Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Steve Jackson made his first start for AAA Scranton and was impressive throughout the game. While he tired in his 5th inning of work, giving up back to back home runs, prior to that he was winning me over. Similar to Ohlendorf, Jackson doesn’t seem to have amazing movement on his sinker, but is able to get ground balls by pounding the bottom half of the zone. The difference between his start today and Ohlendorf’s last time around was that when Jackson went to his breaking stuff it had more movement than Ohlie’s and he was able to get swings and misses or weak contact. Unfortunately, in the 5th inning it seemed that he got a bit tired as both home run pitches were just a bit higher than they should have been and dealt with accordingly.
Eric Duncan had a very poor offensive game. In his first at bat he worked a full count before popping up on a pitch in on his hands. His second AB was a giveaway as he quickly struck out on a fastball up and away. His third AB provided a bit of excitement as he got hold of a pitch and drilled it deep and gone, but foul. He would then strike out on another up and away fastball. Fourth time up, Duncan popped up on a pitch down and away to the CF and then in his final AB he had his most frustrating appearance. Bottom of the 9th and his team down a run, Duncan came up with a runner on. He worked the count to 2-0 and things were looking good, but then it all went bad. Duncan would then proceed to pull off on next 3 pitches, which looked to be change-ups, as he was no doubt looking to connect on a game winner, but instead just whiffed.
Alberto Gonzalez was 1 for 4 with a solid line drive single, one of the best hit balls I’ve seen from him thus far, and a walk and a strikeout. He also was finally show off his much talked about defensive tools. On a low line drive grounder to his right during the 9th Gonzalez ranged right, backhanded the ball from a crouching position, and just let loose from the same position to throw the runner out. No jump throw, no leveraging, just a very nice play.
The Riverdogs took their first loss of the season as their hitters were simply over matched by Josh Sullivan of the Asheville Tourists. On the defensive/pitching end, Tim Norton also ran into a bit of bad luck. While none of the 3 hits or foul balls that he gave up in his 4.1 innings was particularly hard hit, Norton struggled just enough with his control, 3 walks, that the opposition was able to push runs across. At the least, Norton was as advertised, stuff-wise. The vast majority of his pitches were fastballs, on this night he was 90-96, and he seemed a bit reluctant to go to his secondary stuff. The opposition could not handle his fastball in the early going, but after a while they learned to deal with it and the secondary arsenal was on and off.
Offensively, no one had a good game. Even Mitch Hilligoss’ 2 hit night was of the “it will look like a line drive in tomorrow’s paper” variety. Austin Jackson knocked the crap out of the ball a couple times, but got nothing to show for it as he still seems to just give ABs away every now and then. Wilmer Pino also drew another walk, no clue what’s going on there. Unfortunately, after he got on base he had the less than terrific idea to try and steal home. While he was caught doing so, it was kind of cool that he made the play close; he’s got some good speed.
Around The Minors:
Trenton lost in extra innings as nothing too exciting happened for their prospects. Brett Gardner was 0 for 3 with 2 walks and 1 strikeout, Ramiro Pena struck out twice but also collected a single in 6 ABs, and Cody Ehlers was 0 for 5 with a walk and the game winning RBI. On the mound, Kevin Whelan pitched 2 innings, gave up 1 hit, and struck out 2.
Tampa was rained out and will play a doubleheader today.
Scranton is the place to be as Tyler Clippard gets his 2nd AAA start and Eric Duncan looks to snap out of his funk.
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