Are Ya Ready, Kids?
Good Morning from Parkview Field. While usually I might just be waking up to the sound of my alarm at 7 a.m., that’s the time that I arrived at the park this morning for today’s 11:05 a.m. first pitch.
Yesterday’s game, a 6-2 Clinton win, was essentially decided within the first three innings. The LumberKings jumped on TinCaps Ruben Mejia for one run in the first and four in the third, never stopping to look back from that point on.
Manager Jose Valentin said after the game that the major factor in the game was Mejia’s command.
“The difference is when you throw strikes,” Valentin said, “anything can happen.”
Although in the box score Mejia only walked one batter, he fell behind 2-0, 3-0 to many hitter in both the first and third innings. Former Wizards pitcher Javi DeJesus, who did a fantastic job joining us on the TV broadcast last night, pointed out that it appeared Mejia was a little jittery in the first inning. As Mejia settled down in the second, he pitched a 1-2-3 frame. However, he couldn’t shake whatever it was that ailed him in the third, as eight batters came to the plate.
His biggest mistake of the game came in the first inning, though. During this past offseason the “fake to third, fake to first” pickoff move was officially outlawed in baseball, and is now adjudicated as a balk. That apparently slipped Mejia’s mind in the first frame, as his balk allowed Clinton’s Jabari Henry to trot home with the game’s first run.
In an article in The New York Times on this very topic, there’s a great anecdote from MLB umpire Ted Barrett:
Barrett, a major league umpire since 1994, said he could remember the move working only once in a major league game. Barrett said the runner, whom he could not recall, turned to him after he was caught and said, sheepishly, “Have you ever seen that work on anybody — except me?”
In my 2+ years in the Midwest League, I’ve only seen it work once, and that was when Dayton’s Daniel Renken pulled it off in 2011. Other than that, it seems to be a waste of time, which is why the rule change was implemented.
“Mejia wasn’t aggressive in the strike zone,” Valentin noted. “He pitched up in the zone, and I think his command was off. The breaking ball was up in the zone. I don’t think he was ready to pitch today.”
We’ll see if Walker Weickel is ready today, and if he’s a morning person, as he takes the Parkview Field mound for the first time. As we’ll undoubtedly hear many times today–there will be tons of schoolkids for an 11:05 first pitch– and it is a fair question for the 19-year-old Weickel:
“Are ya ready, kids? Aye, aye captain. I can’t heeaarrrrr you!”
To hear Jose Valentin’s comments after last night’s game, listen to today’s TinCaps Report Podcast:
If you didn’t catch last night’s episode of Sound Off with the TinCaps, fear not–it’s available for you enjoyment online. The second episode of the season featured a mic’d up Jose Valentin as he coached third base, a feature on catcher Dane Phillips, and in a tradition as American as it gets…and eating competition.
Have at it:
Jason Derulo…take it away!