Friday, June 21 - 7:05 p.m.
Kannapolis Intimidators (0-1, 27-42)
Brandon Brennan (68.2 IP, 6.55 ERA, 4.15 FIP, 15.6 K%, 7 BB%, .363 BABIP)
Augusta GreenJackets (1-0, 39-31)
Joan Gregorio (31 IP, 1.74 ERA, 1.33 FIP, 29.7 K%, 2.5 BB%, .329 BABIP)
Joan Gregorio has made two starts since coming off the disabled list for an oblique injury that sidelined him for more than a month. Both starts have been solid, and it's hard to fault the tall right-hander for his worst outing last time out.
Gregorio did post his worst start this season against Kannapolis on June 11, but it was still a quality start, allowing three runs in six innings, which is an indication of how good he has been in six starts this season. Although he only struck out two, he continued his impressive skill of avoiding walks by not allowing any.
Gregorio is a prime example of a lanky right-hander whose stuff plays up with good extension and different arm angles. He does a good job repeating mechanics for someone this long, but his finishes tend to vary and he falls to the first base side in different variations. While he has deception in his arm angle, he doesn't produce the excellent downward plane you like to see from a 6-foot-7 pitcher.
Kannapolis improved upon its lineup with additions at the break, but the Intimidators were hacking against Augusta starter Kendry Flores on Thursday night, getting beat with the typical fastball/curveball combination. We could see more of the same with Gregorio on the mound.
The GreenJackets improved at the plate in the first game after the break, staying on top of the outside fastball and not trying to do too much. Brandon Brennan is the typical two-pitch arm who lives on the outer half but pitches to contact. So far this season, that contact has been hard, producing a .363 batting average on balls in play. Some of it is probably bad luck, as well. The GreenJackets need to live outer half and pick up the breaking ball in two-strike counts.
Augusta first baseman Joey Rapp went deep for the first time this season off Kannapolis reliever Storm Throne in the series opener. The shot was to right-center, which takes some serious power to accomplish. Rapp is 5 for 7 with a home run and two RBI in his past two games.