Reports filed Brooklyn, Staten Island - The New York Penn League affiliates of the Mets and Yankees are playing through the heat wave and in two games this week, both teams showcased their best assets and their inevitable weaknesses. These are guys, many of them, in their first professional season of baseball. Time is testing them, not to mention the new daily grind, and the heat, well, that's not helping.
Here's some notes from two contests.
Hudson Valley Renegades at Brooklyn Cyclones, July 17th
Righty Julian Hilario (0-1, 2.61) took the mound for the Cyclones, going against righty Jesse Hahn (0-2, 6.57). HIlario was aggressive, keeping the pitches on the low side in the first inning, and working calmly through a jam with runners on. He'd begun to look shaky once guys got on, but after a conference on the mound, he came back to fire three straight strikes to get the next batter and make it two outs, eventually getting out of the inning with a fly-out.
Hudson Valley's Hahn's velocity was steadily around 92-93, topping out around 94. He looks like he still needs to put a few pounds on and is still growing into his body. He throws hard, but location was a problem at times. If he can command the fastball in the zone more consistently, as he did throughout his start, he'll move much quicker through the system.
Renegades catcher Luke Maile hit his first professional home run.
Eduar Quilonez got the win. Hilario took the loss in the 4-1 HV victory.
Aberdeen IronBirds at Staten Island Yankees, July 18th
Saxon Butler continues to prove himself, with two singles in Wednesday's game the first baseman now has 33 hits on the season.
A close game to the end, with Aberdeen's Sebastian Vader (0-4, 6.92) and SI's Tim Flight (1-2, 5.85) keeping things interesting. Vader's off-speed offerings were effective for the most part, showing a curveball that he threw for strikes. His fastball hovered around 87-89, but his location was an issue at times.
Flight was good when he kept the ball down and allowed his defense to work for him. He let hitters make contact and got a good helping of groundball outs. But he started to get a bit wild and walked guys later in the game. After allowing the IronBirds to make it 3-2 in the 5th, he got two straight strikeouts to end a difficult inning.
The Yankees bullpen did a fine job with the one-run lead. With both James Pazos and Taylor Garrison working quickly to hold the lead for a final of 3-2. Pazos struck out three batters in his two innings of work. Flight got the win and Garrison notched his third save.
Staten Island Yankees manager Justin Pope
"They've got to throw strikes. They've got to pound the strikezone. Don't be afraid to pitch away from contact. Don't try to strike everybody out."
"They've done a really good job of coming in the next day and kind of forgetting the night before."
"We talked to them about right now, the most important part of your day from 2-6 is to get your work in. And hitters get their work in the cage. Pitchers get their side stuff in."
"I'm not feeling as good as I was a couple of weeks ago, but the season's a grind. It's already about half way through. I feel mentally tough up there. I'm chasing a little bit, but it'll work itself out. I'm just trying to get quality at-bats."
"There's some pitches I overswing at. Pitches I should drive and I swing and miss it. I have to work on that."