AZL Indians fall in slugfest to AZL Brewers, 17-5
Frazier's big debut not enough for Indians
PHOENIX - After a solid opening weekend, the AZL Indians kicked off their second week of play Tuesday against the AZL Brewers. Tuesday also marked the professional debut of the Indians 2013 first round draft pick, Clint Frazier, and he certainly demonstrated why the Indians chose to take him with the fifth overall selection.
The game started with a bang for both the AZL Indians and Frazier, as Frazier led off the game with a monster home run to deep left field, just beyond the 375’ mark in the gap. The Indians continued the fast start when third baseman Todd Hankins crushed a ground-rule double to deep left-center field and was brought around on a ground out by Gerald Bautista and an RBI single by Francisco Mejia later in the inning.
AZL Indians’ starter Anthony Vizcaya, however, struggled early and often and could not hold on to the early lead. After stranding runners on first and second in the bottom of the first, Vizcaya allowed the AZL Brewers four hits in the bottom of the second, including doubles by Luis Aviles and Francisco Castillo, giving the AZL Brewers a 3-2 lead.
The AZL Brewers tacked on another run in the bottom of the third extending their lead to two and ending Vizcaya’s evening. He finished with 3.0 innings pitched, 8 hits, 4 runs (all earned), 2 strikeouts, and 2 walks.
Despite the AZL Brewers gaining momentum, the AZL Indians rallied for three runs in the top of the fourth. With two outs already in the inning and runners on first and second, Silento Sayles hit a soft ground ball to Brewer shortstop, Tucker Neuhaus. Neuhaus’ throw to first was just offline, however, and caused the AZL Brewers’ first baseman to pull his foot off the bag.
This brought up the aforementioned Frazier. Frazier, having worked the count to 3-2, fouled two pitches straight back and then shot a laser that hit the base of the wall in deep center, missing his second home run and a grand slam by mere feet. He settled with a bases clearing triple, pushing the AZL Indians back into a 5-4 lead.
The AZL Indians’ lead was again short-lived as the AZL Brewers exploded for six runs in the fifth against reliever Martin Alcantara.
Alcantara tossed an efficient first inning of relief, but ran into trouble when a line drive back up the middle drilled his throwing hand and kicked toward the first base line, scoring one run and setting the AZL Brewers up with runners at first and second and only one out. Clearly somewhat affected by the knock to his bare hand, Alcantara managed to retire the next batter, but then walked consecutive hitters, and gave up a three-run double to Neuhaus. Alcantara was removed and the AZL Brewers managed one more run on a wild pitch by Kota Kobayashi to cap off their big inning.
AZL Indians’ relievers struggled mightily in the later innings, as the AZL Brewers were able to put the game out of reach in the bottom of the eighth on a plethora of walks and sloppy play by the Tribe leading to five more runs and an insurmountable AZL Brewer lead of 17-5.
In total, Tribe relievers gave up 13 runs (all earned) over 5.0 innings on eight hits, seven strikeouts, and an ugly eight walks.
In contrast, the three AZL Brewers relief pitchers dominated AZL Indians hitters and combined to allow only three unearned runs over seven innings of work, scattering six hits, while striking out six and only walking one.
The true bright spot for the AZL Indians, despite the resounding defeat, was the play of the reigning Gatorade national player of the year, Clint Frazier. Although he only saw the field as a DH, Frazier was impressive, finishing his first professional game with two hits in five at-bats with four runs batted in and one run scored. Even his hits that did not fall were well struck and his talent was readily apparent. It will be hard to top this debut, but if Frazier can keep producing at this level, he is bound to have a phenomenal first season as a professional ballplayer.
Hankins and right fielder Felix Lora were the other Indians to collect multiple hits on the day.
The AZL Indians look to regroup after this loss in their next game, which is scheduled for Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. at home against these same AZL Brewers.