TAMPA, FL - It was a tale of two different games for Charleston and Tampa on Thursday against their respective Phillies' affiliates; the RiverDogs won a close 2-1 pitching affair while Eric Jagielo and the Tampa Yankees ended their contest in a 7-7 tie.
When Eric Jagielo has made contact this Spring it has been of the very hard and powerful variety. He went 1-3 with a walk and a strikeout, but his one hit was a booming two-run home run deep over the right-centerfield wall. He scored two runs in the game and one of his outs was a deep flyout to the centerfield warning track. When he connects the ball goes very, very far.
Rafael DePaula, who looked very shaking in his previous outing, was the polar opposite for the RiverDogs on Thursday, tossing three shutout innings and looking dominant nearly every step of the way. He allowed just two hits and struck out three. More than the final line, however, it was his combination of stuff and command that was really impressive. Sitting mostly 93-95 mph, he was pounding the lower half of the strike zone and both of his secondary pitches had consistent movement and location. It was definitely his best outing of the Spring thus far.
Tampa Starting Lineup: Claudio Custodio, Peter O'Brien, Eric Jagielo, Reymond Nunez, Dante Bichette Jr., Angelo Gumbs, Cito Culver, Kale Sumner, Yeicok Calderon, and Austin Aune.
Charleston Starting Lineup: Tyler Wade, Aaron Judge, Luis Torrens, Chris Breen, Miguel Andujar, Mike Ford, Kendall Coleman, Michael O'Neill, Derek Toadvine, and Jorge Mateo.
Right-hander Adam Warren actually started the game for the RiverDogs on Thursday. Scheduled to go just five innings, he was so efficient with his strike throwing that he was asked to toss a sixth inning -- he was in that much control. He gave up just two hits, one run [on a solo home run], walked none, and struck out nine batters. He sat mostly 92-94 mph with his fastball but it was his curveball in particular that was extremely sharp.
Left-hander Vidal Nuno started the game for the Tampa Yankees. And like Warren, Nuno, scheduled to go five innings, wound up going six. He too gave up a home run of his own, a two-run shot [the only two runs he gave up in the outing], and scattered five hits, walked none, and struck out three batters.
It was yet another productive day for Tampa second baseman Angelo Gumbs. After flying out deep in his first at-bat he tripled to right-centerfield in his next at-bat, scored a run on a Cito Culver [1-3] RBI ground out, and later drove home Dante Bichette Jr. [1-3, 2B, run] with an RBI double down the left field line. Like Jagielo, when he's made contact this Spring the ball has just jumped off of his bat.
Right-hander Luis Severino made his long awaited Spring debut on Thursday and while the results weren't great [2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 K's], the stuff was as fantastic as always. He was sitting 93-94 mph and his changeup was a true plus-plus pitch. He just happened to leave a fastball belt-high for a triple and Tampa first baseman Kale Sumner [0-3, but lined out hard twice] got caught up bumbling a sacrifice squeeze play that allowed one of the runs.
Charleston first baseman Chris Breen accounted for half of the RiverDog runs in their victory, crushing a solo home run deep over the centerfield wall in his first at-bat. He had just one more plate appearance and even that was a loud out, flying out to deep centerfield.
On the subject of young Charleston hitters most likely destined to begin the year in Extended Spring Training, Drew Bridges continues to impress with the bat. He began the game on the bench and had just one at-bat but he made it count, driving home Gosuke Katoh [1-2, run] with an RBI double over the right fielder's head that one-hopped the wall.
Tampa catcher Peter O'Brien [1-3, K] continues to do what he does best -- hit for power. He gave Tampa an early 1-0 lead when he drove home Claudio Custodio [1-4, 2B, RBI, run] with a double over the left fielder's head that one-hopped the fence.
It's time to put outfielder Austin Aune in the young hitters who are impressing category. He has really turned it on the last week. He went 2-3 with a walk and strikeout, including crushing a triple of his own to right-centerfield. He is beginning to use the whole field more -- he singled to centerfield in his first at-bat.
Charleston shortstop Jorge Mateo is yet another youngster turning heads. He went just 1-2 with a strikeout in Charleston's victory, but boy can he fly! He bunted for a base hit in his first at-bat and promptly stole second base. He should have been credited for a swipe of third base as well but he got rung up on a bad call by the umpire.
Tampa's Reymond Nunez [1-3, BB, K], Yeicok Calderon [1-3], Jake Cave [1-1], and Alvaro Noriega [1-1, RBI], and Charleston's Miguel Andujar [1-3, run] all had hits in their games as well. Charleston outfielder Kendall Coleman [0-1, BB] didn't get a hit but had two really good plate appearances, one which included lining out directly and sharply to the right fielder.
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