Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
PAINFUL with an exclamation point is probably the kindness word I can use to describe the ugliness of tonight’s performance by the defense and the pitching staff. Things got to be so sloppy that after 2 1/2 innings JD pulled the defense off the field and probably read them the riot act. It was like the defense never learned how to field a ball and the number of wild pitches not being able for the catcher to stop became too numerous to keep up with. Between the number of errors, actual and mental and the poor display of quality pitching JD is going to have to reevaluate exactly how he is going to proceed from here. It was an evening that both the defensive and pitching coaches would rather wipe from their memory. Tonight reconfirmed what I have been saying about our BP and it hasn’t been all that pleasant. For the batters, it was a whole different story. For the 5 innings played (which never concluded) 15 runs on 18 hits, 3 of which were bombs in the grandest style. No doubters sailing over 400 feet. Five of the 13 hits were for extra bases (doubles). The offense made up for their lackluster performance of last night being held to just 6 hits. What this tells you is that our starters are going to have to go deep into the game and not have to rely on the BP to give us the W. The BP tonight did not hold up well supported by sloppy defensive play.
Tonight being our first-night scrimmage JD went with Herick Hernandez and Ben Chestnutt to start the festivities. There are high expectations of Hernandez on being one of the 3 starters and JD keeps on hoping that Chestnutt can turn things around this season. If you have followed my reports on Chestnutt you know my feelings about him and tonight didn’t change my opinion. Only confirmed that he should never be a starter.
The handwriting was on the wall on the second pitch of the game from Herick to Lucas Costello at the plate. They didn’t make the scoreboard high enough to stop the ball from sailing way over the inscription on top of the scoreboard. Herick managed to work his way out of another run being put on the board after Lorenzo Carrier misjudged a routine fly ball to right which put Jason Torres on third. Here was just another confirmation on why Carrier would better support the team as the DH than be fear of any ball hit to him as to whether he would be able to make the play. That was not the only misjudgment that would be accounted against him tonight. Herick managed to strike out AJ Gotia salvaging the inning with one run. His second inning saw another run on the board with back-to-back walks and a pair of errors by Urso at short and AJ Goytia behind home plate. Also, throw in a WP or two. Herick third inning didn’t improve upon his first two innings. A couple of WPs and a run-scoring error once again by Gotia overthrowing 1B on a dropped third strike. Not exactly an impressive performance for someone being considered for a starting role.
Ben didn’t exactly have an award evening performance for himself giving up 3 runs in the first and 2 in the third. Two hits to show in the first from a lead-off single by Edgardo Villegas who got thrown out at second on an attempted steal, but after that it was all downhill with hitting Dorian Gonzalez, an error at short topped off with a couple of WPs scoring Dorian and capping the inning with a second appearance from Edgardo with a 2 RBI double. The second inning was a reprieve with no runs with only a lead-off single by Blake Cyr to account for who was left stranded on second. It was back to the long ball in the third with a blast off the bat of Daniel Cuvet which sailed into never-never land scoring Renzo Gonzalez who walked opening the inning. For our first two starters, this was a look of the horror that was to follow with the defense and from the mound.
Nick Robert and Chris Diaz were handed over the reins in the 4th. It looked like the change in pitching things started looking up with a scoreless 4th inning on both pitchers. This was short-lived because everything fell apart totally defensively and pitching-wise. To highlight rather than go over all the gruesome details each gave up two runs each. Nick by way of a towering shot from Jack Scanlon, hit batter, a walk couple of WPs, and an RBI single by Daniel Cuvet with his second at-bat for the inning. Chris’s two runs came without an out before he was replaced by Brandon Olivera after four batters without an out. Back-to-back doubles by Jake Kulikowski and Jason Torres scoring one followed by an RBI single by AJ Gotia. After walking his 4th batter, ended his day and brought in Brandon to finish out the inning which he was unable to do. Back-to-back singles by Costello and Urso followed by a repeat performance by Kulikowski with his second at-bat of the inning with a 2-run RBI double with Torres ending it on his 2nd go-around with an RBI single was enough seen by JD to finally scream UNCLE ending the scrimmage for the night and one he quickly wants to forget for so many reasons. He realizes that the BP is not what he expected and that a lot of work needs to be done between now and opening day with the defense.
While the pitching and defense were having a night they didn’t want to remember, the offense was rejoicing for the 18 hits that they took away from tonight’s scrimmage. Five players with multiple hits: Lucas Costello 3-4(double,HR,2RBI); Jake Kulikowski 2-4(2doubles,2RBIs); Jason Torres 2-4(double,RBI); Daniel Cuvet 2-2(HR,,2RBIs); Edgardo Villegas 3-3(Double,2RBI).
This was an embarrassing night from a pitching and fielding perspective. With the start of the regular season less than a month away, there is a lot of work to be done. Tomorrow is another day and like everything else, they will put this behind them and move forward. At least let’s hope so.
First pitch at 1230 PM