Baseball: Ridley-Springfield odds and ends

I covered most of the high points of Ridley’s 6-3 win over Springfield Monday in the gamer. But I can’t help shaking the feeling that it was an odd game in a lot of ways, enough to fill a blog post with that along. Without further ado…

– It took over two and half hours to play a relatively low-scoring game. The total pitches thrown were at 298, 137 of them coming from Ridley starter Ed Hild. That’s a guy with a surgically-repaired plant knee on a cold, blustery day. He said he felt fine after the game, but that’s still a lot of work.

– I categorized Ridley as “free-swinging” in the copy, and that might be selling them short. Of the 39 plate appearances by the Green Raiders, 18 of them involved swinging at the first pitch. In the first inning, five of the first six batters swung at the first pitch. Springfield starter Ryan Joyce threw 25 pitches in the first inning, 19 of them strikes. Only one of those was called, the others swinging, fouled off or put in play. Joyce threw 77 strikes among his 105 pitches … and complained about his ability to locate pitches afterward. “My m.o. has been that I come out and throw around the plate,” Joyce reasoned afterward. “I don’t walk a lot of guys. So if I was batting against me, I’d come out swinging at the first pitch, too.” Even so, the Ridley bats really let fly.

– Both pitchers were left in a batter too long. Joyce was lifted after back-to-back-to-back singles to the top of the order in the top of the sixth; there was a meeting at the mound before Justin Goerlach’s base knock chased him. Hild’s last batter was a sharp RBI single by Chris Greenwich, only the second he’d given up all day, with reliever Greg Mount already having warmed for over an inning.

– Joyce and Hild had opposite days in many ways. They combined to strike out 19 guys. Joyce only walked one but gave up 10 hits, all singles; Hild surrendered just the two hits, but he walked eight. Similar, but so different.

– Part of Springfield’s offensive shortcomings, which have been a trend of late, were too many empty at-bats. Of the 10 times they were punched out by Hild the last six were looking, many at some good breaking stuff by Hild and a fastball that bore into righties. They Cougars had two at-bats where they were rung up on strikes without once taking the bat off the shoulders. That patience, though, paid off on the myriad walks that were issued, so it’s about finding a balance.

– Here’s something you rarely see: Ridley coach Dan Najmola pinch-hit for his designated hitter in the third inning. With runners on second and third and two outs, Dave DiMeglio struck out for DH Pat O’Neill. Now something you never see: Najmola pinch hit for O’Neill again in the seventh. I don’t know that either was particularly matchup-driven, which begs the question: If he’s your designated hitter (key word being hitter), why not let him hit?

– Also from the you-don’t-see-that-everyday file, Springfield called on two pinch hitters in the sixth inning against Hild. Both were left-handers. Not sure about the matchup there.

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