For the fourth consecutive game, the Pirates got a quality start out of the rotation. Their record is 2-2. Now it's the pitchers turn to gnash their teeth. What a role reversal.
Ian Snell looked good tonight, if only he could have skipped the first inning when the Phils started off the game with a triple and double and two runs while he tossed 37 pitches. He lasted into the seventh, when a second Jimmy Rollin's triple and following single chased him.
Sean Burnett cleaned up the damage, picking the runner off first, but Romulo Sanchez let in a back-breaking run in the eighth, a curious time to have a call-up pitching in a tight game.
The Buc offense continues to struggle with the La Roche boys on the bench, and though they scrap, the big hits aren't falling. They left runners on second in both the eighth and ninth innings, and Snell twice failed to move runners on first and second over, grounding into a DP and striking out. Those hurt in a 4-2 loss.
The good news is that Nate McLouth broke out of his mini-slump, with two hits, including a double, a run scored and RBI. But everyone's going to have to pick it up and focus on the little things that manufacture runs.
It's a tall order because this team is being built along AL lines and isn't particularly suited to NL small ball; not enough speed and not enough contact hitters. It seems they've turned 10-8 games into 3-2 affairs.
Let's hope they learn how to win games played close to the vest or start clubbing two and three run homers again.
On the minor league front: Indy lost 6-5 when closer RHP Jesse Chavez (1-4, 3.84 ERA) gave up two runs in the ninth. RHP Jimmy Barthmaier (3.63 ERA) went 5 innings, giving up two runs, and RHP JVB (3.99 ERA) pitched two scoreless innings.
2B Luis Ordaz (.320) had two hits, one a solo homer, his third. C Ronny Paulino (.383) added a pair of hits, including a double, a run scored and RBI. DH Ryan Mulhern (.249) hit his 9th HR, also a solo shot, and went 2-4. LF Nyjer Morgan (.288) went 2-3 with a walk, double, and RBI.
> Altoona won, 7-4. RHP Moises Robles (3.27 ERA), 24, who's worked his way from Hickory to Lynchburg to the Curve this season, went 2-2/3 innings giving up a hit and K'ing 2.
2B Shelby Ford had three hits, swatting his third long ball, driving in and scoring a pair of runs. SS Jason Bowers (.261) went 3-4 with a run, and 3B Jim Negrych (.318) had three knocks and a double, scoring twice and adding an RBI.
CF Jose Tabata (.245) went 1-5 and struck out three times.
> Lynchburg finally beat Myrtle Beach 5-3 tonight. OF Eddie Prasch was 1 for 3 with two RBI and a run scored and drove in the winning run. He now owns a 9 game hitting streak. RF Miles Durham went 2 for 4 with an RBI.
The Hillcats had four players named to the Carolina League’s Top-30 Prospects for 2008. 3B Jim Negrych, OF Jamie Romak, SS Brian Friday, and LHP Daniel Moskos each earned a spot on the hot prospects list. Negrych and Romak are at AA Altoona now.
> Hickory lost 17-4. Nobody got hurt.
> State College lost 3-2 on an unearned run. RHP Brian Leach (3.62) started, and went 4 innings, giving up a run on 3 hits, two walks, and striking out a pair.
2B Andy Vasquez (.262) went 3-4 with a double and a run scored, and RF David Rubenstein (.202) had two hits.
> Bradenton had the day off. Surf's up, dudes!