Monday, May 3, 2010

Tides vs. G-Braves: 4/29/2010

It was a gorgeous spring evening in Lawrenceville, GA as the Tides took on the Gwinnett Braves. If only the promotion for the evening hadn't been a thunderstix giveaway, the evening would have been perfect. OK, maybe if the Tides had not lost 6-1, it would have been perfect.

Starting pitcher and top pitching prospect Jake Arrieta battled wildness during Thursday night's loss but was still able to turn in a quality start going 6 innings and giving up three earned runs, all on a three-run homer to G-Braves RF Mitch Jones.

Arrieta cruised for the first three innings, retiring 10 of the first 11 batters, surrendering only a walk to G-Braves 1B (and top prospect) Freddie Freeman. In the 4th, he then gave up a blooper to left center, a sharply hit grounder to right and the three-run Jones homer.

Arrieta was working deep into counts most of the night and walked 4 batters on the night but still had the stuff to pitch out of trouble and struck out 4 as well. His fastball sat at 89-91 but he hit 94 several times. He works under control, doesn't overthrow but can reach back for extra when he needs to. He mixed in a slider in the mid-80's and an occasional curveball in the high-70's.

Arrieta was visibly frustrated with his control at times. But really, Arrieta pitched OK. He only gave up two solid hits (the sharp grounder and three-run homer, both in the 4th inning) and was able to pitch around the walks and errors. Even with the loss, Arrieta has only a 1.16 ERA over 5 International League starts.

The offense was another story. G-Braves starter Chris Resop, a journeyman pitcher, was wild as well but managed to strike out 8 Tides batters over his 6 innings of work. The Tides twice loaded the bases on Resop as he walked five and threw a wild pitch but Resop was always able to work out of the jams with minimal damage. Tides 3B Scott Moore's RBI single in the 3rd was the only run allowed by Braves pitching.

More player notes:

SS Robert Andino - Whenever a player is sent back to the minors, you would like to think it won't affect his attitude. In Andino's case, it looks like it has. I am not normally one to jump on players for not trying or not hustling when they are playing poorly but Andino barely looked interested. He failed to run hard on a groundout to short even though he certainly had a fair chance of making it to first safely (if the throw wasn't perfect) and made no effort to throw to first to complete a double-play later in the game. Both those plays were makeable but Andino just didn't make the extra effort. (OF Jeff Salazar, in stark contrast, ran hard on similar groundball to short.) He misplayed a flare that dropped for a hit in the 4th and made a throwing error in the 8th that seem to be extensions of the general lack of focus on defense that he displayed in Spring Training. It's just one game but I don't want to see him back in Baltimore. I'm not sure I even want to see him in Norfolk.

C Adam Donachie - Long time readers know that I have liked Donachie ever since the Orioles picked him in the Rule 5 draft in 2007. He didn't stick with the team that time but was signed by the O's later on. He works hard behind the plate, seems to have a good rapport with the pitchers and, on the rare occasion that he hits the ball, hits it hard. Donachie will never be a good major league starter but I think he could be a very good backup, a defense-first backstop with some power. I don't think he would be any worse than Craig Tatum and Tatum has found major league work.

1B Brandon Snyder - Snyder has not had a great start at Norfolk but it doesn't seem to be making him desperate. His approach is still good, he works the count and drew three walks on Thursday.

OF Corey Patterson - For the first time since the end of 2007, Patterson is back in the Oriole organization. He's not hitting much so far but was playing his signature stellar defense in rightfield last night and made3 a nice play on a foul ball down the rightfield line.

RP Pedro Viola - It's easy to see why the Orioles took a flyer on Pedro Viola and claimed him off waivers from the Reds earlier this month. The lefty reliever's fastball was sitting at 92-94 and hitting 97 on a regular basis. That kind of left arm doesn't grow on trees. Unfortunately, he didn't know where it was going last night as he gave up 2 hits, a walk and a run in just one inning pitched. If they can get him straightened out, he'll be nasty. When that fastball is over the plate, nobody can hit it.

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