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Altoona gets bombed in finale of four-game sweep

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Altoona fell victim to four longballs in a 9-3 loss that gave Bowie a sweep of a four-game series.

Tanner Anderson, he of the Bronson Arroyo-style leg kick, started for the Curve. Anderson relied mainly on an upper-80s to low-90s sinker that he tries to keep down to produce ground balls. He also threw a lot of changeups to left-handed hitters, something that Austin Coley also did last night, so that may be something the Pirates are emphasizing.

The problem that can crop up with an aim-everything-low approach is missing low, which Anderson did routinely, leading to hitter’s counts. He got through two scoreless innings, but with two on in the third he got behind 2-0 on the #3 hitter in Bowie’s very tough lineup. He left a fastball up and it went for a long, three-run HR. In the fourth, Anderson gave up an opposite-field HR to Bowie’s backup catcher. He then allowed two more runs on a pop fly double and a weak bouncer that sneaked through. Anderson may have been hurt a little by having Pablo Reyes at short in place of a resting Kevin Newman, as there were a couple groundball singles that another shortstop might (or might not) have converted into outs. Overall, Anderson didn’t impress. In fact, the one scout I saw behind home plate visibly stopped paying attention to Anderson after two innings.

The scout’s attention returned when Jake Brentz (pictured) followed Anderson. Brentz’ fastball, as advertised, was mid- to upper-90s. (The scoreboard showed one at 101 mph, but I don’t trust the Bowie scoreboard at the upper extremes.) Brentz also threw a slider with pretty good break, but he didn’t show much command of either pitch, throwing only eight of 18 pitches for strikes. He also left a couple of fastballs up over the plate and both got deposited over the fence. That made it 8-0.

Altoona got nowhere with the Bowie starter, Jesus Liranzo, who was throwing in the upper-90s himself. He had three quick innings, although he was helped by three lineouts to the outfield. He was replaced after that by Baltimore’s rehabbing closer, Zach Britton, for one inning.

The Curve finally got some offense in the sixth. Getting one run on a single by Edwin Espinal and two on a triple by Wyatt Mathisen. The latter play almost ended badly, though. Espinal, who was on first, ran on contact because there were two outs. Mathisen’s liner went over the center fielder’s head and Espinal should have scored easily, but for some reason he started pulling up at third even though the center fielder was still corralling the ball. Manager Mike Ryan had to yell at Espinal to get him to go home and, fortunately, the throw wasn’t good and he scored. It was hard to see why Espinal was stopping at third and it wasn’t exactly a good way to make a case for a promotion. Anyway, Altoona did little after that, finishing with seven hits. Mathisen and Jerrick Suiter each had two.

Luis Heredia and Sean Keselica finished up for Altoona, Heredia for two innings and Keselica for one. Both showed good stuff and poor command. Heredia threw in the low- to mid-90s and showed a tight-looking curve, which he threw a lot. He couldn’t get the curve over, though, and in his second inning he seemed to lose the release point on everything. He gave up a run on two hits and a steal, then walked two to load the bases before getting the last out. Keselica threw at about 90-91 mph and seemed to have good life, as the hitters had trouble catching up with his fastball. He fell behind repeatedly, though, and couldn’t get his secondary stuff over. He got a couple of strikeouts with the fastball, though, to strand a couple runners.