Regardless of the outcome of Wednesday night’s series finale, the Staten Island Yankees will be glad to see Lowell, Massachusetts in the bus’s rear view mirror. LeLacheur Park has been a house of horrors for Staten Island, who have suffered frustrating defeat after defeat here in the home team’s final at-bat.
Tuesday, the storyline continued with Staten Island dropping a tough 2-1 game to the Lowell Spinners (Red Sox). The Staten Island lineup continued to struggle to score runs and wasted some outstanding pitching performances tonight by Juan De Paula and Christian Morris. Ryan Lidge was the only real bright spot for the Yankees offensively going 3-3 tonight and with five hits in the first two games of this series.
Juan De Paula got the start for Staten Island and didn’t figure in the decision leaving after 4 2/3 innings of 1 run ball and 81 pitches. As is usually the case with hard throwers, De Paula pitched to a lot of deep counts and foul balls but flashed some of the brilliance on display regularly last year. De Paula came out determined to establish his fastball, throwing only two breaking pitches in the entire first inning.
De Paula walked the first batter of the game who was promptly gunned down by Ryan Lidge on an attempted steal. Lidge has made some nice throws in the first two games, gunning down a couple of would-be base stealers with three other questionable safe calls, one of which hurt tonight. Lowell’s number two hitter, Andre Colon, lifted a high fly ball to right that got caught up in a swirling wind and spun away from Ricardo Ferreira, dropping deep into the corner for a gift triple. A ground ball to second scored Colon, and Staten Island found itself quickly down 1-0. De Paula struck out Garrett Benge for the third out flashing only his second off-speed pitch of the inning at 86 MPH and then following with a 96MPH fastball.
De Paula threw a few more curveballs in the second and pitched around a couple of singles. DePaula would only give up two more hits the rest of the game, but he did find himself in numerous 3-2 counts and driving up his pitch count. Alex Colon had another extra-base hit in the 3rd, and this one was not cheap; a loud double off of a 94MPH fastball. De Paula came back with another strikeout and ended with 4 K’s on the night. Staten Island finally broke through with a run in the fifth started by a Jesus Bastidas one-out single. Ryan Lidge’s second single of the night made it first and third with one out, and Danienger Perez’s sacrifice fly tied the game at one. Unfortunately, that would be the only run for Staten Island as they were done in by double plays in the 6th, 7th and 9th inning.
Christian Morris came in to relieve De Paula and pitched well, giving up only one hit and generating a lot of swings and misses with his 93MPH fastball. He ended up with four strikeouts on the night in 2 1/3 innings. Chase Hodson took over in the eighth and ended up the tough-luck loser. Lowell’s Dyland Hardy led off with a single and appeared to be out at second on a stolen base attempt as Lidge’s throw beat him. Nevertheless, Hardy was ruled safe and got Lino Diaz out of the dugout for the second time on the night to question the second base umpire. A similar situation occurred in the bottom of the fifth but did not result in any damage. This time the safe call proved crucial when a comebacker to Hodson moved Hardy to third and who then scored the eventual winning run on Kole Cottam’s sacrifice fly.
Staten Island threatened in the top of the ninth with consecutive walks to Canaan Smith and Eric Wagaman. Junior Soto pounded into a 6-4-3 double play, and Bastidas struck out to end the game and leave Staten Island at 1-4 for the season. The final game of the series is Wednesday at 6:35 PM. Nolan Martinez gets the start for Staten Island.