Dillon Overton Impresses in Chihuahuas Debut but Dogs Fall 4-2

Tacoma Rainiers vs El Paso Chihuahuas, Southwest University Park April 18, 2017

Credit: El Paso Herald Post

The El Paso Chihuahuas returned home to start an eight-game set Monday, beginning with four games against the Sacramento River Cats.

Dillon Overton started in the last home game at El Paso. He started that game as an opponent to the Chihuahuas, pitching for the Tacoma Rainiers. He returns today as El Paso’s starter, after being designated for assignment by the Mariners and picked up by the Padres.

In a move corresponding with the acquisition of Dillon Overton, Zach Lee was DFA’d and then outrighted to El Paso.

Yesterday was Lee’s first start since he was outrighted, and he retired the first 12 batters in four perfect innings. Then Albuquerque figured him out and he left the game after 5.1 IP, having allowed five earned runs.

On Monday night, highly touted Giants prospect, Tyler Beede (#1 Giants prospect according to Prospects1500.com), started the game for Sacramento. Beede has had a rough start to the season, coming into the game with a 5.40 ERA, but PCL ERA’s never tell the full story.

Overton quickly got in front 0-2 on Orlando Calixte and retired him on the third pitch when he flew out to left field. The next two hitters went down without a fight, making Overton’s El Paso debut perfection. What’s really significant about that perfect first inning is that the Chihuahuas have allowed more runs in the first inning than any other inning. The pitching staff has allowed 81 runs in the first, which would be a 9.23 ERA if all of those runs were earned. That’s unlikely, but their 1st inning ERA is certainly terrible, and worse than their staff ERA of 5.53.

Christian Villanueva started the scoring in the bottom of the 1st with a solo home run and Sacramento threatened to answer in the top of the 2nd.  Tyler Beede came to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs but struck out, ending the threat. Sacramento would go on to tie it in the 4th with a solo home run by Jae-Gyun Hwang. That would be the only run given up by Overton.

Villanueva’s home run

Tyler Beede got his first base hit of the season in the fifth inning on a weak grounder that hugged the third base line. 3B, Ryan Schimpf, let it go, hoping it would go foul, but it never did. Calixte grounded into a double play, and then Jarrett Parker was retired to end the half-inning. The struggling fan-favorite, Dusty Coleman, hit his ninth home run of the season in the bottom-half of the inning, putting Overton in position to get the win. Overton recorded his first base hit in his professional baseball career, but the Chihuahuas did not score again in the 5th.

Bryan Rodriguez took over in the sixth inning, and by the time he got two outs, he had walked the bases loaded. Ali Castillo hit a bases-clearing triple, denying Overton’s opportunity to record a win in his first El Paso outing. Adam Cimber, Keith Hessler, and Kevin Quackenbush pitched the final three innings with 1 IP apiece. They allowed no runs on no hits, but the damage done in the 6th proved insurmountable.

Overton’s first professional hit

The River Cats won 4-2, with Beede going eight strong innings while giving up only four hits. Of note, Rocky Gale hit his first triple of the season in the bottom of the seventh, but the Chihuahuas were unable to push him across.

Nick Buss, who came into the game hitting .500 in his last 12 games, went 0-for-3 bring his batting average down to .377. When asked about his approach, Buss said he had not changed anything coming into this season and downplayed his success.

Despite the loss, Dillon Overton’s outing was promising for the Chihuahuas and San Diego. He only gave up one earned run in his five innings and was able to pitch out of tricky situations. In an interview following the game, pitching coach, Bronswell Patrick, said that when Overton last appeared in El Paso, it was clear he had good stuff, despite the fact that the Chihuahuas got to him. When asked why Overton was so effective today, Patrick credited Overton’s ability to throw the fastball for strikes, while mixing in effective changeups and curveballs to keep Sacramento hitters off balance.

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