Tough Night in New Britain
by, 04-20-2012 at 07:04 AM (789 Views)
[Originally published with a couple pictures at Twins Fan From Afar]
It was a beautiful evening for outdoor baseball in central Connecticut -- the kind of night where you might come wearing a t-shirt, but had better pack a hooded sweatshirt for when the sun disappears behind the bleachers. The Rock Cats began a homestand tonight, and it was "Anti-Diet Night" at New Britain Stadium. For $12, or $14 if you wanted the good tickets, you could get all-you-can eat hot dogs, hamburgers, nachos and popcorn. Also (as I have mentioned before), Thursdays are Sam Adams happy hours, with discounted beer. Can you beat these deals? I heard that the Twins are charging $10.75 for buffalo chicken macaroni and cheese. I spent about $20 tonight -- including my ticket right over the Rock Cats' dugout.
It was a tough defeat for the home team tonight. They lost 6-5, after coming from behind to tie the game up in the 8th inning. There were some good things, however, that bear mention. The Rock Cats did a lot of hitting tonight: Evan Bigley, Chris Colabello and Estarlin De Los Santos each contributed two hits. Aaron Hicks had a clutch 2-out RBI single to get the scoring going in the first inning -- a sharp line drive back up the middle. Chris Herrmann and Deibinson Romero each had doubles. Colabello continues to impress me. He was 2-for-4 with 2 RBIs and a walk tonight, and is batting an even .333 on the season. I'm not sure quite what to make of him -- 28 and in his first year of affiliated baseball -- but he is definitely not in over his head at AA. He's the kind of guy you want to root for; it's the kind of story that makes minor league baseball so great.
For me, the most interesting play of the night involved Hicks. With one out and Hicks on first, Romero hit a deep fly ball to deep left field. There was never much doubt that the ball would be caught, but it appeared to make it to the warning track. Hicks retreated to first, then proceeded to successfully tag up on the play. It was a gutsy, heads-up base-running play. A better left fielder might have made the play on Hicks, but not tonight. It was the first time I saw Hicks sprint out of necessity, and the guy was fast!! He didn't end up scoring that inning, but those are the types of plays that gamers make.
On the mound, Logan Darnell was adequate. He went six innings, gave up 4 runs, walked 3 while striking out 5. He never appeared to have complete control of his pitches, though. His fastball was hitting 93 most of the evening, and definitely had some pop. His offspeed stuff was about 83 and 79 (I'm guessing change-up and curve). He fooled several hitters. Darnell, unfortunately, was charged with 2 errors on pickoffs. On the error that I witnessed, the baserunner broke toward second, and all Darnell had to do was make a solid throw to first. Unfortunately, he threw wildly and the ball ended up in the right field corner. Hopefully that was a one-night problem for Darnell. Hicks also had a miscue, but it was ruled as a hit: he failed to see a fly ball of the bat (the sun was setting and it is apparently tough to pick up the baseball at that time of night), and it went for a double. So, although Darnell wasn't perfect tonight, there was room for improvement with the defense.
Lester Oliveros took the loss for the Rock Cats. After they had tied the game up on a clutch two-out two-run triple to center field by Evan Bigley, Oliveros couldn't keep the momentum going into the 9th inning. A walk, stolen base and single did him in. The good thing about baseball, though, is that you need a short memory. New Britain will be back in action this morning, in fact. I'll be going to Sunday's game, so keep an eye out for more pictures and a game summary.