Scranton @ Norfolk — A Tale of Starting Pitchers
After an eight-game trip to Charlotte and Gwinnett, the Tides returned home Saturday, Sunday, and Monday (May 1,2,3) to face the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees. In all three games, the starting pitching ranked from the solid to the outstanding. I thought I’d review and comment on all six starters:
May 1 — Scranton — Romulo Sanchez — 7 6 2 1 1 8 (Game Score 66) (Losing Pitcher)
Romulo Sanchez brings heat. The Harbor Park radar gun was consistently in the 97, 98 range for his fastballs, and he simply overpowered the batter in a few at-bats. He obviously had good control, with only one walk. He seems to have stamina — in his last inning, he gave up an unearned run on a two-base throwing error and a single, but he struck out two batters. But there doesn’t appear to be much movement or deception on his pitches — the Tides hit several balls hard both for base hits and for outs.
Sanchez is 26, and pitched 26 games in relief for the Pirates in 2007-08. He’s spent most of his time in the minors as a relief pitcher also; it’s hard to tell whether he’s starting this season because the Yankees think he can be a starter or because there’s nobody else to do it. I don’t think he’s got much of a future as a major league pitcher, but if he gets a job, he could deliver one good year out of a bullpen.
May 1 — Norfolk — Troy Patton — 7 5 1 1 0 4 (Game Score 67) (Winning Pitcher)
While less overpowering than Sanchez, Troy Patton was more effective and equally impressive. He moved his pitches around the strike zone and induced routine grounders and flies. The only run allowed came on a Juan Miranda home run, although he was saved by a spectacular tag at the plate to turn a potential sacrifice fly into an inning-ending double play. Aside from those innings, Patton was not threatened and stranded only two runners.
Patton has dominated every level up to AAA; he has struggled at AAA. However, he’s pitched better in his last three starts and may be fully recovered from his Tommy John surgery. If he has, and he is able to maintain his command, he should have at least a Paul Maholm-like career; Ted Lilly may be his upside.
I’ll discuss the remaining pitchers in future posts.