Thursday, June 20 - Augusta 5, Kannapolis 1
The second half began with the most efficient home game of the season for Augusta thanks to seven impressive innings from starter Kendry Flores.
Flores worked with a solid curveball and good command to post seven innings of one-run ball on three hits, not walking any and striking out a career-high 10. The right-hander has struck out six or more in six of his past seven outings, and he went above and beyond to record the most of his pro career against a Kannapolis lineup that was hacking all night.
Flores worked down in the zone with a curveball that showed good, late bite. He attacked the zone with the fastball, which he must do to succeed and has done very well so far this season. He even threw in a few good changeups for good measure.
He faced a Kannapolis lineup that improved but also got very raw with the addition of 2013 first-rounder Tim Anderson and 2012 first-rounder Keon Barnum.
Anderson showed the part of a toolsy shortstop with tons of projection, striking out twice on curveballs, nearly booting two balls at short and showing off a solid arm. As reports indicated, he failed to pick up spin, whiffing twice on it, but he also failed to get his hands around on inside stuff. That's not to say he doesn't have bat speed; he has good wrists and should produce a good hit tool. Things just seemed to be going too fast for him in his first game at the plate.
In the field, Anderson's range wasn't tested much. He got to one ball arm side and backhanded it well for a force out at second base. He backhanded one in the first inning that popped off his palm, but he recovered and gunned it to first for the out, showing an impressive arm and quick release.
Barnum didn't show much either way, picking up a single but also striking out once. The miss and loft in his swing are evident, but I'll need more looks.
The GreenJackets got some much-needed production from Joey Rapp, who went 3 for 3 with a home run. The long ball was a blast to right-center, an impressive feat for a minor leaguer in this park. Rapp has raw power, especially to the opposite field, but it's a matter of tapping into it more often in games. Coming back from a broken finger makes that more difficult.
Shortstop Matt Duffy returned to the lineup for the first time since going on the disabled list with a twisted ankle, going 0 for 3 with a walk and stolen base. Duffy stole second and reached third on a throwing error by the catcher, and it was the second time he attempted the steal after a foul ball. The ankle seemed to hold up well during the running, but Friday will tell whether there's soreness.
Alberto Robles was placed on the disabled list with a hand injury, possibly involving the hamate bone, clearing a space for Duffy on the roster.
Notable Augusta lines:
Kendry Flores: 7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 10 K
Joey Rapp: 3-3, HR
Jesus Galindo: 2-4, 2 RBI
Trevor Brown: 2-5, 2B, RBI
Eric Sim: 1-3, RBI
Notable Kannapolis lines:
Euclides Leyer: 6 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
Micah Johnson: 1-4, HR
Jason Coats: 1-4, 2B
Tim Anderson: 0-4
Keon Barnum: 1-3
GreenJackets manager Mike Goff on Flores:
"I thought Flores was another typical Flores. He goes out there and gives us six or seven innings every time out, gives us a chance to win the ballgame. He attacked the strike zone. I thought he used the breaking ball very well. Batters were chasing the breaking ball all day, and he kept going to it. They never made the adjustment, and I thought he used it very well."
Goff on Rapp:
"Rapp’s got a lot of power. It’s just a matter of staying in the strike zone. When he gets into one there’s not a ballpark that will hold him. That’s his strength. Right-center field is where he makes a living. When he’s going that way he’s at his best. He hit that ball pretty well. To hit it out of this ballpark in right-center as a right-handed hitter, he hit it hard. It’s good to see him get going."
Goff on hitting the fastball better, staying on top of outside fastballs:
"Our whole emphasis in the second half is doing a better job hitting the fastball. We were not very good in the first half attacking the fastball. I thought we came out tonight doing a better job. I was very pleased with our approach to the fastball."
Flores on his outing (through interpreter):
"I attacked the zone pretty good with the fastball. I painted the corners, too. I used the curveball as a weapon. I feel good, feel healthy."
Anderson on his first pro game:
"I was a little nervous tonight, but I’ll get back at it tomorrow. It’s my first day. I haven’t seen a lot of pitching lately. I’m getting back into it. Get the nervous bugs out."