Hens swept by Indianapolis, lose 2-0Written by Vincent D. Scebbi | | email@example.com
The Toledo Mud Hens (3-11) dropped their fourth consecutive game as the Indianapolis Indians (10-4) scored two runs in the third inning to complete the sweep on April 17.
After Felix Pie led off the third with a single into right field, Mud Hens starting pitcher Duane Below (1-1) retired the next two batters before Jordy Mercer hit a fastball over third base and down the line into left field, scoring Pie from first.
Mercer, who reached base on the double, touched home when the next batter, Brandon Inge, took his 2-1 pitch into left field for a single.
“In the third inning there, I got away from myself,” Below said. “I was rushing, I was trying to do too much. “I continued to worry about [Pie] and kind of left some of my pitches over the plate rather than going after them trying to get the third out.”
Aside from the third inning, Below pitched well, giving up just two hits and struck out five batters in 7 innings of work.
“He threw really well,” said Mud Hens manager Phil Nevin. “The one thing I noticed was he threw some first-pitch breaking balls for strikes. He was able to get that back-leg breaking ball for some swings-and-misses. His pitch count was low, I know he’s been working on.”
Indianapolis starting pitcher Kyle Waldrop (1-0) allowed two hits in 6.2 innings, striking out three batters, earning him his first win of the season.
“We’ve seen him over the last couple of years; he’s got a lot of movement on his ball,” Nevin said. “We talked about it before the game, make the pitch be up. But when he’s on like that and the ball’s moving like it is.
“He doesn’t throw hard; but what we stress in here and talk about, throw a lot of strikes, use your defense, keep the ball out of the center of the plate and he did that.”
Toledo’s offense continues to be lagging compared to its defense.
Of their first 14 games, the Mud Hens have scored two or fewer runs in eight of them, posting a 1-7 record.
The Mud Hens also rank last in the International League in runs scored (37) and team batting average (.204).
Despite the low batting numbers, this was the first game the Hens were shutout this season.
Toledo’s pitching corp. posts the third lowest earned run average in the IL at 3.17. Only Indianapolis (2.83) and Louisville (2.92) have lower ERAs.
“It’s early on for us and I’m looking forward to seeing everybody grow as a team and as individuals,” Below said. “Right now it’s a frustrating time but that’s a thing you have to learn from early on. Each day you try to come in and get better.”
Toledo hosts the Columbus Clippers for two games April 18-19.
The Mud Hens are scheduled to have Jose Alvarez (1-1, 2.70 ERA) pitch in the series opener against right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka (0-0, .614).
First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Fifth Third Field.