Altoona Curve Recap: 6/1/11
Things didn’t go quite as well today for the Curve as yesterday and another key player left the game early. The strange thing about today’s 7-3 loss was the offense looked better and the defense was definitely better. Aaron Thompson took the mound and was hit around a bit in the first but gave up just one run. He looked real good in the 2nd inning getting three groundballs and pitched well through 5 innings with some help on defense. It was a hot day today at the park and he was getting up there in pitches so he probably shouldn’t have came out for the 6th inning. Three hard hit balls later he had given Trenton the lead and he left with a man on base who would eventually score. Overall he pitched okay, nothing special, he looked good versus one lefty (Cody Johnson) who had trouble picking him up, going down twice on strikeouts. He was followed by Matt McSwain who got battered around, even getting some good outfield defense which kept the damage to just 3 runs in 2.2 IP.
The offense came in the 1st inning in part due to an error. With Quincy Latimore up and a runner on first Latimore hit a hard grounder to SS in the hole, the throw to 2nd was in plenty of time but they had no chance to get Latimore and the poor ill-advised throw sailed into the dugout. Jordy Mercer followed him with a bloop single which scored Latimore for an early 1-0 lead. The Curve were facing Manny Banuelos, a top pitching prospect in the Yankees system, and while not dominating, he did pitch well. Altoona scored their 2nd run off him by getting a leadoff walk to Matt Curry, a soft line into CF by Jeremy Farrell, a passed ball that moved both runners up and a groundout from Tony Sanchez that brought the run home.
Altoona wasted a good chance to score in the 6th as they got three straight one out hits but the bottom of the lineup couldn’t bring the runs home. That’s when Thompson fell apart and McSwain provided no relief as he gave up a three run homer to Cody Johnson to put the game out of reach. They would each score one more run for the 7-3 final.
For the player summaries, Brock Holt in his usual leadoff spot didn’t quite have the day he had yesterday, when he had 4 hits, but his defense was again strong and he made a great diving play up the middle keeping the 1st inning damage to just one run off Thompson. He struck out swinging his first AB, drew a walk his 2nd AB but erased himself on a caught stealing,pitcher to 1B to SS. He hit a weak groundball in his final AB vs Banuelos. He faced a lefty reliever his 4th time up and flew out to RF before a tough strikeout in his last AB. With an 0-2 count the pitcher came inside at his feet, and as he was getting out of the way he actually swung the bat falling down, he had no intention of swinging but he did for the tough luck K.
Starling Marte, who was taken out of yesterday’s game, was not in the lineup for today, still no word of what happened to him. The bad part was Jeremy Farrell left today’s game in the 6th inning and just like with Marte, he never gave any indication of an injury. Before leaving he actually had a decent game and looked pretty good in the field, a far cry from yesterday’s game with Pribanic on the mound. He hit a deep fly to left-center his first AB for an out before dropping in 2 soft liners his next two plate appearances. He was replaced by Greg Picart who finished the game at 3B.
Matt Curry had a good game in the boxscore but a 2-3 with a walk looks much better than how his day went. He looked bad his first AB striking out but it was against a top prospect who is also a lefty. His second AB was a six pitch walk, with a foul ball included in there and two pitches that missed the strike zone bad including ball four. His next AB was a broken bat single dumped into a CF, he put a nice swing on it and the CF was probably fooled by the big cut as he took a step back but it landed well in front of him. His 2nd hit was a weak grounder to the thirdbaseman, well where he was standing before he went to cover 3B with a runner stealing. It was a good day at the plate, one that you would take every day if you’re the batter but nothing special. In the field he needs work, he was bad yesterday and today had a liner hit right to him that just bounced off his glove which was somehow scored a single. He also couldn’t help an errant throw from Thompson in the 5th that skipped past him.
Tony Sanchez was the DH so nothing to report on the defensive end but he batted four times. His first AB he didn’t take the bat off his shoulder and struck out on five pitches. He had a real nice AB his 2nd time up, making the pitcher work hard before getting the groundball that scored Curry in the 4th inning. His next time up he was the third of three straight soft liner singles following Curry’s broken bat hit and Farrell’s last hit. In his last AB he worked a 6 pitch walk. He showed good patience at the plate today, something that was missing early yesterday, as he saw over 20 pitches total.
Jordy Mercer had a tough day at the plate, a lot like yesterday and the Curve were facing two totally different pitchers so he looks to be in a slump. He did get a hit his 1st AB but it was just a soft single to RF bringing home Quincy Latimore. He then followed that with the following three AB’s,a weak pop to SS, weak grounder to SS and for the 3rd time in two games another weak pop up to SS. On defense he looked strong again for a 2nd straight day including a nice running catch near the LF line that helped Thompson out early. As bad as he’s looked at the plate, he’s looked just the opposite in the field these past two days.
Quincy Latimore had a decent day at bat but he showed good speed on the basepaths and in the field including a nice running catch on a ball he initially misjudged. He hit the ball hard his first AB but right at the SS. He had a nice double down the RF line his 2nd time up. His 3rd time he fell behind 0-2 quickly and grounded out weakly to SS on a pitch too close to take. He had a nice piece of hitting his next time driving a single into RF, the third time in two games he hit the ball that way with some authority. His final AB he struck out looking to end the game and disagreed with the call but it looked close enough not to take.
Due to the roster moves earlier in the week and with Farrell leaving early and Marte not playing, the lineup had a lot of holes in it so there isn’t as much to report on this game. Tomorrow night Jeff Locke will be on the mound and I will be reporting on that game as well. Hopefully he will have the Thompson defense behind him that made his start look better and not the treatment Pribanic got with 4 of his 5 hits being groundballs, three of them very playable.