by Mike Potter
The Mudcats finished last in the Carolina League’s Southern Division in the first half. But with all four of their mid-season all-stars — center fielder Tyler Naquin, shortstop Francisco Lindor, first baseman Jerrud Sabourin and pitching ace Cody Anderson — returning they’re aiming for a playoff spot with a second-half comeback.
Frederick’s leadoff man is Johnny Ruettiger, whose uncle was immortalized on film in the movie “Rudy.” Former Mudcat Delvi Cid is a Keys outfielder.
Carolina picked up a 3-2 victory over the Frederick Keys in its second-half home debut on Monday. Francisco Jimenez (1-1, 3.20) will make a spot start, taking on the Keys’ Eduardo Rodriguez (6-3, 2.99) in a battle of lefties in tonight’s Game 2 of the four-game series.
And this time they make it look a little easier, as four pitchers combine for the shutout in a 5-0 victory.
The Mudcats take a 1-0 lead in the fourth, as Sabourin draws a two-out walk and scores on Jordan Smith’s triple to right.
And they add insurance with a big ninth inning off Matt Price. Bryson Myles leads off by launching a 2-1 offering off the scoreboard in left for his fourth homer. Luigi Rodriguez and Lindor hit back-to-back singles, and then with one out both runners score as Sabourin hits a grounder to second that Jerome Pena fires wildly past the catcher. With two out, Bo Greenwell hits an RBI double to right.
Owen Dew, winner Rob Nixon and Jeff Johnson finish the shutout for the Mudcats, who out-hit the Keys 7-3.
Rodriguez is the hard-luck loser with a quality start, going seven innings and allowing a run on three hits with three strikeouts against a pair of walks.
They said it …
Mudcats manager David Wallace: “We executed with everything — defense, pitching and solid at-bats against a good, tough starter. That’s what happens. ... We had been able to wait this long for a start spot. Frankie knew a day ahead of time. The pitching today was huge. Jeff (Harris) has done a good job with those guys. After the way the first half went, for us to get a shutout with just bullpen guys was very good to see.”
Jimenez: “It wasn’t that tough to get ready, because I was a starter last year. I’ve been a reliever and a starter so I’m comfortable with either. My changeup, fastball, two-seamer and curveball were all good tonight. But basically the guys behind me were responsible for the win, throwing all those shutout innings.”
Myles: “The home run was a lot of hard work paying off. He threw me a couple of good pitches and I was able to lay off of them — I’d been struggling some with that lately. When I got my pitch I was able to make it count.”
What does it all mean?
That the Mudcats are off on the right foot at home in the second half.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Myles’ homer to make it 2-0.
Mudcats: Won 2.
Frederick: Lost 3.
Frederick leads 5-3.
Mudcats (Shawn Morimando 4-7, 2.89) vs. Frederick (Zach Petersime 2-7, 6.91), Wednesday, 11 a.m.