After the first inning, Martin Agosta looked dominant against a tough Lexington lineup. He worked both sides with the fastball and slider, looking especially confident with the breaking pitch, causing more than one batter's knees to buckle on late break over the inside corner. The changeup remained fairly hidden for the most part.
One of the biggest keys to Agosta's success was sitting down the top of the Legends order. He struck out Bubba Starling once on high heat, got Adalberto Mondesi swinging on a fastball as the first batter of the game, and struck out Humberto Arteaga once, as well.
After a leadoff single by Mondesi in the third, Agosta was perfect for the final eight batters of his night, striking out six of them. This is an indication of finding the groove he talked about after the game.
Starling, the No. 2 prospect in the Royals system according to Baseball America, had a rough season opener, showing some of the swing and miss reports indicated. One of the strikeouts came on a high fastball, while the other two came on breaking balls low and away, including one in the dirt. His other at-bat, his first in the game, resulted in a seeing-eye single through the hole in left.
Starling also committed a mental error, allowing a grounded single to go under his glove and to the wall in center field. It resulted in a two-base error and eventual run scoring for the GreenJackets.
Mondesi flashed some of the range he's known for at shortstop for Lexington, getting leather on a couple balls that most might not. He also committed an error, however, on an errant throw that tipped off the first baseman's glove on a routine play. The error might have gone either way, but the throw was off, regardless.
Mondesi's counterpart, Augusta shortstop Matt Duffy, made a couple fine plays to his glove side. He also showed a solid arm and quick release on a grounder or two played back in his position.
Lexington starter Bryan Brickhouse didn't receive a line as pretty as Agosta's, but he also flashed some solid stuff. He induced as many swinging strikes as Agosta and ended two strikeouts shy of his counterpart while pitching one fewer inning. Brickhouse has an above average fastball commanded well to both sides, but his breaking stuff was a little inconsistent in hitting its spots.
(AUG) Martin Agosta: 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 9 K (9 swinging strikes, 6 ground balls, 1 line drive)
(LEX) Bryan Brickhouse: 4 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K (9 swinging strikes, 3 ground balls, 1 fly ball, 3 line drives)
(LEX) Bubba Starling: 1-4, 3 K, error
(LEX) Adalberto Mondesi: 1-4, 2 K, error
(LEX) Humberto Arteaga: 1-4, 2 K
(AUG) Joe Rapp: 1-3, 2 RBI
(AUG) Jesus Galindo: 2-4
GreenJackets manager Mike Goff:
"Big double play (in the first), great pick by Rapp at first base. That was the table-setter there. Kept it at zero on the board. Allowed us to come back with a couple big two-out RBIs in the bottom of the first. Our pitching staff took off from there. Agosta, Law, Mizenko, all three were outstanding.
"(Agosta) was sharp. He commanded all of his pitches tonight. I think he was a little nervous there in the first inning, and once he settled down he was pretty much in control of the ballgame for five innings. Very impressed with Law. We tried to give Law an inning or two, but his pitch count was down, so we were able to get three solid innings out of Law and save our bullpen for tomorrow. We knew we had a doubleheader tomorrow. Mizenko came in and closed it out. So we should be in good shape for our bullpen tomorrow and hopefully come out and play well.
"That's what it's all about. Two-out RBIs decide so many ballgames. We had two out, nobody on and needed a baserunner. We got a couple big singles by Rapp and Jones that were huge. Then we just hung around and had good pitching and defense until we had a chance to score again. Good sac fly by Rapp. Galindo turns a single into a triple with the guy in center misplaying the ball. Duffy coming up with a strong single to left. That's what it's about: good pitching, good defense. Pretty pleased with the first ballgame."
GreenJackets starter Martin Agosta:
"That’s how I’ve always been; for whatever reason, I struggle early and have to find a groove. My command was off early, but about the fourth or fifth inning, I got the feel again and hit a groove.
"Slider was off at first. First couple innings it wasn't good; it was sitting up. Towards the fourth and fifth I started to get a feel for it. Like I said, it's the groove. I got away with a few mistakes with the fastball, but it started getting better and worked both sides."