Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
First pitch at 5:15 PM. Spring training officially opened for the 2022 season. It was an uninspiring 6 innings to say the least. The good news is that they have a month for the bats to get in sync and their first series is not against a Florida caliber type of team. The bats were extremely cold only able to bound out 8 hits with only one hit into the outfield. The only extra base hit came in the 2nd inning coming off a misplayed ball. Only three recorded outs to the OF of which one the CF called off the SS and 2B. Coming off a two month layoff, I guess it is expected the the bats are a bit slow starting out. For the next week or so the pitchers will be front and center developing their skills and making the hitters want to spend more time in the batting cage.
Inaugural day, 6 hurlers were on the mound throwing the rock and while the batters were struggling at the plate trying to get the ball through the infield, none of the pitchers were extremely masterful on the mound if you are counting strikeouts as an indicator. The pitchers who showed best came after our two frontrunners (Rosario, McFarlane) for the weekend rotation came off the mound. Three innings each along with Rafe Schlesinger. Matt Raudelunas, Anthony Arguelles, and Alejandro Torres each had one inning to display their wares. For today, the BP outpitch the starters.
Alejandro Rosario and Alex McFarlane opposed each other through the first 3 innings. Alejandro looked good in the first with one K and two balls never leaving the infield. In the second, a smitten of control problems with a lead off single by Dominic Pitelli (first hit of preseason),followed hitting Yohandy (Yoyo) Morales. Yoyo would be the first of 3 to get hit by pitch today. Other two being Jacob Burke and Max Romero. Marked this up to first scrimmage. After striking out Lorenzo Carrier with runners on 1st and 2nd, JD Jones punches a single through the right side of the infield for the inaugural first run of preseason.
Alex McFarlane for his three inning rotation had issues starting in the 2nd inning. The first inning, we got to see the speed and control expected of Alex with 2 Ks, but in the second luck would have it in a misplaced judgement call in left costing 2 runs and possible injury to Lorenzo Carrier in his attempt to catch the ball. Mike Rosario, coming off of IR from the fall made a good first appearance with a soft grounder to the 3rd base line (opposite field) not worthy of a throw to first. Alex hitting Burke before striking out JP Gates with runners on 1st and 2nd. Dorian Gonzalez would tie the score at one with a grounder through the middle; his first of two hits for today. Runners on the corners, strikes out Henry Wallen bringing the plate Renzo Gonzalez. Renzo managed to do what so very few were able to do today; hitting the ball to the OF. It was a sinker to LF which Carrier got off to a late start and then tried to make a shoe string grab of the ball. Not only did he fail in doing so, but left him laying on the ground allowing both runners to score. Play was stopped and eventually made his way to the dugout on his own but would not appear for the remainder of the scrimmage. As I mentioned during my fall wrap-up, I related that I was unimpressed with his fielding in RF losing the ball off the bat but his bat was a different story. He can hit, although he struck out on his only appearance at the plate today. Alex final inning, he bounced back nicely striking out Yoyo to lead off, but after that, it became control issues. CJ Kayfus taking advantage of the shift goes opposite field through the infield. CJ would make the rounds to 3B via WP/PB. This was before walking Jones to put runners on the corners. Zach Levenson picked up the RBI on a 6-3 groundout.
Both pitchers need work; more so with Alex. Next rotation had Rafe Schesinger for which the bottom half of the next three innings by Raudelunas, Arguelles, and Torres. Sounds like a law firm. Rafe pitched 3 scoreless innings as did the law firm of RAT. For the 3 innings pitched only gave up one hit: a single to Dorian Gonzalez in the 4th, along with 4 Ks. I don’t remember much about him from the fall, but expect to see a lot more of him this spring if he keeps pitching like he did today. Might be reason JD decided on him pitching 3 innings rather than the singleton the other three pitched in the second half today.
The RAT pack was just as impressive not giving up a single run. Matt Raudelunas 1st two outs went quickly with a 4-3 groundout and strikeout, before walking Gaby Gutierrez. Hits Romero and then gets Gaby out attempting to steal 3rd (2-5). Anthony Arguelles pitched the 5th. Credited with the deepest shot of the day to right by Renzo Gonzalez only to be caught a few feet in front of the RC field fence for out #1. A walk to Mike Rosario and check single by Burke had runners on 1st and 2nd one out. This set up an inning ending 4-6-3 DP (only one in the game). Alejandro Torres finished up the day’s festivities. Breezed through the 1st two outs with a towering pop out (Levenson) to short followed by Pitelli striking out. This set up Yoyo for a walk who makes it all the way to third on a PB. I give an E2 for lack of response and urgency giving Yoyo the green light all the way from first to third.
Maybe I was wrong about the BP as being our Achilles Heel. However, it is the beginning of spring scrimmage and the bats have yet to thaw out from the 2 month hiatus.
Offensively, but much of an offensive punch. It was all small ball with that questionable sinking double which should have been an out or a single at best. Realistically, only two balls hit where the OF had to make a play. The hardest hit ball all game was by Yoyo on a fierce grounder to second, where Dorian Gonzalez fielded the ball in self preservation on a scorching liner back to him. Dorian also holds top honor for being the only batter with multiple hits 2-3(RBI).
The defense had plenty of opportunity to field the ball and came away flawless. Would really like to see them maintain this on a consistent basis which has always been an issue.
Tomorrow they go at it again with first pitch at the frozen tundra scheduled for 730. Bring your long johns and warm thermos of your favorite beverage. Expect temp to start in the low 50’s and working downward.