Tuesday, May 28 - Crawdads 7, GreenJackets 4
The GreenJackets went 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position, including five left on base in the first three innings. They loaded the bases twice over that stretch and only had one inning without a baserunner, but they only scored four runs. It was understandably a frustrating night for Augusta.
Manager Mike Goff said some of his hitters are not thriving in run-scoring opportunities, and some are shying away at the plate. It was noticeable early in the game, as some hitters looked timid when a teammate was standing 90 feet away at third base. Some also struggled recognizing pitches with two strikes.
It wasn't all gloom, as the GreenJackets did walk six times. First baseman Joe Rapp is slowly climbing out of his slump, going 3 for 4 with two RBI. It's a nice rebound from a four-strikeout night Monday.
Augusta starter Kendry Flores pitched pretty well, allowing five runs in 6.2 innings. He struck out six while walking two, showing pretty good command and flashing a few solid curveballs. Flores allowed three runs through six innings and held a one-run lead, but as his pitch count reached the 90s, he gave up a walk and eventually a double and single to blow the lead in the seventh.
GreenJackets reliever Stephen Johnson allowed two runs in the eighth on a David Lyon double, but he also struck out three over 1.1 innings. It's a good indication of Johnson's game right now. He has excellent stuff, including getting Lewis Brinson to flinch on three consecutive curveballs for a strikeout. But he also struggles commanding his stuff in the zone, leaving the fastball fat on the plate at times.
GreenJackets shortstop Matt Duffy left in the third inning with a right ankle injury. He jumped back to the second base bag to avoid getting doubled off and twisted it at the bag. Goff said there was swelling, and Duffy was unable to put pressure on it as he left the field. But Goff said Duffy was able to walk on it after leaving, and X-rays will only be precautionary. The next day or two will determine whether Duffy will need extended time to rest the ankle.
Hickory starter Luis Parra struck out seven in four innings, racking up a solid whiff count, but he also walked five and struggled locating. Parra has good cut action on his fastball from the left side, along with a solid curveball and decent changeup. He will have to work on durability and getting deeper into games with his thin frame, but he has at least a pretty good two-pitch mix.
The more impressive Crawdads arm was Jose Leclerc, who showed a very good two-pitch mix with a solid fastball and excellent frisbee slider. When Leclerc snaps a good breaking pitch, it breaks late on right-handed batters. It's a little inconsistent, leading to early break at times, but he got more than a few GreenJackets batters buckling on it.
Notable Augusta lines:
Kendry Flores: 6.2 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 6 K
Joe Rapp: 3-4, 2 RBI
Trevor Brown: 1-4, BB
Stephen Branca: 1-2, BB
Notable Hickory lines:
Luis Parra: 4 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 0 ER, 5 BB, 7 K
Jose Leclerc: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K
Nick Urbanus: 2-5, 2B, 2 RBI
David Lyon: 1-3, 2B, RBI, BB
Nick Vickerson: 1-3, RBI, 2 BB
Luis Marte: 1-3, 2B, RBI, BB