Osprey Preview: Game #42

PC: Patrick Record

Who: Missoula Osprey (20–21 | 1–2) at Orem Owlz (3–1, 29–12)

Where: Home of the Owlz — Orem, UT

When: 7:05 P.M. (MT) first pitch

How To Listen: ESPN 102.9 FM | MiLB First Pitch App| MiLB.com

THE MATCHUP

All-time, Missoula owns a 45–69 record against the Provo/Orem franchise, including a 21–33 record on the road. While the O’s have historically struggled in Orem, they have beaten the Owlz in three of their last five meetings in the greater Salt Lake City area and 9 of 17 dating back to 2012.

LAST NIGHT

The Osprey enjoyed a stellar night at the plate against Orem on Friday night, leveraging a pair of home runs and 14 base hits for their first win of the first half, knocking off the Owlz by a final score of 10–6.

After scoring only two runs in Thursday’s disappointing loss, the Osprey lineup corrected course by striking for Friday’s first run in the top of the first inning. Eduardo Diaz notched his first of three base hits and came around to score several batters later on a foul fly down the third base line by Juan Araujo. Orem answered with a pair of runs in the home half of the inning, sinking Missoula to an early 2–1 deficit after an inning.

Fortunately for the Osprey, their bats built on their first-inning success to score at least one run in each of the game’s first five innings, outpacing Orem’s more modest attack. Francis Martinez and Juan Araujo walloped solo homers in the second and third innings respectively. Martinez then doubled home an additional run in the fourth inning and came across to score on a sacrifice fly by Keshawn Lynch. In the fifth, Missoula exploded for its highest single-inning total of the night, plating three runs after a bases loaded passed ball combined with a two-run single by Joel Novaspushed Missoula to an 8–3 lead.

Left-handed starter Franklyn Soriano turned in an admirable performance en route to earning his second victory, limiting Orem to four runs (three earned) on six hits and two walks, while striking out three in five innings. The Owlz entered play with a remarkable track record of success against left-handed pitching, but Soriano was able to muffle them, exiting with an 8–4 lead.

Over the final four innings of the ballgame, relievers Rafael Pujols, Cole Bartlett, and Abraham Almonte combined to hold Orem in check. Bartlett seemingly sealed the game in the bottom of the sixth when he entered a bases-loaded situation with two outs, inducing a groundout to strand all three inherited runner. Two runs in the top of the ninth punctuated the evening for Missoula, lifting them to their first victory of the second half.

TONIGHT

Missoula looks to string consecutive wins together consecutive wins for just the second time in the last three weeks. After riding their lineup to a 10–6 win on Friday night, the Osprey are faced with a stern test in the form of Orem starting pitcher and Angels’ #24 prospect Elvin Rodriguez, the owner of the league’s lowest opponent batting average among starters (.219), its lowest WHIP overall (1.00), and best ERA (3.00).

Fortunately for Missoula, Rondriguez has struggled at home, posting a 4.74 ERA in 19 innings compared to a mark of 1.35 on the road in 20 innings. Rodriguez has dominated lineups the first tim through the order, notching a 0.75 ERA over the first three innings of his starts.

The Osprey will counter with right-hander Kai-Wei Lin, who makes his ninth start of the season and third career start against Orem. In six starts during the month of July, Lin was hit for a 7.71 ERA, lasting six innings twice. Tonight offers his first shot in August at correcting course.

NOTES

IF Francis Martinez, who it .088 during June, has the 4th-highest batting average in the Pioneer League since July 1 (.367)… OF Juan Araujo’s 7 home runs have all come since July 1, placing him 2nd in the league during that window… IF Terence Connelly joined the club on Friday after being transferred from the AZL, but did not make his debut.. Recently departed Osprey IF Luis Lara went 1-for-4 in his debut with Hillsboro on Friday, singling, striking out, and stealing a base…Former Osprey ace Luis Madero, who was transferred to Hillsboro before being traded to the Angels for MLB reliever David Hernandez debuted for Burlington on Friday night against the Midwest League’s highest scoring team, the Quad Cities River Bandits. The right-hander took a loss after 5.0 innings in which he surrendered four runs (all earned) on six hits and two walks, while striking out six.