How's this for a sequence? 99, 101, 100. That was Conner Greene on the stadium gun against Billy Fleming to finish off the 2nd inning last night with a groundout on an 0-2 count. Greene was bringing the heat last night, but he wasn't the only one, with a number of fine outings on both sides of the ball yesterday. All that and some notes from the previous two days below.
Greene's final line was pedestrian, as he was charged with 5 runs (4 earned) on 6 hits over 5+ innings, with 2 walks and two strikeouts. While he was bringing upper 90s heat for most of the evening, touching into the triple digits, he struggled to pound the strike zone especially in the early going. Despite that, he managed contact very well the first two times through the order, other than when Billy McKinney jumped a two out first pitch for a home run. He finished with 63% of the 19 balls in play on the ground. His outing fell apart in the 6th, when he issued a leadoff walk and got two grounders to third, neither of which were turned into outs. Both runners he left on scored as Jose Fernandez got torched, inflating his final line.
Justin Maese also turned in a solid outing yesterday, allowing 3 runs in 6.2 innings on 8 hits and a walk against 5 strikeouts. He came out hot striking out the side in the first inning, and relied heavily on his 91-93 sinker and slider throughout the outing. He struggled up some in the 2nd and 3rd innings, giving up both runs and some hard contact, but exacerbated by a couple ground balls that found holes. As is often the case, Maese then cruised, setting down eight in order until a blooper leading off the 6th, quickly erased on a double play. He almost got through 7, but gave up another blooper on an 0-2 count with two out and walked the next hitter which ran his pitch count up to 98. He piled up 13 swinging strikes and a 59% ground ball rate on 22 balls in play.
Zach Jackson was called on to deal with that situation, and had probably his best outing of the year with 2K over a clean 1.1 innings, as he induced swinging strikes on both his fastball and curveball. Jackson McClelland touched 97, but had trouble throwing strikes and between a walk, an error and two hard balls gave up three runs to blow the save.
T.J. Zeuch pitched 7 innings again, but with a pedestrian line of 4 runs on 11 hits with 2 walks and 6 strikeouts. But there are two relevant caveats: he was facing an all-lefty lineup, so was giving up the platoon advantage the entire night; and there was intermittent rain for most of the night so the circumstances were pretty adverse. Zeuch didn't miss many bats (88% contact) with his fastball 91-94 on the night and heavy use of his curveball, but kept roughly half of his 22 balls in play on the ground. He faltered the third time through, allowing a hard double followed by a home run in the 6th, and then a pair of walks after a hard single in the 7th.
Sean Reid-Foley followed up his best start of the year with a decent start Tuesday, working into the 6th and finishing with a line of 2 runs on 4 hits, 3 walks and 3 strikeouts. Most positively, his premium velocity started showing up, as he was 94-95 on the stadium gun and touched 96. His first time through was very good, a couple hard hit balls but mostly weak and routine contact on the ground. The second time through he got the three strikeouts against the top of the order but also allowed a couple doubles. He faded at the end of the outing, issuing the 3 walks and yielding another double as the lineup turned over, and left with the bases loaded and none out in the 6th.
Jordan Romano had a short 3 inning start, giving up one unearned run on 2 hits (both doubles), with 2 walks against three strikeouts. Despite his fastball working 92-96, he gave up quite a bit of hard contact, luckily some of right at fielders with the baserunners scattered. He came out after 55 pitches, whether that was because of how much he laboured (just 3 of 13 hitters saw less than 4 pitches) or if it was part of managing workload over the season.
Angel Perdomo had trouble finding the strike zone as has too often been the case this year. Nonetheless, he had only allowed one run in his first 4 innings and could have been out of the 5th if he covered first base on a ground ball with two out, but allowed a couple hard hits to plate three runs. HIs final line was 4 runs on 6 hits in 5 innings, 3 walks and 3 strikeouts. Most notable was that his velocity was down, as his fastball was just 89-90 touching 91 on the Dunedin gun.
On the hitting side:
- Anthony Alford had a big night, going 4 of 5 with two hard line drives. Adding a home run Monday, he went 5/12 with 2 walks over the last three days
- Richard Urena was 2 for 5 with his second home run of the year, and with one of the outs a liner smashed right at the second baseman.
- Ryan McBroom joined the party with a 3 for 5 night, with a home run as well though it was a cheapie just over the 309 foot right field wall in Trenton
- Max Pentecost hit is 8th home run Monday, part of a pair of two hit efforts.
- Oh, and Bo Bichette went 4 for 9 with a double and 3 walks (against 2 strikeouts) over the last three days. Ho hum.