Thunder Blast Clark Knuckler

After going 15-7 last year, 5-2 with a 1.75 ERA in AAA you would think Zach Clark would not have to reinvent himself.  But he will turn 30 in July, his fastball barely touches 90 and he is a righthander barely 6′0″ tall, all recipes for disaster in a scout’s eye.  The Orioles have him working on a knuckle ball this year.

He is having a little bit of trouble controlling this knuckle ball.  Entering the game he was 1-2 with a 9.26 ERA in three starts, walking 13 in 11 plus innings.  The knuckler is dancing, but not across the plate.

Zach gave up a run in the first when he walked the leadoff hitter Ramon Flores, who eventually scored on a fly ball.  Caleb Joseph gave the Bay Sox the lead back in the bottom of the first with a 2-run homer into centerfield.  In the top of the second Zach walked the leadoff hitter again, Jose Pirela, who would walk four times in the game.  After the walk the Thunder strung together three straight singles and a 2-run homer by Tyler Austin to put them up 6-2.

Zach did last two more innings without giving up a run, finally being pulled in the fifth inning after getting one out.  The Bay Sox offense could not muster enough offense to come back from the six run deficit after two innings.

Brandon Waring had a good day.  He stroked three hits to raise his average to .167, including lining a homerun into left center field in the fourth to make it 6-3.

Jason Gurka rescued Zach Clark from creating any further damage to his burgeoning ERA when he came on in the top of the fifth and stranded runners on second and third with one out.  He did give up a solo blast to Kevin Mahoney in the sixth, his first homerun of the year to make the score 7-3.  Aaron Baker drove in Brandon Waring with a double in the seventh to finish out the scoring.

Game Notes: Zach Clark was called for a balk in the first inning when he stopped his delivery.  Gary Kendall argued time was called but it appears Caleb Joseph may have called time after the runner at second appeared to be taking to big a lead off of second.  The umpire claimed he never granted the time out….Jose Ramirez was humming his fastball into the 95/96 range.  He didn’t appear to have much of a breaking pitch, but the Bay Sox only got him for five hits.  Two of those hits were out of the park, accounting for all three runs…Clay Schrader was throwing in the mid 90s in relief for the Bay Sox.  He didn’t have a lot of command with his pitches and he only stands 5′11″.  He walked two in his two innings of work…Tommy Kahnle worked the ninth for the Thunder and showed a high 90s fastball…Jose Pirela walked in four of his five at bats.  He took a called third strike in his fifth at bat.  Jose entered the game hitting only .205 but he has a 25/22 walk to whiff ratio…Tyler Austin grounded into a double play on a fairly slow hit grounder, showing his lack of speed.  He may have stolen 23 bases in 25 attempts last year but it wasn’t done on speed.  He clearly lacks stolen base speed.  Instinct is where he steals bases.

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