Amarillo Sod Poodles Series Preview: May 4-7 vs. Arkansas Travelers

Credit: Sod Poodles

Credit: Sod Poodles

After picking up a series win against Springfield, the Sod Poodles get another shot at the Texas League’s toughest rotation, this time in Hodgetown.

The Sod Poodles (12-16) just finished with the Cardinals, winning the series after some Hudson Potts heroics. Another familiar foe is headed to Hodgetown now. The first place (North) Arkansas Travelers (18-9) come into Bomb City winners of five of their last ten games including three against the Soddies last week. They took three of four games in the series, as Amarillo only got away with the opener.

The Texas League’s best statistical pitching staff is in Amarillo, as the Seattle Mariners affiliate owns a team ERA of 2.98 from it’s starting pitchers.

No one has had a more impressive start to the season on the mound than Ricardo Sanchez. Luckily for the Soddies, they will not have to see the hottest pitcher in the league. The Mariners 26th overall prospect looks to be finally blooming after being acquired for cash last year. He dominated the Texas League thus far, averaging 6+ IP per start to go with five strikeouts and only one walk (six all year). He owns a Texas League-best 0.84 ERA (the next closest is Tulsa’s Dustin May: 1.50) allowing only three total earned runs in five starts. Sanchez’s last start came against the Soddies on April 27th when he posted a stat line of 7 IP/6 H/2 BB/3 K/0 ER, shutting out Amarillo in Little Rock.

The Sod Poodles are six games back of Frisco for 1st place in the Texas League South Division

Here are the probable pitching matchups

Game 1: (Saturday, May 4th – 7:05 P.M. CDT) Anthony Misiewicz (0-2, 1.61 ERA) vs. Jesse Scholtens (1-0, 5.73 ERA)

Misiewicz pitched his way to earn an appearance at Triple-A Tacoma, where he tossed four scoreless innings before being sent back to the Travelers. If we go back to his last Double-A start the only word to describe him is dominate. He controlled the zone, was economical with his pitches and finished the game with a complete game allowing one run. The only problem with that is the fact that the Travelers failed to score any runs for the southpaw and he took the loss. He has failed to collect a win despite pitching well in almost every outing so far in 2019.

Credit: Sod Poodles

Scholtens is coming off of one of his better starts of the entire season against this very same Travelers team going five innings and only giving up two earned runs. All the damage that the pitcher has been dealt has come with runners in scoring position, as he has not been able to escape jams sporting a 23.14 ERA with RISP. The damage almost comes exclusively with two out where his ERA sits at 11.05.

Game 2: (Sunday, May 5th – 1:05 P.M. CDT) Darren McCaughan (2-1, 2.70 ERA) vs. Lake Bachar (0-1, 3.38 ERA)

McCaughan’s last time out was a quality start against the Sod Poodles, where he went six innings only giving up two earned runs while striking out seven. He’s been extremely useful at going deep into games, only failing to record a quality start once. Something to watch for is- while the sample size is small, he has been less effective on the road posting a 4.91 ERA in 11 IP as opposed to his home numbers which are spectacular with a 1.42 ERA in 19 IP. One thing McCaughan will not do is walk batters, walking only two in 30 innings pitched to this point in the season.

Lake Bachar recorded his first decision of the 2019 campaign in his last outing taking the loss against Darren McCaughan. Bachar only managed to go three innings giving up two earned runs while six actual runs scored chasing him for the night. Despite the struggling in his last start Bachar has still yet to allow more than two earned runs in a single game.

Game 3: (Monday, May 6th – 7:05 P.M. CDT) Nabil Crismatt (0-1, 4.09 ERA) vs. Emmanuel Ramirez (1-0, 4.73 ERA)

Crismatt started the season in Triple-A Tacoma for the Mariners and struggled in his first few starts with the club continuing a trend from 2019 where he struggled at the Triple-A level and was average in Double-A. After returning from Tacoma, he has allowed five earned runs in 11 IP, both coming against the first place Frisco Roughriders and seems to be inconsistent. His stuff doesn’t “wow,” but he does not walk batters, only averaging one free pass so far in his Double-A starts. There was an outlier when it came to one of his Triple-A outings in Tacoma where he walked five guys, more than half of his walks all season

Credit: Sod Poodles

Ramirez is a curious case as he has bounced back and forth from starter to reliever and isn’t trending in the right direction. After two relief appearances, Ramirez was used as a reliever against Springfield where he gave up two bombs to Kramer Robertson and three in total. Last time out, Ramirez started strong with three shutout innings but gave up a total of five runs over the next three innings. Despite the trouble, Ramirez only threw 79 Pitches in 6 IP.

Game 4: (Tuesday, May 7th – 7:05 P.M. CDT) Justin Dunn (2-1, 3.20 ERA) vs. Reggie Lawson (3-1, 4.76 ERA)

Reggie Lawson had by far the best outing by a starting pitcher in this teams short lived history in his last start. Lawson was locked in a duel with Cardinals starter Evan Kruczynski and outlasted him going 6.1 IP with 0 ER. The number of times Lawson uses his change-up in this start was instrumental in the game plan against Springfield.

The #3 overall prospect in the Seattle Mariners system, and rubber match pitcher is Justin Dunn. Dunn was acquired from the Mets as part of the Robinson Cano/Edwin Diaz deal in the winter. When it comes to what to watch for with Dunn it is simple: If the slider is biting, he’s very hard to stop. In 2019 thus far it looks like he has his rhythm as the highly-regarded prospect has been in top form. His worst start came against the Sod Poodles, at home, when he gave up four earned runs and three walks in just four innings. Dunn is coming off his deepest and best start of 2019 going seven innings, allowing two earned runs, striking out five and not allowing a walk.

Players To Watch:

Arkansas Travelers: Art Warren (CP)

Art Warren (depending on injury status) has been huge for the Travelers all year long until this point shutting the door when the games are close enough for a save opportunity. For this Arkansas team with 18 wins, it has only happened six times to this point. Thus far in 2019, he has only given up one earned run in 8.2 IP while allowing a combined total of 10 baserunners (so a little over one an appearance). Warren has three plus pitches and a changeup that is in development, the 26-year-old is expected to see time in Seattle with the big club in 2019 if healthy.

Amarillo Sod Poodles: Luis Torrens (C)

Numbers do not do Torrens justice when it comes to the impact that he has made behind the plate. Whether it’s making his pitchers feel comfortable because of the brick wall that he has been of late or his cannon of an arm, the catcher is one to keep an eye on. To go with all that, his bat is starting to heat up too making him one of the most intriguing players on this Sod Poodles team.

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Austin Hartsfield
Austin is a self proclaimed "sports nut" who lives and breathes baseball. The Amarillo native spends his time writing and running the Painting Corners Podcast. He will be covering the Amarillo Sod Poodles for EVT this year.

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