The Mud Hens got a walk-off home run from Brent Dlugach to beat Buffalo 3-2 at Fifth Third Field Saturday night. Here are a few notes on the start by Andy Oliver, the work in relief by Jose Ortega and Luke Putkonen, and anything else interesting I can find about the offense ...
Oliver's command just wasn't as sharp as it was a few weeks ago. He threw first-pitch strikes to just 12 of the 26 hitters he faced (because of the pickoff to end the third, he has an extra batter faced in my records), or 46.2 percent. He fell behind 2-0 to six batters -- which resulted in only two walks and also had four putouts -- and reached an 0-2 count just two times -- both in the third, when he was bearing down after giving back-to-back singles to lead off the inning.
As for pitch speeds, Oliver's fastball was consistently in the 93-95 range with three touching 96. He threw 17 at 93 mph, 14 at 94 and six at 95. His cut fastball sat at 91-92 mph (six at 91, three at 92). His change-up sat at 84-85 mph (three at 83, 13 at 84, 12 at 85) and his slider sat at 86-88 mph (six at 86, three at 87, two at 88).
As for pitch count, Oliver threw 107 pitches, 61 of which were strikes (57.0 percent). The walks confirm that his command wasn't great, but so do the pitches by inning ...
- First inning: 19 pitches, 10 strikes (52.6 percent).
- Second inning: 14 pitches, 9 strikes (64.3 percent).
- Third inning: 13 pitches, 7 strikes (53.8 percent).
- Fourth inning: 20 pitches, 16 strikes (80 percent).
- Fifth inning: 24 pitches, 11 strikes (45.8 percent).
- Sixth inning: 17 pitches, 9 strikes (52.9 percent).
If I asked you what innings Oliver had his walks, could you guess from the data above? I bet you could ... one in the first, one in the third, the first two batters in the fifth and one in the sixth.
Let's turn our attention to Jose Ortega, who was brilliant in relief. Ortega came on in the seventh with the score tied 2-2, the bases loaded and no one out. He promptly struck out the 3-4-5 hitters in the Buffalo batting order, falling behind Valentino Pascucci 3-1 before getting a swinging strikeout, then whiffing Josh Satin and Matt Tuiasosopo.
Ortega threw 16 pitches, 11 of which were strikes. His fastball was impressive, sitting at 97 and touching 101 once (I don't think that was legitimate -- I think the radar gun measured the foul ball, not the pitch) and once touching 99 (which I think WAS legitimate). He threw five pitches at 97 mph (three were strikes), one at 96 (a swinging strike) and one at 95 (a called strike).
His breaking ball, which I believe was a slider, sat at 84-86 mph. He threw one at 84 (for a swinging strikeout), two at 85 (one for a called third strike) and two at 86. He had terrific movement on the pitch, which was how he got the three strikeouts that kept the game tied.
Luke Putkonen followed Ortega with two scoreless innings, allowing just one hit while striking out two. Putkonen threw 26 pitches, 15 of which were strikes, and generally got ahead of the hitters he faced (five of the seven).
Putkonen threw strikes with his fastball (1o of 14), which sat at 93-97 mph (one at 93, five at 94, four at 95, two at 96 and two at 97). He threw a pair of curveballs, one at 79 and one at 81, but neither was a strike. His change-up sat at 84-88 mph (one at 84, two at 85, one at 86, four at 87 and one at 88) and just four of those nine pitchers were strikes.
As I look at that, I'll bet some of those pitches were sliders and some change-ups. Sorry, I focus on the pitch speed and result and don't spent a lot of time watching movement. Just too much on my plate.
One other pitching note: The Hens forced Buffalo to go 0-for-13 when batting with runners in scoring position (Oliver was 0-for-8, Darin Downs was 0-for-1 plus a walk, Ortega was 0-for-3 and Putkonen was 0-for-1).
As for the Mud Hens' offense, Toledo continues to struggle when batting with runners in scoring position. The Hens were 1-for-7 in such situations, and the lone hit was a two-out, two-run single by Ben Guez in the first inning.
The Hens did have baserunners as the four Bisons hurlers combined for seven walks. But Toledo never got the game-breaking hit until Brent Dlugach clubbed his game-winning home run to lead the bottom of the ninth.
Dlugach's hit was his first of the night, and he entered the game in a 1-for-11 funk. That one hit was a two-run single late in Friday's victory.
Brad Eldred had a single and a walk in four plate appearances Saturday. The single in the first inning extended his current hitting streak to eight games, during which he has gone 13-for-27 (.481) with two doubles and four home runs among his 13 hits, 10 RBIs and a stolen base.
Ryan Raburn collected an infield single in the seventh inning after going 0-for-6 in his previous at bats since joining the Mud Hens Friday.
OK, that's probably enough for now. For more before and during the game, including info on the Matt Young non-move and other stuff, click here to read the in-game blog from Saturday's game.