the third inning. But he started the game retiring the first 6 batters, and ended his appearance by retiring 15 Tortugas in a row.
Eshelman threw 95 pitches tonight, 69 for strikes (72.6%). He didn’t walk a batter, but survived 3 three-ball counts, one to the first batter of the game.
Eshelman struck out a career-high 9 batters, 7 of them of the swing-and-miss (S&M) variety. In fact, Eshelman who only induced 5 S&M in his last start, induced 19 against the turtles. His called strikes dropped to 13 (from 19) and his foul balls rose to 23 (from 14). Here’s a representation of his last two games (other = hits and outs, he allowed only 2 hits in each game).
- Pitch 4/19 4/13
- Swing 19, 27.5% 5, 8.9%
- Called 13, 18.8% 19, 33.9%
- Foul 23, 33.3% 14, 25.0%
- Other 14, 20.3% 18, 32.1%
- Strikes 69 56
Eshelman had slightly better velocity tonight. The stadium gun failed to record a speed on 29.5% of the pitches thrown. I had him 89-92, t 93 mph on the 33 pitches at the top of his range. Twenty-three fell 89-90 mph, but he got 6 at 91 mph, and 3 at 92 mph.
Eshelman’s lines for his last two games –
- 4/19 – 7.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, 95 pitches, 69 strikes, 89-92, T93 mph.
- 4/13 – 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 77 pitches, 56 strikes, 89-90, T91 mph.
Jesen Therrien came on to record the 6-out save. The gun totally crapped out while he was on the mound but it looked like his FB was at 94 mph. He got a lot of swinging strikes with his 84 mph change up. Therrien struck out the side swinging in the eighth.
The ninth inning was a real roller coaster. He got the first batter to strike out swinging. The next batter lifted a line drive over Kingery and Green into right for a single. The third batter hit a ball sharply on the ground to Zach Green at first. Green bobbled the hot potato briefly and scooped and fired late to second base., allowing the tying run to come to the plate. (First mental error, I think.) The next batter hit a shot to Walding at third. He raced to the bag for the force out and fired wildly to first. (Second mental error, maybe, and an error. I think the 5-4-3 double play might have been the better option.) So, two out runners at second and third, tying run at the plate in the person of Daytona’s clean-up batter. Therrien retired him on a ground ball to short.
I was impressed by Therrien’s composure during the inning. He got his first save and Eshelman got his much deserved first win.
The defense was solid the rest of the night. Even in the ninth, there were moments. Canelo’s play to end the game was one. Earlier on the line drive single over Kingery and Green, Herlis Rodriguez charged the ball so quickly that had Green been on the bag at first, H-Rod would have had a play. Sandberg went hard into the stands earlier in the game chasing a foul ball.
The Threshers outhit Daytona 10-2 and worked 5 walks. They were unable to get a run for Eshelman until Green drove a ball deep into the Tiki Terrace in left field to tie the game in the fourth. It was his third home run of the season.
Three times in the first five innings, the Threshers got two men on base with none or one out and couldn’t manufacture a run.
In the first, Kingery led off with a single to center and Drew Stankiewicz walked. Tocci popped up to first and Kyle Martin hit into a double play.
In the third, Sandberg reached on a bunt. After an out, Kingery also reached on a bunt. But Stankiewicz and Tocci both flied out. Tocci’s was crushed over the right fielder, but he was able to jump to make the catch to retire the side.
In the fifth, with the score tied, Sandberg line a single to left and Damek Tomscha ground a single back through the middle. A strike out, fly out, and fielder’s choice ended that threat.
The game remained tied until the sixth inning. Green walked with 2 out. Chace Numata worked a full count and, with Green running, rocketed a ball off the right field wall. It was hit so hard that Green only made it to third and Numata had to scramble back into first. Green then scored on a passed ball. It was a close play. It occured right under me. The ball beat Green to the plate. He slid head first and it looked like the pitcher tagged him on the foreman. The umpire ruled that he touched the plate before the tag. Great! That gave Eshelman the lead.
Kingery led off the seventh with a walk. He took second on an errant pickoff throw, the first baseman broke to the plate for an expected bunt while the pitcher threw to the vacated bag. Stankiewicz popped out on a sacrifice attempt and Tocci struck out. Martin picked up the RBI with a soft liner to right.
The Threshers added another run in the eighth when Rodriguez singled home Numata who had doubled.
The box score and recap for the game is here.
Extra Innings –
- Riley Pint in the second inning tonight.