After starting their season 4-11, the Staten Island Yankees (13-13) have pushed their record back to .500 after a 4-2 win on Thursday night over the Mahoning Valley Scrappers. They have won the first two games in their season and they are 9-2 in the month of July. Manager Lino Diaz explained what has been the key to the team’s success this month.
“It’s all the credit to the players. They are concentrating on getting better,” said Diaz. “We aren’t concerned about the results. We are coming in to get better and then when they go into the games, they are competing. They are the ones battling. That’s a credit to the players and the coaching staff.”
Staten Island got on the board first in the bottom of the third inning. After first pitch singles by Keith Skinner (on rehab assignment) and Ricardo Ferreira, Brandon Lockridge was hit by a pitch, which loaded the bases. On the next batter, Eduardo Torrealba hit a sacrifice fly to center to put the Yankees ahead, 1-0.
Nolan Martinez did not allow a run in his outing until the top of the fifth. Henry Pujols began the inning with a triple to left. He would come around to score on a fielders’ choice by Tre Gantt. Three batters later, Richard Palacios hit a double to left that put Mahoning Valley in the lead, 2-1.
Besides the fifth, Martinez did a good job getting out of jams for the majority of the night. The right-hander went 5.2 innings, gave up two runs on four hits, struck out two, and walked four (hit a batter) on 91 pitches (58 strikes) in a no-decision. He didn’t have his best stuff, but Diaz mentioned how he competed on the mound:
“He battled. His fastball command wasn’t there. When that happens, he goes to his breaking ball. The good thing I see about that is that he was in command of the situation.”, replied Diaz about Martinez’s outing.
The Yankees would rally to take the lead back in the seventh thanks to a little help from the Mahoning Valley defense in the form of two errors. Andres Chaparro reached on an error and Miguel Flames singled to begin the inning. That would cause the Scrappers to take out their starter, Zack Draper (1-3), and bring in Jordan Scheftz.
With Scheftz in the game, the Yankees would tie it up on a wild pitch and then take on the lead on a base hit to center by Eric Wagaman.
Rodney Hutchison (1-0) got the Yankees into a little bit of trouble in the eighth. The Sixth Round pick in this year’s MLB Draft allowed three straight singles after a 1-2-3 seventh. Diaz would make the call to the bullpen and go to Brooks Kriske to try to maintain the lead and he did just that.
As for Hutchison, he allowed three hits and struck out three batters over 1.1 innings on 34 pitches (28 strikes) as he picked up his first professional win. This comes six days after he got his first pro save. He has thrown 61 pitches in two games and 50 of them have been for strikes.
The Baby Bombers would add an insurance run in the top of the eighth. Ferreira led off the inning with a walk, stole second, and went to third on a groundout by Lockridge. A balk by Dakody Clemmer would allow Ferreira to score and it allowed Staten Island to score a run without the benefit of a hit.
Christian Morris did walk a batter and balked in the top of the ninth. However, he struck out two batters and did not give up a hit as he earned his second save of the year.
During that ninth inning, Diaz was ejected from the game for arguing a balk call against Morris. It is his first ejection of the season.
- It took until Junior Soto’s at-bat in the seventh for the Staten Island Yankees to see more than five pitches in a given at-bat.
- Diaz confirmed after the game that Tyson Blaser is the team’s new first base coach and is going to be doing work with the catchers as well.
Star Of The Game
Brooks Kriske gets our star of the game after inheriting a bases-loaded jam in the eighth and getting out of it unscathed without getting a strikeout. He has given up only one run in seven appearances this season and he hasn’t allowed a hit in three straight outings.
If we were going with an honorable mention, that would go to Ricardo Ferreira. Fereira came into the night 0-for-21 on the season, but he had a solid game out of the number nine spot in the order. He was 2-for-2 with a walk, a stolen base, and a run scored.
“Speed kills. Even if you put the ball in play, that puts so much pressure on the defense because they had to hurry. It’s great to have guys like that,” replied Diaz about Ferreira’s impact on the bases.
Next Game: The Yankees will wrap up their series with Mahoning Valley tomorrow night. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m ET. Matt Sauer (1-1, 2.11 ERA) will take the ball for the Baby Bombers. On the other side, the Scrappers will go with Juan Mota (1-1, 5.79).