Friday, June 26, 2009

Sotolongo Providing Bullpen Stability

The Seals lost to the Vipers on Thursday 7-5 and fell to 12-19 on the season. Starting pitcher Travis Wade struggled again, giving up seven earned runs in 3 1/3 innings. His ERA ballooned to 6.88, while his record is now a dismal 1-5.

The silver lining in this latest cloud was the performance of the Victoria bullpen. Even though Calgary put up six runs in the bottom of the second and one in the fourth to pull ahead 7-0, the Seals bullpen shut the door through the final 4 2/3 innings and gave the team a chance to come back. Unfortunately, the rally fell a little short and Seals-killer and ex-Mariner Mac Suzuki picked up his first save of the season.

Havana native Roberto Sotolongo pitched 3 2/3 innings of scoreless, one-hit baseball to register his best outing of the season. He also struck out three batters. Sotolongo started in his first two appearances of the season and gave up 9 hits and three walks in a total of four innings. However, he has now pitched 6 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball since moving into the bullpen. The Seals have been searching for a bridge between their starters and closer extraordinaire Javier Garcia all season long, so Sotolongo's emergence is an extremely positive development. Let's hope he can keep it up.

Victoria's starting rotation continues to be a case of "Bibens-Dirkx, Hess and Forget the Rest". Here are the stats for Victoria's four regular starters:
  • Isaac Hess 4-0, 2.84 ERA
  • Austin Bibens-Dirkx 2-1, 3.67 ERA
  • Eduardo Baeza 1-5, 6.59 ERA
  • Travis Wade 1-5, 6.88 ERA

Needless to say, the team could really use a third reliable starter. Unfortunately, those don't exactly grow on trees, especially in the Golden League.

Seal Blubber Bits

  • Wilver Perez had his worst offensive game of the season on Thursday night, as he picked up the Golden Sombrero (4 strikeouts) on his way to an 0-5.
  • Chris VanRossum started in CF and led off, while Trevor Davidson spent the game riding the pine. VanRossum went 2-5 on the night. Advantage VanRossum.
  • Seals' play-by-play man Mike Walker quipped that VanRossum is playing so well right now that he should be called Chris Van Awesome.
  • Victoria pitchers Isaac Hess and Austin Bibens-Dirkx took turns doing colour commentary for Walker on Wednesday night. The change of pace added a nice bit of spice to the broadcast.
  • Given the Golden League's shortage of quality pitchers, it makes one wonder why they use a DH. It's not like the league needs the offense with many games providing football-style final scores.