Shorebirds lay a licking on the Hoppers
from Bill Hass with Bill on Baseball(Greensboro Grasshoppers) at www.gsohoppers.com….
Every team is going to have a clunker of a game occasionally during a long baseball season.
And the Hoppers sure had one Sunday.
Delmarva laid an 11-5 licking on Greensboro to win the rubber match of the five-game series.
“We’ve had maybe two games like that this season,” said manager Kevin Randel, whose team is 17-19. “That was the worst one to date.”
Nothing much went right for the Hoppers. When starter Ben Holmes couldn’t make it out of the third inning, it forced Greensboro to use more of its bullpen. Five pitchers eventually gave up 13 hits and, alarmingly, 10 walks.
“Nobody got the job done today,” said pitching coach Jeremy Powell. “They’ve been told time and again about pitching ahead in the count.”
The defense committed three errors and every runner that reached safely that way came around to score.
And although the offense produced 13 hits, many of them were cosmetic, with four hits and two runs coming in the ninth inning when the game was out of reach. The day started badly when the Hoppers loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the first. Scoring early might have set a different tone, but John Norwood swung at the first pitch and hit into an inning-ending double play.
“Deflating,” Randel said.
Meanwhile, the Shorebirds did a lot more with their 13 hits, including three doubles that produced seven runs. Conor Bierfieldt had a three-run double in the third, Jonah Heim a two-run double in the fifth and Jomar Reyes a two-run double in the sixth.
Down 5-0, the Hoppers had once chance to get back in it. In the fourth inning, Norwood singled and Justin Twine popped his first homer of the season over the right-field fence. On the next pitch, Ryan Aper drilled a long homer to left and suddenly it was 5-3.
But Delmarva got those three back right away in the top of the fifth, then added three more for insurance in the sixth.
“We couldn’t get that shutdown inning,” Randel said.
The one bright spot Randel saw was the hitting of recently-activated catcher Felix Castillo. Playing in just his third game of the year, Castillo had three hits, including a double.
“He battled his butt off,” Randel said. “He wants to see more playing time and he showed that if you want something bad enough, it makes the game easier to play.”
After playing each other 16 times in 36 games, the teams won’t see each other again until July. Sunday’s win gave the Shorebirds a 9-7 edge in the series.
The Hoppers now head out for seven games on the road, three at Hagerstown starting Monday and four at Lakewood beginning Thursday. Greensboro has a league-worst 6-12 road record.
“If you can’t play .500 on the road, you’re not a very good team,” Randel said.
NOTES: The parent Miami Marlins fired manager Mike Redmond and bench coach Rob Leary. The word is that the minor league system will remain unaffected. That means no one currently managing in the system — like former Hopper Andy Haines at New Orleans — will be promoted. An announcement on the new manager, who may be interim the rest of this season, will come Monday morning … Outfielder Casey Soltis (elbow) will be out about two more weeks while outfielder Isael Soto (torn meniscus) is down for awhile. When Soto is ready to return, he’s likely to be with Batavia rather than Greensboro. Aaron Blanton (wrist) will likely be out several weeks.