Tonight’s is a short tilt, just four innings. As a reminder, and definitely not because I continually have to scroll up and check it while writing the recap, here’s tonight’s lineup:
Sam Haggerty swings at Kikuchi’s first pitch and hits a line drive right at Jose Marmolejos, and after striking out Donnie Walton, Kikuchi has two quick outs before issuing a walk to a very patient Jarred Kelenic:
Kikuchi strikes out Donnie Walton looking for a quick two outs in the inning before walking Jarred Kelenic pic.twitter.com/4dbtQcmCPo— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) July 21, 2020
Kelenic would make Kikuchi pay for that walk, swiping second off the Kikuchi/Raleigh battery. It’s a strong throw by Calboy, but just leads second baseman Shed Long a little too far into the runner, which initially looks troublesome for Shed:
Another stolen base for Jarred Kelenic. He has so many ways to impact a game. pic.twitter.com/O20bhcmrvl— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) July 21, 2020
Taylor Guilbeau begins his night by getting Mallex to swing over the top of a ball that seems to disappear:
Then we get a peek at Noelvi Marte playing shortstop to retire Dylan Moore:
Noelvi Marte making a play at short to throw out a speedy Dylan Moore: pic.twitter.com/s65oJpzkMI— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) July 21, 2020
We’re still in the frantic data-collection stage on Marte, but in this (fuzzy) look and from this (faraway) distance, that footwork looks pretty smooth. Shed Long is the first one to get to Guilbeau, with a solid line-drive single into center, and then threatens a steal, so hopefully there are no lingering ill effects from that earlier play. Guilbeau rebounds to strike out Tim Lopes, again on that nasty slider, to end the inning.
Kikuchi’s second inning flies by as he gets ahead of two of the three hitters 0-2, getting easy flyouts off the bat of Patrick Wisdom and Braden Bishop, who flies out to...left fielder Dee Gordon?, before getting an easy groundout from Zach DeLoach to end the inning.
Dee dunks a base hit on Guilbeau in the Cajun Sensation’s second inning of work, and then takes second on a wild pitch, but Guilbeau pulls out that slider to nail Vogey looking. Guilbeau had two speeds today: striking everyone out and throwing wildly, and Dee takes third on another wild pitch and threatens to score before Jake Fraley (who is quietly not having a very good camp) flies out to quell the threat.
Kikuchi’s third inning goes much like the other two: he begins by victimizing young Noelvi Marte on a pitch that I failed to capture because my internet died momentarily. There’s a little bit of—not hot water, exactly, maybe tepid water? when Kaden Polcovich rolls one over but normally surehanded Tim Lopes sends a wounded duck into the stands and Polco gets second, moving to third on a Haggerty groundout. Kikuchi rebounds, though, to get Jarred Kelenic to roll one over harmlessly to first base for the unassisted putout.
New pitcher time! It’s Art Warren, starting his night off against Cal Raleigh, with whom he played very briefly in Arkansas. Art wins the battle, getting Cal to fly out, but look at the distance Cal gets on something that he misses:
This is how strong Cal Raleigh is: he gets jammed here and doesn't put as good a swing on this ball as he could and it still goes practically to the warning track pic.twitter.com/fqjTY9HhKP— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) July 21, 2020
Warren walks Mallex but then strikes out Dylan Moore and gets an easy groundout from Shed Long to end the inning. Art Warren: does not care that Dylan Moore is the Hero of the Final Felix Game.
Okay so in this inning things go off the rails for Kikuchi, and it all starts with a Patrick Wisdom infield base hit where Tim Lopes—again, the normally solid-to-spectacular Lopes—can’t quite cut down the lumbering Wisdom. Then Bradon Bishop, who has been making more and better contact lately it should be noted, sneaks a single between Shed Long and Jose Marmolejos. Kikuchi starts off the next at-bat by missing his spot badly to Zach DeLoach and Cal Raleigh, already showing he’s not afraid to lead a staff of players several years his senior, runs out to give Kikuchi a little encouragement. Unfortunately, it does not work, as Kikuchi walks DeLoach on five pitches to load the bases, prompting a visit from pitching coach Pete Woodworth, sternly overseen by Andy McKay the Social Distancing Sheriff.
Noelvi Marte, whom Rick Rizzs will not stop calling “Nolvy,” steps in against Kikuchi and gets to a 2-2 count before...well. You just watch it.
Here's how the only runs in tonight's intrasquad game scored: pic.twitter.com/0r6uOAbpYX— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) July 21, 2020
Marte is pretty fast and even though he has a...less than fluid exit from the box here, there’s a chance he could have beaten this out even if the throw was clean. Which, Yusei, buddy, you gotta just eat that. Nothing good ever comes of a pitcher’s off-balance sidearm flanging of the ball like that.
Polcovich flies out to middle-left, but not super-deep, and Zach DeLoach, who clearly wants to be liked by his new teammates, elects to remain at third. That brings up Donnie Walton, who has been angling for the title of “peskiest at-bat” all camp, and he does Donnie Walton things: working the count full and necessitating a full ten pitches before flying out harmlessly, including a foul ball that sent left fielder Dee Gordon (still weird) chasing after it into the left field corner. Kikuchi threw 27 pitches in the Runaway Inning, meaning Walton alone consumed over 30% of that total. That Peskiest At-Bat title is safe with him.
Then the game ends half an inning earlier than forecasted, because whee, intrasquad! Tomorrow’s game is at the same time and will again be a short four-inning affair before one final full tune-up on Wednesday, and then off day, and then...baseball! Played against other teams, even!