Speed kills, or at least it did in San Jose at Sam Lynn Ballpark last night. The Giants were successful at keeping Billy Hamilton off base until he singled to lead off the bottom of the ninth. Two stolen bases later he scored the game’s only run on Juan Duran’s sacrifice fly. Pat Doyle (1-0) picked up the win after Tony Cingrani turned in another dominant effort. He shut out the Giants for seven innings and limited them to four hits and a walk while striking out nine. The southpaw threw six innings of one-hit ball in his season debut. Thus far he’s allowed only one earned run in three starts while putting up a 0.53 ERA/0.706 WHIP & K/BB of 20/4.
Cingrani came into the Cincinnati organization when they picked the pitcher out of Rice in the third round of the 2011 draft. While in college he did not impress until after a move from the rotation into the bullpen where he closed. He caught the Reds attention by striking out 66 in 57 IP for the Owls and posting a 1.74 ERA. He wasted no time after the selection and started playing at Billings last season. Given his history in the NCAA one would have expected him to pitch out of the bullpen. The Reds saw something that made them try him again as a starter and thus far it has been a good decision.
They were careful not to overwork the former reliever and he averaged less than 5 IP/start with the Mustangs. He may not have stayed on the mound long enough to figure into many decisions, but he did make it clear that he has no trouble mowing down Pioneer League hitters. In 51 innings he allowed only 36 hits and 6 walks while striking out 80 (yes 8-0, no typo) and posting a 1.75 ERA. One obvious question is his stamina as a starter. So far he’s done a lot to put those concerns to rest since the Reds started stretching him out in longer outings at the end of last year.
Cingrani was a bit old for his competition until he skipped low A to start this season at Bakersfield. He made the jump by throwing a mid-90’s fastball with excellent command, as evidenced by the K/BB ratio noted above. The 6’4” southpaw’s velocity comes from a smooth delivery with a good stride that gives more reason to believe he can handle a starter’s workload. He’s been effective at keeping pitches down thus yielding only one homer in 2011 when over half of his batted outs hit the ground. High priority will be put on improvement to his changeup and slider as he develops. His fastball alone will likely be sufficient for continued success in single A. It will be interesting to watch more patient hitters at higher levels increase his pitch counts and dependence on off-speed stuff. At the rate Cingrani is going you can expect to see that matchup soon.
Other News from the Farm:
Toledo completed a four game sweep at Louisville Slugger Field by beating the Bats 2-1 last night. Veteran Brett Tomko (0-2) was charged with both runs. For the second start in a row he limited scoring while allowing a lot of runners. He gave up six hits and three walks before being lifted in the sixth. Right hander Josh Judy threw 2+ innings and hasn’t allowed a run in five of six appearances this year. Paul Janish had three hits to raise his average to .345. He scored the only Bat run when plated on the first of two hits by outfielder Felix Perez.
Pensacola ended a four game skid when they won 5-3 at Montgomery. Pedro Villarreal (1-1, 2.22) pitched into the seventh for another quality start and got his first win of the season. Donnie Joseph picked up his fourth save and Clayton Tanner was credited with his second hold. Those two lefty relievers have now combined for fifteen appearances on the season without allowing a run. Right fielder Josh Fellhauer went 3-3 with a walk to lift his average to .333. Leadoff hitter Ryan LaMarre added two hits and an RBI.
Billy Hamilton theft watch:
The speedster did not reach base until the ninth inning last night. Once aboard he made the most of it by stealing both second and third before scoring the game’s only run on a sacrifice fly. He now has 14 swipes in 15 games.
Dayton scored three in the third and five in the fourth to pull away to a 12-7 victory over Quad Cities at Fifth Third Field. Jefry Sierra, Steve Selsky, and Nick O’Shea all contributed three hits to a balanced Dragon attack. Junior Arias and Brandon Dailey added two each including Dailey’s first home run.