“Too many errors cost Reading in loss to Trenton” tweeted Reading Eagle baseball beat writer, Mike Drago. Tweets about the Lakewood BlueClaws Sally League final could have read, “Two Rome Braves errors led to four unearned runs to propel Lakewood to Game One win in the SAL finals.” “Two errors and a wild pitch by Lakewood in the 5th inning padded Rome’s 6-1 win in Game Two.”
In Game One of the SAL playoffs Monday night it was BlueClaws centerfielder Carlos Duran laying out and making a big catch to set the tone for Lakewood’s 5-0 win.
Last night it was Rome’s centerfielder, Ronald Acuna, catching a fly ball off the bat of Wilson Garcia and turning it into an 8-3 double play to set the tone in the second inning. It would be the first of five putouts by Rome’s center fielder to help shut down the Blue Claws.
In the playoffs it is many times the defense that is a major factor in what team goes on to win the series. Good or poor defense is many times a momentum factor with two teams of similar skills in playoff baseball.
I am looking forward to Thursday night’s Game Three as the two teams fly over 800 miles back to Lakewood N.J. to resume the best-of-five series final.
It should be a good one with the Atlanta Braves first round, 2015 draft pick, 19- year-old Kolby Allard on the mound for Rome. He pitched a no-decision, six inning, three hit shutout against Charleston in the first round. In his last sevens starts he is 5-0.
Lakewood will call on 21-year-old ace, Alberto Tirado who was acquired last season in the Ben Revere trade. Tirado lasted only four innings in his last start against Hagerstown in the first game of the semi-finals giving up a run and three hits. He walked three and struck out five. Watch a video from when he appeared with the Threshers last season HERE.
But over Tirado’s last eight starts has gone 6-0 giving up only eight runs, 16 walks and striking out 67 in 41 innings. He has not pitched more than six innings in any start so it will be a battle of the bullpens in the end which will likely determine the outcome of this game and most likely the series.
Thursday night’s Game Three should be a good one and we will be listening on the internet for the play-by-play. Which ever team wins will likely be determined by the team that plays the best defense and has the most effective bullpen.