Finally made it to Pioneer Park for my first game of the season. What was a pretty good game for six innings dissolved in the seventh into a rout. Here are some of my observations from the game:
On The Mound:
Starter Enderson Franco did not get off to a great start. A four pitch walk to the lead off batter is not the way to start a game. After a stolen base and a ground out, the runner scored on a two out single to give the E-Twins an early lead. Lead off walks will kill you every time.
The second inning was when Franco impressed me the most. After the third baseman booted the first batter's attempt. The next batter hit a tailor made 5-4-3 double play ball that was dropped by the second baseman. So instead of two outs. It was runners at first and second with no outs. Franco induced a 3-1 ground out before walking a batter to load the bases. He then got a pop to third in foul territory and a strike out to avoid any damage. However the side effect of giving a team two extra outs in the inning is Franco threw 18 pitches that inning instead of just seven.
In the third, he only faced three batters but threw 20 pitches. The inning went three pitch strike out looking, eight pitch F8 and nine pitch strike out swinging.
In the fourth, Franco got a lead off strikeout and then allowed three straight singles to the bottom of the line up. He still got out of the inning with just one run scoring. His night was done after four innings. By my count, he threw 71 pitches, with 50 of the going for strikes. He fanned five batters and allowed four hits and two walks.
Franco needs to work on keeping base runners closer. In the first inning both runners who reached stole second and the throw never had a chance. He has a pretty good size leg kick in his stretch and it allows runners to get a good jump on him.
He was relieved by Edison Frias. Frias didn't pitch badly, he just doesn't have an out pitch. He faced five batters who fouled off at least one ball after a two strike count. None of those at bats ended in a strike out. Most of them ended up in base hits. His breaking pitch was in the dirt and the E-Twins were not swinging at it. He needs an out pitch. He threw 74 pitches in 3 2/3 innings with 49 of the pitches for strikes. He struck out two batters and walked one. He allowed nine hits with five going for extra bases.
Ryan Connolly got the last four outs for the G-Stros. He is an extreme side arm pitcher. No balls got out of the infield off him. One was hit well but a nice play by Borchering at first took care of it.
At The Plate:
Tanner Mathis did what you want a lead off to do. He got on base. He went 1-3 but also reached on a walk and a HBP.
Edwin Gomez had the two big hits for the night for Greeneville. A RBI triple in the 4th and a two run homer in the 8th. The home came on the seventh pitch of the at bat with a full count. Both hits were to right center.
Ricky Gingras had two hits, including a double to lead off the fourth.
Juan Santana added two singles.
Ariel Ovando looked very off balance at the plate. He has a big step in the load of his swing and I believe it makes it hard for him to adjust to off speed pitches. He was getting a heavy diet of breaking balls. He struck out swinging twice and hit two grounders to first. The only good contact was on a couple of foul balls.
Bobby Borchering looked out of sorts as well. He had one good hit that was smothered by the E-Twins 6'7" first baseman. But otherwise, it was strikeouts and a pop out to short.
In The Field:
Other than the nice snag by Borchering on a line drive at first, there weren't too many stand out plays. Gingras did a nice job behind the plate keeping the ball in front of him on several balls in dirt from Frias.
For the second straight night defense at third was an issue. Angel Ibanez made two errors at third. One on a well hit but routine grounder that got in on him. The other was a throw on a tough play coming in. The throw sailed on him and ended up in the seats.
The other error came on a missed catch by second baseman Parker Hipp. The throw was low to start the 5-4-3 double play but it appeared to catch him in the palm of the glove and he couldn't squeeze it.
The outfield got lots of practice chasing after balls over their head. Cut off throws were pretty effective and defensive position of cut off men looked sound.
I hope to make it out to another game this week if life doesn't get in the way.