Portland's pitcher, Mike Thompson, struggled with the Padres to start this season. In five relief appearances, he posted a 0-1 record, allowing 11 hits and nine earned runs in 10.1 innings of work. So, the move down to the Beavers was eminent to try and get him on track, but it has not been a smooth transition thus far. In two appearances, once as a starter and once in relief, Thompson has racked up a 27.00 ERA. Fourteen hits and 11 runs, all earned, have been given up by the righty in just 3.2 innings. On a cold, rainy day in Portland, Thompson made his second start of the season, this time against the visiting Salt Lake Bees.
Pitching coach, Gary Lance has been working with Thompson's arm path and liked what he saw from his pitcher this afternoon, but says he's not perfect yet, which is what he wants to see. Thompson struck out five and walked none in his four innings, as he held the Bees to one earned run. He allowed five hits, but was able to work his way out of trouble for the most part, but did allow two runs to score.
"Today we got his arm path finally more erect and vertical, where he needs to be," said Lance. "[Thompson had] a really high launch point with extension and driving the ball downhill from high to low, which makes the cutter better, the curve better, the change better, but more importantly it gives him a more consistent release point down in the zone with a little bit of sink in his fastball.
"He was really, really close to being where he needs to be, but he's not perfect yet. Next game, you'll have to wait on that, because that's when he's going to be perfect."
The Bees would score the first run in the second inning. Nick Gorneault reached on an infield single down the third base line that Craig Stansberry, playing at third today, snagged but wasn't able to get enough on his throw to get the out at first as his momentum carried him into foul territory. Gorneault would swipe second and reach third on a single to right by Matt Brown. With one out, Brown started stealing as Thompson struck out the batter. On the throw to second base by catcher Brandon Gottier, Gorneault was able to score when Brown delayed the Beavers with a run down between first and second base.
The Beaver fans in attendance were made up of mainly of middle school kids, here because of the arts and sciences exhibits being promoted at PGE Park, and the kids wanted an answer. They got just that, as Jack Cust led off the Beavers half of the second by tying the game on a solo shot to the opposite field. The towering shot was the 200th of Cust's minor league career.
Shortly after Cust's heroics though, the clouds opened up and sent a barrage of hail and rain down that blanketed the field and forced players to retreat to their dugouts. The green turf was turned white with hail within minutes.
After a nearly hour long rain delay, the teams took the field again. Thompson remained in the game for the Beavers, and didn't seem to be affected by the delay as he made short work of the first two Bees hitters. But, an error by Brian Myrow extended the inning and the Bees would take a 2-1 lead when Terry Evans doubled off the wall in right center to bring in an unearned run.
As rain started falling again in the bottom half of the third, Stansberry would do the answering this time by blasting a 0-and-1 pitch over the wall in left field to tie the game again, 2-2.
Expecting more inclement weather, Beavers officials opted to postpone the game until the June 15th date rather than trying to squeeze in a double header tomorrow.