Except for Jeff Fiorentino, all of the Oriole position players sat tonight and could not help the cause. The Rafters cold hitting continued for the third straight evening as they went down 5-0 to the Peoria Saguaros. The game started ugly for the home team as Pittsburgh’s David Davidson went only two-thirds of an inning while giving up four earned runs. Brian Finch answered the call from the bullpen and got Brett Gardner to fly out to center to end the inning. Finch stayed in the game for 2 1/3 more innings of work and gave up one more earned run on four hits while he struck out one hitter, Eric Duncan of the Yankees. Finch was dealing his fastball in the upper 80’s again tonight. In addition to the sinker he normally throws, he showed a cutter and a nice curve ball which he threw in the 79-80 MPH range. He looked sharp for the most part but struggled on a few occasions. The first was against Jason Jaramillo, who hit a long double off the Garrett Anderson AFL Hall of Fame sign in front of the left field bullpen. Jaramillo is a good looking catcher in the Phillies organization and he has been hitting extremely well the past two days. Finch also gave up a RBI double to Josh Whitesell of the Washington Nationals. According to Brian, the ball was way off the plate and Whitesell reached out and punched it off the 379 ft sign in left-center. He also mentioned that Whitesell has had a lot of success against him in the past. The only other hit that Finch gave up was a fluke shot Juan Ciricao of the San Diego Padres popped over the first baseman’s head just onto the right field grass.
Finch was relieved by Ryan Keefer, who tossed a scoreless fourth for the Rafters. He induced a Brendan Ryan ground out to third on a 3-2 count, gave up a 1-1 double to Eric Duncan, cooled off Jason Jaramillo by getting him to pop out, then fanned Nick Stavinhoa of the Cardinals to end the inning. Keefer was throwing his fastball at 90-91 MPH consistently and was able to reach back for one more click to get it up to 92 MPH when he got behind in the count to Duncan. Tonight was a much better performance than his last.
Nick McCurdy brought his 92 MPH fastball in to pitch the ninth inning. He faced the minimum three hitters. McCurdy has yet to give up an earned run, or any run for that matter, in four innings of work. He was very pleased with his efforts after the game.
Jeff Fiorentino ended the night going 1 for 3. His lone hit was a picture perfect double which he pulled down the right field line. If it hadn’t gone into the bullpen, it would have likely have been a triple. Fio was flying around the bases and Nick Stavinhoa had to hustle to get over for a shot at the ball. In the first inning, he squared the ball nicely but grounded out to the second baseman. He faced Sean Henn of the Yankees in his last at bat, who was throwing his heater in the mid 90’s. Henn managed to fan Fio after he had battled his way into a 2-2 count from 0-2.
Notes: Fiorentino is currently carrying a .375 batting average after tonight’s game… Nolan Reimold was hitting and even .400 according to today’s media notes… Brian Finch started today with an ERA of 3.00 and a WHIP of 1.33… Ryan Keefer lowered his ERA from 6.00 to 4.50 after tonight’s outing… Cory Morris goes tomorrow in the afternoon’s game against the Desert Dogs at Phoenix Muni.
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