MMLN – Binghamton Splits with Trenton

Carp looks very good early in 2008

On a cold, raw day in Binghamton, the B-Mets took the late game of a doubleheader with the Trenton Thunder by a 4-1 score while the Thunder captured the first game blanking the B-Mets 2-0. In the first game Bobby Parnell took the ball while Jose Sanchez took to the bump in the makeup of Friday's rainout. With an afternoon full of baseball, here is a run-down of Saturday's action.

Fernando Martinez looked excellent today. Though he was just 1-for-6 in the doubleheader, he crushed two balls to the wall in center and left of center that were caught. Had it not been for the cold air and slight breeze in NYSEG Stadium, he may have knocked two round-trippers. He was driving the ball to the opposite field all afternoon with a crisp, deliberate swing as he went with pitches including the healthy dose of two-seam fastballs and sliders he saw from game 1 starter Daniel McCutchen and game 2 starter George Kontos. Fernando looks in excellent shape and very steady and focused in the batter's box.

Mike Carp is in terrific shape and looks ready for a big rebound year. Though he went 1-5 on the day, he had a pivotal RBI in the bottom of the 6th inning in game 2 giving the B-Mets a late insurance run. He looks locked in at the plate and would not be coerced into chasing pitches out of the zone. His swing is smooth and explodes through the strike zone. He was a bit inconsistent in his pitch selection but Carp looks refreshed and with a better understanding of what he wants to do at the plate than he showed last season .

Bobby Parnell displayed a sharp increase in velocity from last season. He looks visibly bigger on the mound and that added strength is the likely cause for his ability to ratchet up his two-seam fastball to 92-93 MPH and his four-seam fastball was clocked at 95 MPH by Jake Ruckle who was charting Parnell. Additionally, he attacked the inside corner to hitters on both sides of the plate with his entire array of pitches. However, he struggled with his consistency throughout the start and in the 4th inning Parnell hit a visible wall as his velocity quickly dipped into the high-80s. Some of that was attributed to the cold weather, but his start this afternoon was his first time throwing off a mound in a little over a week.

Nick Evans looked jumpy at the plate today in both games as Thunder pitchers attacked him with fastballs up and in which Evans had a tough time laying off. He was jumping on the ball on the inner half but his timing looked good on pitches away. His one hit was on a bullet line-drive on a slider away.

Daniel Murphy appeared to be fighting himself in the batter's box as he was chasing pitches both down and out of the zone and up in the zone as well. He demonstrated good bat speed but needs to work out a few timing issues. He recorded his first hit of the season in the bottom of the third of game 1 as he turned around an outside two-seam fastball from McCutchen for a hard single. Murphy is another player who looks like he has bulked up in off-season.

Emmanuel Garcia had an interesting day to say the least. He went 1-for-4 with three walks and two runs scored, and routinely went into 2-2 and 3-2 counts showing a tenacity to foul off pitches. However, his swing looked very slow as he was unable to get on top of fastballs over the heart of the plate. It did allow him to extend at-bats but he failed to execute on hittable pitches.

In game 2, Jose Sanchez did a very good job of maintaining a tempo as he rhythmically poured in his 86 MPH fastball and low-80s slider on both sides of the plate. He was not overpowering but did a good job of pitching intelligently to a Thunder team that looked a little worn out by the elements and innings by the time the middle of Game 2 rolled around. After posting a 0-3 record and 4.68 ERA versus the Thunder in 2007, Sanchez dialed in a quality outing by allowing a single earned run over five innings, giving up just three hits.

Ambiorix Concepcion looked wild at the plate as he was unable to jump on the more hittable pitches and incorrectly timed breaking balls, especially when behind in the count. Yet he did show flashes of brilliance on the bases as he got two tremendous jumps on Daniel McCutchen and swiped second and third base in one at-bat, not even drawing a throw from Trenton catcher P.J. Pillitere on his second steal.

Edgar Alfonzo, a southpaw making his first appearance for Binghamton, came in for Parnell in game 1 and did a tremendous job of keeping Trenton off the board. He allowed just one baserunner in 2.1 innings pitched mixing his pitches on both sides of the plate and not wasting pitches.

Joe Hietpas made his Binghamton debut in game 2 to a rousing welcoming by the fans at NYSEG Stadium. The first batter Hietpas faced was the Yankees' highly-touted prospect Austin Jackson, but the catcher-turned-pitcher did not back down as he went right after Jackson with his fastball and slider. He struck out Jackson on three pitches and caught the outfielder looking on strike three.

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