Greeneville Wins Again! I had other duties tonight so I couldn't keep my detailed book but I do want to share a few observations.
Big Game Brian
Brian Blasik is quickly becoming on of my favorite G-Stros this year. He makes the plays in the field he is supposed to make. He makes some he is not supposed to make. He hits the ball hard and is agressive at the plate. Does all this project to the majors? I don't know. I am just a fan not a scout. But I love watching him play.
After the Astros were in a two run hole in the first, hit a line drive that cleared the fence in left field. It just seemed to keep carrying. That HR tied the game.
In the fifth, the P-Rays had pulled with in one run at 4-3. The Astros had greeted a new pitcher with two singles. Blasik ropes a double to left and plates his third RBI of the night. He later scores in the inning.
In the top of the 8th, with the tying run at third, Blasik makes a great layout dive to his left to stop, what appeared of the bat, a sure hit that would have tied the game. He gets up from his belly and makes the throw for the third out of the inning. He had a total of five assist tonight.
In the eighth, he hits a hard ground ball that was through the first baseman's legs before he could react. He moved a runner to third but couldn't push across another run.
Blasik now has a .464 average and has five doubles and a homer. He has multi hit games in five of his first six starts. He has 11 RBI which is tied for the league lead. He is yet to strike out after 28 at bats (he hasn't walked either) . And he always seems to be coming through at the right time. From now on, until he gives us cause to do otherwise, he will be known as Big Game Brian!
The Astros added three more doubles to their total tonight. That gives them 20 in the first eight games. That average of 2 1/2 doubles per game would be 170 over the season. That would break the Appy League mark of 167 set by Johnson City last year. Blasik and Ariel Ovando are tied for the league lead with five each and Terrell Joyce is tied for second with four.
D'Andre Toney get's the boo boo award tonight. His first at bat ended after just one pitch which hit him on the foot. His last at bat in the eighth ended with him getting plunked in what appeared to be the upper arm/back area. Toney reached base in four of his five plate appearances. He singled, walked and had two hit by pitches.
The Astros are getting on base at a good clip. As a team they have a .303 batting average and a.377 on base percentage. But staying on base is becoming a problem. They are 10 for 16 in stolen bases. And that doesn't include pick offs. The good news is they are willing to try to take the extra base. Hopefully we will see the successful steals increase as the great teacher experience does its work with the players.
Seven Pitchers & No 1,2,3 Innings
None of the pitchers escaped an inning unscathed. Each allowed a base runner in every inning. Francis Ramirez looked better from the wind up than from the stretch. He spent a great deal of time in the stretch since the first two batters of each of his innings reached. The lead off pair of walks in the first scored but the single and walk that lead off the second were stranded.
Christian Garcia pitched better than his line indicates. He only gave up one hard hit ball; a double that tailed away from Toney as he tracked it down in center. Garcia did get the first three batters out in an inning but only after the third batter had reached on a swinging bunt The runner left before the left hander had made his move home and they were able to get a picked off /stolen base to end the inning.
Jordan Jankowski's curve ball was moving well tonight. He fanned five in two innings and gave up one hard luck run on a ball that was slow bouncer that hit off the first baseman's glove. It was probably the second baseman's ball and Batista should have been at the bag. However, it was an effort mistake and also if Batista would have caught it, Jankowski was late on getting to the bag. The double Jankowski gave up was just about six inches from being caught by Ovando in right field.
Zach Dando had a short night of work. He walked a batter and gave up a single and his night was done. In came Scott Zuloaga who allowed one of the inherited runners to score limited the damage nicely. Michael Dimock came in in the eighth and struggled. Blasik's diving stop with a runner moving from second on the play limited the damage to just two runs scored. Michael Hauschild came on to pitch the ninth. Like his predecessors, he didn't have a clean inning but it was effective.
Princeton's Two Out RBI
Princeton scored six of their seven runs with two outs. The fact that there were two runs allowed the base runners to be off with the crack of the bat, thus allowing several runners to score from second easily on singles. It is a good thing they were just five for 18 with runners in scoring position for the night.
I will say what I said yesterday, I am excited about this team. However, this isn't the best start in the history of the G-Stros. The 2010 version got off to a 7-2 start and then lost their next seven games to fall out of contention. There are other teams to contend with that we won't see for a few weeks. Greeneville has a solid +23 run differential, however Elizabethon has an amazing +48 run differential.
There appears to be a very positive vibe about this team and I hope that they keep going about their business and we get to watch some winning baseball. I also hope that when Elizabethon comes to town on July 11th for three games, the games will have a playoff style atmosphere.