Short GCL Report (by Trevor and Terry Mathews)
It should have been a fun GCL game to watch. Luis Heredia was the starting pitcher for the Pirates and Pedro Alvarez started his rehab assignment. As you probably know, instead it turned out to be a rain-shortened 1 ½ inning partial game to be picked up on Tuesday.
Pedro led off the game with a 3-pitch at bat against a LHP with a nasty curve ball. While you expect to see a lot of fastballs at this level, Ethan Stewart of the GCL Phillies followed a first-pitch fastball with two curve balls. Alvarez swung over the first one, then rolled over the next one to ground out to 2B.
While you “expect” a major league hitter to have a great at bat every time against a Gulf Coast League pitcher, it just doesn’t happen. It would have been much more interesting to see what Pedro would have done with 3 or 4 at bats today, but the rain cut that short.
The good news is that Pedro looked to be in great shape. He said he feels 100% and misses being up in the majors. Obviously he doesn’t know how long it will take to get there but the clock on his rehab time is now officially ticking. You could tell that he was the major leaguer on the team due to the fact that he had a really nice Pirates rain coat (the only one in sight) and someone was holding an umbrella over him and carried his gear for him off the field in the rain. Must be nice.
Luis Heredia only got one inning of work in. Contrary to the Phillies’ pitching philosophy, the Pirates had Luis working on one thing – everybody say it together – fastball command. All but two of his pitches were fastballs. All but one of those was low in (or below) the strike zone and that one was an intentional high fastball. And nothing was over the heart of the plate.
The first batter struck out looking at a 2-2 fastball – all 5 pitches were fastballs. The second batter also struck out, but fouled off 8 pitches in an 11-pitch at bat. Luis threw his only two curve balls during this at bat – one missing high, the other dropping out of the zone, but the batter managed to get a piece of it to stay alive. The strike out came on a low outside fastball on the only swing and miss of the at bat (or the inning for that matter). The last batter he faced popped up the 3rd pitch he saw to the catcher.
Heredia sat at 90-91, with his two curves dropping to the mid-70’s. All in all, 19 pitches, 14 strikes. Like Pedro, it would have been nice to see what he could have done over multiple innings.
The other item of note was the home run that Willy Garcia hit. After looking at two pitches down the middle of the plate, Garcia took an inside-out swing that looked like a fairly harmless fly ball down the right field line. The ball kept carrying over the right field wall.