Big Noah Syndergaard bounced back nicely after allowing seven runs in three innings in his last start. Tuesday: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K. Of his non-strikeout outs, he picked up eight on the ground and four in the air. In 18 innings, Syndergaard has fanned 19 (good), and walked nine (not so good).
SS Matt Reynolds and 1B Aderlin Rodriguez were each 1-for-4 with a double. Rodriguez has now played first in three of his last four games. He neither walked nor struck out so the 21-year-old is 18 games into the 2013 season with 16 strikeouts and zero walks as part of a .167/.173/.347 start in 18 games.
RHP Luis Cessa (pictured) made it look easy for six shutout innings while the Gnats’ batters on the other side ground their way through at-bats, took their walks and bopped three run-scoring doubles.
Cessa’s line: 6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K. He induced six ground ball outs and just two air outs. Four of the hits he allowed were singles, and the fifth probably should have been but for Eudy Pina overrunning a ball in right field. Cessa threw first pitch strikes to 19 of 23 batters. I don’t have velocity readings on Cessa, but I suspect he was low 90s most of the night. He has some feel for a breaking ball and changeup.
Of his seven strikeouts, four were looking and three swinging. Of the three swinging strikeouts I described one as swinging at a breaking ball, one late on a fastball, and one I let the pitch type go uncalled, but I suspect it was a fastball. I believe all of the looking strikeouts came on fastballs. Cessa was able to work to both sides of the plate with his heat on this night. It was a fine performance. In three starts, Cessa now owns a 1.02 ERA with two walks and 16 strikeouts in 17.2 innings.
At the plate, 1B Jayce Boyd was 2-for-4 with a double ripped up the left-centerfield gap and a walk. He’s up to .394/.476/.549 with 11 walks against nine strikeouts in 18 games in Savannah. He extended his hitting streak to eight straight games, a Sand Gnats’ season-best. The 22-year old sure seems to have the SAL figured out.
SS Philip Evans doubled home two runs in the Gnats’ three-run fourth inning. It was a breaking ball up, and Evans dropped it along the rightfield line for his first double of the year in his 17th game. He also made a nice play on a ball up the middle in the ninth that reliever Tyler Vanderheiden deflected. Evans swooped in, made the bare-handed pick and fired to first in time. He went the other way with a line out in the sixth, but he seemed to do a better job Tuesday of staying on contact and using the right side of the field on pitches away.
CF Brandon Nimmo: 1-for-4 with a walk and two strikeouts. The hit was a clean single up the middle. He earned the walk after falling behind in the count in the sixth and then battling back to full. He chased fastballs in his first two at-bats for the strikeouts.
Boyd’s RBI double, and Evans’ nice plays are embedded below.