After punching out eleven in his first start in Sky Sox uniform, Tyler Matzek regressed back into the frustrating prospect he's been for many years. Last night, he made it through just four innings, gave up four runs, and walked four batters while striking out just two. It's worth noting however that this was his first start at high altitude as his gem from the last outing was in New Orleans.
Despite falling behind 8-1 at one point, the Sky Sox offense mounted a major comeback pulling to within two runs by the bottom of the ninth. Tailing 8-6 there, Tim Wheeler launched a two run home run to right to tie the game and send it to extras, carrying the power he showed in Spring Training over to real game action.
After falling behind 10-8 in the top of the eleventh, the Sky Sox would mount yet another comeback. Paul Janish and Time Wheeler each recorded one out singles, setting up the dramatics of a Drew Garcia walk off three run home run. It was an amazing moment for a guy who will be 28 later this month and has now spent over 2,600 plate appearances in the minor leagues without ever getting called to the big show. These are the types of gifts only the game of baseball can provide.
(Kyle Parker was on base three times in this game with two hits and a walk.)
It was a very humbling night for top PuRP Jon Gray. The third overall pick out of last year's draft got smacked around so extensively last night that he didn't make it out of the first inning. His final line was 0.2 innings, six runs, seven hits, and just one strikeout. His ERA on the young season now sits at a staggering 12.15. It's certainly too early to start panicking, but this is about as bad of a start as I could have imagined for Gray.
The Drillers however would come roaring back with six runs of their own in the fourth and another three runs in the sixth. The charge was led by second baseman Cristian Adames who racked up four hits on the night. Dustin Garneau, Jared Simon, and Delta Cleary Jr. all had multiple hit games.
And this ladies and gentlemen is exhibit 29,372 of why pitching wins / losses are stupid. Tyler Matzek and Jon Gray each received no decisions for their efforts, but Jayson Aquino, who threw six innings of two run ball with eight strike outs and just one walk in this game took the loss.
Trevor Story had another hit, extending his streak to five games, but for the most part the Nuts were shut down by Tom Windle and the Quakes bullpen. Rosell Herrera had a particularly rough day going 0-4 with three strikeouts.
Now here's what we're looking for. Good news at the plate and on the mound from our big name prospects. Alex Balog struck out six in 5.1 innings of work and held the Crawdads to just a pair of runs on four hits.
Meanwhile, at the dish the scary Asheville offense scored early and often as part of a 12 hit attack. The top of the lineup was particularly successful. Raimel Tapia had a hit and an RBI, while Ryan McMahon and David Dahl both had a pair of hits, a pair of RBIs, and each hit their third home run of the season. The friendly competition may be on between these two.