The GCL Pirates finished up a 6-0 win over the Phillies in a game suspended yesterday after two innings, then also took the regularly scheduled game in seven innings by a 4-2 count. The Pirates got strong outings from Cesar Lopez, picking up for Jon Sandfort in the continuation, and from Dovydas Neverauskas. An inside-the-park homerun by Elvis Escobar highlighted the first game and a bases-loaded triple by Jin-De Jhang the second.
Lopez Shuts Down Phillies
Picking up after two scoreless innings from Sandfort yesterday before the rain hit, Lopez went five innings, allowing just a hit and a walk, and fanning five. Martires Cadet followed with two scoreless innings to finish the shutout. The Pirates had already scored twice before the suspension and had Dilson Herrera on second on a leadoff double — his second double of the game — in the 3rd inning when play resumed. Shortstop Max Moroff promptly singled in Herrera. The rest of the scoring came in the 6th, when Luis Urena grounded hard over third with two outs to score Eric Wood. Escobar then lined a ball into the gap in right-center and it rolled to the fence. When the centerfielder didn’t pick it up promptly, Escobar circled the bases for his 2nd HR of the season.
Neverauskas and Jhang Lead Regular Game Win
Neverauskas had one of his better outings in the regular game, going four and two-thirds before running out of gas and allowing a walk and a two-out triple. Bryton Trepagnier struck out the last batter of the inning, then allowed a run in the 6th before closing out the win in the 7th. Neverauskas allowed four hits and two walks, and struck out four. Trepagnier gave up three hits and fanned three. The Bucs’ offense all came in the 3rd. With the bases loaded on walks, Jhang drove a ball over the centerfielder’s head for a two-out triple. Harold Ramirez followed with a line single to left for the fourth run of the inning. Apart from two singles by Edwin Espinal, those were the Bucs’ only hits in the game.
Other Player Notes
— Lopez relied mainly on his fastball, which sat at 89-91. He kept the ball down consistently and got quite a few swings and misses with it. He threw just a few curves.
— Cadet is a lefty who throws a fastball about 86-88 with good movement. He also throws a sharp curve, possibly the best breaking ball I saw in three games here. His control needs to improve a good deal.
— Neverauskas was only throwing 86-91 in his first two innings, but he mostly sat at 92-95 in the 3rd through the 5th. A scout who’d been following the Pirates for several days told me Neverauskas had been hitting 95 in his previous outing. He threw a few curves but mostly stuck to the fastball. His control faltered at times, but generally not badly.
— Trepagnier is in his third year in rookie ball. He mainly struggled the first two, but has pitched much better this year. His stuff seems to have improved, as he was sitting at 92-93 today, as opposed to 89-92 in prior years. He threw a good slider at 82-84 mph.
— Jhang showed a good arm behind the plate. He snuffed out the one steal attempt he faced and had a runner picked off third, but Kevin Ross was unable to hang onto the throw.
— Urena made another diving catch in right field and Escobar made a good running catch with his back to the plate on a deep drive to center.
Having followed the Pirates fanatically since 1965, Wilbur Miller is one of the fast-dwindling number of fans who’ve actually seen good Pirate teams. He’s even seen Hall-of-Fame Pirates who didn’t get traded mid-career, if you can imagine such a thing. His first in-person game was a 5-4, 11-inning win at Forbes Field over Milwaukee (no, not that one). He’s been writing about the Pirates at various locations online for over 20 years. It has its frustrations, but it’s certainly more cathartic than writing legal stuff. Wilbur is retired and now lives in Bradenton with his wife and three temperamental cats.
Still rooting for my two favorite named players, Neverauskas and Jin-De Jhang.
Where is Stetson Allie? Haven’t seen him in the box score for a week or two.