Bill Hass on Baseball:Hoppers’ bullpen falters against Crawdads

Posted by Guest Columnist on July 22, 2014 at 12:52 pm under Professional | Comments are off for this article

Hoppers’ bullpen falters against Crawdads
from Bill Hass with Bill on Baseball(Greensboro Grasshoppers) at….

There was no doubt what the difference was in Monday’s game at NewBridge Bank Park.

Hickory’s bullpen was sharp, Greensboro’s pen wasn’t and the result was a 10-4 win for the Crawdads, who salvaged the final game in the four-game series.

The Hoppers got what they wanted from starter Ryan Wertenberger, who pitched five shutout innings. He gave up three hits and no walks and struck out four. The Hoppers supported him with three runs, two on a double by Brian Anderson and another on a double by J.T. Riddle, one of his three hits.

It was the third straight good start for Wertenberger, who has pitched 14 innings and allowed two runs and 10 hits while recording 13 strikeouts.

“He threw great,” pitching coach Jeremy Powell said of Wertenberger. “His secondary stuff is really coming on. He threw a consistent slider and an effective changeup. Things went way downhill after that.”

Four Hoppers relievers surrendered 10 runs and 11 hits in the final four innings. Only Sam Alvis escaped without allowing a run. C.J. Robinson, who had given up no runs and just four his over 9 1/3 innings in his previous five appearances, took the brunt of the punishment. He pitched two-thirds of an inning and gave up seven runs.

“He’s escaped a lot of innings this year by leaving men on base,” Powell said, “but he didn’t escape this time. He was not able to keep the ball off the barrel of the bat and there was a lot of hard contact. It can happen quickly.”

Meanwhile, Hickory reliever Anyelo Leclerc pitched three innings and gave up three hits and one run. Jose Valdespina pitched the ninth and struck out the side.

After making five errors Sunday, the Hoppers added two more in this one.

“We’re going to make errors,” said manager David Berg, “and those were careless errors. It seems like we’ll go five games without an error and three or four making errors.”

Now 21-11 in the second half, tied for first in the Northern Division, the Hoppers will head to Asheville for three games and Augusta for four. When they return home, they will face Asheville in a four-game series. The Tourists currently have won 11 straight and are 26-6 in the second half.

“We play them seven of our next 11, so we’ll see where we are,” Berg said.

Even with the loss, the Hoppers went 5-2 on the home stand. Berg said “we’ll take it, enjoy the day off and then get back at it.”

NOTES: Felix Munoz drove in his 69th run of the year with a single in the 8th … Cody Crabaugh will open the series at Asheville, followed by Jose Adames and Domingo German. German will be limited, probably to three innings … According to Brian Chattin, the Marlins’ director of player personnel, they will decide in the next couple of days where Dustin Moseley will make his next start. Moseley, a former major-leaguer, made the first start in his comeback on Sunday, pitching well in five innings. His next start could be with the Hoppers in Asheville, but is more likely to be at a higher level. Chattin said Moseley was signed with the goal of him helping the Marlins this season.

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