In a game, where part of your line score reads five errors, three wild pitches, and one passed ball it’s a good bet your night is not going to end well. Case in point last night for the Lowell Spinners, a combination of bad defense and pitching led to the Tigers taking the opening game of this three games series 9-2 in Lowell.
To make matters worse, this performance by the Spinners took place in front of a sold-out crowd of five thousand people. It’s not a great way to make an impression, but in the low minors it’s all about player development and sometimes you have to take the bad with the good when dealing with young players getting their feet wet in pro baseball.
Jason Groome made his second rehab start for Lowell. Early on it looked good as he retired the first six batters he faced. He got into a little trouble in the third but found a way out of it. In the fourth, he was not so lucky.
A leadoff walk to Reynaldo Rivera was follow by him being wild pitched to second base. The next batter, Teddy Hoffman, hit a fly ball to fairly deep left field and the ball was dropped by Spinners outfield Nick Hamilton and the Tigers were in business.
Connecticut would cash in with base hits from Hunter Swilling that plated two runs and a single off the bat of Joey Morgan to drive in one more. Both hits were to center field and the Tigers had a 3-0 lead.
To this point in the game Groome, who is now 0-2, was in good shape. But he never finished the fourth inning, throwing 33 pitches before being removed by Manager Iggy Suarez. His final line of 3.2 IP, 4H, 3R, 1ER, 2BB, 4 K’s may not tell the whole story. But this is rehab for Groome and the 74 total pitches he threw was right in line with what he was scheduled to do on Saturday night.
Meanwhile, Tiger starting hurler Ryan Castellanos (1-0) was dealing. At one point he retired 12 of 13 hitters faced. The hardest hit ball off him in his five innings of two-hit shutout baseball was by Aneury Tavarez who triple off the wall in right field in the first.
The Tigers added on runs in the sixth as they scored once more. Swilling led off the inning with a single to RF. Once again a wild pitch sent him to second and he would score when Cole Peterson ground ball was mishandled by Spinners second baseman Imeldo Diaz, 4-0 Connecticut.
They busted the game wide open in the seventh scoring four more times with two of those runs coming off the bat of first baseman Randel Alcantana who homered to RF off of Devon Fisher, his second of the year and the third for the team.
The Tigers pushed across one more in the eighth. Lowell’s two runs were scored in the bottom of the eighth. A leadoff triple by Yoan Aybar, his fifth extra base hit so far in six games. He was driven in by a single to right by Diaz. After a walk to Hamilton, he would come around to score on a fielder’s choice ground ball by Frankie Rios that was thrown away by Tiger second baseman Hector Martinez. The runs were given up by relief pitcher John Hayes in his one inning of work. Final score 9-2 Connecticut.
Of concern to the Lowell coaching staff has to be the defense which has already allowed 13 errors in six games played. Better defense will lead to happier results. Game two is tonight in Lowell.
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