Osprey Preview: Game #66

(Patrick Record) First baseman Francis Martinez returns to the lineup after a night off.

Who: Billings Mustangs (29–35–1, 11–16) at Missoula Osprey (31–35, 12–15)

Where: Ogren Park at Allegiance Field — Missoula, MT

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

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

THE MATCHUP

Wednesday night marks the 14th matchup of the season between the O’s and the Mustangs with Billings owning a narrow 7–6 advantage. While the seires has the appearance of balance, the lineage of games indicates otherwise. Billings won 5 of the first 6 meetings between these teams from June 19 to June 28. Since, however, the Osprey have won 5 of 7 including 3 consecutive at home. Of the 13 previous games, only 5 have been decided by 3 runs or less.

Historically, Billings owns a 153–141 advantage in the all-time series, while the Opsrey have gone 78–69 against Billings in Missoula.

LAST NIGHT:

The O’s scored five times in the second inning, sending 10 men to the plate, and knocking Billings’ starter from the game after pitching just 1.2 innings. Those five runs proved to be enough for the Osprey to outlast the Mustangs by a final score of 5–4 after Billings clubbed a trio of solo homers and put the tying run on base in both the eighth and ninth innings.

  • Gabriel Maciel (1-for-3) doubled home a pair of runs.
  • Will Gorman hit a 2-run homer, his 2nd of the year.
  • Every Osprey batter reached base at least once.
  • Cole Stapler matched his career-high with 4.0 innings pitched and set a new career-high with 6 strikeouts.

Looking at Tuesday through a macro-scale lens, it’s hard to draw anything of significance. While the O’s have struggled with runners in scoring position for the last week or so, they only had 4 opportunities with RISP on Tuesday. The trend of running more aggressively continued, but didn’t provide the Osprey with the desired result, as they were caught attempting to steal on 3 separate occasions. Home runs continued to plague the Osprey, as Stapler surrendered a trio of solo shots, bringing Missoula’s staff-wide total to 88 dingers allowed on the season. They’re on pace to surrender 103 long balls, which would shatter the league record of 94 set by the 2008 Osprey.

TONIGHT:

Billings stacks their lineup with exclusively right-handed hitters against Osprey portsider Franklyn Soriano, who is in line to face Billings for the fourth time this season. The lineup put together by Mustang manager Ray Martinez is an interesting one, given that left-handers have hit Soriano better than righties. Furthermore, Billings as a club has struggled mightily against left-handed pitching, notching a team-wide average of .263 against southpaws.

Soriano has pitched three times against Billings, totalling 11.1 innings in which he’s surrendered 5 runs (all earned) on 13 hits and 4 walks, while striking out 10. With his 3.97 ERA against the Mustangs, Soriano has enjoyed more success in head-to-head action against Billings than most teams in the Pioneer League.

His first outing was cut short due to rain on the second night ofthe season, as Soriano did not return to the mound after a 45-minute weather delay halted play between the first and second innings. In his second meeting, took a no-decision after 5.0 one-run innings on June 30.

In his last start against Billings, Soriano pitched extremely well for five innings before surrendering two runs in the sixth on a Hendrik Clementina double with none out. He was summarily lifted after the two-bagger cut Missoula’s lead to 6–4. In the first five innings, Soriano surrendered a solo homer to J.D. Salmon-Williams in addition to an RBI-single by Billings short stop Urwin Juaquin. In the win, Soriano continued a recent trend of throwing strikes, delivering 75.3% of his pitches for strikes, his highest

Note: Has surrendered one or more home run in 9 of his 12 starts

• Innings 1–2: 23.2 IP, 7.25 ERA, 19K, 14BB

  • Innings 3–6: 31.1 IP, 4.30 ERA, 26K, 12BB

Billings will counter with hard-throwing right-hander Jhon De Jesus, who owns a 6.03 ERA in 50.2 innings of work. De Jesus has faced the Osprey three times entering play, struggling twice, but dominating for five scoreless innings once on June 30th in Missoula. In 10.1 innings of head-to-head action agaisnt the Osprey, De Jesus has surrendered 8 runs (7 earned), while walking 9 and striking out 8. In 22.1 innings on the road, De Jesus has posted a 4.03 ERA compared to a 7.62 home ERA.

Below is a look at the O’s lineup for their 7:05 pm first pitch:

  1. Gabriel Maciel — LF
  2. Ernie De La Trinidad — DH
  3. Eduardo Diaz — CF
  4. Andy Yerzy — C
  5. Juan Araujo — RF
  6. Joel Novas — 3B
  7. Francis Martinez — 1B
  8. Jose Caballero — 2B
  9. Brandon Leyton — SS

P — Franklyn Soriano (L)