Good morning to you from the dank marshes of peninsular Florida, where last night the allegedly offensively inept Clearwater Threshers scored in double digits on the Brevard County Manatees, against a starting pitcher who is Milwaukee's #3 prospect. This game had managers getting tossed, players getting halfway to first base before being called back to the batter's box, and other crazy shenanigans. So, let's do the time warp again and jump to the action.
First up, the setting. Space Coast Stadium in Viera is a symmetrical stadium, 340-404-340, with low walls. The right field wall looks high, but the upper half is set back from the bottom half, and the home run line is between the two halves. The temperature was 79 degrees when the game started at 6:38, cooling to 76 by the third inning and 73 by the eighth inning. There was a gentle breeze from the left field pole to the right field pole to start the game, which shifted from the center of the left field wall to first base and then died.
CF Peter Lavin 2-3, 1 RBI, 3 R (single, single, catcher interference, catcher interference, liner to left field)
2B Albert Cartwright 2-4, 1 RBI, 2 R (fly to right, single, walk, ground to third, double)
LF Brandon Tripp 3-5, 2 RBI (pop to shortstop, ground to first, single, single, double)
1B James Murphy 1-3, 3 RBI, 1 R (home run, sacrifice fly, walk, strikeout, ground to shortstop)
3B Cody Asche 0-4, 1 RBI (ground to first, strikeout, sacrifice fly, fly to center field, fly to left field)
RF Anthony Hewitt 1-5, 1 R (strikeout, fly to center field, ground to third, strikeout, single)
DH Chris Duffy 0-3, 1 R (strikeout, strikeout, strikeout, walk)
---DH Brock Stassi 1-1, 1 RBI (double)
C Cameron Rupp 1-4, 1 R (liner to right field, ground to shortstop, walk, double, strikeout)
SS Edgar Duran 1-4, 1 RBI, 1 R (triple, strikeout, fielder's choice, sacrifice fly, ground to third)
Lavin gets the award for goofiest night among Clearwater batters. He hit a pair of screamers through the gaps for singles his first two at-bats. The third at-bat, he swings at a 1-1 pitch, there's a clearly audible wood-on-leather sound from my seat behind the dugout, and Clearwater's manager has to argue the call to get the catcher interference because the home plate ump didn't hear it (!). His next at-bat, he's again interfered with on a 1-1 swing. His swing mechanics don't look odd to me, but that catcher had trouble with him (and only him) last night.
Cartwright played OK. He had a fielding error on a hard hit grounder that let a man on, and he got waved off a couple pop-ups by Duran, so his glove may not be the greatest.
Tripp and Murphy are both filler. Big filler (6'2", 200 and 6'4", 240). Tripp is 27 and Murphy 26, so they're unlikely to be anything other than perennial minor leaguers. Murphy was responsible for Brevard's manager getting tossed. He fielded a sacrifice bunt, realized the pitcher wasn't going to get there to cover, and dove for the baserunner. From the angle I had, it appeared his glove brushed the runner's back. The first base umpire ruled the runner safe. Murphy blew up, the home plate umpire ruled the runner out, and Brevard's manager blew up. Helmets flew. He was very careful not to contact an ump, though, so he wasn't quite as enraged as he was playing for the crowd, but it was still amusing to see the body language.
Asche looked much better than a simple 0-4. All three of his flies were on the warning track, and the fly to center probably would have been a home run if the wind hadn't shifted.
Hewitt's swing looked nice, and he wasn't chasing bad stuff. His second strikeout was to a lefty sidearm thrower who switched to a 3/4 overhand slot for the strikeout pitch, and Hewitt had managed to take him to a 3-2 count.
Duffy had a bad night. I don't think I can say anything more.
Rupp played well. Not much from the batter's box, but he managed his pitchers well, and was very active in reminding the fielders of the situation and where their primary out was.
Duran is a switch-hitting shortstop who has good speed and a decent swing. His triple was a warning-track drop by the left fielder (who had to run full-tilt just to have a play on the ball, and it went off the edge of his glove, so not an error). The fielder's choice was him outrunning a double play ball. The glove is fairly good, as he made some decent plays and was covering part of Cartwright's territory on popups.
Percival Garner III - 6.0 IP, 53-25-78, 4H, 3R, 3 ER, 2BB, 5K
Colby Shreve - 2.0 IP, 18-3-21, 2K
Austin Brough - 1.0 IP, 7-1-8, 1H
Garner was really shaky to start the first, issuing a four pitch walk to the leadoff batter (and the strike zone wasn't tight this game). He was at 31 pitches through two innings, then settled down and only needed 47 pitches for the next 4 innings. He was at 91-93 on the fastball according to the stadium gun, with a 76-77 curveball and what appeared to be a mid-60s changeup - I saw 63 at least twice, and they were on pitches batters didn't swing at, so there was no interference with the gun. He also threw a single 83 mph slider to finish a strikeout. Being able to slot pitches at four different speed groupings is just nasty. The control is an issue, but the fact that he was able to calm down and start pounding away is a plus. As a side note, he issued 1 walk in the first and 1 in the fifth, while he struck out 1 in the third, 1 in the fourth, 2 in the fifth, and 1 in the sixth.
Shreve was a machine. His three balls were all to the same batter, in the eighth inning, so he threw 18 strikes to 6 batters faced (including fouls and balls hit to the field). The only pitch I saw enough to get a velocity range was a 91-94 fastball. He may have thrown one or two off-speed pitches, but if he did, they didn't catch my notice at the time.
Brough is a weird pitcher. He went from a 3.02 ERA in high school to a 9.31 ERA in college to a 0.47 ERA with Lakewood last year. He's a fringy prospect at best, with an 87-88 fastball and an average curveball. If he becomes a control master, he could wind up a somewhat Moyer-esque southpaw junk tosser, but I think that's an extremely unlikely possibility. I'll be the first to admit that it's a small sample size, but he just didn't impress me.