The Mud Hens claimed a 1-0 victory over Rochester at Fifth Third Field Monday night, and there were plenty of interesting things to analyze after the contest.
Here is a look at the night for Phil Coke, Bruce Rondon and Nick Castellanos.
First it's Coke, who began a rehab assignment by pitching the eighth inning for the Mud Hens. And let's begin with the raw numbers, which included one hit and one walk allowed in one inning, with one strikeout.
Coke threw 24 pitches, 12 balls and 12 strikes, but that is misleading since the walk was intentional. Coke threw first-pitch strikes to three of the four batters he faced (not including the intentional walk, obviously).
Coke's fastball sat at 90-92 mph (two at 90, five at 91 and three at 92), while his curveball sat at 76-79 mph (two at 76, one at 77, four at 78 and three at 79). Of the 10 fastballs Coke threw, seven were strikes (one taken, one swinging, four fouled, one put in play); of the 10 curveballs he threw, five were strikes (one taken, two fouled off, two put in play). The single came on a curveball, but Coke also got a foul popout with the curve. The fastball got a swinging strikeout and a sacrifice.
The two left-handed batters Coke faced were Clete Thomas (who, you may remember, has a pretty good eye at the plate) and Jeff Clement, a decent 4-A hitter. Coke fell behind Thomas 2-0, but got the out on a 3-2 swing-and-miss strikeout. Coke got ahead of Clement 0-2, then got a foul popout on a 3-2 pitch.
Mud Hens manager Phil Nevin said Coke would return to Toledo Tuesday, and after seeing how Coke feels, everyone will work together to dermine the lefty's next step.
"The key for me was the sacrifice," Nevin said of Coke's outing. "With a groin injury, you want to see how he can move off the mound. He got off the mound pretty well on the bunt, and he looked fine.
"He hadn't pitched in a while, so he needed to find his stuff a little bit. But he did, and he got two outs against the two lefties."
Rondon threw 18 pitches, nine of which were strikes. He threw first-pitch strikes to two of the batters he faced; he fell behind the first batter 2-0 before pumping in three straight strikes, then walked the second batter on four pitches. Rondon got ahead of the last two hitters 1-2.
Rondon's fastball sat at 95-97 mph (four at 95, two at 96, three at 97, one at 98, one at 100), while his slider sat at 86-87 mph (one at 84, two at 86, two at 87, one at 88).
Here's the key to understanding Rondon's night: He threw 12 fastballs, only four of which were strikes (one swinging, one fouled off, two taken). He threw six sliders, five of which were strikes (four swinging, one taken). All three strikeouts came on swings and misses with the slider.
"[The fastball] was elevated, which is uncommon for him," Nevin said of Rondon. "We've talked about his secondary pitches, and his slider was really good. It was sharp, and there was some deception to it, and that's why you saw the swings and misses. It was crisp.
"This is part of him learning how to pitch: Understanding what you've got that night. He's always going to have velocity, but some nights he may not have the command of the fastball. But when he's able to throwing the breaking ball like that, he's going to get outs without the fastball [command]."
But Castellanos came up with arguably the defensive play of the game, throwing out at Rochester baserunner at the plate from left in the second inning to keep the game scoreless. It was an impressive throw because it reached home plate on the fly and easily beat the runner, allowing catcher Bryan Holaday to catch and tag the baserunner with ease.
"In that spot, you can throw that ball in the air," Nevin explained. "With the runners on, you're not worried about the runners taking an extra base. So he made the right play there.
"It was a heck of a throw."