Thursday, August 29 - Augusta 5, Lexington 4
Mitch Delfino's emergence in the second half continued with another big game, going 3 for 4 with a double and RBI in Thursday's win.
Delfino is obviously seeing the ball well right now. His bat speed is solid and the bat is staying in the zone at a good plane. The in-game power seems to be emerging more than any tool I've noticed, as he seems to be hitting the ball with more authority recently when he squares it up.
Delfino is riding a 10-game hitting streak, totaling 17 hits over that span. That includes three home runs and 10 RBI with only two strikeouts. At some point, the lack of walks will have to be addressed - he has just one over the stretch and 34 this season - but he's making solid contact and making it often right now.
Chris Stratton had a pretty good outing, inducing nine swinging strikes over 6.2 innings. He had 12 fly balls to five ground balls, which is much different for him, but he avoided trouble with balls in the air for the most part. The trouble came from four line drives, so Lexington batters were able to smack a few pitches around.
Stratton worked mainly with a low-90s fastball and a slider that was off and on. He spun a few early out of the hand and left it arm-side, but he also snapped a few with solid two-plane break and tight spin. He didn't show much of a changeup in the outing.
Manager Mike Goff harped on the need for Stratton to continue working inside more. Stratton's bread and butter is working away with the fastball/slider combination, but the upper levels won't be as kind to an all-outside approach. He's a smart pitcher who knows what it takes, and that will be on his side when he has to make adjustments in the higher levels. But I do think adjustments will have to be made in this regard.
The GreenJackets have won eight in a row after the three-game sweep of the Legends.
Lexington's Hunter Dozier picked up three hits, including a double. The third baseman shows pretty good bat speed and the ability to recognize pitches and make adjustments at load. The hands are a touch behind the body when coming out of load, and that results in some pop outs or grounders turned over to third base. Perhaps lowering the hands a little would help, but his high hands also help keep a solid bat plane that's good for contact.
Dozier didn't show much pop in the Augusta series, and I'm not sure what the raw is based on these three games. He has the body for good raw, but the hands and contact-oriented swing seem to suggest more of a line-drive bat.
Notable Augusta lines:
Chris Stratton: 6.2 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 9 swinging strikes, 5 ground balls, 12 fly balls, 4 line drives
Mitch Delfino: 3-4, 2B, RBI
Alberto Robles: 2-4
Chuckie Jones: 1-3, RBI, BB
Notable Lexington lines:
Crawford Simmons: 4 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 8 swinging strikes, 2 ground balls, 6 fly balls, 1 line drive
Hunter Dozier: 3-5, 2B
Mark Donato: 1-2, 2 RBI
Chad Johnson: 2-3