The West Virginia Power won game two of their four game series against the Lakewood BlueClaws by an 8-6 score. Luis Heredia made his second start of the season and lasted just four innings due to his pitch count, which was run up by a long second inning. The game didn’t get under way until two and a half hours after the scheduled first pitch due to a rain delay. Once it started, the Power bats scored eight runs on ten hits and a little help from the BlueClaws defense. Josh Bell drove in two runs, giving him 51 RBIs on the year and eight different West Virginia players scored a run.
Just like with game one, I’ll have a summary of the batters to watch, followed by a recap of Heredia’s start and finally, some game notes.
Barrett Barnes led off the game with a hard line single up the middle, moving to second base on an error by the center fielder. Barnes actually got a second chance in his AB, as the first baseman dropped a pop up over by the dugout. In his second time up, Barnes flew out to center field on the second pitch. He came up with the bases loaded and one out in the fourth inning and struck out on a check swing. He just missed a hit twice with two balls that were just foul down the third base line.
In his fourth time up, Barnes drilled a line drive to deep center that was caught. He batted again for a fifth time in the eight inning, hitting a soft liner to center field for an out. Barnes hit the ball well in each at-bat, though he had just one hit to show for it
Dilson Herrera hit the first pitch he saw of the game, getting robbed by the right fielder on a sliding catch. Barnes moved to third base on the play. He went the other way again in his second at-bat, this time dumping a bloop double just inside the line. The two-bagger was his 16th of the season. In his third AB, Herrera came up with the bases loaded and two outs. A run scored and both trail runners moved up on a wild pitch. Herrera went down swinging on a ball down and out of the strike zone. His fourth at-bat ended with him going down looking on a breaking ball that caught the outside corner. In his fifth AB, Herrera lined out to right field with Walker Gourley on third base. Gourley scored on the play, giving the Power an 8-4 lead.
Josh Bell came up with Barnes on third base and one out in the first. He ended up striking out swinging. Barnes would end up scoring on a wild pitch with Jordan Steranka up. In his second at-bat, with runners on second and third, Bell hit a grounder between the 2B and 1B that scored both runners. In his third AB, Bell hit a hard grounder on a 3-1 pitch to first base for an out. He then blooped a single into left field during his fourth plate appearance. Bell worked the count full in his fifth AB, ending it with a high pop out to shortstop.
Just like in the first series, Bell still seems to have trouble with pitch selection and starting his swing early enough. He keeps his back elbow high and has some trouble getting around on fast pitches and those pitches out of the zone that he has trouble laying off. He has good bat speed and obvious power, so he hinders himself with his stance and late swing. Basically, there is a lot of movement in his swing. I’ve also only seen him bat lefty this year and will continue to do so this series as Lakewood doesn’t have any lefty pitchers.
Max Moroff singled to left field on the first pitch he saw. He didn’t play in yesterday’s game, but I did get to see him three times last series. The next time up for Moroff, he drew a five pitch walk. In his third plate appearance, he hit a nice line drive to left-center that was run down for an out. He hit the ball hard again in the seventh innings, collecting a triple and two RBI’s. In his last AB of the night, Moroff struck out looking. Going by what he did in the other series as well, he seems to go up to the plate with the mindset that he is either swinging or taking because I’ve seen him have 5-6 pitch AB’s with no swings that ended in strikeouts or walks and he has swung at the first pitch plenty of other times.
Luis Heredia Makes His Second Start
Luis Heredia was following up his five shutout innings in his season debut. Heredia started the game with a 92 MPH fastball that was fouled back. He had a long battle with the first batter, finally getting him swinging on a 93 MPH pitch. The next hitter grounded out to first base. Heredia then got the third batter swinging on three pitches, the last at 92 MPH. He was throwing mostly fastballs with a couple of changeups thrown in.
In the second inning, Heredia gave up a hard hit liner to right field that was right at Josh Bell for the first out. The next batter reached on an infield single, then stole second base. Heredia walked the third batter of the inning on five pitches, missing low on everything. After missing low, he then hit the fourth batter on a fastball up shoulder-high on the first pitch. With the bases loaded, Heredia gave up a shallow fly to right field that scored a run. The throw by Josh Bell was up the first base side and came in on one hop.
The BlueClaws scored their second run of the inning on a liner up the middle that fell in front of Barrett Barnes. The same batter also hit a hard foul off Heredia. The tough inning continued with a five pitch walk. He was up in the zone again and only hitting 90-91 MPH. That reloaded the bases, but Heredia was able to get out of the jam with a strikeout on three straight off-speed pitches. He threw 33 pitches in the inning, just missing the single inning pitch limit.
The third inning started off with a grounder up the middle that Max Moroff booted, although it was credited as an infield hit. The next batter hit the first pitch through the right side for a single. More tough luck for Heredia on the third batter, who reached on a slow dribbler to first base that was placed just right. Three groundballs to start the inning and he didn’t retire a single hitter. With the bases loaded, Heredia picked up a strikeout swinging on a 92 MPH pitch. He missed with two sliders on an 0-2 count. With one out, he induced an easy groundball double play to get out of the inning without allowing a run.
In the fourth inning, Heredia worked the first two batters inside. His velocity was well down from the start, throwing 88-90 MPH, while using his slider more. He got the first batter to fly out to center field, followed by a foul bloop to first base. The next batter tried to bunt for a hit and Heredia threw the ball away, allowing the hitter to get to second base. It was credited as a hit. He retired the next man on a soft comebacker, this time making a good strong throw to first base.
Heredia was done after four innings, allowing two runs on six hits, two walks and he struck out four batters. He was sitting 92-93 MPH early, but after a long second inning, he lost velocity. He threw about 60% fastballs, with a higher percentage early. Later on he started to mix in his slider (76-78 MPH) to go along with a changeup (84-85 MPH) he used all game. His control was mostly on, occasionally losing it to one batter before getting it back. He worked the inside of the plate at times and was able to throw his off-speed pitches for strikes. There wasn’t a ton of hard contact and four of the six hits he allowed were weakly hit.
*Walker Gourley drove home the fourth run for the Power, with a fourth inning bases loaded single. Gourley was hit by a pitch high and tight in his next AB. He walked in the eighth, then stole second and third base.
* Lance Breedlove followed Heredia in the fifth and retired the side in order. He stayed on for a scoreless sixth, before giving up two runs in the seventh. Breedlove picked up the win.
*Jhondaniel Medina pitched the eighth inning and was throwing 92-94 MPH, while dropping in a couple slow off-speed pitches. He is a small righty, with a high-effort delivery, but he has also pitched very well this year as a 20-year-old in full-season ball. In his second inning, Medina was a tick slower and gave up a long two-run homer to the cleanup hitter.
* Jonathan Schwind was the only Power hitter to not score a run and also the only one that didn’t have a hit on the night. Kawika Emsley-Pai reached base three times with two walks and a single.