Monday, July 4, 2011

Pawtucket @ Rochester - July 4, 2011

The Red Wings played host to the Paw Sox on a beautiful 4th of July evening in front of 12,729 and dropped a 6-3 decision.

Pawtucket jumped on Red Wings starter Eric Hacker in the 1st due to his inability to locate as he walked Che-Hsuan Lin and Daniel Nava before serving up a 3 run HR to Lars Anderson. HH Hacker tried too hard to nibble at the corners and wasn’t getting the calls from home plate umpire Kevin Burlton. He was frequently missing up and away and tried to overcompensate by leaving fat pitches over the middle of the plate.

Rochester had a difficult time generating offense off Paw Sox starter Kyle Weiland. He mixed his pitches exceptionally well and worked quickly to send Rochester’s batters back to the dugout looking mystified. Weiland's fastball sat in the low 90s for much of the night as he struck out 6 and scattered 6 hits through 6.2 to lower his ERA to 3.00 and earn his 8th win of the year.

Despite 9 hits on the night, Weiland and RP Jason Rice kept the Red Wings bottom of the order at bay to squash potential late-inning rallies to preserve the win. Rochester's first run was manufactured by a Toby Gardenhire single and subsequent groundouts before a Trevor Plouffe RBI single. They scored on a wild pitch in the 7th and an RBI groundout in the 9th but each effort lacked a certain je ne sais quoi that left me feeling more indifferent than hopeful. Aaron Bates, the former Paw Sox OF/CI, was 2-3 and continued to show excellent patience at the plate.

Minnesota Twins OF Delmon Young began his rehab assignment and had a rather pedestrian looking line, finishing 1-4 with a ground rule double to right. Young's reluctance to run hard on his ankle that was sprained June 25th was evident when he was doubled up in the 1st after leaving the box with caution. Young is slated to DH for the next few days before being inserted into the OF. The Twins brass would certainly hope that he continues to take every precaution to avoid reaggrivating an ankle that has healed much faster than expected.

The Paw Sox lead, extended to 5 after James Kang took the first pitch to left in the 4th, never appeared in doubt. 4 hits on the night were supplemented by 6 walks (5 from Hacker) to provide a patient offense with enough for the win. Ryan Lavarnway was noticeably off at the plate, fishing down in the zone for Hacker’s offspeed pitches in the 3rd after striking out swinging on an 86 MPH fastball in the 1st. It appeared as if he was too anxious to let Hacker make a mistake and ended up digging his own grave.

Tomorrow’s doubleheader starts at 5 PM and features Minnesota Twins SP Kevin Slowey in a rehab appearance against Paw Sox IL All Star selection Matt Fox. Game 2 starters have not been announced. Check back at 5 for a live blog for both of tomorrow’s games.

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