Well I gambled. It was the only night of the four game series I could get away to see the Legends in Asheville so Little Appy & I took the ride over the mountains to Asheville. It looked like McCormick Field had a bit of a face lift and I really like the new Tourist logos and colors.
It was the Tourist home opener and they went through the usual pageantry of introduction of players. After the manager, the largest ovation went to Rockies' 1st round pick Kyle Parker who is off to a pretty hot start for Asheville.
The wind was swirling at that start of the game. One minute to was blowing right to left; the next, it was blowing out to dead center. I was expecting to see several balls leave the small park but I only saw one.
Here is my game report:
Top 1 -
DeShields swings at the first pitch and then grounds out on the second one.
Mier takes two balls, swings and misses, looks at strike to before flying out to RF
Wallace watches two strikes go by but manages to stretch the at bat to the 8th pitch - he singled.
Nash was frozen on a breaking ball for a backwards K.
Bottom 2 -
Dydalewicz on the mound. Should have been out of the inning in 11 pitches. But it took 15 - but only 3 were balls.
After retiring the first two batters with a K & fly out, the first error of the game was made. DeShields goes into the hole to snag a rather slow bouncer. It was a pretty good play to get to the ball. He had to throw against his body to try to get the runner. The throw was slightly up the first base line towards home. Nash couldn't hold on to the bag. The official scorer reported an E4 throw. I scored it an E3 for Nash coming off the bag. I would have scored it a hit before giving the E4.
The next batter hit a routine grounder to Mier who booted it to put runners at 1st & 2nd with two outs. Mier handled his next chance so the errors didn't hurt the Legends.
With two outs, Adam Bailey cranked a ball over the edge of the scoreboard in right center. It was a no doubt solo shot to give the Legends a 1-0 lead.
In the bottom half, Dydalewicz had a 13 pitch inning, with only 4 balls. He gave up two hits but a strike em out throw em out double play helped him avoid a run scoring later in the inning. Pena threw out Dickerson by a good two feet. A tourist fan sitting near me turned and said, "Your catcher has a cannon." Pretty accurate assessment. The next batter doubled but was stranded.
It starts to rain during this inning.
After two quick outs, Mier hits a solid line drive that is knocked down by the diving short stop. However, he can't keep it in his glove so Mier reaches on a hit. Wallace again works a deep count after falling in an early hole and is rewarded with a walk. Nash steps in and has his uniform nicked by a pitch. He begrudgingly takes his base to load the bases for Kvansnicka, who grounded to the first baseman to end the threat.
Dydalewicz throws 23 pitches in this inning. There are no called strikes or swing & miss strikes. There are 12 balls, 6 fouls and 5 balls in play.
With one out, another ball is hit in the hole. DeShields again gets to the ball but Nash has to leave the bag to keep the ball under control. Scored a hit this time. Not very different from previous situation. Dydalewicz walked the next batter on four pitches. The next batter hits a bouncer between 3rd and SS. Kvasnicka gets his glove on the ball but not enough to control it. He is given an error and the bases are loaded. The next batter hits a high fly ball for a sac fly. The unearned run ties the game at one.
4th Inning - steady rain falling
After two quick outs, Pena lines one into right center for a single. Lane smashes a ball down the 3rd base line. The Tourist 3rd baseman makes a nifty backhanded stop and throws out Lane to end the inning.
Dydalewicz regained his efficiency in the 4th. He only threw 12 pitches with 8 of them for strikes. It was his only 1,2,3 inning of the night.
5th Inning - steady rain falling - muddy track conditions
DeShields leads off with a single. In what looked like a botched hit and run, Mier swings and misses and DeShields is out on the steal attempt. After Mier strikes out, Wallace sees 6 pitches and takes his 2nd walk of the night. However, Nash is frozen again by a breaking pitch for his second backwards K of the night.
In the bottom of the 5th, the Asheville manager tells the grounds crew there are puddles forming on the field. With one out, the Tourist mount a rally. A double followed by a sharp single puts runners at the corners. During the next at bat, Dydalewicz is having trouble with his footing on the mound. The game is paused and the grounds crew comes out to put down some "diamond dry" on the mound, in the puddles developing in the baselines and around home. It was not very effective. There was still standing water between 2nd & 3rd. After Dydalewicz hit the batter with a full count, Linares made the call to the bull pen.
As Sograd was warming up, Linares had a conversation with the umps about to conditions. He could be seen pointing at the mound and the baselines. Sograd gets the first batter he faced to bounce a ball to 2nd. DeShields had trouble getting it out of his glove. The force was made at 2nd but the relay was not in time to turn the double play. The winning run scored. Sograd got the next out but the damage was done.
As Ashville came out to warm up for the 6th, the umps conferred and made the decision to call for the tarp. Linares was hot! He made several gestures pointing to the area where DeShields had fielded the ball the previous inning. He finished his retort by pointing at the home plate ump and making his final point. As he turned to go to the dug out, the home plate ump ejected Linares.
49 minutes later, as I was driving home, we heard the game had been called. The umps appeared to debate calling the game with runners on the corners and 1 out in the bottom of the 5th. They should have done so. The could have resumed the game under better conditions before they started the game tomorrow. Instead, they plowed ahead and allowed the deteriorating conditions of the mound & the infield to help determine the out come of the game.
DeShields looked fine fielding balls, but he didn't look comfortable with the exchange and his throws.
Dydalewicz was impressive in less than ideal conditions. He didn't deserve the loss. Unofficially, he threw 82 pitches; 52 for strikes (63.4%). Of the 22 batters he faced, he started 14 with first pitch strikes. He averaged 3.7 pitches per batter faced. The radar wasn't working consistently at the park so I wasn't able to gauge his speeds.
Wallace saw 20 pitches in his 3 plate appearances. He saw 20 of the 76 pitches thrown by the starting pitcher! Wow.
Nash had some footwork trouble at first but did okay.
Outfielders handled the wind well.
Sogard was effective in relief. He got the ground ball he needed, the DP just wasn't executed.
4,5,6 hitters were combined 0 for 6.
Nash was the biggest person on the field. Kyle Parker was probably second.