Las Vegas 51’s Win Series Opener Against Sacramento River Cats
The Las Vegas 51’s took the first game of their four game series with the Sacramento River Cats on Monday, by a score of 8-5. The teams racked up a total of 26 hits on a shaky start by the starting pitchers on both teams. All of the offense happened without the use of a designated hitter. For the first time in the history of the River Cats, they played using National League rules which does not allow the use of a DH. Prior to this season the River Cats were the AAA affiliate of the Oakland Athletics, an American League team.
The starting pitcher for the 51’s is very highly regarded prospect, Noah Syndergaard (0-0). The 6’6″ 240 lb. righty was drafted in the first round and 38th overall in the 2010 first year player draft by the Toronto Blue Jays. The New York Mets then acquired Syndergaard via trade with the Blue Jays which sent knuckleballer R.A. Dickey to Toronto. Syndergaard was on a pitch count of 60 pitches when the game started due a bruise on the forearm. Syndergaard has really great stuff, a 95-96 mph fastball that really hurried to the plate to go along with an 83-84 mph change up. That change in velocity coming from his 6’6” frame is really going to pay off for the young prospect throughout his career.
Unfortunately Syndergaard was having a little trouble with his location in his first start of the season. Lasting just 4 innings, Noah gave up 3 runs (2 earned), 7 hits, 2 strike outs and walked a batter. The unearned run was tallied when center fielder Kyle Johnson had trouble fielding a line drive hit by Travis Ishikawa. After throwing 54 pitches Syndergaard was replaced by John Church in the bottom of the 5th inning.
River Cats starting pitcher Nik Turley was even less spectacular. The left-handed pitcher gave up 7 runs on 8 hits, striking out just one, while walking 3 batters. Turley gave up two hard hit home runs. Travis Taijeron homered in the 4th inning with 1 out and no one on. Then first basemen Eric Campbell hit his second homerun of the season with one runner on base. Turley was replaced by manager Brett Bochy after pitching to 3 batters in the fifth inning. The River Cats starter had thrown 80 pitches in just 4-plus innings.
There were a few bright spots for the River Cats in this game. One was the continued hot start by emerging star, Adam Duvall. The first basemen went 3 for 4 with 4 runs batted in. Through 5 games so far this season Duvall is batting .500 with 10 hits in 20 at bats. This includes 2 homeruns, with one being the game winning walk -for the River Cats in the first game of the season.
The other bright spot has been Jarrett Parker. The right fielder continues to show signs of power, belting long homerun in the 8th inning. This was Parker’s second homerun of the season, the first was the walk off grand slam in the 18th inning of Saturday’s epic marathon game.
The two teams will face off for game two of the series Tuesday night at Raley field. The 51’s will send LHP Steven Matz who got a no-decision in the season opener for Las Vegas. Robert Coello will take the ball for the River Cats. Coello was outstanding is his first start, with 7 scoreless innings while striking out 6 in the season opener for the River Cats.
By Joe Vicory