Results tagged ‘ Chris Dula ’

Hickory / West Virginia SAL Playoff & Game 1 Preview

South Atlantic League Playoff Series

Game 1: Hickory Crawdads (81-57) at West Virginia Power (87-52)

Site/ Time: Appalachian Power Park, Charleston, West Virginia

Crawdads Playoff History:  The Crawdads will make their tenth playoff appearance in 23 seasons since joining the South Atlantic League in 1993. It is the first appearance since 2011. This will be the third trip to the playoffs during the seven seasons the Crawdads have been affiliated with the Texas Rangers.

Hickory has won two SAL championships, both coming during the affiliation of the club with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2002 and 2004.  The Crawdads have not won a series since claiming the title in 2004, nor have they won a playoff home game since the clincher of that series.

Power Playoff History: West Virginia has made seven playoffs appearances since staring South Atlantic League play in 1987. The lone SAL title came in 1990 as the Charleston Wheelers – a Reds affiliate – swept the Savannah Cardinals in three straight. This is the fourth playoff appearance under the name of the West Virginia Power (beginning in 2005), the second as a Pirates affiliate (2013), which began in 2009.

Hickory/ West Virginia Playoff History: The Crawdads defeated the Charleston Alley Cats (Blue Jays) in two straight in the first round of the 2004 playoffs. The clincher of the 2004 sweep was the final game played at Watt Powell Park in Charleston.  West Virginia (Brewers) took a 2-1 first-round series win in 2007.

How Hickory Got Here: The Crawdads led the first-half Northern Division chase wire-to-wire, eventually finishing with a 44-24 mark, 7 ½ games ahead of second-place West Virginia.

How West Virginia Got Here: The Power bullied the SAL in the second half and finished 50-20. It was the first time a SAL club had 50 half-season wins since Augusta turned the trick in 2007. West Virginia finished ten games ahead of second-place Delmarva in the second half and 13 games ahead of fourth-place Hickory.

Game 1 Pitching matchup: Hickory-Yohander Mendez (LH, 3-3, 2.44) vs. West Virginia- Austin Coley (RH, 16-6, 3.66)

Hickory Pitching:

Mendez: After pitching in a piggyback arrangement with Ariel Jurado much of the season, Mendez split off on his own late in the season. After allowing more than two runs just once in his first 19 outings, the lefty gave up four in five innings to Greensboro on August 23 and five to Delmarva in 3.1 innings on September 1 to close out the regular season. He gave up one homer in each of those outings, the only long balls he allowed this season. Mendez finished the season with a 2.44 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP. SAL hitters batted .230 against Mendez in 2015. His struck out 74 and walked 15 in 66.1 innings. Against West Virginia in 2015, Mendez allowed one unearned run on three hits, two walks and struck out seven in eight innings (two appearances, one start).

Relievers: Scott Williams likely will get the first look for a save situation. The right-hander picked up ten saves in the second half and built a 40-to-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 31.1 innings in the second half. In three outings vs. the Power in 2015, Williams allowed one run – a homer to Michael Suchy on June 19, on three hits and struck out two over four innings… Joe Filomeno gave up two runs to the Power late in a game on August 16… Shane McCain was roughed up in an outing vs. West Virginia on August 15 (2.1 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 2 K…Having not pitched since September 2, it would not be unusual to see 2015 first-rounder Dillon Tate get an inning in the middle of the game.  Manager Corey Ragsdale indicated that Tate and Luis Ortiz would be available for action in the series… Adam Dian (5 saves) threw an inning on Monday’s win. He has pitched out of the pen on one day’s rest just once.

West Virginia pitching:

Coley: The 23-year-old right-hander made all 27 starts this season and seemed to finish strong as he allowed one earned run in each of his last four starts (26 innings). Coley has showed good command with 111 Ks to just 25 walks in 147.2 innings. A fly ball pitcher, – He holds a 0.88 GO/AO ratio – Coley is susceptible to the long ball, having allowed a SAL-high 18 this season. The Crawdads touched him up for three in a loss back on August 14. Hickory has had perhaps the best luck against the 16-game winner tagging him for 20 hits over 11 innings in two starts. Among Crawdads hitters, Carlos Arroyo is 4-for-6 this season with a homer and Luke Tendler has doubled and homered in four plate appearances. Jairo Beras went 2-for-2 with a double.

Relievers: Nick Neumann is the Power close with 17 saves in 19 chances. He threw two perfect innings against Hickory this season, both coming in the first half… Other key relievers will likely include Sam Street, Jared Lakind and Julio Vivas. Of the trio, only Lakind (1 IP) has faced Hickory this year.

Hickory lineup:

Late season injuries to Josh Morgan and Michael De Leon put the Crawdads into a mix-and-match mode on the infield. Catcher Jose Trevino and third baseman Juremi Profar are the two likely certainties around the diamond. Ragsdale indicated that Edwin Garcia will likely play short and newcomer Dylan Moore will place second. Carlos Arroyo, who played second most of the season, was stationed at first the final two games of the season and handled the position without a problem. With his output against Coley (4-for-6) this season, and his success against the Power this season Arroyo may get the first look with Chuck Moorman and Jonathan Meyer available off the bench. Arroyo is the lone active Crawdads player to hit over .300 (6-for-15) against the Power in 2015.

In the outfield, the arrival of 2015 second-round Eric Jenkins gives Ragsdale a different wrinkle in the lineup with his speed. He went 7-for-18 during his five-game audition last week and he may well have earned some at bats in the series. The likely lineup will be Luke Tendler in left, Jose Cardona in center and Jairo Beras in right. Tendler ended his season fourth in the SAL in RBI and total bases. Beras had a pair of homers and five RBI during a mid-June series in Charleston. However, he went 0-for-7 against the Power in August. Eduard Pinto may get a look at first on in the DH slot.

Power lineup:

The Power had only 18 position players on their roster this season with eight players taking the field for 99 or more games (Hickory has three in the expected lineup, though Pinto has 98 games). The team finished the season at the top of the SAL with a .269 batting average and a .347 on-base percentage. It’s a team that will play classic National League small-ball (90 sacrifices) to scratch out runs for what has been a shutdown pitching staff. They are very patient at the plate. West Virginia leads the SAL in walks and has the second fewest strikeouts this season.

Behind the plate will likely be Taylor Gushue with Connor Joe – the Pirates No. 29 prospect (mlb.com) at first. Pablo Reyes and 2015 first-round pick Kevin Newman will play second and short respectively. Rounding out the infield at third will likely be Tyler Filliben, who has filled in for the injured Jordan Luplow.

A talented group is stationed in the outfield with SAL all-star Michael Suchy starting in right. Suchy, the fifth-round pick of the Pirates in 2014, finished the season second in the SAL in runs scored and in RBI.

A combination of Tito Polo, Elvis Escobar and Jerrick Suiter split up left and center, with Suiter getting many of the DH starts.  Suiter and Esocbar finished fifth and eighth in the SAL in batting avg. with Escobar third in hits.

Against the Crawdads, Escobar hit .355 (11-for-31) to lead the team among active players. The injured Luplow had two of the five homers struck against Hickory and he is tied with Suchy with five RBI.

Other things to know: This is likely to be a pitching-and-defense series. Hickory and West Virginia finished tied with the fewest errors committed in the SAL and went 1-2 in WHIP. The Crawdads finished second in ERA (3.19) with the Power fourth at 3.38…  Defending bunts had been a downfall for the Crawdads prior to their injuries and against a team that likes small ball, the revamped defensive alignment – especially with the likelihood of inexperience at first – could be a point worth watching… Both teams expect to win when they score first. The Crawdads went 54-14 when scoring first – tops in the SAL – and West Virginia was 59-16, which was second… Hickory has held up well under pressure as it was 71-4 when leading or tied after seven innings. In one-run games, the Crawdads are 27-16 with the Power at 19-22.

Catching on at the Position: An Interview with Jose Trevino

The stat sheet will show that Hickory Crawdads catcher Jose Trevino put up a .262/.291/.415 slash in 2015. His 14 homers were one behind teammate Luke Tendler for the team lead. Generally, he put the ball in play with a manageable 60 strikeouts in 449 plate appearances, though the 18 walks could perhaps use a bump.

Behind the plate, Trevino was a steady force. He caught 87 games – the fourth most in a Crawdads single-season and the most since the affiliation with the Texas Rangers began in 2009 – and in that span he put up some remarkable defensive numbers. Trevino committed only six errors and nine passed balls this season and set the club’s single season and overall fielding pct. mark (.992, minimum 70 games). He threw out 33.7% of runners trying to steal.

Several pitchers this season have raved about his game calling ability.  In an interview with Luis Ortiz after his start on June 9, he said of his catcher, ”I thank Trevino, because he’s the one who called the game for me. I believe in my catcher. I go with him and I trust him. That’s how pitchers should be: trust their catchers.”

After Collin Wiles threw seven shutout innings against Augusta on July 18, he credited Trevino with a game plan that included only three first-pitch fast balls during the first time through the lineup.

“That was kind of Jose’s plan from the start,” said Wiles after the start. “He told me in our pre-game meeting that this is a team that likes the fastball, so stay with me. I trust him 100% and we put up seven zeros.”

Not bad for a guy who was mostly a shortstop in his junior season at Oral Roberts.

With all of the accolades of his play, it’s the relationships that he brings to the clubhouse and on the field that arguably has had the biggest impact on the 2015 Crawdads. On the various trips I take to the clubhouse, there’s little doubt that one of the guys in charge of the space is Trevino. He’s always engaged with someone, whether it’s a video from the night before, a card game, or an occasional prank. You’ll rarely see Trevino alone in the clubhouse. (Honestly, I can’t recall seeing that.)

Trevino seemingly is a second pitching coach on the team. His mound visits nearly always produce a positive outcome from the pitcher in the sequence to come.

In the interview below, Trevino talks about his first full-season work as a catcher, including his preparation for this season along with mound visits and the ability to keep pitchers relaxed. He also talks about the progress of some of the Crawdads pitchers this season.

Jose Trevino behind the plate for the Hickory Crawdads (Photo courtesy of Tracy Proffitt)

Jose Trevino behind the plate for the Hickory Crawdads (Photo courtesy of Tracy Proffitt)

First of all, I want to talk about your season in catching where you didn’t do a whole lot of it in college. You’ve now caught 87 games, which is the most here by a Rangers affiliated catcher. How have you held up for a first full season?

Trevino: Good. I think the main thing was to listen to my body. I know that off-season workouts had a lot to do with it. I had a good trainer back at home. I told him, “Now, I’m going to need my legs up under me when it comes to September and playoff time. I’m really going to need my legs and need that extra gear.” He said, “Alright, we’re just going to work your legs and we’re going to get them to where you want them to be.”

Last year, I kind of died out a little bit just because I was getting tired and my legs were getting tired from a long college season. Now, I feel good. I feel like my legs are up under me. I feel fine other than some cuts and bruises from nagging injuries from being a catcher, my legs are fine and everything’s good. I’m ready to go.

How much weight have you lost this year?

Trevino: I think I’ve dropped two or three pounds. I really try to stay on top of it, especially since that will carry you and help you out a little bit more.

What’s been the biggest challenge for you in converting to being a full-time catcher?

Trevino; When I first started catching last year, I guess it was my bat, balancing out hitting and catching. You can’t take your hitting to your catching because it’s going to affect the whole team; it’ll affect the game. If you try to square up a circle and a circle, it’s hard enough to do already. Then you go out there and you try to catch 90-plus that’s sinking and moving, it really affects you and really wears off on you.

What did you have to learn as far as dealing with pitchers? 

Trevino: Just learning how they like to pitch guys. Learning what their best pitch was. Learning what their best put-away pitch was. Learning what they like to go to when they’re ahead and when they’re behind, and in certain counts what they like to do – what every guy likes to do. So now, you can ask me what every guy likes to do and I can probably tell you what pitch they want to go to and I think they’ll agree with it.

Who did you have help you with that? Or was that something that you figured out on your own?

Trevino: I mean the Rangers go through a whole thing where you’ve got to know your pitchers. You have to know your pitches, especially if you want to play in this game, you have to know what they want and what they like. You just kind of catch onto it. Since you catch the same guys over and over and over again, I know what kind of pitches they’ll want to go to. I can see in the bullpen what’s been working. I can see throughout the game what’s been working maybe in a situation with the hitter and their best stuff. I’m going to take their (pitcher) best stuff over the hitter’s best stuff any day.

I’m going to ask an oddball kind of question. Did you take psychology in college? The reason I ask is that you are so good with mound visits. You just seem to have a sense of when to go and make a visit. Things seem to happen and you’re able to say the right things in a visit.

Trevino: I didn’t take psychology in college, but I took a class, kind of like a managing class – sports management, pretty much. It was learning how to go through things and learning what you could say to some people. Some people it’s a pat on the back and it’s fine. Other you guys it’s, “Hey, you’ve got to figure it out now, because we’ll get somebody else in here.”

You know how to handle certain guys. You know, you’re used it. You get up there and you see the look on some of their faces like, “I’ve got this. I’m fine. You’re just up here because you want to calm me down a little bit.” Other guys, there’s going to be certain guys that are like, “All right, let’s go,” and they’re hyped up. I’m like, “Calm down a little bit. You’re fine. Relax. Get this guy out. It’s easy. It’s going to be easy for you.”

I have other things I’ll say to other guys out there. You’ve just got to pay attention to their reactions. If they’re laughing, I’ll probably go out there and tell them something funny that probably didn’t have anything to do with baseball. I’ll tell them something and they’ll just be like, “Why did you just tell me that?” and I’ll just walk off.

What’s the oddest thing you’ve said to a pitcher?

Trevino: (long pause) I know, but I probably wouldn’t say it. I’ve said some funny things pretty much.

There are some clubs in development that the pitches are called from the dugout. I know the Rangers pretty much expect the catchers to make the calls from the plate. How much of a learning curve did you have in doing that after perhaps having not done it at college?

Trevino:  In college, I didn’t do it at all. Our coach gave us the signs and I put them down. And if our pitchers shook, I looked back at our coach and here we go. So, I had to learn that, too. I had to learn to call the game. I had to learn that it wasn’t to pitch other hitters the way I liked to hit or what I wouldn’t like to hit. It’s what they (hitters) don’t want to hit – what they don’t like to swing at. What they won’t swing at. What they’ll take, but have a bad swing at, and then you go from there.

If some guys are pulling off on the fastball away, you can go with another pitch there in that situation. You learn to read these things. You learn to pay attention more and that’s what I like about catching.

You’re in the game 24/7. You’re looking at everything because you come back into the dugout and you’re talking about hitters with the pitcher and the pitching coach. But then you’ve got to pay attention to the pitcher that’s pitching on the mound and you’ve got to pay attention to the situation that’s going on in the game. You’re in the game and you’re the quarterback. You call the shots.

With me, I don’t have any problem with taking the blame for a pitch that I called. I’ll turn to the dugout and say, “It’s my fault. All right let’s go, move on.”

How did it come about that you shifted from shortstop to catcher?

Trevino: I don’t know. I caught Alex Gonzalez in college on Fridays. He would come in and throw and that’s basically how much I would catch in college. I was also beat up in college. I had a messed up ankle, messed up foot. I was catching “Chi Chi”. I toughed it out and it was fine and it was good and I liked it.

People would come and talk to me and say, “Hey, we know you’re an infielder; we know you’re a third baseman and you can play anywhere.” And I’m like, “Yeah, I’ve heard that one too.” They said, “What about catching?” And I said, “I liked it.” They’d ask me, “What do you think the biggest transition would be?” I said, “Separating my offense from my defense.”

Sure enough, you learn – and that comes from maturity – you learn to grow up real fast. I’ll rarely come in and be mad about an at-bat and take it out there. Once I get that last pitch and I say, “It’s coming down.” I’ll throw to second and that’s it. I don’t want to take the shine away from the pitcher that’s on the mound, because it’s his job. He’s trying to put money in his pocket. He’s trying to food on the table for his family, and I don’t want to be the guy responsible for not having his best stuff out there because I missed a block or I missed a fastball coming at me.

Who’s been the biggest help as far as teaching you as a catcher?

Trevino: I’d say all the catching coordinators, Chad Comer especially. He’s been with me through this whole season. He’s fixed so many things hitting wise and catching wise. He’s given me little tips.

Chris Briones, he’s also helped me a lot. He’s a guy that will instill a lot more confidence in me. He’ll just feed you confidence. When he comes during the year, it’s like, “Hey, I’m here to fill you with confidence.” You’re running a little low on gas and he’s like, “No, we’re going to refill you, you’re fine.”

Hector Ortiz. I talked to Hector Ortiz last year at instructs. He said, “We’ve got to work this if you really want to do this and get into it.”  I said, “I want to do this.”

Ryley Westman, he was here last year with the Rangers – he’s with the Padres now. He really got me into catching a ton.

Whenever I walk into the clubhouse, there are certain guys that are in charge, and you’re one of those. What has been the key of keeping the clubhouse together, especially in the second half when there’s been so much movement of guys in and out?

Trevino: Just having fun. You’ve just got to have fun with everybody. When a new guy comes in, you don’t want him just have him sit there on his chair. You might play a joke on him. I’m the one that plays the jokes. I’ll play a joke on him right away and I’ll get him and everybody will see how he reacts and see what kind of guy is he. If he’ll laugh and shake it off, everybody will say, “He’s a good dude.”

We have a bunch of good dudes in there and we all take everything good. They’re fun guys and they know we’re a fun club. Everybody that comes into this clubhouse and everybody that leaves and goes somewhere else, they’re like, “Man, Hickory was so fun.” I think that has a lot to do with our skip, with Ragsdale. He really likes to keep it loose, too. But when it comes game time, we’re going to play.

Let me talk about pitching a little bit. Who has impressed you the most as far where they started in April or maybe into May when they got here to now? Who’s made the biggest jump ahead?

Trevino: Brett Martin. He developed a curveball – a good curveball.

Chris Dula. He has a lot of stuff that plays in AA and AAA. I caught big league guys in spring training and Dula has some stuff in his arsenal. He goes and he keeps working, he has a chance to be really good.

Lulu Ortiz. Stuff wise, mentally wise, he’s locked in ready to go all the time. Every time he goes out there, he’s locked in and ready to go.

I can go up and down the list. I feel like every pitcher has gotten better. Nobody has taken a step back. Everybody has been going forward and forward and forward. Even if it’s a little step, it’s a big step to us.

For me it’s been Scott Williams. Your thoughts?

Trevino: Oh yeah. I caught him actually in my pre-draft workout for the Rangers when we were in Arlington together.

I have a funny story with Scott. They asked me, “Hey, do you want to get some at-bats against Williams.” I was like, “How hard do you throw?” He said, “97”. I said, “Ah, I think I’m just going to sit back here and catch for a little bit.” They were like, “Ok, that’s all right.” I got drafted and then I found out he got draft and I thought, “Sweet.”

He’s been really good and he has that kind of mentality that you can’t teach people. He’s ready to play. If you look down in the bullpen in the fourth or fifth inning, he’s out here stretching because he knows that if we get the lead in the seventh, the eighth, the ninth, he’s going to come in and he’s going to shut it down.  In his head, he’s going to shut it down. There are no negative thought in that head.

With nothing to really play for, has there been any let down as you guys get into August and think, let’s get into the playoffs?

Trevino: No. Everybody’s taking a step forward in their game mentality wise, in like they’re ready to play every day. It’s not just for themselves, but for everybody on the team. I want to do good for Luke (Tendler). I want to do good for the pitcher. I want to do good for Profar. I want to do good for Ragsdale. I want to do good for Comer. I want to do good for everybody around me. I feel like that’s what everybody has here. Everybody wants to get everybody better.

Last thing. You guys have won the championship because this happened?

Trevino: Execute. We just have to execute. We have it. We’re a good team, a really good team. No matter who you bring in, it’s going to be a good team here. We have a bunch of good players and everybody’s going to have fun doing it. If we just execute, we’ll be all right.

Jose Trevino cracked 14 homers and drove in 63 for Hickory in 2015 (photo courtesy of Tracy Proffitt)

Jose Trevino cracked 14 homers and drove in 63 for Hickory in 2015 (photo courtesy of Tracy Proffitt)

Game Story: Rome at Hickory September 5

The Rome (Ga.) Braves muscled two home runs to account for all their runs in a 5-1 win over the Hickory Crawdads Saturday night at L.P. Frans Stadium.

With the win, the visiting Braves (58-80 overall, 27-41 second half) kept pace with the Lexington (Ky.) Legends for the battle to stay out of the cellar in the overall standings in the Southern Division. Rome is looking to avoid a second-straight, last-place finish, which would also be the fifth such finish in eight seasons.

Hickory dropped to 79-57 overall, 35-33 in the second half. The Crawdads are looking to the final two games of the series to pick up their 80th win for the second straight season. Hickory last had back-to-back 80 win seasons from 2002 to 2004.

What Happened?

The Braves scored all the runs it would need in the fourth when Tanner Murphy cranked a three-run shot (7) in the fourth. Matt Tellor added the other two runs in the sixth with a blast to right, his fifth of the season.

The Crawdads scored their only run of the game in the sixth with Edwin Garcia tripled and scored on Jose Trevino’s grounder to third.

Trevor Belicek picked up the win (1-0) for Rome with Austin Pettibone talking the loss (3-7).

The Good:

Jeffrey Springs: The Texas Rangers 30th-round pick this past June out of Appalachian State struck out three over two perfect innings of relief. In what was his first home game, the left-hander showed a biting curve that missed six bats, along with a 90-91 mph fastball.

Chris Dula: Gave up two hits during his lone inning of the game in the seven, but arguably had his best stuff of the season. He started the inning by striking out Erison Mendez with the final pitch of the at-bat being a 97-mph fastball that was low and away to the right-hander. He gave up back-to-back hits – the first an infield hit by Stephen Gaylor to short before Luis Valenzeula smacked a high slider for a single. Dula got out of the inning with a 95-mph sinker that Jordan Edgerton beat into an around-the-horn double play.

Eric Jenkins:  Went 3-for-4 for and showed the promise he has to be a legitimate leadoff hitter. He started the first with a bunt up the third-base line that gave Edgerton no chance to make a play. In the fifth, the left-handed hitter turned on fastball for a sharp, ground-ball single to right. In the eighth, it was a slider the Jenkins nailed hard to right. Jenkins has reached base five times in nine trips over the two games he’s played the series. He’s shown for now the ability to catch up to fastballs but stay back on secondary pitches.

Jairo Beras: Continued a strong second half (308/.349/.467) with two hits and a walk. He laid off a couple of close breaking pitches to get the base-on-balls in the second. A slider in was rapped hard for a double to left in the fourth, as was an inside fastball in the sixth. The lone out came in the eighth when he lined a fastball to second.

Dylan Moore: Singled in the third and walked in the fifth to go with a hit in his Crawdad debut on Friday.

The Not-So-Good:

Eric Jenkins: As talented a hitter as he’s shown in two games, several aspects of his game need work, especially in the outfield. After misreading two fly balls on Thursday, he nearly played a fly to left into a hit in the second. Braxton Davidson hit a soft liner that sent Jenkins back a couple of steps before he reversed course to make a running catch in shallow left. He cost the Crawdads a run on the eighth when he stayed at third during a 1-6-3 double play. His athletic talent is there, but how well can he pick up some of the technical side of the game?

Baserunning: Jenkins gaffe aside, the Crawdads had a couple of other blunders on the base paths. Manager Corey Ragsdale was overly aggressive in sending Beras on Moore’s third-inning single. Right fielder Braxton Davidson’s throw easily beat Moore to the plate, as he was tagged by the catcher Murphy before he got to the batter’s box… Beras was caught stealing in the sixth as he broke for second with pitcher Trevor Belicek still in the stretch.  Belicek calmly stepped off the rubber and threw to second for the easy out.

Austin Pettibone: Had a decent outing, save the two homers. Stayed almost exclusively with a fastball (90-91) and slider with a rare change tossed in.  He need only 24 pitches to get through three innings and with any luck would’ve been out of the fourth with little trouble. With two outs and a runner at first, Pettibone’s 0-2 slider was chopped slowly up the line by Luke Dykstra, who beat out the play at third. He then battled Murphy for eight pitches before Murphy turned a 91-mph pitch into a liner the cleared the fence in the leftfield corner. Murphy was able to pick up both fastball and slider, but never saw a change. In the sixth, Tellor whipped a flat slider of the wall in right-center .

Game story: Hagerstown at Hickory July 31

The Crawdads posted an 8-2 lead before hanging on late to a 9-6 win over the Hagerstown (Md.) Suns Friday night at L.P. Frans Stadium.

Hickory (63-39 overall, 19-15 second half) has now won 7-of-8, while the Suns (50-51, 15-19) have lost 12-of-18.

What Happened?:

Here is my game story from the pages of the Hickory Daily Record.

http://www.hickoryrecord.com/sports/crawdads-stave-off-hagerstown-rally-pick-up-home-victory/article_fc3c0642-37fb-11e5-b4ed-6331b48def09.html

The Good:

The lineup: All nine hitters had at least one hit with Jose Trevino and Juremi Profar getting at least two. Hickory, especially the right-handers, continues to be pitched to on or just off the outside corner of the plate. For the most part, the hitters have been able to discern balls/ strikes –and attack or lay off appropriately – or it pitches up the middle or away.

The few pitches that made their way over the inner half of the plate were hammered hard. None of the Suns trio of pitchers (Dave Van Orden, Luis Torres or Andrew Cooper) were able to present breaking pitches often enough to keep Crawdads hitters off stride, so it was easy pickings at times.

 

Jairo Beras: Read this.

https://crawdadsbeat.com/2015/08/01/jairo-beras-is-figuring-it-out-and-its-exciting/

 

Xavier Turner: His first two games with Hickory have certainly had its moments. In his first game last week at Asheville, he reportedly dislocated his shoulder on the first play of the first inning.

Returning from the disabled list, Turner crushed a fastball to medium left-center. Thinking triple out of the box, he caught sight of Corey Ragsdale’s stop sign after rounding the bag at second. As he put the brakes on, he slipped and stumbled. With the throw coming into the second behind him, Turner made it to third and slid around the tag of 3B David Masters.

At 6-1, 205 the Rangers 19th round pick showed good speed on the basepaths. He handled both plays in the field without concerns.

Juremi Profar: Had a pair of doubles, both on off-speed pitches away, and would’ve had a third if not for a brilliant catch in right by Dale Carey on a leaping dive on the track.

7th inning ABs: Facing reliever Luis Torres, Josh Morgan spoiled fastball after fastball away before succumbing on a fastball low and in on the tenth pitch. Eduard Pinto then worked a nine-pitch AB into a walk, again spoiling a bushel (correct term?) of fastballs. Able to watch this sequence, Jose Trevino spit on a fastball off the plate and then crushed the next one out of the park in left.

Yohander Mendez: Fastball command was a bit spotty, but he showed good arm action with the changeup that baffled the Suns hitters all night. Had 12 missed bats in 4.2 innings, all but two by my count coming on offspeeds. Didn’t use the curve as much on Friday, and what he did use was a bit loopy. But the change was definitely on. Finished at 77 pitches (49 strikes).

Scott Williams: For me the pitcher that has taken the largest step forward in the second half is Williams. Friday night was mostly fastballs with an occasionally slider mixed it. Fastball 94-96 has life but the biggest thing is simply confidence to attack hitters with it.

The Not-So-Good:

Chris Dula: A hit batter on the first pitch of the eighth, a single and two walks made Dula’s night a short one. Fastball is 94-96, but there is no control as to where it is going. Have to wonder if it at some point he makes a trip to Arizona.

 

Ariel Jurado: Just never looked comfortable all night. He usually is a get the ball and let’s go kind of pitcher, but on Friday there was much more walking around the mound than I recall. Fastball seemed a tick down and did not have the usual precision, as he walked two in an appearance for only the second time this season.

Game Story: Lakewood at Hickory June 27

The Lakewood (N.J.) BlueClaws scored four runs over the final two innings to claim a 6-3 win over the Hickory Crawdads Saturday night at L.P. Frans Stadium.

The win for the BlueClaws (35-36 overall, 1-2 second half) was the second straight in the five-game series and dealt the first lost of the season to the Crawdads (45-26, 1-2) when they led or were tied after seven innings. Hickory was 40-0 when leading after seven.

What Happened?:
The Crawdads scored all of their runs during two-out rallies. In the first, Eduard Pinto singled and Jose Trevino doubled before Jonathan Meyer singled in both.

After Emmanuel Marrero cut it to 2-1 in the third with his first pro homer, Hickory added a run in the fourth when Jairo Beras walked with two outs and scored on Carlos Arroyo’s triple.

Lakewood made it 3-2 in the fifth. Cord Sandberg reached on a bloop single to left, moved to second on a wild pitch, to third on a deep fly to right, and then scored when Joel Fisher lined a single to center.

The decisive rally came in the eighth against Crawdads reliever Joe Filomeno. With one out, Gustavo Martinez legged out an infield hit to short. Marrero sneaked a grounder just inside the bag at third for a double. Filomeno held runners at second and third when he struck out Drew Stankiewicz, but both scored as Scott Kingery ripped a double between third baseman Josh Morgan and the bag. Kingery then scored on Herlis Rodriguez’s double off the wall in right-center.

Lakewood’s final run in the ninth came when Kyle Martin homered to right against reliever Erik Swanson.

The Good:

Brett Martin: Arguably his best start of the season. The homer he served up was a curveball down that Marrero went down to get. Threw 40 strikes out of 54 pitches, using mostly a fastball (89-92) –slider mix. He fanned two in the first – both on sliders – and two more in the second, one swinging on a slider, the other a fastball looking. Was definitely an outing to build upon.

Chris Dula: After giving runs in five straight outings and six out of seven, Dula kept the sinker (93-96) down for three groundballs – two for outs, the third an infield hit.

Jose Cardona: Went 2-for-4 with a double, lining a pair of fastballs for hits, including a 95 mph heater for a double.

Rock Shoulders: Went 0-4, but crushed the ball three times, only to see them die at the wall. Just not his night.

Josh Morgan: Had one hit – a dribbler up the middle in the fifth – but had two other hard hit liners that left fielder Cord Sandberg snagged. Like Rock Shoulders…

The Not-So-Good:

Joe Filomeno: Given the first chance to close out a tight game after the bullpen rearrangement, he had a tough night. Fastball was lively sitting around 93, but breaking balls were not close enough to the plate to entice swings, or sharp enough to miss bats when swung at. Kingery and Rodriguez both sat on first-pitch fastballs for back-to-back doubles that accounted for three runs. He struck out two in the inning, but needed eight pitches each to do so.

Late innings slump: Put only three runners aboard over the final four innings. Had only one runner in the same span in the previous game.

The Opposition:

Kyle Martin: The Phillies fourth-round 2015 pick out of South Carolina hit his first pro homer in the ninth.

Manny Martinez: After Cardona slammed a fastball off the wall in the seventh, Martinez went predominantly to his curve to retire Michael De Leon on a grounder to first and Morgan on a popup to first.

Austin Smith: The left-handed reliever threw an explosive mid-90s fastball to strike out two, the second against Jairo Beras, who froze on a 91 mph heater on the inside corner.

Game Story: Charleston at Hickory June 9, 2015

Rock Shoulders hit a solo homer and Jose Trevino added a three-run bomb in support of Luis Ortiz and two relievers as the Hickory Crawdads defeated the Charleston (S.C.) RiverDogs 5-2 in the opening game of a three-game series Tuesday night.

The Crawdads (37-20) increased their lead in the Northern Division of the South Atlantic League to 3 ½ games over second place West Virginia, which lost a 9-1 beatdown to Savannah. The RiverDogs (28-30) dropped into fourth place in the Southern Division and now trail first place teams Greenville and Savannah by three games in the Southern Division chase. The 70-game, first-half season ends on June 21.

After Crawdads starter Luis Ortiz got out of a first-inning jam with a double play, Hickory got on the board in the bottom of the inning with a sacrifice fly by Eduard Pinto.

It turned out to be all that Ortiz needed as he retired 15 of the last 17 hitters he faced on the night. Ortiz (3-1) allowed four hits and struck out four over six shutout innings.

Hickory loaded the bases with one out against RiverDogs starter Luis Cedeno (3-6) in the third. However on back-to-back, first pitches, Cedeno got Trevino to hit into an infield fly and Luke Tendler to ground out to short.

Shoulders turned on a Cedeno fastball and sent it well out of the park to right field in the fourth. It was Shoulders first homer of the season.

In the fifth, Josh Morgan singled and Pinto walked ahead of Trevino’s seventh homer of the season – his first since April 26.

Charleston scored its only runs in the seventh when Chris Breen sent a Chris Dula curveball over the fence in left. The homer was the fourth of the season for Breen, which leads the team. The blast was the first allowed by the Crawdads in 11 games, spanning 89.1 innings. (Delmarva’s Logan Uxa on 5/27 vs. Kelvin Vasquez.) The RiverDogs have hit 17 home runs this season- three of those against Hickory pitching.

Yohander Mendez closed out the game for this third save with two scoreless innings, during which he allowed just one walk.

The Good:

**Ortiz. Here’s his night here. He also continues a streak of 27 games (139 innings) in which a starter has not allowed a home run.

**Eduard Pinto had a perfect night at the plate, even though he did not officially have an at-bat. To go with his sacrifice fly, Pinto walked three straight times. He had walked only three times entering the game. In the eight games he has batted third this season, Pinto has a slash line of .333/.406/.519 with a double, two triples and four walks.

** Yohander Mendez took a little time to find the feel to his curveball in the eighth, but then ended that inning with back-to-back Ks – four missed bats on curves. He ended the game by getting Breen looking on a curve.

**Rock Shoulders finally found a bit of luck. After crushing a pitch to center in the second, he hit the third-straight 93 mph pitch thrown to him in the fourth for the no-doubter.

**After missing a curve in the third (see below) Jose Trevino didn’t miss the hanger in the fifth for what turned out to be the difference.

**Josh Morgan made a nice play at short on a sinking, low liner by Graterol to the cut of the grass.

The Not-So-Good

** Carlos Arroyo hit into some bad luck during an 0-for-4 night. With Jairo Beras on the move in the second, Arroyo hit a sharp liner up the middle that found 2B Angel Aguilar’s glove as he moved to cover second. Beras was doubled up easily. In the sixth, his liner into the gap in right-center field was run down by CF Dustin Fowler.

**Chris Dula gave up a cheapie single to Juan Granatol (a dribbler to third) to start the sixth, then had problems finding the strike zone with his sinker. He then left a curveball up to Breen, who spanked it for a HR. To his credit, Dula settled down and ended the inning by getting Austin Aune to ground a hard sinker to short.

**Sporting the worst offensive numbers in the SAL, Charleston appeared to be on the ropes in the third and had played the infield in with a runner at third and one out, trailing 1-0. After Cedeno walked Pinto on five pitches to load the bases, Cedeno got Trevino to chase a first-pitch curve that was popped up for an infield fly. Luke Tendler then sent a first-pitch sinker to short to end the inning.

** Jairo Beras seemed to have trouble seeing the ball in right. He froze on Fowler’s double to right in the first before chasing down the ball that one-hopped the wall. On Fowler’s fly out in the sixth, Beras came in briefly before retreating backwards to make the catch.