Wednesday, September 4 - Savannah 10, Augusta 2
Game 1 of the Southern Division Series was a one-sided show, and Savannah starter Gabriel Ynoa was the star attraction.
Ynoa allowed two runs on seven hits in 7.2 innings, walking one and striking out four. He induced seven swinging strikes and 12 ground balls, allowing just one run and two hits through six innings.
The right-hander showed why he was named SAL Pitcher of the Year, working with a solid three-pitch mix with all three above average to plus. He pumped the fastball for strikes in the low-90s, showing good sink and run to induce many of the grounders. The changeup was plus thoughout, showing excellent separation and arm action with very good fade. The slider was surprisingly very good, showing good two-plane break and displaying confidence in his third offering.
Sand Gnats manager Luis Rojas focused on the fastball/slider combination, saying the slider was the better pitch. I came in with the knowledge of reports and one previous look at Ynoa, and the changeup impressed me the most. While it was still impressive, he used his slider effectively and had good feel for it in this start.
Ynoa was also efficient, sitting at 63 pitches through six innings. He hit 83 in the seventh and finished with 92 with two outs in the eighth. Rojas said Ynoa could have finished the inning, but he wanted to give Mitch Delfino a different look in his fourth trip to the plate.
GreenJackets starter Martin Agosta looked good in his first couple innings, but he lost velocity and feel in his final innings. His fastball was upper-80s and relatively straight, while his slider was slurvy and left out to dry at times. He did nothing more than flash the changeup and had to rely on the fastball, which he commanded well early but was left up and over the plate too often in the fifth. That helped lead to a six-run inning for the Sand Gnats.
Agosta likely has a tired arm at this point, although that is far from a diagnosis. His fastball has lost velocity and jump, and the slider hasn't had the same feel since returning from the disabled list. It's a tough way to potentially end Agosta's season.
But Friday is a new day for Augusta. As Mike Goff said after the game, a loss is a loss in the playoffs regardless of score. The GreenJackets face a must-win Game 2 at Savannah on Friday. They should feel confident with Kendry Flores on the mound against Steven Matz.
Notable Augusta lines:
Martin Agosta: 4.1 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 8 swinging strikes, 8 ground balls, 6 fly balls, 1 line drive, 47 strikes-77 pitches
Ben Turner: 3-4
Mitch Delfino: 2-4, RBI
Chuckie Jones: 2-4, RBI
Notable Savannah lines:
Gabriel Ynoa: 7.2 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 7 swinging strikes, 12 ground balls, 9 fly balls, 2 line drives, 65 strikes-92 pitches
Stefan Sabol: 3-5, 2B, 4 RBI
Maiki De La Cruz: 3-5, 2B, 2 RBI
Phillip Evans: 1-4, HR, RBI
Brandon Nimmo: 2-4, RBI
Jeff Reynolds: 2-5, RBI
Albert Cordero: 2-5, RBI