Binghamton Mets starter Zack Wheeler was the bigger factor in Sunday’s 7-1 victory over the Erie SeaWolves.
Still, it was impossible for manager Chris Cron and pitching coach Ray Burris to ignore the 10 walks issued by Erie’s four pitchers. That hefty total left the team with an even 100, which easily leads the Eastern League.
Wheeler, considered the New York Mets’ top prospect, walked three in his 5 2/3 innings against the SeaWolves (9-12). However, the right-hander only allowed two hits to Erie batters, struck out six and lowered his earned-run average to 1.75.
Meanwhile, Binghamton (12-10) rocked Mark Sorensen for five quick runs and chased the SeaWolves starter after only two innings. Sorensen, called up from Single-A Lakeland (Fla.) to fill in for the injured Jay Voss, hasn’t made it to the third inning for either of his Erie starts.
— Mike Copper
Jordan Lennerton’s sixth-inning double drove in Rob Brantly for the hosts’ lone run. Lennerton’s hit barely missed what would have been his league-leading seventh home run.
Erie remains at Uht Park for a four-game series against Altoona that begins Monday at 6:35 p.m.
SeaWolves reliever Zach Samuels was activated from the disabled list before Sunday’s game.
Samuels had been idle since April 20, two days after he was struck on his right pitching shoulder by a line drive off the bat of Trenton’s Dan Brewer. That happened on the first pitch that Samuels threw after he replaced injured starter Jay Voss, who left because of a strained elbow.
Voss was placed on the disabled list April 19. He’s expected to return to Erie this season, although the left-hander indicated in a Twitter post Saturday that he expects to be out of action for up to two months while rehabilitating in Florida.
Lost in Erie’s six-run loss and the 10 walks it recorded were two highlight-reel plays by shortstop Niuman Romero and second baseman Brandon Douglas.
Binghamton was already up 2-0 in the top of the first inning against Sorensen, but the damage could have been worse.
Sorensen proceeded to load the bases with one out. The Mets’ Juan Centeno hit a sharp bouncer that Romero fielded several feet to the right of second base. The former Cleveland Indians infielder then backhanded the ball from his glove to an awaiting Douglas, who fielded it barehanded and then threw to first to complete the double play.
Binghamton was up 5-0 in the top of the fourth, but that didn’t stop Douglas from another gem in the field. He made a diving backhanded catch of Jefry Marte’s two-out flair in shallow center.
Such plays weren’t lost on Erie pitching coach Ray Burris in light of the pitching staff’s walks.
“You remind them of that,” he said of Erie’s steady defense. “But the more you put pressure on them not to walk (batters), the more they tend to do it.”
Erie relievers Kenny Faulk and Robbie Weinhardt are scheduled to appear at area elementary schools Tuesday at 11 a.m. Faulk is listed for Wattsburg Elementary and Weinhardt for Asbury Elementary.
Andy Pettitte’s Monday start for the Trenton Thunder will not take place, according to nj.com. The webisite reported that the New York Yankees chose to pull the 39-year-old from his scheduled appearanced at Portland because game-time temperatures are predicted to be in the low 50s.
Ironically, Pettitte said pitching in chillier climates was one of the things he wanted to get used to in his bid to return to the team he formerly played for 13 seasons. The website story also cited the possibility that the Yankees could assign him another start back with Single-A Tampa in the Florida State League.
Maine’s weather wasn’t too cold for another former major leaguer to pitch there Saturday.
Daisuke Matsuzaka struck out seven over 4 2/3 innings for Portland in its 9-1 victory over Reading. The former Boston Red Sox starter, 31, is attempting his own comeback.