Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
Miami almost does the unimaginable; squandering away an 8-run lead. The Canes lives or dies on its ability to hit HRs. Without them, they become a rudderless vessel going nowhere as they struggle through sporadic hitting and sub-marginal pitching. If not for a late HR, the second for Ian Farrow tonight, it could have been uglier than the loss to Jacksonville on Wednesday. Gino in his infamous wisdom did everything possible to make this possible.
The Wolfpack since the 4th inning had been chipping away at the 8-run deficit they had dug themselves in from the 2nd inning. 5 unanswered runs and looking at more. The call to the BP and Gino’s selection had me in total shock: Ronaldo Gallo. This is the last pitcher you want to see come into the game even with a now 3-run lead. He has shown time and time again that he has no business on the mound. Sporting the worse ERA on the team at 13.50 he is the posted board star for disaster. It didn’t take him long to once again show his true talent: FAILURE. 14 pitches and three runs later, the Wolfpack from 8 runs down, tied the score at 8 with a 3-run shot down the RF line. How many more times is it going to take before this finally sinks into Gino to comprehend the simple fact that you cannot fix the unfixable? His ERA is now 17.05. Fans are in shock and had Ben Chestnutt brought in to finally cage the runaway Wolfpack. With the score tied at eight, The Canes turn to the only thing they know had to do well: 4th in the ACC and tied at 9th nationally. Go Yard. 394′ to right center by Ian Farrow. Sporting a 1-run lead going into the 9th, for the second game which called for Andrew Walters to be brought in Gino thinks otherwise. Wednesday Ronaldo Gallo and tonight Alejandro Torres, who left after starting Wednesday after just 2 innings. The question that needs to be asked is: Where is Andrew and is there something that is not being said as to his condition? Alejandro unlike Ronaldo needed just 6 pitches to hold off a charging Wolfpack ready to sink their teeth into their 14th straight win.
The only change in the lineup is Scanlon out and Perez in as catcher batting 8th. Gino finally made the switch to Karson Ligon as the starter moving Gage Ziehl to Saturday night. I had thought that Andrew not being used Wednesday was being saved for weekend rotation, but obviously, Gino had other thoughts which is mind-boggling.
After a scoreless first inning where neither side showed much in doing pretty much nothing the Canes for a moment of time had a fire lit under them sending 12 batters to the plate and coming away with 8 runs on just 4 hits. Of course two of the hits, HRs by Edgardo Villegas (394′) and Ian farrow (414′) accounted for 6 of the 8 runs. It also helped to have two throwing errors from the left side of the infield to get additional runners on base to mount the score. All 8 runs were scored before the first out was recorded.
The Wolfpack couldn’t remain caged for long and finally started sniping away at the eight-run lead beginning in the 4th. For the next 4 innings the 8-run lead became nada on a three-run slingshot by Gannon Peebles, his 4th of the year.
Trailing by one after a solo HR by Ian in the bottom half of the 7th, the Wolfpack was looking for the juggler in the 8th with a one-out single. A two-out Hit and run call was on and the ball is hit perfectly through the middle on the right side. By the Grace of the Baseball Gods looking down on us favorably saved probable runners on the corners. The runner at first just happened to be in the wrong spot at the wrong time. The ball hits him in mid-stride ending the inning. That changed the entire momentum of the game and finally caged the Pack once and for all.
Holding on to the barest of leads, common sense dictates for Gino to go with our Closer. However, that like Wednesday was not in Gino’s thinking. As I wrote in the opening “What is Gino thinking? If the outcome had been different, I wouldn’t be the only person asking this question. Again the Baseball Gods blessed us with Alejandro Torres needing 6 pitches to give us game 1 of 3.
Offensively, it was the HR ball that saved us. For the past couple of games, the bats have been quiet with no sign of hits and of course HRs. Tonight, with three, two in the 2nd accounting for 6 runs and the solo go-ahead shot in the 7th. The only other extra-base hit was a lone double in the 4th by Blake Cyr amounted to being stranded on second. After only hitting .129 on Wednesday managed to improve upon that to .270 but we continued to leave double digits on the bases. Ten tonight to go along with 15 strikeouts. These numbers have to improve if we want to stay away from the lost column. Three players with multiple numbers tonight: Blake Cyr 2-4 (double); Renzo Gonzalez 2-4(RBI) and Player Of The Game Ian Farrow 3-5 (2HR,4RBIs)
Pitching the big question that needs to be asked is Where is Andrew? Karson Lost his touch in the 4th inning, giving up a pair of doubles and 2 runs. By the 5th his troubles continued, this time only one run, but hitting a couple of batters. The struggles continued in the 6th with leadoff back-to-back singles and Gino had no choice of dragging this on longer and was forced to go to the BP. Saw the return of Chris Scinta after a scare in game 3 with Florida. Saw limited duty only throwing 15 pitches, bringing in Ronaldo Gallo with one out in the 7th. Why Gallo over Chestnutt, both RH pitchers, one needs to delve into the mind of Gino Dimare. Chestnutt would replace Gallo only allowing 2 hits. Torres is to finish in the 9th.
Time change for tomorrow’s night game to 6PM due to daylight saving time Saturday night. Remember to set your clocks ahead when you get home after the game.