The Brandon Larson Honorary Star of the Weekend
Lucas Sims never really had a shot to make the Opening Day roster for the Cincinnati Reds this spring, but at just 24 years old still, he’s got the talent and pedigree to still be on the radar for a call-up in some role both this year and down the road.
His start on Saturday showed that potential in a big, big way, as he struck out an absurd 13 batters in 5.2 IP in one of the more dominant starts we’ve seen from a Bats pitcher in recent years. When his breaking ball is working - and boy, was it - it’s an absolute wipeout pitch, one I’m sure the Reds will have eyes on using at some point down the road.
Friday, April 19th
The Bats dropped a 3-spot on Indy in the Top of the 1st inning on Friday, and held on to both the lead and their butts from that point forward to pick up the win. Phil “Never Nervous” Ervin had a 3 for 4 night with a triple, run scored, and a stolen base out of the leadoff spot, and Nick “Hit Ball” Longhi backed him with some sweet head lettuce, a ribbie, and a triple of his own.
On the mound, Odrisamer “The Rain In” Despaigne was excellent, allowing just 4 H and 2 runs (1 ER) in 6.0 IP, with 7 K against a lone BB.
Reds Junior got the better of Braves Junior in this series finale. The Lookouts fell behind 3-0 early in this one only to see their potent offense roar back the rest of the evening. TJ Friedl “or Die Hard” paced the offense from the leadoff spot by coaxing an impressive 4 walks, swiping 2 bags, and scoring 3 times, Jose “Que Sera” Siri followed with a hit and 2 ribbies, and Taylor “Aerial” Trammell continued his torrid start with 2 walks and a ribbie. In all, the Lookouts walked a stupid 12 times on the night, which is how you score 8 runs on just 4 hits, I suppose.
Scott “Robert the Bruce” Moss was the Lookouts starter on the night, and he got knocked around pretty well, though obviously not good enough to get saddled with the loss. His line: 4.0 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 5 BB, 8 K.
The Tortugas had their Friday game banged due to overtly moist conditions.
The Dragons kept up the org-wide winning ways on Friday, romping over the Lugnuts in thorough fashion. Juan “Two-Three” Martinez had a huge 3 for 4 day that featured 2 doubles, 2 ribbies, a walk, and 2 runs scored, Pabel “Apple Eater” Manzanero went 3 for 5 with a double, ribbie, and 2 runs scored, and Miguel Hernandez went 2 for 5 with a ribbie, stolen base, and 2 runs scored.
The pitching didn’t have much to write home about, but at least reliever Alexis Diaz looked solid in a pair of hitless, 2 K innings from the bullpen.
Saturday, April 20th
The Bats scored twice early in extras to take down Indy on Saturday. Blake “Pontchartrain” Trahan got the big hit, a 2-run single in the Top of the 10th that plated both Josh VanMeter and Juan “Not Good, But” Graterol, one of 3 hits on the night for the slick-fielding SS. Christian “Brut” Colon also had a big night to continue his excellent start to the season, going 4 for 4 with a double and a run scored.
On the mound, Lucas Sims was outright amazing. He fanned an absurd 13 in just 5.2 IP - yes, 13 of the 17 outs he recorded came via K. He allowed just 1 ER on 5 H with nary a walk, and had the breaking ball that will ultimately have him back in the big leagues working in a huge way.
The Lookouts and Smokies got one short game in on Saturday while the other half of their scheduled doubleheader got banged due to rain. Tennessee jumped on starter Jordan “Michael Magic” Johnson for 4 runs in just 3.2 IP, though only 2 of those were earned (still, Johnson managed to walk 3 in that time). At the plate, Jose Siri had a hit, a walk, a ribbie, a steal, and a run scored in a stat-stuffing night, and that’s of particular note since the entire Lookouts lineup managed just that lone hit in this short game.
These two made up their rained-out Friday game as part of a doubleheader on Saturday, and the Tugas took this one thanks to scoring 3 runs in the ‘extra’ 8th inning. Carlos “Van Down By The” Rivero socked a dinger as part of his 2 hit, 2 ribbie evening, “Commissioner” Miles Gordon walked, tripled, drove in a pair, and scored twice, and Randy “The Body” Ventura had a great night in the leadoff spot with 2 hits, a walk, a ribbie, and a run scored.
Ryan “Has His Mother’s Eyes” Lillie was largely solid as the starter, going 5 IP with 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, and 7 K.
Daytona swiped the other half of the doubleheader, too, and did so with a very balanced effort. Spots 1-8 in the batting order split up 10 total hits, with each player picking up at least one. Andy “Ndamukong” Sugilio had 2 - one a double - and drove in a run.
“Golden” Reiver Sanmartin started for Daytona in this one, scattering 7 H in 4 IP while allowing 2 ER. He walked a guy and fanned 2.
Thanks to the exploits of notorious asshole Mat Latos, I now can never read ‘Lansing Lugnuts’ as anything other than ‘Lansing TruckNuts,’ but I digress.
The Lugnuts jumped on Dayton starter Jacob Heatherly for 3 ER in the Bottom of the 1st, and the Dragons starter was chased before he ever recorded an out. He threw only 9 pitches and was removed after a visit by the trainer, which is never good, and we’re still waiting to hear exactly what happened to him.
The Dragon bats didn’t exactly pick him up, either, as they cobbled together just 3 hits total on the day. Jay “Schroeder” Schuyler, to his credit, did at least have 2 of those his damn self.
Sunday, April 21st
The Bats were the lone Reds affiliate to play on Easter, and they fell in the 11th inning in an incredibly odd contest. The game went into extras at 0-0, both teams scored a lone run in the 10th, and then Indianapolis capped it off with a run in the Bottom of the 11th. The entire Bats offense managed just 2 hits on the day - one from pitcher Keury “Numa Numa” Mella - but Christian Colon did walk 3 times and swiped 2 bags, at least.
On the mound, Mella was fantastic, firing 7 IP of 4 H, 0 ER, 7 K ball in what was one of his more impressive starts at the AAA level.
Monday, April 22nd
The Bats have Monday off, but will return to action on Tuesday against Durham with Vlad Gutierrez on the mound. It will also be the season debut for top prospect Nick Senzel as he returns from his ankle injury.
Chattanooga and Tennessee have another doubleheader scheduled for Monday, with first pitch of Game 1 slated for 5:30 PM ET. Game 2 will commence upon completion of the first, assuming no more weather gets involved.
Daytona and Dunedin will go toe to toe in Florida State League action on Monday evening, with first pitch at Jackie Robinson Ballpark slated for 7:05 PM ET. Packy Naughton will get the start for the Tortugas.
Finally, Jhon De Jesus will start for Dayton in their tussle with Lake County on Monday evening, with first pitch in this road contest set for 6:30 PM ET.