LAKE ELSINORE, CALIFORNIA
On a chilly night in Lake Elsinore, the Storm endured frigid winds and a late collapse by the bullpen to swipe the game in extra innings from the Inland Empire 66ers 6-5. Nate Easley was the walk-off hero, getting an RBI in the bottom of the tenth inning. Reggie Lawson was solid, turning in five innings of work while Wil Myers homered in his second game of rehab.
Lawson was in control from the beginning of the night, albeit while being a little erratic. However, his defense was unable to help him out, as two errors charged to Hudson Potts allowed an early run to score. However, Lawson was still able to escape the inning with a ground ball.
The Storm would strike back the next inning after Luis Torrens cracked an RBI double to left field, scoring Jorge Ona from second base. After tying the game up, the Storm took their first lead of the game after Buddy Reed, who has been on quite the hot streak as of late, got on base with a single and swiped second base for a steal. Potts, atoning for his mistakes on the field, plated Reed with a double of his own down the left field line.
Lawson settled down after the Storm retook the lead, mixing in his curveball well with his fastball. He set down five 66ers in a row by way of the strikeout, including the side in the fourth inning. His defense nearly led to another run as Kelvin Melean dropped a ball meant for a double play, however a successful double play and a slick throw from Luis Torrens to erase a stolen base attempt wiped out any threat in the inning.
Reed continued his hot streak with a double to deep right field in the sixth inning. The next batter was Wil Myers, who is on his rehab assignment and hopes to come back to the big league team. He certainly looked ready, and he showed opposing pitcher Alex Klonowski what could happen in the majors if he continues to leave pitches over the plate, as he blasted a 1-2 offering over the 36 foot fence in right field for a two-run home run.
The wheels completely fell off in the seventh inning after Austin Smith, coming in to relieve Lawson, loaded up the bases on two hits and a walk. A single brought in a run and another scored on a bases-loaded walk. An errant pick off attempt and yet another walk plated two more runs, and reliever Gerardo Reyes mercifully struck out Richie Fectea to end the bleeding.
Manager Edwin Rodriguez took his bullpen giving up four runs in stride, saying, “Your (bullpen) is not supposed to do that, you’re supposed to go after the hitters, but it’s a learning experience and then we bounced back”. The bullpen will experience growing pains, but that is to be expected when they are so young.
The game remained at a stalemate until the bottom of the tenth inning. With Taylor Kohlwey on second base (due to an experiment by commissioner Rob Manfred of putting runners on second base in extra innings), Nate Easley came on as a pinch hitter and, on a 2-2 count, sent a pitch to deep right field to make the fans go home happy as the Storm were walk-off winners.
Notes from the game
- Buddy Reed has been on fire these last three games. He went 4-4 with two extra base hits, two runs scored, and a stolen base. He played exceptionally in the outfield, handling every ball hit to him. However, he pulled up lame in the seventh inning during an at-bat, eventually being pulled for a pinch runner. The Storm call it an oblique injury, but it is still too early to tell if Reed will miss time with the injury. Rodriguez said that “we will be taking it day-to-day…we will know better tomorrow.” Reed is receiving treatment and the hope is that the young outfielder won’t miss significant time.
END 7| @BuddyLoco23 leaves the game tonight with an apparent left oblique injury on a swing in the box. He stayed in and got an infield single, but is lifted as Taylor Kohlwey pinch runs at 1st base.
— Lake Elsinore Storm (@Storm_Baseball) April 19, 2018
- Luis Torrens had another quality game. The former Rule 5 pick was 3-4 at the plate, including an RBI double in the second inning. He looks much more composed at the plate and has shown better discipline against High-A pitchers. He looked solid behind the plate, throwing out two would-be base stealers and making a heads-up play in the top of the tenth inning, throwing at the lead runner at third base and inadvertently getting 66ers manager Ryan Barba ejected from the game after the latter disputed the call. While he is still raw, Torrens may become an under-the-radar prospect for the Padres.
- Reggie Lawson pitched another great game for the Storm. It was his third straight start where he pitched five innings of one-run ball, and he has struck out 20 batters during that span. He threw 58 of his 88 pitches for strikes while flashing a good curveball. He was able to get the ground ball when he needed it and he limited hard contact throughout the game. While his name may be lost amongst the abundance of pitchers in the Padres’ farm system, Lawson should not be overlooked and could even see time in Double-A San Antonio if he keeps up this string of pitching.