NILES, OH- In what started as a weird night at Eastwood Field, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers fell to the Auburn Doubledays 2-1.
Just minutes before game-time, there were two lineup changes that would significantly affect the outcome of the game.
First of all, Scrappers starter Rob Whitenack was pulled, thanks to a request from Brett Myers
, and slated to begin his outing in the fourth inning. It was originally decided that Joshua Nervis
would start the first inning, but in a last-minute switch, Alexis Paredes
got the start for Mahoning Valley.
Scrappers manager Ted Kubiak
then came out as the players were taking the field and made another switch, this time replacing the struggling centerfielder Tyler Booth
with Juan Romero
Notified of his start less than fifteen minutes before the game, Paredes gave up a run in the first inning, allowing a leadoff double and subsequent single, but got out of the inning only down 1-0.
After a scoreless bottom of the first from the Scrappers, it was Myers turn to toss an inning.
In his first live game action since he was placed on the 60-day DL, Myers made quick work of the Doubledays. Throwing just 11 pitches, 8 of which were strikes, Myers got two fly-outs and a groundout and ran off the field, as if he wasn’t even on the field.
Finally, Blake Wood
, the 2012 Tribe acquisition from the Kansas City Royals, made his first appearance since coming-off of Tommy John
surgery in 2012.
Wood wasn’t as successful as Myers, allowing two hits, one of which was a double to the son of former New York Yankees legend Bucky Dent
, Cody Dent
. Wood was able to get out of the jam, thanks to a double play, unscathed. In his inning of work, he allowed two hits, no runs, and struck out one.
After Wood shut down the Doubledays, Whitenack came in and pitched his scheduled five innings. He gave up one run on four hits, while striking out three and walking one.
Despite his late addition to the lineup, Juan Romero had an uncharacteristically notable day for Mahoning Valley, but was unable to come through in the clutch. In two at-bats, Romero had a single, a double, and a run, but Romero’s third at-bat would be the most memorable.
With men on first and third with two outs, Romero chopped a ball high over the head of the pitcher. The second baseman, Dent, grabbed the ball and dove to second to force out Nick Hamilton
and end the inning. The Scrappers were unable to score on the chopper, and wouldn’t score for the rest of the game.
For the Scrappers, regardless of the outcome of the game, the switch for Romero obviously worked.
Said manager Ted Kubiak following the game about the switch, “We knew the two pitchers were coming in, and that was no big deal. They got there work in. With the other switch, I just felt it was a better matchup, so I made the change.”
While the attention was on the numerous changes from the Scrappers, the real story was Doubledays pitcher Robert Orlan, who was absolutely dealing for Auburn.
He shut down the Scrappers for five innings, allowing no runs on two hits, while striking out five and walking one. Whether it was a testament to Orlan or just some typically bad Scrappers hitting is unknown, but Mahoning Valley was kept off balance all night long.
Once he departed, the Scrappers added a run thanks to Romero who hit a leadoff single in the sixth and was brought in by Robel Garcia
to tie the game at 1-1.
Whitenack gave up his run in the very next inning. First baseman Jimmy Yezzo started the inning off with a single, advanced on a wild-pitch, and scored the go-ahead run on another single from third baseman Jean Valdez.
The Scrappers came up for one last shot in the bottom of the ninth, but were unable to get a run across and, therefore, were unable to get back to the .500 mark.
The loss puts Mahoning Valley at 3-5 on the season, while the Auburn Doubledays improve to 4-4.
Tomorrow night, another Cleveland Indians pitcher will be making his way to Niles for a rehab start. This time, it’s closer Chris Perez
who will be making his third start in the Indians minor league system. Perez was originally slated to return from the DL last week, but was assigned to another rehab start after allowing five runs in Akron.
It’s unclear whether or not Perez will start, relieve, or close, but he will be making an appearance in some capacity for the Scrappers tomorrow.
The Scrappers will try to avoid the sweep in the three-game set, as they face the Doubledays tomorrow night.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 pm from Eastwood Field.