Between the AA and AA levels having their All-Star breaks this week and all affiliated leagues having an off-day Tuesday for the MLB All-Star Game, this week's rundown is a little lighter than usual. Nonetheless, there's plenty of discuss starting with a pretty rare occurrence last night in Peoria where Lansing was visiting.
A rainout Wednesday resulted in a doubleheader of 7 inning games yesterday. Lansing dropped the opener 3-2 after rallying to score two and tie the game with their last hacks in the top of the 7th, before losing in walkoff fashion on a ball thrown away in the bottom of the inning. A tough loss, but that literally wasn't the half of it.
Ontario native Jordan Romano started the second game, and there's more on his outing below, but for the first five innings he not only kept Peoria off the scoreboard, but out of the hit column (and from what I remember, nothing particularly close to a hit either) despite two free passes. Back out for the 6th, he walked the leadoff hitter, appeared uncomfortable, and was removed from the game after throwing one pitch with the trainer out.
Josh DeGraaf came out of the bullpen, and the first batter attempted a sac bunt which DeGraaf couldn't handle, and was ruled an error. A ground ball forceout moved the lead runner to third, and he scored on a sac fly before the next batter ended the inning. The Lugnuts bats couldn't score in the 7th, and they fell 1-0 without allowing a hit. Not only they drop two games by an aggregate 4-2 score, but they lost a rare 6 inning no-hitter.
A couple other notes:
- One of the highlights of the previous rundown was Justin Maese. Shaw TV is broadcasting a handful of Vancouver games this year on local cable, and that was one of them. Happily, they're also posting them to their Youtube channel, so Maese's last outing can be viewed in its entirety. As can their June 25 and July 2 games.
- Franklin Morales had another rehab appearance last night. With his rehab assignment having started June 21, that means it had to end within the next week and the Blue Jays will have to do something with him
- This isn't on the pitching side, but Vlad Jr went 4-5 last night, with a first pitch no doubt home run, a pair of doubles (a hard line drive, and more of a blooper down the line), and a line drive single
- Shane Dawson put together a really solid start through the first two batters of the 5th, before allowing four consecutive hits with two out. His fastball was only registering the mid/high 80s, but his slow (low 70s) curveball was effective though ultimately not missing bats caught up with him
- Taylor Cole had a decent start against Portland (Red Sox), helped by some baserunning blunders. He missed bats, but had trouble finding the zone and ran a ton of counts deep. Fastball 90-92
- Justin Shafer had a fairly typical outing, though really a tale of to outings. Ovr the first part, he was completely in control keeping almost everything on the ground. Then there was a rain delay, and afterwards he wasn't as sharp though did get his two strikeouts. His fastball was 91-93 from beginning to end.
- Chris Rowley had one of his rougher outings, allowing a couple of home runs early that carried out (one was a no doubter, the other less so) and then got nickel and dimed as balls found holes, though only needed 86 pitches for 31 batters. His fastball command wasn't there and in the high 80s he needed it, but his breaking balls were pretty effective
- Reid-Foley had his good velo, working mostly in the 94-96 range and touching 98, but didn't seem to have a go to secondary and ended up struggling. The first time through was actually quite good, and he managed contact well. After that though, things deteriorated and he got gave up quite a bit of good contact.
- Saucedo, like Dawson above, would have had a really nice outing had he avoided a mess started with two out, in his case the first as he all allowed all three runs when four straight reached. Otherwise, he was pretty good, though he did allow 4 doubles. He touched 94 on the stadium gun.
- Jon Harris had another status quo outing: in control, a lot of weak contact, but not missing many bats with solid but underwhelming peripherals. He worked ahead over over his 7 shutout innings, touching 96-97 on the Lansing gun.
- Tom Robson has his most effective outing with Lansing, using what voice of the Lugnuts Jesse Goldberg-Strassler described as "electric fastball command" while also touching 96-97 on the stadium gun.
- Ryan Borucki wasn't as sharp as he has been recently, but still turned in a solid outing and missed a good number of bats. Fastball mostly 90-94, dipping a little later to more like 89-92, with the usual whiffs on his changeup and a good number on his breaking ball in the 76-79 range
- As noted above, Jordan Romano left the game, and we'll have to see what his status is. One thing I noted is that velocity dropped significantly throughout the game: 93-94 early, down to 89-91 in the 3rd, down to 87-88 in the 5th. This is the first time that's happened, but it's pretty drastic in light of the early exit. His slider was effective in generating whiffs, but he struggled to find the zone (only four called strikes of 33 taken)
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- Dalton Rodriguez had a pretty messy outing, though closed well. His fastball sat around 90, but he had success using his secondaries later in the outing, in particular a breaking ball in the 78-81 range.
- Higuera was quite effective the first time through, but allowed five baserunners the second time through. His fastball was 90-92, but he's the odd man out has been demoted to Bluefield.
- Luis Sanchez had a nice outing, but the most noteworthy was the baserunning. The first two batters reached, and each stole a base. A third steal attempt was unsuccessful, but Boise was undeterred. The first two reached in the 2nd inning as well, but each was thrown out trying to steal. That was the last attempted steal, and Sanchez really settled in from the 3rd inning onward.
- The above line for Matt Smoral is across two outings. In the first, he struck out the side in order, though only throwing at 89-90. He struck out the side in the second one two, but it was a four true outcomes outing: strikeouts (3), walks (2), wild pitches (2), hit by pitch (1). Overall, it makes for quite the line. Not a single ball put in play, a comical 27% contact rate yet a poor rate of finding the zone.
- Some velo notes on other relievers: 2016 9th rounder Nick Hartman was 93-95 on the Vancouver gun, Grayson Huffman was mostly 93-94, and Gabe Noyalis was 92-94