Altoona Drops Game One 3-2 in Extra Innings

D'Arnaud went 2-for-3 with a walk, and had a solo homer off of Andy Pettitte.

Never mind that tonight was the opening game of the Eastern League championship series against the Trenton Thunder.  The Altoona Curve had extra pressure tonight, as they went up against Andy Pettitte, who was making a rehab start for the AA affiliate of the New York Yankees.  Despite going up against a guy who could be a future Hall of Fame pitcher, Altoona managed to stay competitive.

Chase d’Arnaud led off with a home run, giving Altoona a 1-0 lead.  D’Arnaud had the best outing against Pettitte, going 2-for-2 with a walk and his solo homer.  Altoona managed another run in the bottom of the third inning thanks to a wild pitch from Pettitte and a passed ball, allowing Yung-Chi Chen to move from first to third after getting on with a single.  Chen scored on a Josh Harrison RBI single, putting Altoona up 2-1 at the time.

Perhaps the most impressive performance tonight came from Altoona ace Rudy Owens, who arguably out pitched Pettitte.  Owens pitched five innings, allowing two runs on seven hits, with two walks and seven strikeouts.  Most of the damage came in the third, as Owens allowed three singles and one run to score.  Owens then allowed two doubles in the fifth inning, bringing in the second run to tie the score at 2-2.  Miles Durham came up big for the final out, nailing Austin Krum at the plate as Krum tried to score from second on a two out single by Austin Romine.

Pettitte finished with a similar line to Owens, with five innings pitched, two runs on six hits, one walk, and four strikeouts.  He only needed 67 pitches, wih 45 of those going for strikes.  Altoona threatened in the fifth inning, loading the bases with no outs and the score tied at 2-2.  Jordy Mercer came up to the plate, and hit a chopper back to Pettitte, who started a 1-2-3 double play.  Pettitte then got Matt Hague to strike out swinging on a 3-2 pitch to get out of the inning.

That wasn’t the only opportunity Altoona had to take a lead which would have won the game.  Mercer led off the eighth with an infield pop up to third.  Third baseman Justin Snyder dropped the ball, allowing Mercer to reach second.  Matt Hague was hit with the next pitch, putting runners at first and second with no outs.  Andrew Lambo bunted both runners over, leading to an intentional walk to Hector Gimenez to load the bases.  Yankees prospect Andrew Brackman got Miles Durham to ground in to a double play to shortstop on the first pitch, escaping the jam.

Altoona got great performances from Jared Hughes and Daniel Moskos in relief.  Hughes pitched three shutout innings, allowing just one hit, no walks, and striking out four.  Hughes needed just 44 pitches, with 33 of those going for strikes.  Moskos came on to pitch the ninth, throwing a perfect inning with one strikeout, thanks to a good pick at third by Josh Harrison, and a good running catch by Andrew Lambo on a liner hit behind him to right center field.

Bryan Morris came on to pitch the tenth inning, and ran in to trouble.  Morris led off the frame with a walk.  Austin Krum tried to advance the runner with a bunt, but Hague fielded the hard grounder down the first base line and got the out at second.  Morris allowed a single to center, putting runners at first and second with one out.  After striking out Daniel Brewer, Morris allowed a two out, RBI single to Austin Romine, making the score 3-2.  Morris followed with his second strikeout of the inning to get out of the inning.

Trenton got a great pitching performance from top Yankees prospect Andrew Brackman.  Brackman pitched five shutout innings, allowing one hit, walking one, and striking out four.  He had an easy tenth inning to close out the game, getting Jordy Mercer to strike out, and Matt Hague to ground out to short on the first pitch.  Altoona almost tied it on a long fly ball by Andrew Lambo to deep center field, but Austin Krum made the catch at the warning track to end the game.

Altoona will try to even the series up tomorrow in game two of this best of five series against Trenton.  The Curve will send Jeff Locke to the mound to take on Dellin Betances, who was the number 28 prospect for the Yankees coming in to the season.  The game starts at 6:30 PM, and I will be providing coverage starting about two hours prior to game time.

Check out the live blog from tonight’s game.

Analysis

  • The timing of the Cole promotion is not an problem. It would have become a problem if the Pirates had kept him at A+ for most or all of the 2012 season. They didn’t. They gave him time to regress and, when he did not regress, they promoted him.

  • Some people who are now questioning whether Pedro was promoted too quickly were probably the same ones pushing to get him to PNC sooner then he did.
    I have been gradually losing faith in this organization from their scouting and drafting to their ability to properly develop the players. It is depressing to feel that way because I started following this sight from day one because I was high on the new leadership of this team. Even now I feel quilty of being disloyal while I write this but being far from an expert about baseball let alone the farm system I just don’t see the giant leap of talent that I thought there would be after the millions that were spent.
    i have listened to arguements on both sides and understand the issues and although I hated the negative comments at first and just thought those people had an agenda other than baseball and still do in some cases I must say I’m starting to believe that Frank and Neal have taken this team as far as they can and maybe a new team should take over.
    I may have gone off topic these last two paragraphs but I guess I just wanted to get it off my chest.

  • We all knew ahead of time he was spending his first month in Bradenton due to the better weather. His last start during that first month wasn’t dominating, he was scheduled to go six innings but went five due to his pitch count, so it’s hard to complain about not promoting him after that. Since then he has also had a start in which he gave up 10 base runners and another five inning start in which he gave up three runs. His last start was strong, it is now the All-Star break, when teams do a majority of their promotions in bulk, so they promoted him. This is actually to back-end of when people should’ve expected him to get promoted, somewhere between mid-May and the All-Star break was the time frame I gave anyone who asked.

    At most he spent one month too much down there, but as I said, two starts during that one month weren’t anything special. In the long run, even if you think the extra month was too much, it won’t make a difference in his progress. He will still be on the same timetable, still get at least 13 AA starts this year and he still looks to be arriving in the majors at the same time(if all goes as planned), nothing has changed….at least with Cole, Taillon is a different story

  • john.alcorn
    June 16, 2012 9:35 am

    Wow, your argument is compelling when you compare him to lesser talented college pitchers. The comps are Hultzen and Bauer and yes Cole has been held back. Its not a big deal really, but enough with the White and Pomeranz comps.

    • What does it matter? To whine about comparing him to where other players is stupid. Player comps are stupid. What matters here, you ask? Player progression, period. Is he ready for the next level, yes, is he on pace to be in Pittsburgh next summer, maybe, fingers crossed. What’s important here is grooming a potential ace. Why compare him to Bauer when the Diamondbacks are doing an obviously stupid thing?

      • Just to specify here, the statistics are relevant, as it’s a statistically driven game. What doesn’t make sense is comparing players simply because they were in the same draft class, or because they’re both pitchers. Compare their careers. I’m just confused. Because Bauer is already in AAA and Hultzen in AA, does that mean, you’d rather have them?

  • “He’ll probably start in Triple-A next year, then come up mid-season.”

    We HOPE! It ain’t a given, yet. Too many variables. 🙂

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