Bill Hass on Baseball:5-run inning backs pitching by Beggs

Posted by Guest Columnist on June 25, 2018 at 11:41 pm under Professional | Comments are off for this article

5-run inning backs pitching by Beggs
from Bill Hass with Bill on Baseball(Greensboro Grasshoppers) at

Dustin Beggs was right in his comfort zone Monday night.

The Hoppers’ right-hander drew a spot start against Kannapolis and delivered five strong innings to help Greensboro to a rain-shortened 7–1 victory.

“I felt good out there,” Beggs said. “It’s nice to start again for however long.”

In 2017 Beggs was a stalwart in the rotation, never missing a start and winning 10 games. But an injury set him back in spring training and the Marlins decided to try him as a swing man, pitching in long relief and making an occasional start.

“There’s a routine that I used last year,” he said about starting, “and it’s easy for me to fall back into that.”

Monday’s game was his 14th of the year and his fourth start. It was the second time he has gone five innings to qualify for the win, which improved his record to 3–1. He allowed four hits, gave up one run and struck out seven.

Despite the impressive performance, Beggs understands more starts are not guaranteed, so he looks on the positive side.

“As long as they keep getting me innings, whether it’s starting or in the bullpen, it keeps my stock rising going forward,” he said.

Beggs said his changeup worked well against the aggressive Kannapolis lineup stacked with seven left-handed hitters.

Pitching coach Mark DiFelice liked the way Beggs kept his fastball down and changed speeds on hitters.

Travis Neubeck finished the last two innings, working out of trouble in each one. The first batter he faced in the sixth, Craig Dedelow, lofted a high fly to right field, where Isael Soto waved his arms to indicate he had lost the ball in the lights. Second baseman Rodrigo Ayarza raced out to right but couldn’t track down the ball as Dedelow wound up on third base with a triple.

Neubeck kept his composure, struck out the next two batters and got a groundout to end the inning and strand Dedelow on third.

“I thought those two strikeouts were the key,” DiFelice said. “If they put the ball in play either time, we likely concede that run.”

In the seventh, Neubeck gave up a leadoff double but again buckled down with a strikeout, groundout and flyout to strand the runner.

Neubeck is having a sneaky good season. He has made 17 appearances, usually in the middle innings, and has a 2–1 record with an ERA of 1.80. He does have two saves, but could be in line for more.

“He’s playing himself into a setup or closer role for us,” DiFelice said. “He throws a fastball, curve and changeup and has added a cut fastball that he learned this season.”

The Hoppers had a big third inning that put them in control. They parlayed two walks, a wild pitch, a sacrifice bunt, a couple of key hits and two Kannapolis errors into five runs. The big blows were an RBI single by Marcos Rivera and a two-run triple by Soto.

The inning began when Kannapolis pitcher Luis Ledo, who apparently held a grudge against Garvis Lara, threw two deliberately wild pitches and then one high and inside. Ledo dropped his glove and appeared ready to charge Lara before cooler heads prevailed and he received a warning from the home plate umpire.

Lara drew a walk and eventually came around to score the first run of the inning and things went downhill from there for Ledo.

Ricardo Cespedes singled in a run in the second inning, his second RBI in two games, and the Hoppers pulled off a double steal for a run in the sixth. With Lara on third and Thomas Jones on first , Jones deliberately got himself into a rundown between first and second. Lara moved down the line from third and, when Kannapolis threw the ball home, he was able to slide in under the tag. He was credited with a steal of home and Jones with a steal of second.

Rain caused the game to be delayed after the top of the seventh inning. After a 30-minute wait, the umpires called it, giving the Hoppers the win.

The finale of the three-game series will begin at noon Tuesday. Trevor Rogers, last year’s ?1 pick by the Marlins, will start for the Hoppers and manager Todd Pratt said the goal is to get him through five innings.

NOTES: Jhonny Santos, who hit the left field wall hard making a catch Sunday, sat out Monday’s game and might miss Tuesday … Pratt said Santos did not suffer a broken rib, which was the original concern … Rivera jammed his thumb in the fourth inning and was removed as a precaution … Devers went 0-for-3 but is still hitting .372 in June.

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