The Brandon Larson Honorary Star of the Night
Robert Stephenson has become a bit of a forgotten man in the shuffle for spots in the Cincinnati Reds starting rotation, and obviously a large part of that was due to his own control problems and proclivity for allowing mammoth dingers. Add-in the acquisition of Matt Harvey and the pending return of Anthony DeSclafani, and ol’ Bob has become a bit of an afterthought, though lately he’s doing his best to end that trend.
He threw 6 innings of excellent 1 ER ball against Indianapolis on Wednesday, striking out 9 while allowing just 2 hits. Most importantly, though, was that he kept his walks in check, allowing only a pair of free passes in his time on the mound.
In the process, he lowered his season ERA to a respectible 3.59, and upped his K/9 to a dominant 10.6 for the year. His walk rate - 5.1 per 9 IP - is still way, way too high, but lately even that has dropped to a level that would be totally palatable at the big league level.
In fact, over his last 4 starts, he’s been largely the kind of top-prospect performer we’ve hoped to see for years now: 24.0 IP, 2.25 ERA, 31/7 K/BB, just 13 hits allowed, and opposition batters have hit just .155/.245/.345 against him in that time. More of that, and he’ll work his way back onto the big league roster in some form or fashion this year.
Bob “Law Blog” Steve fired his gem in this one, but even if he’d only been so-so the Bats’ bats would’ve done enough to get him the win.
Josh “Mini” VanMeter had a monster game, going 3 for 5 with a double, a dinger, and 4 runs driven in, Disc Jockey Peterson went 2 for 5 with a solo homer, Rosell “Sea Shell” Herrera doubled, walked, and scored, and Chadwick Tromp even chipped in with a 2-hit evening.
The Blue Wahoos and the Smokies will wrap this game on Thursday after rain got in the way of things with 1-out recorded in the 5th inning Wednesday night.
Daniel “Two Wrongs Don’t Make a” Wright pitched for Pensacola, allowing 3 runs (2 earned) in his 4.1 IP, scattering 5 hits and a walk against 3 Ks. He also singled - as did Taylor “Tyler” Sparks - but those were the only hits the Hoos had managed at the time the game was zipped up.
Tejay “Tisc Jockey” Antone made his return to the mound on Wednesday after missing the entire 2017 season and all of 2018 so far recovering from Tommy John surgery. He was OK, allowing 5 hits and 3 ER in 5.0 IP, fanning 7 while walking a lone Hammerhead.
Unfortunately, the offense couldn’t back him well enough. Jose “Que Sera” Siri went 2 for 4 with a double, Tyler “Taylor” Stephenson singled and scored, but those were the lone real highlights on a night were the entire team only managed that one extra-base hit.
The Dragons entered the Bottom of the 7th trailing 4-2, but scored a trio of runs over the next two innings to bring home the W.
Tyler “Taylor” Mondile got the start and was much better than he’s been of late, firing 5 innings of 6 hit, 2 ER ball while posting 6 Ks and a lone walk. Offensively, Stuart “Liz” Fairchild continued to rake, going 2 for 4 with a double, 2 runs scored, a ribbie, and his 14th stolen base of the season. Hendrik “Smits” Clementina, similarly, kept rolling with by singling, scoring a run, and driving in another, while Andy “Emiliooooo” Sugilio went 2 for 4 for good measure.