Mike Kaffee

Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
[email protected]

Not as painful as last night but overall I don’t see any miracles arising from today’s outing concerning our pitching. Defense, definitely tightened up without any errors or mental mistakes, and the hitting keeps on producing. I can’t say because of our inadequate pitching or they are ready for prime time which our pitching staff is definitely not. We had our second look at Myles Caba and he looked better than his first outing which occurred during the “unofficial” preseason last week where he threw one inning.  He faced 4 batters and gave up one HR, 2 walks, and a single. Today, the rust came off from being on the IR listing, and was more accurate in his approach and delivery. Ashton Crowther did not pitch this weekend but made his debut last week, also coming off of IR, pitching to four batters and not giving up a hit. Both pitchers will be a welcome addition to our struggling pitching staff. Yet to see Brian Walters who is scheduled to rejoin the active roster in a couple of weeks, but I am sure it will be a slow process before he takes on the duties, I am guessing as our closer. There was one concern that developed today coming in the 2nd inning when JT Caruso left early from the mound after having pitched to the first batter. Talking with the other pitchers, it was a precautionary move from a blister to one of his fingers. Losing any pitcher at this point is bad enough, but this injury sounds short-lived, and will be rejoining his fellow pitchers in the BP probably by next week.

Week one of the preseason concluded with 4 innings and unfortunately, did not exactly end on a high note from a pitching standpoint. Jordan Vargas and JT Caruso opened today’s festivities with two different pitching styles. Vargas was very deliberate in his delivery finding his spots, while Caruso was forceful with his delivery finding little accuracy in locating the zone. I remember JT from the fall and every pitch he threw knocked his hat off. Today not an issue, just not able to find the plate.

Jordan got off to a very good start in the first with minimum work getting the first three batters faced. Things got a little off-track in the second with Lucas Costello opening with a double followed by an RBI single by Eric Fernandez. Proceeded to get the next three he faced, the last two coming by way of the strikeout. Got a bit more off-track in the third with a lead-off single by Gaby Gutierrez and then Antonio Jimenez ruined his day by taking it long to center in today’s only round-tripper. From his showing last week and today, Jordan looks to be a candidate to see a bit of action coming out of the BP

Not so much from JT Caruso. Just too forceful in his delivery with little accuracy in not being able to find the plate. Never completed the 1st inning with a pair of walks, HP, and an opening single. Momentary reprieve striking out Antonio Jimenez looking with bases loaded only to walk Dorian on 4 straight pitches to conclude the inning. He pitched to one batter in the second, Jason Torres, who left him a goodbye gift with a hard-hit double. One of the trainers came out and JT called it a day for him.

JT was relieved by Myles Caba to finish the inning. Myles walked his first batter coming in cold from the dugout but got into the rhythm quickly getting the next 3 outs, two by way of strikeouts. Different pitching styles, with much more precision in his delivery. As sharp as he looked coming in cold to replace JT, fell off the wagon the next inning. Opened with a walk, single, and another walk to load the bases. An RBI single by Daniel Cuvet left the bases still loaded for Jack Scanlon, with no outs. Jack took a 3rd strike looking, and again JD was cautious not wanting to challenge Caba just coming off of IR and not having sufficiently warmed up before taking to the mound to replace JT. Both Vargas and Caba don’t want to see either of them go back on IR. Pitching is stretched too thin as it is.

The final set of pitchers were Slaide Naturman and Chris Scinta. Both saw action on Friday which is telling you how not so deep our BP is. With two days rest, after throwing one inning on Friday, Slaide painted a prettier picture today. Two runs on Friday and today 1,2,3 in order. That’s the good news, the bad news from his opposite who also pitched Friday, Chris Scinta. Chris has fallen into a  hole and just can’t climb out. He continues his downward spiral from the fall preseason, and today it didn’t get any better. Opening with a double from Torres and taking Urso to the wall in right, set it up for Blake to get an RBI single followed by a pair of walks to load the bases. Like last night with Chris Diaz, JD had seen more than enough and called it quits before seeing if Chris would work himself out of it.

Offensively, another good day for our sluggers. Whether it is them or our poor-quality pitching is yet to be seen. Six runs on 10 hits. Three for doubles (Jason Torres(2), Lucas Costello) and one HR(Antonio Jimenez). three had multiple-hit days: Eric Fernandez 2-2(RBI); Gaby Gutierrez 2-3; and Jason Torres 2-2 (2doubles).

The defense showed marked improvement over last night which was a runaway freight train that crashed and burned. Most notably was Lorenzo Carrier who looked like an entirely different person from last night. His arm you don’t challenge as evident by keeping a man on second after a long fly out to right. He played his position which he did not do last night accounting for a couple of misjudgments. On the negative side, the fielding of JD Urso. Maybe he is still trying to find his way playing the position and getting acquainted with D1 pitching. There was a lot of hype about him joining the team, but he has yet to live up to expectations both hitting and fielding. Made a couple of errors last night and another today. He is not a Dominic Pitelli. The left side of the infield is not going to to the same. We were most definitely spoiled with the play of Yoyo and Dom.

The clock is ticking and wondering if this team is ready come the start of the regular season. Hitting appears to be so, but defensively the jury is still out but the pitching is a whole other story in itself. We have a couple of cupcake series before our Achilles Heel being the Florid Gators who continually have our number. We have a couple of more weeks to patch our holes and prey the team will be prepared to meet the challenge of the 2024 season and hopefully the postseason. No details as of yet for the coming week. Word has it possibly being Wednesday followed by the 3 day weekend. Will keep you posted. 


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