When I saw that Jandel Gustave was on the mound tonight, I made sure I could be at Pioneer Park. When I got there I saw the line up had three first time starters included. Brian Holberton and Chase McDonald were making their pro debuts and Brett Phillips was making his Greeneville debut. It was a good night to be at the ballpark. Here are my observations:
On The Mound:
Jandel Gustave got off to a rough start in the first. After a strike out looking, he walked the next two batters, the second coming in a 10 pitch at bat. After a fly out and a single, Gustave got the last out with a swinging strike out. He ended up throwing 31 pitches in the first frame and that limited his night to just four innings. Of those 31 pitches, 18 were for strikes (unofficial numbers from my personal score book). He followed that inning up with innings of 12, 12 and 17 pitches respectively. So he really settled down.
Gustave is a pitcher to be excited about. His delivery is very easy and to be hitting mid to upper 90's out of a 6'2 160 frame is impressive. The two hits that came off of him were hits taken the other way through the SS/3B hole. They were nice pieces of hitting. His fast ball has good zip. There were several late swings and several foul balls that were poked into the seats because batters weren't getting around on him. His slider showed nice movement and there were a couple of sliders that were down right nasty. He ended the night with 72 pitchers - 43 for strikes (60%). He threw first pitch strikes to 11 of the 17 batters he faced - again by my unofficial count.
The high point for me is that we know based on his previous stats, that he has had control issues. For him to walk two in the first inning and regain his composure to only walk one more shows positive development.
Austin Chrismon made his pro debut last night. After nicking the first batter on the sleeve, he then got the next three batters out. One out came on due to him fielding his position well. With a runner at second, he gloved a hot shot back at him. He made the runner at second dive back to the bag, removing any chance of him advancing and then threw out the batter at first.
Christian Garcia came in in the sixth and pitched around an error for an effective inning. In the seventh, he walked two batters with one out and then allowed a single that scored the first runner. That ended his night.
Gerardo Ramirez entered the game with runners on the corners and allowed both runners to score before getting the last out. He gave up a sac fly to the first batter and then surrendered a double to left that plated the final run of the game. He ended up finishing the night on the mound with a total of 2 2/3 innings pitched.
Overall, it was the walks that did the G-Stros pitching in. Three of the four runs allowed reached via base on balls. There is no defense against the walk.
At The Plate:
It was one of those nights where the Astros hit several balls hard, they just hit them right at people. I had atleast four line drives that were either right at fielders or required the fielder to make a nice play.
Brett Phillips is fast. He made two routine grounders close plays with his hustle down the line. His final at bat of the night was a seven pitch walk where he fouled off several close pitches.
David Mayfield (Jack) wasn't lucky last night. His first at bat, he hit a hard bouncer up the middle that the pitcher deflected to the second baseman for a 1-4-3 put out. He then hit a line drive in his fourth at bat that the SS made a nice ranging catch on. He finished the night for 5 but he had better at bats than that indicates.
Bobby Borchering reached base three times in four plate appearances. A single and two walks.
Chase McDonald went 1 for 4 in his pro debut. He got a single in his first at bat and then lined out to left and center respectively in his next two at bats before striking out in his final at bat. He is one big guy. He was wearing number 62 on his uniform and it was appropriate for him to be wearing a linebacker type number. He makes solid contact.
Marc Wik turned a rough night around. After striking out in his first two at bats, he walked in the seventh and lead off the ninth with a single to left.
Overall, Greeneville just couldn't get the big hit. They went 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position. Two of the line drive outs in mentioned earlier were to end an inning with a runner on base.
The pitcher who started for Bristol, Scott Carroll, was on rehab assignment from AAA. He missed all of last season so I assume his is working his way back from a surgery of some kind. The second pitcher was the White Sox second round draft pick this season, Tyler Danish. So they were facing some pretty good pitching but that is most nights in pro baseball.
In The Field
Brian Holberton looked pretty good behind the plate. He got a lot of work blocking balls in the dirt. He did allow one passed ball that was a low pitch that the scorer felt he should have blocked. He was apparently a little amped up for the game. He made several throws down to second during warm ups and one throw during a stolen base attempt that were fielded by the center fielder because they had easily cleared second base. Later in the night, he made a nice throw on a ball in the dirt that made a place closer than I thought it would be.
Jack Mayfield was smooth at shortstop. He had four assist and only one was routine. The rest were with him ranging to either side and making snap throws to first. He made them look easy.
Brett Phillips didn't get much action in center but he showed flashes when he did. He almost made a nice diving catch on a ball he got a good jump on. On the sac fly, he made a strong throw to third from deep in center.
Darwin Rivera made his seventh error of the year at third with a bad throw to first.
This loss ended the G-Stros seven game winning streak. They play Bristol again tonight and then head on the road for seven games in six days.