The Altoona Curve dropped their series opener against the Binghamton Mets 3-2 on Friday night. In his last game before being promoted, left fielder Andrew Lambo had both RBIs with a single in the 4th inning. David Bromberg started and took the loss for the Curve pitching 6 innings and surrendering 6 hits, 3 ER, 2 BB, while tabbing 4 K’s. He threw 97 pitches, with only 52 for strikes.
On the night, the Curve totaled nine hits, which is a positive compared to their hit totals earlier this season, but only Lambo was able to deliver the timely hit needed to plate some runs. Both catcher Carlos Paulino and DH Charlie Cutler had two hits, with Paulino’s double the only extra base hit on the night.
Bromberg struggles with command
Although Bromberg’s final line wasn’t atrocious, he was not particularly sharp on the night, as his 54% strike rate suggests. When he was in the strike zone, the 6’5″ righty left the ball up during some key at bats that led to the Mets’ runs.
“I was up in the zone and didn’t make the pitches, especially with guys on base,” said Bromberg.
He added, “I just didn’t make the adjustments to get the fastball down in the zone.”
Bromberg threw both his two- and four-seam fastball, with the latter 89-92 mph most of the night, hitting 93 mph on occasion. When he keeps it down in the zone, he can be effective (but not dominant) at the velocity because he mixes his change-up and curveball in well. Unfortunately, he struggled to throw his curveball, his best pitch, for strikes tonight.
“Early, I was getting on top of [the curveball] good, but I just couldn’t throw it for strikes when I needed it,” noted Bromberg.
After a good 1st inning, he lost his command in innings 2 through 5, before finishing up with a 1-2-3 sixth to end his night, throwing his best breaking balls late in the outing. He also looked more aggressive attacking hitters inside with the fastball in the 6th, an area that the Pirates pitching development staff has emphasized throughout the season across the organization.
Now that I’ve seen him twice, I don’t think Bromberg has the stuff to stick as a starter in the majors, but he may have a future in middle relief if he can improve the consistency of his command. Out of the bullpen in short stints, I expect he could ramp up his fringy fastball to the 93-94 mph range, and when his curveball is on, it is a good out pitch that hitters struggle to lay off of.
**Defensive standout catcher Carlos Paulino is showing improvement at the plate, going 2-for-3 tonight with a walk and a double. Over his past 10 games, Paulino is hitting .281/.361/.469 with four extra-base hits and 9 RBIs.
**Lambo will leave the Curve as team-leader in home runs (14), RBIs (46), and runs scored (35). For a team that has struggled offensively, they will now be without their most productive middle-of-the-order hitter.
**The Curve bullpen was a bright spot tonight, as Ethan Hollingsworth and Quinton Miller combined for three shutout, hitless innings, walking two and striking out four.