AZL Tribe shut down by Dodges, 4-1
With revenge on their minds, the AZL Dodgers rode clutch hitting and strong relief pitching to a 4-1 victory over the AZL Indians Sunday night at Camelback Ranch. A relatively slow start hitting-wise for both teams, the Dodgers overcame a few defensive and pitching miscues in the early stages of the game, and managed to shut the Tribe down when it mattered most.
A total of six Dodger pitchers saw time on the mound and each of them had very respectable outings, although being relatively short. Dodgers starting pitcher Nelson Sandoval was dealing on the mound, despite giving up three hits and allowing the only run that the Indians scored, which was unearned. In his three innings pitched, he totaled five strikeouts and only one walk.
It took a while for the Dodger bats to get going, as a runner did not even reach third base until the bottom of the sixth. Before the sixth inning, Dodger hitters fanned a total of 10 times, seven swinging and three looking. Somehow, they managed to score four runs, despite only having four hits the entire game. That really speaks to their base running skills and their ability and willingness to take the bat “out of their hands” and sacrifice runners into scoring position.
On the other side of the field, hitting wise, missed opportunities plagued the Indians all night long.
Despite having more hits than the Dodgers, they only managed one run in the third inning. They were absolutely atrocious with runners in scoring position, hitting only 1-for-16 all night, a statistic that will make Indians skipper Anthony Medrano’s blood boil. The top third of the lineup, a part of the lineup that is expected to be the catalysts for the team and stir the drink that is the AZL Indiand offense, was only 1-for-13, with the only hit being a double by designated hitter Luis Hernandez which drove in the only run for the Indians.
If there were any positives for the Tribe, it was their pitching.
Starter Luis Gomez left the Dodger hitters swinging at air, registering seven strikeouts, while allowing only two hits, both singles, in four innings of work. When the middle two relievers, Jose Zapata and Anderson Polanco came in, is where the game started to break down for the Tribe. Zapata made the mistake of walking four of the first eight batters he faced, three of which came around to score (A note: Dodgers Jeremy Moore, the third batter that Zapata walked, was taken out of the game for pinch runner David Compton).
Polanco came on in relief of Zapata, and promptly game up a single to the first batter he saw, which allowed two Dodgers to score, and a double to the very next batter, where two more Dodgers scored. Three of those runs were charged to Zapata, as he was the one who allowed them to get on base.
Walks and an outbreak of errors proved to be the insurmountable for the Indians in this game, as they did not manage to get a hit for the rest of the game. I am a firm believer that good pitching will “trump” good hitting, but walks will almost always come back to haunt any team. As is not capitalizing on opportunities in the hitting department, which is evident by the alarming 1-for-16 RISP that the Indians put up last night. This game is a perfect example of that.
The AZL Indians have an off day tomorrow before they visit the AZL Brewers. First pitch will be at 7:00 PM MST.