Spitzbarth Dominates California League, Earns Promotion
Shea Spitzbarth really impressive spring carried over into the first part of the season in Rancho. That led to his promotion to AA yesterday. The right handed closer from Staten Island was as near to untouchable as a closer in the minor leagues can be. He converted all six of his save opportunities for the Quakes, along with striking out 27 California League batters in 15.2 innings. In those innings, Spitzbarth surrendered just 9 hits and walked 5 batters. Only one runner scored versus the red headed, righty reliever while in Rancho Cucamonga. In Visalia (5/12/17), the former Molloy Lion struck out the side on 12 pitches in domineering fashion. The Rawhide batters were behind on his fastball, which in comparison to the curve, must have appeared 10 MPH faster. His promotion to Tulsa became official yesterday, and escalated quickly. He was pressed into action immediately for two shutout innings against Springfield. Spitzbarth has pitched all season in single A, as pitcher who did not belong there. Showing he was ready to move up. Congratulations to Shea Spitzbarth!
A Closer’s Mentality
To finish another team off in the 9th inning takes a certain personality, a mix of intensity, confidence and nasty stuff. Chatting with Shea regarding his curveball, he stated; “I think I’m one of those kids who started throwing it when you weren’t supposed to start in little league.”Full Interview with Spitzbarth Shea has the right DNA needed for the job. His role for the Drillers is undefined. The Dodgers AA affiliate have been a “closer by committee” bullpen this season. Whatever his role, however long his chance to pitch, you can be sure he will be locked in, focused and dropping hammers (curveballs, in baseball jargon) on Texas League batters while he has his occasion.
Stats are listed below for the recent college graduate. This season is young and he has only pitched in 12 games (1 in Tulsa 11 in Rancho) thus far. His career stats include a 2.22 ERA in 77 innings worked. He has 116 strike outs in those innings and has converted a perfect 15 of 15 save opportunities. Spitzbarth has been stingy in his career, allowing opposing hitters a .194 batting average against him. His career WHIP is an astonishingly low 0.91. Keep in mind, he has pitched 13 games (7 in ’15, 6 in ’16) for the Ogden Raptors of the hitter friendly Pioneer League in Rookie ball. These are impressive numbers for a potential future closer. Looking forward to seeing Shea rise through the system and into Los Angeles in the near future!
Adrian Gonzalez and Logan Forsythe were tuning up to return to Los Angeles, and fans flocked to see them up close in Rancho Cucamonga. Neither player was a significant factor in the outcome of the game. Most importantly, both players were healthy after the game. Gonzalez went 0 – 2 with 2 walks, while Forsythe went 0 – 4 with 2 strike outs. Getting the rust out, getting timing back. Adrian Gonzalez talked about how he felt after game. He assured reporters that he felt good in the press conference after the Quakes victory. Logan Forsythe began his initial rehab assignment last week, but after tweaking his hamstring, he re-started the journey in Rancho tonight. Pre Game BP
Yadier Alvarez vs Joey Lucchesi
Yadier Alvarez did not have his best stuff tonight, evidenced by his 4 free passes to opposing hitters. He did battle through and limit the scoring damage to just two runs. Alvarez, with his free and easy motion, sometimes does not locate his pitches down in the zone. That is when trouble can arise for most pitchers, Alvarez is no exception. In the 2nd inning, Alvarez walked the leadoff batter. He then allowed an infield single off of Adrian Gonzalez’s glove. Carlos Belen drove a double over Yusniel Diaz’s head in centerfield to plate two runs. He reached his apparent pitch limit (74) by the 4th inning when Manager Drew Saylor went to his bullpen.
Garrett Kennedy Comes Up Clutch
Storm starting pitcher Joey Lucchesi worked at a methodical pace in his four innings of work. His “human rain delay” tendencies stem from his painfully slow start to his delivery in which he places his hands high above his head and slowly comes down. Slowly. Real Slow. It is no surprise when one reads that a critical error occurred behind Lucchesi. This is the result of putting your defense to sleep, reaction times on routine plays are diminished. A tailor made double pay ball was completely whiffed on by Storm 2B Peter Van Gansen , and the Quakes tied the ball game. The game remained tied until Catcher Garrett Kennedy turned on a fastball and sent it over the right center field wall. Kennedy’s first home run of the season. Chat with Garrett Kennedy
That made the score 3 – 2 Quakes. They would later tack on one more when Storm pitcher Thomas Dorminy threw away a pick off attempt to first base, allowing Luke Raley to score.
Dominant Relief Work
Chris Powell came in to work with two out in the top of the 4th inning. He was “lights out” in his last performance in Visalia on Friday night. He was equally impressive at Rancho as he began his night by striking out Auston Bousfield looking, to end the inning. The Bronco alum calmed the Storm of Lake Elsinore in the 5th, setting them down in order. Powell came out firing to start the 6th inning when he was greeted with a stellar bunt by Miguel Del Castro. The Quakes right handed hurler pounced on the bunt that seemed to be perfectly placed down the third base line. He made the play close with an absolute bullet of a throw to Adrian Gonzalez at 1B. The play was called safe. A questionable call, but no question as to the fielding abilities of the son of former Dodger reliever Dennis Powell. Chris did not waver, he struck out the next batter Javier Guerra and then induced a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning. Manager Drew Saylor sent his reliever back out to work the 7th and Powell worked another 1, 2, 3 inning. Chris Powell, who recently returned to Rancho after his promotion to Tulsa, has taken his game to a next level. To further illustrate his dominance tonight, Powell needed only 28 (21 strikes)pitches to get his 10 outs. By comparison, the Storm starting pitcher Joey Lucchesi needed 86 pitches to record his 12 outs. Lake Elsinore’s only hit off Powell was a bunt single that many believe was a blown call by the base umpire. Interview from last Friday with Chris.
Tony Gonsolin worked an effective two innings of relief to earn his first save as a member of the Quakes. Tony had one save for the Loons at Midland earlier this season. Tony worked around a couple of walks to retire the Storm without any serious threats from the offense. Gonsolin shut the door on another home victory for the Quakes. Rancho’s overall record moves to 22 – 17. First place in the California League’s South Division.