Perhaps the only thing more reviled than the intentional walk is the throw over to first base. When it works, a few people notice and understand. But when it fails, everybody sees and wonders why didn’t he just to pitch to him?!
It was turning point in the game last night in Woodbridge.
With the score tied at 6-6, and two outs. Rocket Wheeler was faced with a decision: Pitch to the lefty Bill Rhinehart, who had smoked a triple in the second inning for the P-Nats first two runs. Or pitch the to the righthanded Brian Peacock, who hadn’t gotten the ball out of the infield.
For the second night in a row, Rocket Wheeler ordered the free pass, and just like the night before, the decision backfired. Peacock blistered an outside fastball between the Pelican first baseman and first base itself for a two-run triple.
In the press box, the home team pulling ahead in the eighth is sometimes called a sportswriter’s win because then they can start writing up the game early, or at least think up their ledes. Dan Leatherman also did his part by striking out two in a 1-2-3 ninth for his 4th save.
As the 8-6 score implies, this was not pitcher’s duel. Neither Potomac’s Trevor Holder nor Myrtle Beach’s Randall Delgado was sharp or effective. Both went five innings and gave up five runs.
Holder labored to keep the ball in the strike zone, but only issued one walk. When he was locating the ball, the Pelicans let him know with authority, smacking eight hits including two home runs and lifting five flyballs.
As was the case last Sunday, the separation between Holder’s pitches was only apparent when he threw his soft breaking pitch that’s not quite a curve and not quite a change (this is why scouts want to be directly behind home plate; it’s difficult to read pitches otherwise, especially when seated in an elevated grandstand like the POS Pfitz).
Following Holder was Carlos Martinez, who returned to the P-Nats from the GCL to make his first appearance of the season, and his 55th in parts of five seasons with Potomac. He pitched two innings and allowed one run on two hits.
Clayton Dill pitched a scoreless top of the 8th to earn his 4th win of the season, walking one and striking out one.
With the win, Potomac improves to 2-1 on the season and hits the road for a six-game swing through North Carolina, visiting Kinston Sunday through Tuesday, then Winston-Salem on Wednesday through Friday.