In what could be a potential play off preview, the Pulaski Mariners pulled out two late comebacks to defeat the Greeneville Astros twice Saturday night. The first game was the conclusion of Friday's suspended game. The Mariners scored four runs in the in the seventh to take a 5-4 decision. Then in the seven inning night cap, they got a two run homer in the sixth to secure a 2-1 win. Here is a closer look at what I observed last night.
Game 1 - Pulaski 5, Greeneville 4
The game picked up with Greeneville up 2-1 in the bottom of the 2nd.
On the Mound
Christian Garcia threw three very effective innings. His fast ball sat in the upper 80's but he mixed speeds well and keep batters guessing. He fanned five in the three innings and retired the first 8 batters he faced. He had a walk and a hit batter but no base hits.
Sidewinder Ryan Connolly came in next and was effective in the 6th before the wheels came off in the 7th. He struck out a batter to start the 7th but then a short hop couldn't be handled by Tyler White at third for an E-5. The next three batters followed with a triple, a single and a triple. An inning that started as a 4-1 lead ended with a 5-4 deficit.
Tyler Brunnemann finished off the game. I was pleased to see that some improvement in his mechanics. When I saw him earlier in the year, he would touch the ground with his glove on his follow through. Now he tucks the glove to his chest as he follows through. He is not repeating the tuck perfectly as it was sometimes at his chest and sometimes at his hip but it shows improvement. He only had one strike out but induced three ground balls and two pop outs to short. He gave up one hit, a double.
At the Plate
Brett Phillips started the third off with a hard ground ball inside the bag at third for a double. It is fun to watch him run. He is fast! He also reached on a walk.
Edwin Gomez reached base three times with a walk and two singles. However he was .500 in getting out of base running goofs. In the third, with the bases loaded, Tyler White hit a fly ball to shallow right field. Phillips was tagging on the play but did not try to advance. However, Gomez took off from second and was almost to third when the throw reached the catcher. The catcher threw to second to try to get Gomez coming back to the bag but the ball ended up in center and both Phillips and Gomez scored.
He wasn't as fortunate in the seventh. He scorched a ball that appeared to be leaving the yard but bounced off the top of the fence. He was nabbed at second with a great throw from the left fielder. Some people sitting around me said Gomez had started his home run trot, I don't know if this is accurate because I was trying to follow the trajectory of the ball. If he was, I am sure the coaching staff will let him hear about it. If not, it was a great play by the Mariners.
Those three were the only players with hits for the continuation portion of the game. Ariel Ovando and Darwin Rivera both took walks but no one else reached base.
In The Field
Other than the error by White on a tough play coming in on a short hop, the defense looked pretty good. Darwin Rivera was at 2nd and looked pretty comfortable there. More so than he has looked at third.
Game 2: Pulaski 2 - Greeneville 1:
This game was a seven inning game due to the completion of the suspended game.
On The Mound
Chris Lee was impressive last night. Lee's fastball was sitting in the 93-95 range (thanks to the scout two rows in front for holding his radar gun in a position so I could peek) and his slider was getting a great many swings and misses. His delivery was smooth and effortless. I had him at 78 pitches when he was pulled with one out in the sixth with 53 being for strikes (68%). I also had him with first pitch strikes to 17 of the 24 batters he faced (71%).
He led off the second striking out the Pulaski clean up hitter on three pitches. The final pitch resulted in the Pulaski hitter winding up on the seat of his pants after an unsuccessful attempt to check his swing. He ended up striking out five batters on the night. All of them swinging.
He was helped by the ground rules in the fourth. After striking out the first two batters, the next batter reached on a hit to short stop. Thomas Lindauer made a nice backhanded play on a sharply hit ball but couldn't recover for the throw. The next batter hit a ball into the right field corner that went under the gate for a ground rule double. If not for the gate being there, it would have been an RBI triple - Pulaski's third of the evening.
In the sixth, Lee had a different kind of luck. After hitting the first batter, he induced a ground ball to second. Marc Wik had to come in to field the ball and made a swipe at the runner going by before throwing to first. The umpire ruled Wik didn't tag the runner going to second. Both Wik and Lindauer were adamant the tag had been made. From my angle, it appeared the umpire made the safe sign before Wik even attempted the tag.
Lee had the next batter in a 1-2 count and left a pitch up in the zone that was sent over the left field wall. After giving up a bunt hit to the next batter, his night was done. He deserved a better fate than taking the loss.
Gonzalo Sanudo came into finish off game getting five straight outs. Four of them were air outs and three went to the outfield.
At The Plate
When you get three hits as a team, there is not too much to write about here.
Thomas Lindauer had the big hit of the night, a RBI double to left that scored Wallace Gonzalez from first.
Marc Wik singled in the first after fouling off five pitches. He was in an 0-2 whole and ended up seeing a total of eight pitches that at bat before reaching on a bouncer up the middle. He was robbed of another single by a nice play by the second baseman to lead off the sixth.
Tyler White had a solid single to left to lead off the fourth but was erased on a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
Angel Ibanez hit a ball hard up the middle that the short stop made a nice play on to prevent him from having a hit on the night.
A bit of good news - the Mariners are second in the league in most strike outs by their pitchers. They came into the games just two K's behind the G-Stros pitchers. In the 16 innings played in the series so far, G-Stro batters have just five strike outs. Meanwhile the G-Stro pitchers added 15 to their total.
In The Field
Lindauer also made the play of the game in the field as well. He climbed the ladder and nabbed a line drive to end the fifth inning.
Ibanez made a nice play at third in the sixth. With a runner on third, he fielded a ground ball on a short hop and made a nice throw to catcher Ricky Gingras to get the runner who had been going on contact.
Tyler White made a nice play at first on a hard hit ball in the second inning.
After being 10-1 in one run games, they lost two last night. Just not enough offense to get the job done.