I went to tonight’s Altoona Curve home opener (two years in a row, woo-hoo) against the Richmond Flying Squirrels. The Curve won 2-0 and looked pretty good. I got there early enough to see the unveiling of the Eastern League Champions banner (it is out in center field, so I did not take a picture, plus it is just a blue/red banner, nothing spectacular).
Aaron Thompson was the Curve starting pitcher and he pitched very well. He pitched four innings of no-hit ball with only one walk, He finished with 6.0 innings pitched, two hits, one walk, and five strikeouts. The first hit he gave up was a lead-off triple to Jose Flores. He then struck out Juan Perez and got Johnny Monell to ground one to third baseman Jeremy Farrell, who was playing in and was able to throw Flores out at the plate.
In the sixth inning Joel Weeks (no relation to Rickie) singled to lead off, Farrell then made an error, and after a sacrifice bunt, there were runners on second and third. Thompson then struck out the next two batters to get out of the inning. I have no clue how accurate the scoreboard radar gun was, but Thompson hit 89 most of the time and 90 a couple others. I never saw anything above 90 mph.
The Curve hitters made Eric Surkamp look very good. Starling Marte, Jordy Mercer, Tony Sanchez, and Miles Durham all struck out, but then Quincy Latimore doubled up the third baseline. They finally scored their first run when Sanchez walked and then scored when Durham hit a double in the fourth inning. Jordy Mercer hit a home run in the fifth inning to make it 2-0.
Marte hit a single to right field in the seventh inning, then stole second base. He moved to third base on a ground out by Mercer to the first baseman. He then got caught in a rundown on a ground ball hit by Sanchez to the third baseman. Sanchez was able to get to second, but it was identical to the play against the Squirrels earlier. With the infield playing in, I would think Marte would stay close to third on a ground ball hit to his side, maybe I am wrong.
The other guy I wanted to really see was Brock Holt, who played second base and lead-off. He hit the ball sharply each time, but twice to the second baseman and twice to the outfield. Also, relief pitcher Michael Dubee made a great catch on a hard bouncer up the middle. He moved out of the way and caught it behind his back then turned to throw the runner out.
The triple by Flores was a ball I thought could have been caught by Latimore. He seemed like he was going to catch it, then slowed down to play it off the wall, but since he was so close to the wall and where it hit, the ball bounced past him and Marte had to field it to throw in. Not too many triples off the LF wall…
Brock Holt 2B 0-4
Starling Marte CF 1-2, HBP, SB, K
Jordy Mercer SS 1-4, HR
Tony Sanchez C 1-3, K, BB, Run
Miles Durham 1B 1-4, 3 Ks, 2B, RBI
Quincy Latimore LF 1-3, 2B, BB, K
Jeremy Farrell 3B 0-4
Brad Chalk RF 3-4
And now for some pictures and videos. I love going to minor league games, for $10 I was able to sit in the second row behind home plate by the visitor’s dugout.
I think you can see that Holt hits the ball hard. If not, just take my word on it.
The Curve closer Noah Krol has a funky sidearm delivery and does not seem to throw very hard, yet this was him getting a strikeout.