Osprey Preview: Game #25
Who: Missoula Osprey (12–12) at Ogden Raptors (12–12)
Where: Lindquist Field — Ogden,UT
When: 7:00 P.M. (MT) first pitch
How To Listen: ESPN 102.9 FM | MiLB First Pitch App| MiLB.com
Members of opposing divisions, the Osprey and Raptors get together only seven times per season, substantially less frequently than the 16 meetings scheduled annually between North Division foes. In the full history of the series, the O’s have struggled to a 59–70 mark, including a 28–40 record in Ogden. Over their last seven games at Lindquist Field, Missoula has gone just 2–5, including a three-game sweep last season. Overall in 2016, the O’s won just two of seven meetings with the Raptors.
Brady Muller delivered five scoreless innings in his second consecutive quality outing, the Osprey exploded for a six-run first inning, and Carlos Bustamante shut the door in the ninth, helping the Missoula Osprey (12–12) outlast the Ogden Raptors (12–12) by a final score of 8–5 at Lindquist Field on Thursday night.
Missoula wasted little time in attacking Ogden starting pitcher Edwin Uceta, as outfielder Gabriel Maciel catalyzed a first-inning rally when he led off the ballgame with a bunt single to extend his hitting streak to 13 games. Ernie De La Trinidad added a single one batter later, and Andy Yerzy drove home Maciel on an infield single to first base. Dominic Miroglio added a second RBI-infield single to double the lead to 2–0. Ogden third baseman Brock Carpenter then committed an error to plate a pair of runs, and Brandon Leyton looped a fly ball single to right field to score the final pair of the inning, giving the Osprey a 6–0 advantage after half a frame.
With six runs at his back, starter Brady Muller settled into dominant form, hurling five shutout innings in which he struck out a season-high eight batters and allowed just two hits and two walks. Muller collected his second win in as many starts, bringing his record even to 2–2.
Following Muller’s exit, Ogden plated four runs in the sixth on an RBI double by Tyler Adkison and a three-run homer from Brock Carpenter. All four runs were charged to Gabe Gonzalez, who left after 2/3 of an inning.
Missoula fought back in the seventh and eighth innings to add individual insurance runs in each frame, first on and RBI single by Dominic Miroglio in the seventh. Following a tremendous at-bat by Andy Yerzy that culminated in a double to center field, Miroglio smoked a fastball into the left field corner, scoring Yerzy from second. The next inning, Jose Caballero was hit by a pitch and moved to third on a steal of second and a throwing error by Ogden catcher Luis Paz. Leyton then grounded out to third base, allowing Caballero to push Missoula’s lead to 8–4 entering the bottom of the eighth.
In addition to his three runs batted in, Leyton was responsible for a remarkable stop on the outfield grass behind second base to preserve Missoula’s lead in the bottom of the seventh. With runners on second and third, Leyton lunged to keep the ball on the infield, spun around, and threw to first in time to beat Tyler Adkison for the final out.
Leading 8–4 entering the last of the ninth, Abraham Almonte and Carlos Bustamante combined to finish the victory for Missoula. While Ogden scored once off Almonte and loaded the bases with just one out, Bustamante recorded a strikeout and induced a lazy fly ball to end the game.
After Thursday night’s heart-stopping win over Ogden, the Osprey attempt to take the series from the Raptors at Lindquist Field on Friday night. With the Raptors attempting to corral a ballpark record crowd, the O’s will try to exercise their long-term demons in Ogden in front of a massive, hostile crowd.
On the mound for Missoula is right-hander Tyler Vail, a 25-year-old in his first season in the Diamondbacks system. While Vail’s numbers are underwhelming (0–1, 7.71 ERA), the Pennsylvania native has been on the upswing lately, pitching well in his last start, despite collecting his first loss of the season. In seven innings at Helena, Vail allowed just four runs (three earned) on five hits and one walk, while striking out four. Following four perfect innings to begin the night, Vail was derailed on a leadoff homer in the fifth, surrendering a pair in the fifth and two more in the seventh. Unfortunately for Vail, his effort was wasted after the O’s bullpen surrendered four more runs.
The most notable keys for Vail entering play on Friday are twofold: 1) manage the pitch count 2) keep the ball down. Beginning with his pitch count, Vail has struggled to pitch deep into games, logging only one start of more than five innings. Because of his tendency to be a max-effort thrower, Vail has typically run out of gas in the 85–90 pitch range, he needs to be economical early in games. If he’s going to do so, Vail will need to command his sinker well enough to both throw strikes and force ground balls. In his last two outings, Vail has battled deep into counts looking for strikeouts, while watching his pitch total rise.
Countering for Ogden is right-hander Gregorio Sequera, a right-hander who entwers with a 6.00 ERA and no record to report. After beginning the season with Great Lakes in the Midwest League, Sequera has returned to Ogden for four starts. While he’s surrendered 12 runs on 20 hits in 15 innings, he’s also struck out 20 batters compared to just two walks. Missoula will look to attack early in counts against the Dominican teenager.