I stayed around an extra day to see Zack Von Rosenberg pitch. I also found out yesterday that I’d be seeing Brooks Pounders at some point today. Neither plan worked out. Von Rosenberg lasted less than an inning, allowing seven runs in 0.2 innings. That brought Pounders on early. Unfortunately, after warming up, the right hander was ruled ineligible.
Pounders was originally supposed to start a suspension tonight, but West Virginia appealed for him to start tomorrow so he could pitch tonight. However, he wasn’t placed on the lineup card, making him ineligible for the game.
As for Von Rosenberg, he started the game hitting a batter, and followed that up with a bloop single that dropped right between left fielder Cole White and shortstop Andy Vasquez, with neither fielder taking charge of the ball. From that point, Von Rosenberg started getting hit hard. His next three at-bats yielded two doubles and a sacrifice fly. He followed that up by hitting his second batter of the inning.
The lone highlight of the inning was a strikeout, which was finished off by a nice curveball from Von Rosenberg. However, he followed up the strikeout with another single, bringing in two more runs, and ending his night. Jhonathan Ramos allowed two more runs to score before closing out the first.
“Honestly I just didn’t pitch well,” Von Rosenberg said. “I didn’t have my best stuff tonight, and I went out there and had a poor performance. I’m just gonna get back to my routine, and come back in five days, and do it again in Lexington.”
The biggest thing that has been hurting Von Rosenberg this year has been fastball command. When he doesn’t have the command, he leaves the ball up in the zone and gets hit, which is what happened tonight. That’s especially bad when he’s working in the 88-90 MPH range, which is where he was sitting tonight, touching 91.
“In games that I’m successful I make the adjustments early, but in games where I get hit around I don’t make the adjustment like I’m supposed to,” Von Rosenberg said about his command.
West Virginia manager Gary Robinson described one of Von Rosenberg’s problems as trying to place the fastball, rather than trying to drive the fastball.
“Instead of placing the pitch, let’s drive the pitch,” Robinson said. “Let’s throw the pitch with some heart in it, with some guts in it. And he shows signs. He just hasn’t been able to put it together yet. It may take another 4-5 starts for him. His issues are not physical. His delivery is pretty clean, everything is good. It’s more of a change in mentality. Lots of times, that’s tougher than any delivery issue you try to fix. I’m confident that he will be able to get that done.”
“It’s delivery, it’s mentality, it’s a lot of things that are hand in hand that I’m trying to…I need to apply in the game, but I’m just not doing it right now,” Von Rosenberg said.
After allowing the two inherited runners to score in the first, Ramos settled down. He ended up throwing 5.1 innings, allowing three hits, one walk, and striking out four. Meanwhile, the West Virginia offense battled back, scoring three in the first, and two more in the sixth inning, cutting the lead to two.
“Ramos stabilized us and allowed us to get back in to the game,” Robinson said of Ramos, who was transferred to West Virginia from Bradenton earlier today.
Victor Black came on in the seventh inning and looked good at first. He was working in the 91-93 MPH range, driving the ball down in the zone, and working inside on both left handers and right handers. Black retired the side in order, with one strikeout. He came back out in the eighth, and allowed four runs, three earned, on three hits. He was pulled before getting an out, and replaced with second baseman Kevin Mort, who allowed two inherited runners to score.
Robinson described tonight as a test for Black. He normally has been pitching one inning at a time, with two days rest in between. Tonight he pitched with one day of rest since his last outing, and attempted two innings. He looked great in the first inning, but was elevating the ball in the second, and getting hit around.
“He lost the feel of his fastball. He was up. But also he ran out of pitches,” Robinson said.
The Pirates are taking things slow with Black, who I’ll have more on in tomorrow’s Daily Prospect Profile.
West Virginia ended up losing 12-5 to Greensboro. They play two more times at home before hitting the road next week, starting with a series in Lexington. Tonight’s game wraps up my coverage of West Virginia for this trip. I hope to catch them at least one more time this year. If you’ve enjoy the coverage from State College last week and West Virginia this week, and wish to see more live reports from Pirates Prospects, consider donating a few dollars to help the site grow. All donations go toward increasing the site’s live coverage of the minor league system. The donation button can be found on the top left column of this article. You can also support the site by purchasing a copy of the 2011 Prospect Guide and the 2011 Annual, which are currently on sale together in the Products section of the site.