The story in a nutshell -- or is that an egg shell? -- of the Mud Hens' doubleheader against Indianapolis at Fifth Third Field on Saturday, July 21, 2012 ...
TWITTER POST: Weber throws complete-game 5-hitter, Hens score 1 in 6th, 2 in 7th to claim 3-1 Game 1 victory over Indianapolis at FTF Saturday
Mud Hens 5th: With Rudy Owens pitching, Danny Dorn is hit by a pitch with one out, moves to third on a double by Bryan Holaday, then scores on a two-out single by Audy Ciriaco. Mud Hens 1, Indianapolis 0.
Indianapolis 6th: With Thad Weber pitching, Anderson Hernandez doubles with two outs and scores on a double by Chase d’Arnaud. Mud Hens 1, Indianapolis 1.
Mud Hens 6th: With one out Argenis Diaz doubled, then scored on a triple by Ben Guez. John Lindsey drew a walk, and Jerad Head singled to score Guez. Mud Hens 3, Indianapolis 1.
KING OF THE ROOST: Hens RHP Thad Weber was impressive, allowing just one baserunner (on an error) in the first four innings, and he promptly erased that baserunner with a double play. In the fifth Indianapolis got an infield hit, but Weber erased that baserunner with a double play. Weber finished the seven-inning game with a five-hitter; he didn’t walk a batter and struck out seven. He improved his season’s record to 6-8 while lowering his ERA to 3.55.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Indianapolis scored a run in the top of the sixth inning to tie the game, but the Mud Hens promptly took the lead for good in the bottom of that inning. After a double by Argenis Diaz, the key hit was a triple by Ben Guez that reached the wall in right-center, scoring Diaz with the go-ahead run while putting Guez in position to score an insurance run.
THE WEB GEM: There was a near-miss on the defensive play of the game, and it came with Indianapolis batting in the top of the sixth. With two outs and Anderson Hernandez on second base, Chase d’Arnaud hit a sinking line drive to left. Toledo’s Jerad Head nearly made a fine sliding catch on the ball. Head put his glove on the ball, but contact with the field seemed to knock it out of his glove for the hit that scored the game-tying run.
THE NUMBERS GAME: The Mud Hens got the key hits late in the game to pull out the win, but they allowed Indianapolis to stay in the game by struggling when batting with runners in scoring position. They were 0-for-6 in those situations until Audy Ciriaco had that RBI single in the sixth, and the Hens finished the game 3-for-11.
THE HIDDEN GAME: Mud Hens starter Thad Weber was in command for the first five innings, but he did his best pitching in the last two frames. After Chase d’Arnaud tied the game with a double, Weber hit Jose Tabata with a pitch to bring Starling Marte, arguably the Indians’ best hitter, to the plate with a chance to give Indianapolis the lead. But Weber got Marte to hit into an inning-ending fielder’s choice. Then in the seventh, Weber got two strikeouts before giving up a double and a single that put the tying runs on first and third base. But Weber nailed down the complete game victory with a flyout.
TWITTER POST: Indy's 7-run 2nd inning, which benefited from 6 hits and shaky Hens defense, lifts Indians to 9-3 victory over Mud Hens in 2nd game Saturday
Indianapolis 2nd: With Rob Waite pitching, Matt Hague leads off with an infield single. Then with two outs, Brandon Boggs hits a slow roller to second base that Argenis Diaz misplays for an error. Eric Fryer singles to score Hague and second Boggs to third; Boggs and Fryer both scored on a double by Brian Friday. Anderson Hernandez hits a grounder into the hole at shortstop that handcuffs Audy Ciriaco and is ruled a single, sending Friday to third. Jose Tabata then hits a grounder behind second that Ciriaco grabs but isn’t able to turn into an out, resulting in a single that scores Friday and sends Hernandez to second. A walk to Starling Marte loads the bases, and Hague unloads them with a three-run double. Indianapolis 7, Mud Hens 0.
Mud Hens 2nd: With Kris Johnson pitching, Jerad Head leads off with a double to left, then scores on a two-run double by Ciriaco. Indianapolis 7, Mud Hens 1.
Mud Hens 3rd: Justin Henry and Diaz lead off with singles to put runners on first and second, and Head is hit bit a pitch with two outs to load the bases. Danny Dorn follows with an RBI single. Indianapolis 7, Mud Hens 2.
Mud Hens 5th: With Bryan Morris pitching, Ben Guez drew a one-out walk, went to third on a double by John Lindsey and scored on a single by Head. Indianapolis 7, Mud Hens 3.
Indianapolis 7th: With Luke Putkonen pitching, Tabata and Marte lead off with singles, putting runners on first and third with no one out. With the infield in, Marte took second on defensive indifference, and Hague drove a two-run single through the drawn-in infield. Indianapolis 9, Mud Hens 3.
KING OF THE ROOST: Hens LF Jerad Head reached base in three of his four plate appearances on the night. He doubled and scored in the second, was hit by a pitch in the third, and singled in a run in the fifth before flying out to end the game. Head’s 2-for-3 night at the plate lifted his season’s batting average to .267.
PLAY OF THE GAME: The second inning started out harmlessly enough for Indianapolis, as Rob Waite seemed poised to pitch around a leadoff single by getting back-to-back strikeouts. Then Brandon Boggs hit a slow roller to second; it wasn’t an easy play, but it was a play Argenis Diaz should have made. He didn’t though, and that opened the door for the Indians to score seven times and cruise to the win.
THE WEB GEM: There wasn’t one “web gem” in this game: there were FOUR. The Mud Hens turned four double plays in the contest – one in the first, third, fourth and seventh innings. The twin-killing in the third was especially important, since Indy already led 7-1 and had the bases loaded with one out. But Luke Putkonen got Anderson Hernandez to hit into a double play to end the inning and keep the score at 7-1.
THE NUMBERS GAME: Because of the error by Argenis Diaz in the second, all seven runs given up by Rob Waite in the second were unearned. Have you ever seen a pitching line where a guy gave up nine hits and seven runs in 2.1 innings, and ALL SEVEN runs were unearned? Me neither.
THE HIDDEN GAME: There are times where teams bunch together lots of hits to produce a big inning, but more often there are mistakes and misplays that open the door for that opportunity. Indy’s seven-run second-inning rally was an example of the latter. There was an error by Argenis Diaz that opened up the inning, but there also were several other plays the Mud Hens could have made to limit the damage. The grounder by Anderson Hernandez to Audy Ciriaco at shortstop should have been the final out of the inning (that would have kept the score at 3-0), and then a grounder up the middle by Jose Tabata should have been an out as well (that also would have kept the score at 3-0).
NEXT HOME GAME: The Mud Hens continue their series with Indianapolis at Fifth Third Field on Sunday, July 22, with first pitch set for 6 p.m.