OK, in fairness Joan Baez only hit one batter. Then again, he didn’t strike out any in three and 2/3rds innings, either.
What he did do is walk seven of 22 batters faced and five of them scored in Potomac’s 6-3 loss to Wilmington.
Perhaps mercifully, there was no official pitch count but even Steve Wonder could see it had to be close to 90 (even a generous estimate of four pitches per batter faced is 88), as the 23-y.o. struggled with his control, command, grip, mechanics – take your pick. At least twice manager Tripp Keister had someone up in the ‘pen warming to give him the hook before Taylor Guilbeau was finally brought in with two out in the 4th.
The lanky southpaw weathered an infield single before striking out the second batter he faced to strand Baez’s final two walks issued. He would go on to toss three more scoreless innings, followed by one goose egg apiece from Ronald Pena and Mariano Rivera III.
The Potomac bats got halfway out of the hole dug for them, all of them coming in the bottom of the 3rd. Bryan Mejia legged out an infield single to lead off, went to second on an Ian Sagdal walk, and scored on Kelvin Gutierrez’s RBI single. After a Taylor Gushue walk, Rhett Wiseman rolled a grounder to short, but the would-be 6-4-3 was botched as the “4” threw it away, enabling both Gutierrez and Sagdal to score.
The P-Nats threatened again the 4th but were victims of bad umpiring or bad luck as Austin Davidson drilled a double to the right-center gap and Telmito Agustin, who was off on contact because there were two outs, appeared to have passed third and on his way to scoring the fourth run when the ground-rule signal was issued. Instead, he was sent back to third, where he watched Sagdal fly out to end the inning.
The Blue Rocks pitchers settled down to retire 12 of 13 batters before issuing a pair of walks in the 9th, which they stranded to end the game.
Wirkin “For the Weekend” Estevez (0-1, 13.50) gets the ball this afternoon in the series finale, opposed by Christian Castillo (0-0, 0.00).