YMLN - Almonte Continues To Swing Hot Bat

Almonte remains extremely hot

TAMPA, FL - There weren't a whole lot of positives to be gleaned from Charleston's 5-4 loss to the Pirates and especially not from Tampa's 13-5 loss on Friday, but Abraham Almonte once again looked quite strong at the plate.

  • With Tampa already in a quick 2-0 hole in the first inning, Abraham Almonte immediately put a charge into the Yankee offense with a leadoff single, promptly stealing both second base and then third base, before scoring a run a couple of batters later. He went 3-5 in the loss, including an RBI single and later hitting a deep RBI double over the centerfielder's head that one-hopped the wall. He was one of the few bright spots in otherwise very disappointing game overall.

  • Jose Mojica, sent down from the Trenton work group to Charleston on Friday, went 2-2 with an RBI triple down the right field line and later scored a run. The shortstop was seeing some action at second base in this particular game, perhaps an early sign he could be making the transition to a utility middle infielder position.

  • Tampa's Starting Lineup: Abraham Almonte, Kelvin Castro, Yeicok Calderon, Zoilo Almonte, Rob Lyerly, Kyle Higashioka, Neil Medchill, Francisco Arcia, Luke Murton, and Emerson Landoni.

  • Charleston's Starting Lineup: Slade Heathcott, Ramon Flores, Mason Williams, Gary Sanchez, J.R. Murphy, Kelvin De Leon, Rob Segedin, Cito Culver, Reymond Nunez, and Jose Mojica.

  • There is a good news, bad news situation with Yeicok Calderon. The good news is he not only drove home Almonte for Tampa's first run of the game with a hard-hit triple into the right field corner, but he was showing some very impressive speed around the bases. He has clearly improved his speed over the past year. The bad news, however, is his outfield defense continues to be a real blight on his overall game. He had a horrific error in right field where he initially broke in on a fly ball, then started going back, then twirled around to his right and then to his left, only to have the ball drop in safely.

  • Josh Romanksi started the game for Tampa and his final line - 3 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 5 K's - belies his actual stuff. All of his stuff was very good, including both his cutter and his curveball, but he was uncharacteristically leaving a lot of his pitches up in the zone and therefore got hit a little too often. Bottom line - the numbers weren't good, but the stuff was very impressive.

  • Gary Sanchez has been struggling a bit at the plate in recent games, going 0-3 with a strikeout on Friday, but defensively he showed why he is widely considered more than just an offensive threat. He gunned down two would-be base stealers in the game with perfectly placed rocket throws in the early part of the game and the Pirates didn't attempt another stolen base the rest of the way.

  • Sanchez isn't the only one struggling offensively for Charleston lately. Slade Heathcott, the victim of a three-strikeout game on Wednesday, went 0-4 with three more strikeouts on Friday afternoon. One of the best hitters in camp last year, he has been struggling in the first week of games this year.

  • Unfortunately for the Yankees, the struggles were not just at the plate. Dan Burawa was throwing absolute gas on Friday, sitting 95-96 mph, but his command was totally off. He certainly wasn't helped out by his defense one bit as they committed three errors behind him, but his four walks and five runs allowed [two earned] in one inning of work put Tampa in a hole they would not recover from.

  • Kelvin De Leon [2-4, K], Reymond Nunez [2-3, run], Judd Golsan [1-2, K, SB, run], and Cito Culver [1-2, RBI] all had hits for Charleston in the loss.

  • Mikey O'Brien pitched pretty well for Charleston as their starter, going three innings, allowing four hits, one run, one walk, and striking out two batters. Behind the numbers though, what was most impressive were his curveball and his pickoff move, picking a runner off of second base in his third inning of work.

  • Zoilo Almonte [1-4, RBI], Robert Lyerly [2-4, SB, run], Luke Murton [1-4, 2B, run, K], and Emerson Landoni [1-3, BB, SB, run] all had hits for Tampa on Friday.

  • Like Burawa, it was not a banner day for Conor Mullee. The stuff was quite good as well, sitting mostly 92-95 mph and showing great sink, but his command was off as well. He too walked four batters in all and had just one strikeout.

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