By: Marcus Young | Miller Park Prospects
I checked out the Colorado Springs Sky Sox last night for the first time this season via MiLB.tv, in a game they lost to Memphis 2-1. Brewers pitcher Matt Garza made the first of two rehab starts and I compiled a few notes from the game.
Matt Garza: Garza got tagged for a home run by the first batter he faced, but settled down after that and wound up going five innings, allowing just that one run on two hits. He managed four strikeouts but also walked a pair and seemed to take issue with the home plate umpire’s strikezone, complaining about several pitches he thought should have been strikes. He appeared to be working more quickly early in the game, but after about a ten minute delay for a medical emergency in the stands, he came back out and looked to be a bit more deliberate. He got plenty of help from the players behind him as well, with Kyle Wren, Brett Phillips and Tyler Heineman all helping Garza’s cause with their defense.
Kyle Wren: Wren was in the leadoff spot once again for the Sky Sox, replacing Lewis Brinson, who has been out of action since opening day. He had a pretty weak looking swing as he waved at a breaking ball for strike three in his first at-bat but he battled at the plate and hit the ball hard a couple of times, lining out once before ripping a single up the middle in his fourth and final trip to the plate. He also made a splendid diving catch in centerfield to bail out Garza in the bottom half of the second inning.
Ryan Cordell: This was my first chance to see Ryan Cordell in action and unfortunately he wound up going 0-for-4 with a strikeout. He popped out softly to second base in two of his first three at-bats and struck out looking at a breaking ball in the other. He came up again in the eighth with a chance to do some damage, but with runners on second and third and two outs, he grounded out to short to end the inning. In the field he looked fine, and though he didn’t get much action in left, the handful of balls that were hit his way he handled without issue.
Brett Phillips: Phillips also finished the game 0-for-4, striking out swinging in each of his first two at-bats before flying out to center in the seventh and grounding out to second base in the ninth inning. It looked like Phillips was having a tough time seeing the baseball in the outfield early in the game as he appeared to lose Todd Cunningham’s leadoff home run completely and battled to make another catch, but he looked more comfortable as the game went on. He had a lot of action in right and looks to have a pretty strong arm that the Redbirds weren’t real eager to challenge.
Yadiel Rivera: Rivera has terrific range and is a really smooth defender with a plus arm who is fun to watch at shortstop. At the plate, he wound up going 1-for-4, picking up an infield single to start the eighth inning and showing good awareness on the bases and scoring the lone run of the game for the Sky Sox. He struck out in each of his first two plate appearances, getting fooled by an off-speed pitch in the third before going down looking at a called strike three in the fifth.
Garrett Cooper: Easily the most impressive hitter I watched last night, Cooper put together several solid plate appearances, making hard contact and putting the ball in play in each of his four trips to the plate. He had just one hit to show for it, a double to begin the fifth inning, but put good swings on the ball and just ran into some bad luck, smoking it right at people. He presents a big target at first base and moved well around the bag defensively.
Tyler Heineman: Heineman looked solid behind the plate, doing a nice job of working with three different Sky Sox pitchers and gunning down the lone Memphis runner that tried to steal on him. Granted, it was the opposing catcher, but Heineman nailed him by a mile at second base. He also swung the bat well, putting up the only multi-hit game of the night for Colorado Springs. After lining out to center in his first plate appearance, Heineman ripped a double down the third base line to lead off the sixth inning. He came up again in the eighth with a runner on first and squared around for a sacrifice bunt, which the Memphis first baseman chose to not make a play on. The ball came to a stop right on the line for a fair ball, giving Heineman his second hit of the game.