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It doesn’t look like Triple-A pitchers are scared of Tyler Flowers yet. He has just two walks over his first 65 at-bats in Charlotte, and didn’t draw one in his five at-bats on Monday.
Watching him for the first time on Monday, Flowers is responding to the challenges instead of looking for walks. The best example came in his final at-bat, he got a hanging breaking ball up in the zone on the first pitch, and just got under it.
Here’s the video of his final four at-bats:
He showed good pitch recognition for all but one pitch (an unsuccessful check swing), not flinching at any too-low and too-away offerings. If there’s one thing not working for him, it could be that he’s a little pull-happy right now. He came through in the clutch with a single over the second baseman’s head, but he had to break his bat to do it.
Defensively, he almost blended in behind the plate. He wasn’t tested throwing to second, and he made every play required of him until the last batter of the game. The Charlotte pitchers on display didn’t miss many bats, but when Derek Rodriguez worked Brian Anderson over low and away, Flowers blocked both pitches in the dirt, including the one Anderson struck out on.
On the second-to-last Pawtucket batter of the game, Flowers sprung — as much as he can, anyway — from behind the plate to field a nubber, making a strong throw to first to record the second out and put Fernando Hernandez in the situation of stranding a leadoff single-turned-triple at third.
But then, inexplicably, Flowers let a low fastball go through his legs, just getting the tip of the mitt on it. He couldn’t recover in time to get the runner at home, and that proved to be the deciding run.
Maybe it was a lapse in concentration. Maybe squatting in stale 90-degree heat (gametime temp was 95, and it didn’t cool down much) for nearly four hours took a toll. Or maybe that was the lack of quickness that’s on the scouting report. It’s hard to say in just one game, but hopefully I’ll get three more looks at him.
It was an unfortunate ending on an evening of defense that would’ve been good enough to go unnoticed — had I not made an effort to notice, that is.
*Brent Lillibridge had a nice day at the plate, going 2-for-5 with a double. He was hitting line drives, including a couple the other way. He was thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double to end the game, but I was thankful for it.
*Matt Zaleski has the laziest-looking delivery I’ve ever seen. Elderly ceremonial first-pitch throwers put more effort into their windup. He never hit 90, nor does he get that many grounders, but he kept the game moving.
*Brian Anderson was quintessentially Brian Anderson. He smashed the ball into the ground on the left side three times (one ended up getting through for an RBI single), two strikeouts on breaking balls low and away, and failed with the bases loaded. He was 2-for-20 with the sacks packed in his big-league career.
On the plus side, he caught everything hit in his area with his gazelle-like strides.
*Stefan Gartrell looks overmatched thus far.
*Derek Rodriguez still looks like he could succeed in the big leagues, at least for a little bit. That he hasn’t gotten a chance yet probably proves me wrong, but I’m just sayin’.
Here’s the box score.
Minor league roundup:
- Tennessee 11, Birmingham 4
- Christian Marrero doubled twice; Dave Cook went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI.
- Jimmy Gallagher singled and walked twice in four plate appearances, and has reached base in 10 of 20 PAs so far in Double-A.
- Dayan Viciedo and Jordan Danks had the day off (better now than Wednesday!).
- Miguel Socolovich was the only pitcher unscored upon (1 IP). No pitchers of note partook.
- Kannapolis 7, Greensboro 1
- Brandon Short went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI.
- Daniel Black and Jon Gilmore walked twice apiece.
- Josh Phegley walked, was hit by a pitch and hit a sac fly in four plate appearances.
- James Albury allowed one run on five hits and a walk over six innings, striking out two.
- Johnson City 7, Bristol 5
- Miguel Gonzalez doubled, tripled and drove in two.
- Ryan Lee went 3-for-5 with a double.
- Daniel Holmberg struggled with control, walking five and hitting a batter over 3 2/3 innings. He also surrendered a homer, one of three hits and four runs (three earned). He struck out three.
- Orlando Santos and Santos Rodriguez each struck out the side.
- Great Falls 5, Casper 4
- Kyle Colligan homered (No. 7), walked, hit a sac fly and stole his eighth base.
- Jimmy Ballinger was mediocre: 5 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 4 K.