In Tuesday’s Eastern League Championship Series opener, the Binghamton Mets played a very well-rounded game to defeat the Richmond Flying Squirrels by a 5-2 final.
Jul 4, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; MLB baseballs and a glove sit on the field prior to the Pittsburgh Pirates against the Philadelphia Phillies at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
From the ballpark they call The Diamond, Binghamton got strong starting pitching, timely hitting, turned a key double play when they absolutely needed to, and received obligatory dramatics, yet effective work from the bullpen to secure a 1-0 series lead.
Binghamton opened the scoring in the 2nd. Xorge Carrillo‘s lead-off base hit was erased when Wilfredo Tovar‘s grounder forced him out at second. Tovar moved to second on pitcher Tyler Pill‘s hit to left. Brandon Nimmo then single home Tovar to give the Mets a 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the 3rd, Richmond tied the game when 3 of the first 4 batters to face Pill reached on singles.
Second baseman T.J. Rivera led-off the top of the 5th with a single to left, and advanced to second on a 1-out single by Jayce Boyd. Darrell Ceciliani then singled to score Rivera. Next, Travis Taijeron was HBP to load the bases. Xorge Carrillo‘s sac-fly plated Boyd to give Binghamton a 3-1 lead.
- Clayton Blackburn lasted 5 innings, allowed 3 earned runs on 8 hits and 3 walks. He fanned 4 batters, and exited the game on the losing side of a 3-2 game. He threw 92 pitches with only 50 (54%) going for strikes.
Tyler Rogers entered the game in relief of Blackburn in the top of the 6th.
- Tyler Pill retired the Flying Squirrels in order in the bottom of the 6th – his last inning. Pill allowed 2 earned runs on just 3 hits. He faced 22 batters, threw an economical 76 pitches (12.5 pitchers per inning) with 46 (60.5%) going for strikes. He walked none, struck out 3, and left the game on the winning side of a 3-2 score. He was also hit by a pitch during his at-bat in the 6th.
Paul Sewald entered the game in relief of Tyler Pill in the bottom of the 7th. After issuing 2 walks to the first 3 batters he faced, Sewald was relieved by Chase Huchingson, who then walked the first batter he faced on 4 pitches to load the bases. Hitting for the pitcher, Richmond’s Mitch Delfino stepped to the plate with 1-out, and grounded to T.J. Rivera, who stepped on second, and fired to first to complete a huge (4-4-3) inning ending double play.
For Richmond, Kyle Crick entered the game in the top of the 8th in relief of Tyler Rogers. He retired Travis Taijeron and Xorge Carrillo swinging at strike three. But after issuing a walk to Wilfredo Tovar, third baseman Dustin Lawley drove a pitch into the left field gap, scoring Tovar all the way from first. Brandon Nimmo followed with a single to plate Lawley, giving Binghamton a more comfortable 5-2 lead.
Hansel Robles entered the game in the bottom of the 8th in relief of Chase Huchingson, and promptly surrendered a lead-off triple to Daniel Carbonell. Robles regrouped to strikeout shortstop Kelby Tomlinson. Blake Miller then bounced back to the pitcher, who held the runner at third, and retired Miller at first. With two outs, clean-up hitter Mario Lisson stranded Miller with a long fly to center.
For Binghamton, closer Cody Satterwhite was summoned to pitch the 9th. He retired the side in order, and fanned the final 2 batters of the game.
Tyler Pill earned his first victory of the playoffs. Cody Satterwhite earned his 2nd save. The B’s bullpen combined on 3 innings of scoreless, 1-hit baseball.
Richmond’s Clayton Blackburn suffered the loss in his 1st start of the post-season.
With a quick glance through the stats, the offensive advantages Binghamton holds over Richmond become obvious – on paper.
But, this is baseball. Never assume anything. I say this with the old adage in mind, that good pitching stops good hitting. As a team, and individually, Binghamton lay at, or near the the top of many Eastern League offensive categories. Richmond, not so much.
Binghamton struck for most of their 11 hits and 5 runs in Game 1 against Clayton Blackburn, who is effectively Richmond’s 5th starter. I mean no slight. Instead, Richmond now tentatively reverts back to the top of their rotation.
In 4 first round games, Richmond’s top 4 starters limited Akron to 8 total runs, or 2.5 runs per game, and held them to a neat 6 H/9 average. Binghamton may potentially face both, Jack Snodgrass and Ty Blach, if the series extends to 4 games. The two should present a more formidable challenge for the Mets.
Comparatively, 5 Binghamton starters (including Tyler Pill) posted a combined 6.35 ERA in 5 first round games against the Portland Sea Dogs.
Binghamton will have the advantage of playing at home for Games 3 through 5 (if necessary).
Wednesday’s Pitching Matchup:
- In Game 2 at The Diamond, Binghamton is scheduled to face Adelberto Mejia, a southpaw whom defeated the B’s on 8/29, when he allowed just 1 earned run on 6 hits, with 3 strikeouts.
- Greg Peavey suffered the loss in Game 2 against Portland, surrendering 8 hits in 2 innings. He will climb the hill in Game 2 against Richmond. Peavey last faced the Flying Squirrels on 8/6 at The Diamond, where he pitched 6.2 innings, allowed no runs on 4 hits and 3 walks, and fanned 4.
With Thursday’s scheduled break, it appears Richmond will deviate slightly from their first round starting rotation. Where Ty Blach pitched Game 4 against Akron, he will flip with Jack Snodgrass and take the mound in Game 3 in Binghamton. Snodgrass (who pitched Game 3 against Akron) will then pitch Game 4.
9/10 Tonight, 6:35pm (EST) GAME TWO – Binghamton Mets @ Richmond Flying Squirrels, from The Diamond.
9/11 Thursday, no game scheduled.
9/12 Friday, 7:05pm (EST) GAME THREE – Richmond (Ty Blach) @ Binghamton (Steven Matz), from NYSEG Stadium.