Canes Baseball: Saturday Scrimmage (1/28/2023)

Mike Kaffee

Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
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What should have been a pitching performance from our Big Guns was more of a performance from them shooting blanks. I would not give them high marks and I am sure the scouts weren’t over the top impressed by what they saw. Andrew gave a commendable outing only convinced me more that he would be more of an impact for the team as the Closer rather than a starter. What our Closer showed tonight in the way of Alex Walsh would not give me the warm fuzzies of getting the job done as Andrew proved over and over during the course of last season. Then again, his performance during the post-season was anything like we saw during the course of the regular season where he was unhittable. Gino and JD are going to have to think hard as to which direction will give the most to the team. As for Alejandro Rosario, tonight just confirmed in my mind that he is definitely not a starter. Throws in the high 90’s, but his control is iffy and very hittable.

Not certain if tonight was supposed to be a 7 inning scrimmage, but having two pitchers pulled early might have been the reason for a shortened session. JD did the same last night and this just might be a new line of thinking for the preseason. They were not going by the rule of 5 batters and that’s it no matter the out count. Each inning was played through to the final out.

That being said, let’s move to what transpired tonight. Neither pitching nor hitting was overwhelming. Eight hits over the course of 6 innings with no player with multiple hits. Passed balls, sloppy infield work, and not one of our catchers showing that they are the man behind the plate. Have 3 weeks to drive home the message that if they want Omaha, they are going to step up their game.

Andrew Walters and Alejandro Rosario opened the session before a house load of radar guns and note-taking by the scouts. Each pitched 3 innings. Andrew had a couple of WP/PBs with a pair of walks but did not relinquish a hit and only gave up one run via the PB. With speeds in the low 90’s 7 of the 9 outs were by way of the Big K. No doubt he will get the starting call, but if our offense is cold, it might become critical to have someone reliable to come out of the BP and assure a margin of victory in a close contest. If the offense lives up to what they should do in putting up a lot of runs then we might see little of the Closer and he becomes a non-factor. I am not there just yet thinking our offense is going to blow the opposition out of the water. If we were casting a vote, I would want Andrew Closing.

Alejandro was pitching opposite to Andrew and like last year you never know what to expect from him taking to the mound. Tonight was no different. Pitching in the high 90’s, our batters had his number pounding out 3 hits. Dario Gomez leading off didn’t let any grass grow under his spikes, sending a drive to deep right-center and like Zach Levenson from last night trying to stretch a double into a triple got caught up in the relay OF-short-3B for a clear cut out. Edgardo Villegas batting second struck early for a solid single only to get picked off at first. In the second, once again the lead-off batter Gaby Gutierrez, singles, followed by Dominic Pitelli walking. 5-4-3 DP bails him out of the second but it was only a matter of time before runs would be put up on the board. Happened in the 3rd, in what should have been the final out opened the door. WP/PB third strike-out put Jacoby Long on first. He Walks Renzo Gonzalez, followed by an E5 puts a run on the board. Too many inconsistencies in his pitching performance. He is definitely not starter material and it took forever last year for Gino and JD to realize this, but we have a very limited number of pitchers to select from. He just might start because we have no one else and we get just hope he can make it beyond the 3rd or 4th inning. Another reason for having Andrew as Closer. Need someone positive to stop the bleeding.

Renzo Scinta scheduled for two never got to see his last batter. JD pulled him in the 5th after recording his second out. Walked Jacoby who stole second followed by Renzo Gonzalez hitting a long RBI double to right-center bringing in Long. The move to bring in Carlos Lequerica to have a righty-righty faceoff against Yoyo. This would probably happen during the regular season so I took it for that reason rather than his not performing. Strategy worked in having Yoyo ground out 6-3. The 6th, hits a batter,Ariel Garcia, and give up a single to Dario Gomez, caught stealing but no runs.

Same story for Myles Caba. Only pitched 1.2 innings. JD pulled him after he got himself into a jam in the 5th loading the bases with two outs. Thinking Closer, JD brings in Alex Walsh to face Gaby Gutierrez. Myles got into this predicament with back-to-back singles by Jason Torres and Dorian Gonzalez. With one out walked Carlos Perez to load the bases. JD was going to pull him at this time but Walsh was starting his warm-ups. Myles endured striking out Ian Farrow looking. The switch was made and it was Alex versus Gaby, BL. Probably the most dramatic part of the game. Gaby hits a scourger to Yoyo and barely gets the out at second to end the threat. This is where my doubts come regarding Alex as Closer. Gives up an opening walk to Zach who ends up getting called out on an attempted steal to second. Then with two outs, Kaden Martin lays into one sending it to airmail special delivery deep over the left field fence for the first homer for the preseason. This gives me a deep concern as to JD/Gino’s choice of Andrew’s possible replacement.

Offensively, not the greatest display of power with two extra bases (Dario Gomez, Renzo Gonzalez) and a solo HR by Kaden Martin. Three runs for the evening on eight hits and as stated earlier no one with multiple hits. If we are going to win games we have to do better than this. Defensively, not comfortable on several of the throws to first being into the dirt and balls getting by our catchers and unsuccessful throws on stealing attempts. A lot of work needs to be done before facing off against Penn State or we might have another embarrassing loss like we had against Harvard on a Friday night in week two.

We do it one more time this week, starting tomorrow or I should say today at 12:30 


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