Game 32: Curve 13, Senators 2
Photo courtesy Christine Baker / The Patriot-News
For about thirty minutes on Wednesday morning, all was right in the Senators' world. Harrisburg had jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning on an Archie Gilbert groundout and Jesus Valdez flare to rightfield. Starter Erik Davis had worked around two Altoona Curve hits in the first two innings and prevented any further damage. And the crowd of 6,014 in attendance (mostly school kids for Education Day) were stomping and clapping to give Metro Bank Park a European soccer atmosphere without any of the hooliganism. But that's when it all came crashing down.
First, opposing pitcher Jeff Locke singled down the third base line to collect his first ever hit in his 6-year minor league career. Next, leadoff hitter Brock Holt singled to right field on a pitch that saw Davis come up gimpy off the mound. Later, we would learn that Davis' knee buckled on the delivery and he was unable to continue after being checked out by the coaching and medical staff.
This left the Senators' bullpen responsible for picking up the remaining seven innings. A tall task indeed, especially for a set of relievers still weary from an offensive onslaught at the hands of the R-Phils over the weekend. Jimmy Barthmaier and Matt Chico were the first two relievers out of the chute and both pitched like they have been lately. That is to say terribly. So far this season watching Barthmaier and Chico, it's tough to believe that both have major league experience (extensive in Chico's case). Neither of them is missing the other team's bats very often and it shows in their ERAs as they carry a 9.33 and 11.57 respectively.
Don't get me wrong, Altoona pounded the ball and kept pouring it on to prevent even a glimmer of hope for a Harrisburg comeback. Shortstop Jordy Mercer, who always seems to kill the Senators, blasted two home runs and Miles Durham and Jose Hernandez both added their first on the season.
If you want to know what kind of a day it was consider that OF/1B Bill Rhinehart was called on to mop-up the final inning in relief and he was the only Senator pitcher who didn't allow a run in the game.
• Speaking to Patriot-News reporter Andy Shay, manager Tony Beasley shared great insight on getting the bullpen back to full strength, "We've just been trying to piece it back together. It usually takes two quality starts to get us back in synch. It doesn't take much to throw you off track."
• Davis' status is uncertain at this time but the Senators hope to know more by tomorrow.
• Infielder Matt Antonelli saw his first action in a Harrisburg uniform after driving up from Florida on Monday and Tuesday. Antonelli went 2 for 4 with a run scored and shared his thoughts on Metro Bank Park on his blog, "If you've never seen a game in Harrisburg before let me tell you, it is a beautiful stadium. It may be one of the nicest stadiums I've played in at any level of the minor leagues. I am really looking forward to spending more time in this area. "
• Six of Altoona's first eight runs came with two outs and post game Beasley pointed to a problem that has existed all season so far, "We have not finished guys. We haven't finished innings. We haven't finished hitters well...It's a sense of awareness and execution that we have to get better at."
• Is it just me or when Ollie's Outlet designed their famous caricature did they just tell the guy, "We want a goofier looking Albert Einstein"?
• Harrisburg leaves early tomorrow morning to begin their four-game road trip against the Richmond Flying Squirrels. For Beasley, who lives in that area, it gives him an opportunity to spend time with his family and sleep in his own bed each night, "I don't like to boast about it because Troy (Gingrich)'s family is in California and he never gets to see them. I'm blessed in that sense."
The Sports 'Burger Star of the Game: Jesus Valdez (2-4, 1 RBI, 1 2B )
Next Game: Tomorrow at 7:05 PM The Diamond
Probables: Ryan Tatusko (HAR) 1-3, 6.35 ERA vs. David Mixon (RIC) 0-0, 0.00 ERA