Mobile BayBears Leave Blue Wahoos feeling Bluer than Blue after 17-inning Loss

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Hi all.  Here’s how I see baseball on this Tuesday, April 25.

Any baseball manager will tell you, concerning a loss  “It’s just another game, and one loss means nothing.”  But certain losses sting in the short term and can have an effect on a team for a week or more after.  I witnessed it particularly during my years in New Britain in the AA Eastern League. One particularly bad loss sent us on a 10-game losing streak.    Last night, the AA Reds, the Pensacola Blue Wahoos by name suffered one of those painful losses.  They lost 2-1 in 17 innings in Mobile, Alabama to the  Mobile BayBears which are the AA Angels’ team. 6 Pensacola pitchers were used-4 of whom including the starter working enough innings that they won’t be available for today and probably not even tomorrow.  This leaves the Reds’ AA squad with a short bull pen for the time being. Only their closer Jimmy Herget who blew the save in the last of the 16th and the losing pitcher Jake Ehret who couldn’t get a man out in the 17th might be available tonight if needed. Admittedly, 6 pitchers for Mobile were also used and 5 of them wouldn’t be available tonight because of the length of their appearances last night.  But the BayBears won, so the manager won’t yap about his fried bull pen or all the hours his troops spent on the playing field.  Only 636 persons were at Hank Aaron Stadium in Mobile to see the game live, not even as many as Hank’s 755 home runs-but today in offices around the city thousands will claim they witnessed this amazing game.

Pitching ruled for the first 15 innings as nobody scored for either side.  All told the visitors struck out 16 men and the home team struck out 14. The winners picked up 14 hits and 5 walks, so it’s hard to imagine they didn’t score until the last of the 16th. The home team gave up 8 hits and 6 walks giving fewer chances for the visitors to score. Pensacola, who came in with a 13-5 record put up the first run in the 16th on an RBI-single by Gabriel Guerrero.  In the home half, Mobile countered when, down to their last out Hutton Moyer singled home the equalizer. An inning later, the homestanding BayBears filled the bases with nobody out, setting the stage for Zach Houchins’ game-winning knock. The Mobile starter was making his AA debut.  He fired 6 scoreless innings but he had never pitched 6 innings as a pro, so he had reached his limit.  The visitors’ starter lasted 7 holding Mobile scoreless.  Mobile is now 10-9.  They hadn’t played a 17-inning game in 3 years until last night.

While a good many minor league games today will be played in daylight, the entire major league slate is under the lights.  Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York are under a threat of heavy rain which leaves management hoping for the best. The Indians and Astros play the earliest game, at 6 PM in Cleveland. The Cubs demolished Pittsburgh 14-3 last night, and now the Pirates get to face Kyle Hendricks, last year’s surprise star and Cy Young contender. The Cubs had 9 runs up in the first 2 innings on Monday night giving Brett Anderson all the support he could want. Tonight Hendricks faces one of the Pirates’ best, Gerrit Cole. The talk on Philadelphia sports radio was that Vince Velasquez would be sent to the bull pen.  That hasn’t happened and he’s starting tonight against the Marlins. The Yankees and Red Sox face each other for the first time in Boston.  The visitors send out Luis Severino while the Sox have Cy Young winner Rick Porcello slated to pitch. King Felix Hernandez of the Mariners faces Jordan Zimmerman of the Tigers in what looks like a great pitching matchup. Zimmerman has to be on his mettle, which he wasn’t last time out when he gave up 10 hits and 5 runs to the Rays.

The late game features Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers.  This would have been a marquee matchup if the Giants’ Madison Bumgarner didn’t throw his career from Hall of Fame status into uncertainty on a dirt bike. With him facing a long siege on the DL, Ty Blach gets to make his first start of the season against Kershaw, one of the best pitchers on Earth. Admittedly, Blach got a win over Kershaw last October, but that was a Kershaw and a Dodgers’ team preparing for the playoffs.




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