from Bill Hass, with Bill on Baseball(Greensboro Grasshoppers) at www.gsohoppers.com:
Reed, Logan dominate down the stretch for Hoppers
When a team has a three-run lead shaved to one but still wins, the usual terminology is it “held on” for the victory.
But there was no holding on about the way the Hoppers finished off Thursday’s 5-4 win over Lakewood. Relief pitchers Frankie Reed and Blake Logan were dominant down the stretch, striking out the last five BlueClaws hitters.
Reed’s work was done in the eighth inning, after Lakewood had trimmed a 5-2 Hoppers lead to 5-4 with two runs off Miguel Fermin. Reed entered the game with one out and runners on first and second base. He got Angelo Mora to ground sharply to third base but Yordy Cabrera couldn’t handle it and everyone was safe on the error.
A tough situation had turned into a real mess and the bases were loaded. But Reed said he just tried to imagine that there was no one on base.
“I just wanted to throw strikes and keep doing what I’ve been doing all year,” he said. “I try to throw strikes low in the zone and get ground balls. It was a little stressful but we got out of it.”
He did it by getting pinch-hitter Josh Ludy to strike out swinging on a fastball for the second out. With Art Charles up, Reed polished him off with a fastball and two sliders to retire the side, leaving the bases loaded and the score still 5-4.
“I had a great spring training and I feel confident,” said Reed, whose ERA dropped to 0.59. “I feel I can get out of any situation they put me in.”
Blake Logan took the mound for the ninth inning. He didn’t waste any time, getting Willie Carmona, Larry Greene and Mitch Walding to strike out, all swinging, to earn his seventh save of the season.
“I was hitting my spots,” Logan said. “I couldn’t get them to swing at breaking balls so I got them with fastballs.”
Logan started the season strongly with three saves, blew one, got another save and then hit a rough patch by blowing consecutive saves and surrendering six runs in 2 2/3 innings.
“I had to work on a few things,” he said. “When you’re in a slump, you can’t sit on the couch. You have to figure things out.”
Marlins pitching coordinator Wayne Rosenthal suggested that Logan go back to pitching from the stretch, so he did. In his last four appearances Logan has not allowed a run or a hit and has three saves.
“Logan has his confidence back and he’s more aggressive,” said pitching coach Blake McGinley. “He’s back to being the bulldog he was at the beginning of the season.
“Reed just goes out and competes. He’s making quality pitches and he’s not scared out there. Those two sliders he threw (to Ludy) were outstanding.”
The work by Reed and Logan preserved the first win of the season for starter Mason Hope. He battled his way through five innings, allowing three hits and four walks but just one run. Hope got out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth by getting Charles to fly out.
It was an unusual offensive game for the Hoppers, who scored two runs on sacrifice flies, one of a fielder’s choice and one on a throwing error. The only one driven in on a base hit was by Matt Juengel. Jesus Solorzano and Tony Caldwell had the sac flies.
The defense was shaky, committing three errors. Manager Jorge Hernandez attributed that to not playing for two days (a rainout in Kannapolis Tuesday and a day off Wednesday).
The game was the start of a seven-game home stand. The four-game series against Lakewood will continue tonight through Sunday and then Hagerstown comes in for three games Monday through Wednesday.
PERSONNEL CHANGES: Catcher Mike Vaughn was brought up from extended spring training to replace Sharif Othman, who took a foul tip off his right hand against Kannapolis and suffered a broken finger … Othman will be out four to six weeks, according to Hernandez … Pitcher Andrew Steckenrider is also on the DL (right elbow tendinitis) and was replaced by D.J. Oliver, who appeared in 29 games with the Hoppers last year as a relief pitcher (2-2, 5.03) … He will be the team’s No. 5 starter … Oliver made one start already, throwing five innings against Kannapolis, allowing three hits and one run.