The Norfolk Tides completely handled the Gwinnett Braves today in Lawrenceville, GA 8-0. Since I felt an acute case of baseball fever coming on this morning, I called out sick and went to the 10:35 AM start.
The Oriole highlights came early as former Dodger farmhand RF Jamie Hoffman launched a 3-run homer that just barely cleared the left field wall and Braves LF Jose Constanza's leap to give the Tides the 3-0 lead. CF L.J. Hoes' bases loaded single drove in two more in the 4th to give Norfolk the 5-0 lead and the game was pretty much over.
SP Dana Eveland gave up only 3 hits and struck out 5 over 7 innings and the Braves mounted no real threat at all. Braves' pitching issued 9 walks and walked in the other 3 Tide runs. Again, not the most exciting game to watch.
On to the individual performances, led by Hoes. He went 1-5 with a walk and reached on a fielder's choice that should have been a hit. He scorched a ball toward right field in the 6th inning but Braves 1B Ernesto Meija reached up and got his glove on it but it was hit too hard for him to hold. Hoffman was on 1st and had to hold up for a beat ot make sure Meija didn't catch the ball. If Hoffman would not have been on base, that would have been a hit for the speedy Hoes. Hoes had good at bats, worked the count and looked poised beyond his 22 years at the plate. He is hitting .369 in August and has maintained good walk rates throughout his minor league career.
RP Brian Matusz pitched the 8th inning. He gave up no runs but was unimpressive while walking one batter and striking out none. His fastball was missing up out of the zone and his breaking stuff was missing low and outside a lot. He got out of the inning with a couple of sharply hit ground balls that his fielders turned into outs but it was not hard to imagine major league hitter turning those mistakes into hits. He got himself into bad pitcher's counts on three of the four batters he faced. He may need more work.
2B Ryan Adams looks like I've seen him before. At the plate, he looked relaxed, worked the count and put the ball into play with authority. A great looking hitter and he is hitting .300 with 5 XBHs in August. In the field, he is not smooth and he made an error in the 7th.
I've never fully understood the enthusiasm for 1B Joe Mahoney. His walk rates are poor, his hit tool is OK and the value is wrapped up in his power as he slugged over .500 over the 2010-2011 in just over 200 games split between Frederick and Bowie. But that power has disappeared in Norfolk this season (.387 SLG in 120 games) and had trouble making solid contact today and could not manage a walk on a day when the G-Braves staff was giving them out freely. He'll be 26 next year and I guess the power could return. But if it doesn't, he's not going to have much value as a prospect.
3B Brandon Waring has hit 20 or more homers in every season he has played professionally. He walked twice today but his walk rates are just decent. His power is really, really impressive. Fun to watch but hard to imagine how he can help the major league club in the future.