By: Mike Kaffee, Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
The WARPATH continued tonight with the Noles taking the series in commanding fashion 9-1 against a very lackluster Cane’s team. The Canes were outclassed in every category of play from hitting, pitching, to fielding. 2 runs on only 8 hits was all our offense managed to come away with over a two day period is not very indicative for the 5th rank team in the nation. For the second night the Noles went with a LH pitcher, Bryce Hubbert, and for the second night Miami showed that they can’t hit LH pitching. Both nights against LH pitching we hit below the Mendoza line meaning we batted below 200 (.167). While the bats continued to falter for the second day, the defense also continue to self inflict itself making 4 errors tonight to add to the 3 yesterday plus mental errors where we failed in not making the play. Not that it made a difference but 5 of their 9 runs were unearned and they capitalized on every mistake we made. The few opportunities we had to get back in the ballgame like having bases loaded 4 times and only coming away with 1 run again does not speak highly of making the best of opportunities. Strikeouts continued to plague us at the most inop times striking out 12 times to add to the 10 from yesterday. Yes, this has not been a good or even fair showing the pass two days and the Noles for the first time since 2015 have taken the series in the Gables.
The lineup unchanged from last night having 7 of the 9 batters in the lineup batting left handed. Fortunately for tomorrow this lineup will face a RH and that adjustment alone should make a difference. A name that has not been seen since the beginning of the season has been JP Gates. He was our DH last year and a strong relief pitcher that was one of our to-go-to pitchers when needed. Found out tonight he is out for the season and has undergone Tommy John’s surgery. He will be definitely missed especially in the DH role which no one has yet stepped up to fill these shoes. Victor Mederos on the hill.
Things were going well in the first inning until they didn’t. Victor got the 1st 2 out in relatively fast fashion and what should have been a relatively easy 4-3 ground out to end the inning, the ball got stuck in Vilar’s glove and was unable to make the play at first. Like the Noles showed last night and the same tonight, like sharks, they smelled blood in the water and struck with a vengeance. Matheu Nelson takes a full count and delivers a massive shot high over the scoreboard in left to give the Noles the early lead 2-0.
Answering in the first, Like yesterday, Lala reaches first on a walk to continue his on base streak of 22-24 games and now 8 in a row. When Lala reached second on a FC 6-4 and DC single to right to load the bases, it looked very promising having one of our most consistent hitters coming to the plate; Big Brother. CDC did not disappoint with a single to right to cut the lead in half (2-1). Bases still loaded one out, Alex ,DH, has the opportunity to break open the game. First two swings he hits the ball almost in the identical location just foul off the RF wall. Both shots had everyone holding their breath and then exhaling on an effortless swing to strikeout. Bases still loaded two outs with Gabe Rivero batting next in the order. Quick memories of his grand slam just 3 days earlier against Florida Gulf was going through everyone’s mind. Instead, like Alex, Gabe also strikes out which was indicative of what followed the team throughout the game.
The Noles would add to their score in the 3rd with a 2 out double after Miami escaping from two opening walks to start the inning but got a momentary relief on Lala making a 6-3 DP tagging the runner from 3rd and throwing the batter out at first. Just when things looked right, then came the double to extend the lead 3-1.
The 4th was the ugliest of all the uglies that transpire through the course of the game. Three errors, two by Yoyo and one by Mederos, put an additional 2 runs extending the lead to 5-1. If not for the successful laid out catch by CDC in center which if gotten by him would have meant another 2 runs scoring and very possibly gone for an in the park HR
Bottom half of the 4th, Miami had a chance to get some of these self inflected runs back by once again getting the BL on a pair of singles (CDC,CJ Kayfus) and a walk to Pitelli with 2 outs and Lala coming to the plate. Jordan hits a hard grounder over the bag which if making it through would have meant 3 runs. Instead a great play by their 1B in reaching out for the ball and completing the play unassisted. The first and fourth inning were the ONLY innings that the Canes were able to come up with a hit. Sorry, they did get a single to open the 8th, other than the 1st and 4th not even a walk. For 7 of the 9 innings, they went through the motions striking out 12 times.
Gino, started clearing the bench in the 6th, more or less waving the white flag when an additional 3 runs were scored after Alex McFarlane came in to relieve Mederos after hitting a batter to open the 6th. WPs, PBs, set the bases for a pair of singles to finalize the last of the scoring making it 9-1.
Offensively, they probably would have done better if they stayed in the dugout. The last two games was nothing anyone can speak favorably about. CDC was the only one who seem to come to play. Only one with multiple hits (2-4) and the sole RBI. Gino best summed it up:” just very disappointing, played poorly in all phases”
Miami returns tomorrow at 1PM with Daniel Federman on the mound determined to prevent a sweep which has not occurred I believe in 18 years. The big question mark is which Daniel will take to the mound. His last 3 outings have been less than memorable.