The Blue Claws had an 11 AM game yesterday vs Hickory which I attended and am reporting on.
Seranthony Dominguez started the game (A rain out the previous day caused me to miss Kilome, but anyway…) In the first inning, I though maybe the radar gun wasn’t functioning properly when his pitches that seemed so effortless registered in the mid-to-upper 90’s. After the Hickory pitcher recorded significantly lower speeds, I thought (hoped) the gun was accurate. SD was consistently in the 95-96 range and reached 98 and 97 a few times. On the low end, he was throwing 87-88 (not sure what kind of pitches). Strike one could have been his best friend, but he recorded only 9 first pitch strikes out of 21 batters faced.
Inning 1: After retiring the first two (3-1 groundout and a swinging K), he had a 6 pitch walk, a single, and another 6 pitch walk. He escaped unscathed as a chopper to 3rd base marked the last out.
Inning 2: 2 straight singles were followed by a K in the dirt which allowed the runners to advance. The Hickory manager got ejected for arguing the swing call and would not leave the field for like 10 minutes which couldn’t have helped SD’s rhythm. An RBI groundout on a 2-0 pitch was followed by a hard hit single right on the right field line and a lucky cue shot that Cumana made a great grab on but he couldn’t throw out the runner. The inning ended on a 4-3 routine groundout. ( 2 runs, 4 hits – all singles)
Inning 3: He hit the first batter on a 1-2 count, then retired the next three (Looking K, Deep flyout to right, and Lazy flyout to right)
Inning 4: Lead off HR to right, then got the next 3 out- (Mile high popout to SS), A lineout to right that was pretty deep and a swinging K on a ball in the dirt). (1 run, 1 hit).
At that point, probably due to running such deep counts, he was removed. Zach Morris followed with three solid scoreless innings with 4 hits allowed. Morris was usually around 92, but on one batter when he was ahead 1-2, he dialed a 95 followed by a 94.
Jeff Singer came on to to pitch the 8th and put on a display. He K’d all three batters swinging and every fastball was 96-98 (except one that was 95). His two off-speed pitches were 86. He literally blew them all away.
Ismael Valdez closed it out with a 1-2-3 9th inning including 1 K. His highest velo was 97, with most pitches being 95 and his low was 86-87. (Again, hopefully the gun was accurate).
OFFENSE (sticking to prospects only including fringe ones):
Zack Coppola went 0-3 but did walk twice. He had two groundouts- one where his speed prevented a DP and K’d his last AB looking at a high fastball.
C Randolph went 1-4 with a walk. He continues to work the count with all AB’s being at least 4 pitches and most longer. His one hit was somewhat lucky as he hit a grounder between the 1st and 2nd basemen. The first base man could have played it but peeled off and thought the second baseman would get it. In one AB when he had two strikes, he reached out and slapped a pitch the other way but it grounded right to 3B. His one strikeout came on 3 swings all of which he swung over top of a low fastball (at the knees). I should also mention that all of the Crawdads pitchers were lefty plus one threw sidearm and another 3/4 which made it tough on lefties.
Josh Tobias had a nice game. I was surprised to still see him at Lakewood with the moving up of Kingery, but I hear today he has gotten the call-up. He made some solid plays in the field and went 2-5 at the dish. Both hits were well struck singles (One down the left field line that he foolishly tried to stretch into a double and was out by a mile, and one single right up the middle). He did strikeout swinging once on something off-speed.
Jose Pujols was as advertised. He swung and missed at tons of off-speed pitches, but he got ahold of one pitch and hit it over the RC field fence for HR #19. He is closing in on the Lakewood team record for HR’s. He did K twice of course. He also reached on an error on a routine grounder to short, and then did a nice job breaking up a DP which eventually was instrumental in a big rally. He hit a solid line single to center in his last AB.
Deivi Grullon went 1-4 with a walk and 2 K’s. His hit was a double that one-hopped the wall in right field. Strangely Wilson Garcia (who had doubled before him) stayed by the bag instead of going halfway so he only got to 3rd on the double and was stranded there.
In other news, Grenny Cumana looked very strong at SS.