Orlando Castro Effective Through Six, Stetson Allie Homers Again
In Lakewood tonight, the West Virginia Power won their sixth game in a row over the BlueClaws and again Stetson Allie provided the highlight of the night. In the fourth inning, the big first baseman hit an impressive two-run homer to center field to give West Virginia a lead they would not lose. Orlando Castro pitched well and showed the excellent control that he has worked with all season. In 11 starts and 61.2 innings, he has now walked just five batters and the lefty lowered his ERA to 2.04 on the year, with one run over six innings tonight.
The Power took a 4-1 lead in the seventh, as Junior Sosa drove a two-run double into the left-center gap. Lakewood worked their way back against Jason Creasy in relief, but fell one run short, giving the Power a 4-3 win in game two of the four game series. The BlueClaws had 12 hits on the game, but it was West Virginia that made the most of their five hits and two walks.
Just like yesterday, I’ll take a look at the hitters to watch, followed by an in-depth summary of Castro’s night and some game notes.
Max Moroff led off the game with a five pitch AB, grounding out to second base. Unlike yesterday, he was up there hacking. He struck out swinging in his second AB, but reached first when the ball got away from the catcher. Moroff tried to steal second but was thrown on by a wide margin. The BlueClaws catcher is one I’ve seen often, Chace Numata, and he has a great arm. In his third AB, Moroff lined out to center field on a 2-1 pitch, making solid contact, but right at the fielder. In the seventh inning, he was robbed of extra bases on a great diving catch deep in the right-center gap.
Dilson Herrera came up swinging too in the first, but the next four pitches missed for a walk. Herrera drew a lot of throws from the pitcher, but never got to run. In his second plate appearance, he struck out on a check swing on a ball in the dirt. Herrera also reached as the ball got away from the catcher — the second batter in a row that happened to. Again, the pitcher paid close attention to him at first base. In his third time up, this time against a new hard-throwing reliever, Herrera walked on five pitches. He flew out to center field in his last AB, swinging at both pitches he saw.
Josh Bell struck out looking on three pitches in his first time up. The pitcher worked Bell inside in his second AB, a long battle that saw him strike out on a ball up and out of the strike zone. He made good contact in his third AB, hitting a long fly to center field that was caught. He had an infield single in his fourth AB, a ball hit up the middle that Roman Quinn ranged far to get, but couldn’t complete the play.
Stetson Allie was coming off an impressive display yesterday, hitting an extremely far home run and a solid line drive he was robbed on. In his first AB tonight, he hit a hard grounder to third base on a 1-0 pitch, ending the first inning. What Allie did yesterday was impressive, hitting a ball at least 450 feet to center field, but what he did tonight might be more impressive. He hit another homer to straight away center field, about 420 feet and this one was a ball inside that he muscled out.
In his third time up, Allie saw some tough pitching from Jordan Guth, who was hitting the outside of the plate with 94-96 MPH on three straight pitches. Allie fouled one off, then ground into an inning ending double play. In his fourth plate appearance, he flew out to center field on a sky high ball.
Eric Wood led off the second inning with a pop up to shortstop, after hitting a long foul down the right field line. Wood followed Allie’s impressive homer with a long drive to center field for an out. Like I mentioned yesterday, this park plays big, it is hard to hit it out, so even a fly out to the center field warning track is a shot. Wood drove a hard double into the left-center gap in his third AB. He struck out looking on a breaking ball in a long fourth AB.
Raul Fortunato lined out to right field on a 2-2 pitch in his first AB. He hit the ball good a few times yesterday as well. In his next AB, he hit another 2-2 pitch, this time a grounder to shortstop. Fortunato hustled down the line and beat out the routine grounder. Fortunato then stole second base without a throw, as Numata dropped the ball on the transfer.
His speed got him on base again in his third AB, as a soft ball hit back to the pitcher that was dropped as he tried to rush the throw. In that AB, Fortunato hit two balls hard, but foul. He scored easily from first base on a double by Junior Sosa. In his fourth time up, he grounded out to third base. He doesn’t get cheated at the plate, goes up there swinging and makes a lot of contact, plus runs down the line like he is on fire, great hustle all night.
Castro Looks Good Over Six Innings
Orlando Castro started the game with a weak grounder to second base off top prospect Roman Quinn, followed by a solid liner to right field from 17-year-old Carlos Tocci. He then got the next batter to ground into a double play, with a very athletic turn from Max Moroff and a nice stretch from Stetson Allie to complete the play. It was a quick efficient inning for Castro, who hit 86-88 MPH and kept the ball inside on hitters.
Castro started the second inning with a pop up to left field from lefty cleanup hitter Art Charles. Coming into the day, Castro hadn’t allowed a homer or walk to a left-handed batter. He got the next batter to pop up to second base and followed that with a two pitch fly out to center field. Another quick and efficient inning for the young lefty.
Castro allowed a lead-off single in the third, followed by two straight line outs to left field. He didn’t throw many pitches in those three AB’s and they were all hit pretty hard. The last out came on the first pitch to Quinn and was hit well too, but on the ground to shortstop.
The fourth started off bad, a grounder to shortstop in the hole that Moroff stopped, but lost his footing and didn’t make a throw. The next ball was a sharp low liner up the middle. Castro then got a strikeout on Charles, followed by a great diving catch by Junior Sosa on a tailing liner in right-center. Castro then struck out 2011 first round draft pick Larry Greene Jr. to end the inning.
Castro settled down in the fifth, retiring the side in order quickly. He struck out the first batter looking, then got two pop ups, the second had a near collision between Dilson Herrera, who was calling for the ball and a sliding Josh Bell, who caught the ball.
In the sixth inning, Roman Quinn led off by serving a soft liner into left field. The next hit ball was a bit of bad luck for Castro, with the speedy Quinn on base and a righty up, Herrera was playing towards second base to cover. The batter hit a soft grounder that would have been a double play, but there was no play on it, although Herrera ranged far back to his left to stop the ball. After a caught stealing at third base, another right-handed batter did the same exact thing, this one getting past Herrera into right field, putting runners on the corners with one out.
Castro struck out Art Charles for the second out, then he gave up a hard liner to left field that made the score 2-1. Castro struck out Larry Greene Jr. to end the inning.
He left after six innings, giving up one run on eight hits, no walks and he struck out five batters. He didn’t keep the ball on the ground like he usually does, but still pitched well and had some tough luck hits he gave up.
**The Lakewood pitcher was 2012 first round pick Shane Watson, who throws a heavy diet of quality breaking balls. Last time out, the Power touched him up for five runs in 2.2 innings.
**I talked to an NL scout prior to the game and he told me that he had readings yesterday for Joely Rodriguez that were 90-92, touching 93 MPH. That is three miles per hour higher than the stadium gun, so take the two numbers into account when you read them tonight and the next two days. The numbers for Rodriguez are usually right in that middle ground between the stadium and scout guns.
**Both Josh Bell and Raul Fortunato showed off strong arms during their only throws of the game. Fortunato didn’t look too confident in the field, not getting great reads off the bat on many pop ups and all of his easy catches he caught like he was losing the ball in the sun, though obviously that wasn’t happening during a night game.
**Jason Creasy followed Castro and gave up a long double, which came around to score. He was throwing 91-93 MPH, working batters inside, though he was missing a lot with his breaking ball. Creasy was using all four of his pitches, a four seamer, sinker, change and slider, though the four seamer was by far the most effective pitch. He came out for the ninth and gave up a homer to make it 4-3. Against the next batter, he struck him out throwing two straight 94 MPH pitches. Creasy finished the game with an easy grounder to second base, picking up his second save.