Scrappers outlast rain to down Doubledays 4-1
Chris Perez throws perfect inning in what could be final rehab appearance
NILES, OH- Monsoon-type rains opened up in Mahoning Valley two hours before game time, but the rain delay had little effect on the Scrappers, as they took down the Doubledays 4-1 Tuesday.
The electricity that made its way through the ballpark was not only the electric current from the seemingly endless lightning. It was also thanks to Chris Perez, who would pitch what he hoped would be his final rehab start.
Perez arrived early for the game, chit-chatting with fans, coaches, and players before beginning his work.
“It’s fun getting asked questions that I asked when I was their age,” said Perez. “They’re young, and excited down here. I answered their questions as best I could. If something I told them gets them to the big leagues, good for them. Of course I’d rather be in the big leagues, but it’s fun. I love it.”
Before Perez entered the game, Scrappers starter Matt Whitehouse kept the string of great pitching alive for Mahoning Valley. Throwing three perfect innings, Whitehouse struck out four Doubledays en route to his first win of the season.
Perez came on in the fourth and wowed the fans at Eastwood Field with some tremendous pitching. He threw 14 pitches on the evening, 11 strikes and three balls, while recording a strike out, a groundout, and a fly-out to left. A wicked breaking ball from Perez throughout his start left the Scrappers fans in awe and created all sorts of problems for the Doubledays.
Before leaving, Perez graciously spoke to the media about his performance.
“I felt normal. I threw a lot of strikes, which was good. Obviously, a lot better than my last outing in a game.” Perez said, smiling with self-deprecation. “I feel pretty close. I don’t know what their plans are, but I’m ready whenever they need me. I think I’m ready to come back and do my job.”
While he is unaware when he’ll make his way back to the big league club, his guess is Thursday. “They’re not going to activate me tomorrow and have me pitch back-to-back yet. I think I could, I feel good. I just don’t think they’re going to push it yet, until I’m active.”
The Scrappers hitters got off to an uncharacteristically hot start, scoring four runs in the first two innings to get out to an early 4-0 lead.
In the first inning, second baseman Claudio Bautista hit a leadoff double and scored on a single by third baseman James Roberts, giving the Scrappers a 1-0 edge through four batters.
For Roberts, the RBI single came in his first professional at-bat.
A 2013 Draft Pick out of the University of Southern California, Roberts signed late with the Indians and only got to Mahoning Valley a couple of days ago. Tonight was his first start at shortstop.
Meanwhile, on the mound, the Scrappers relievers continued to breeze through the Auburn lineup. The Doubledays didn’t get their first hit until the sixth inning, and wouldn’t get a runner to second base until the eighth. That run would eventually score, thanks to an error by Roberts, ending the shutout for Mahoning Valley.
Regardless of the one run, overall, the Doubledays would only have two hits on the night, both of which were of the infield variety.
As lightning peppered the sky behind the outfield wall, the Scrappers and Doubledays charged on until the rain began again and the game was called after a full eight innings.
Now at 4-6, the Scrappers begin a two-game set with the State College Spikes tomorrow night from Eastwood Field.
The Scrappers will send out Dartmouth standout, and Indians 2013 25th Round Draft Pick, Cole Susler for his first professional start, while the Spikes will start Nick Petree.
First pitch is set for 7:05.