The nice people of the Rome Braves live in the 21st century so we got a video stream of yesterday’s Game 1 matchup in the South Atlantic League Championship. We already know the results, but here is a breakdown of the highlights of the game.
I get why people like Mike Soroka immediately, easy delivery and showing good command for a 19 year old in his first season. Jose Pujols lays off a couple pitches outside of the zone before hitting a hard groundball on a 2-1 pitch that gets past the shortstop for a single (there is going to be a theme here).
Three weak fly balls off of Franklyn Kilome who is going with the fastball early. Deivi Grullon makes a great catch on a foul bunt popped in the air.
Grullon singles on a ground ball past the shortstop. Grenny Cumana crushes a baseball, but it is a ground ruled double, no runs score. Soroka really has good control, Duran gets framed by the catcher and Marrero makes an out. Still 0-0.
Here comes the curveball, sharp power breaker, Kilome is matching it with an elevated fastball. Strikeout on a bounced curveball count at 1. To batter #2 Kilome drops a curve in for a strike follows it two pitches later with another bounced curveball. Mark Laird makes a very nice running catch in left.
Randolph and Laird go down quickly. Pujols smashes a ball right at the third baseman on a ball inside, reaches on error. Tomscha hits a ball to the wall, Pujols is out if the throw is there, but short hop allows the run to score, 1-0. Garcia just misses a home run.
Kilome gets away with a curveball that was a bit hung in the zone, ground ball to third. Kilome missing with the fastball, just going with the curveball, puts two in the zone and then buries one that does not bounce. Three more curveballs to get out three, bounced curveball Ks at 3, curveball Ks at 4.
Soroka gets three easy outs, seems to mix pitches well.
Fastball command really non-existent for Kilome, but who cares because that is bounced curveball strikeout 4 and curveball strikeout 5. Good catch by Pujols as Kilome finally shows a good running fastball. Gets a weak out on low curveball that Austin Riley gets a piece of.
Soroka is throwing strikes but so far has not thrown anything that is dominating by itself, however he is changing speed and location enough to be dominant.
First base runner doubles off Kilome as Kilome goes to a fastball after three straight curveballs. Carlos Duran makes an amazing catch in center field after Kilome hung a breaking ball. Kilome is just starting guys with curveballs called for strikes, still can’t get the fastball over for strikes. Kilome walks a batter on a check swing, but the 3-1 pitch was a beauty on the inside corner for a strike. Kilome starting to get feel for the fastball, elevating it for swings and misses, command still loose. Laird makes a catch on another golfed pitch. Kilome feeds a batter a diet of curveballs for a strikeout, bounced count at 5, 6 curveball Ks.
Jose Pujols is not doing too much and keeping it simple, Austin Riley and the 1B doing even less, infield single. Soroka showing a nice running, sinking fastball on the corner, then breaks off a good curveball. Runner stranded.
Kilome bounces another curveball for a K, that is 6 now. Kilome gets a ground ball and then Ronald Acuna hits a hard line drive right at Laird.
It is best to have this inning in this form:
- Ground ball, shortstop
- Soft fly ball single to center fielder
- Ground ball to second, ball goes between the legs and bounces off his leg into right field, runners at first and second
- Ground ball single past the second baseman, first and third, 2-0
- My favorite Pujols AB of the night
- Wild Swing and miss
- Lays off ball away
- Swing and miss on offspeed in the zone
- Lays off ball away
- Ball in dirt away, runner moves up
- Hard ground ball up the middle booted by the SS after staying on a pitch in the zone, 4-0
- Strikeout looking
Kilome working everything, good fastball, curveball, curveball in the dirt, that makes 7 of those for strikeouts. Kilome then walks the next batter who manages to lay off some tough breaking balls. Wild pitch on another curveball. Another hard ball to the outfield right at Mark Laird, 2 outs. Kilome does not bounce his 9th strikeout, instead it is a nice rainbow for called strike 3.
Wilson Garcia hits one out of the ballpark, 5-0. Grullon walks on 4 pitches, next two strike out. Great catch on a foul ball by the third baseman ends the game.
I hope the Braves weren’t hoping for an end to curveball hell, as Grant Dyer takes over. First pitch is a fly out to Pujols. Over the top curveball for a strikeout. Called strike 3 on a beautiful fastball running over the outside corner as Grullon sets up outside.
Laird goes down on strikes. Randolph that has his best swing of the night, taking a fastball low and away for a single the other way. Pujols chops a weak ground out. Another groundout, but it is hard to care too much.
Dyer’s curveball is good and comes from a strange angle, fly out, 2 outs left. Dyer showing much better fastball command than Kilome. Ronald Acuna is certainly an interesting guy, I like the hitting ability, but the hype might have gone a bit crazy, he just also flew out. Dyer repeats the 8th inning where Grullon sets up outside and they run a fastball back over the outside corner for a called strike three.
Rome’s defense really cost them game, it was much closer than 5-0. The scary thing is that the BlueClaws were not sharp (including Kilome) and they were able to run over the Braves in Game 1. It will be interesting if they continue to pitch the Braves hitters backwards in Game 2 with Seranthony Dominguez on the mound.