Today, as I walked to PGE Park, I look through the right field fence to watch as the grounds crew is preparing the field for play. Some of the players are on the outfield turf throwing a football and frisbee around to each other. This is no different from other days when I get to the ballpark early, except for the fact that today, most of the guys are layered in sweatshirts, jackets, and warm hats; welcome to April in Oregon!
Randy Ready doesn’t seem too concerned about the weather: “It’s cold, it’s tough conditions, but be careful what you wish for. We will be playing in places where it’s 100 degrees before the summer is out. Right now, you just have to grind it out and play to the best of your ability.”
Brian Myrow admits that the cold weather is tough but “everybody has to play in tough weather conditions, it’s definitely no excuse. It would be nice if the weather was a little better, more people would want to come out to the park and it would be more enjoyable for everybody. Right now it’s cold, but in a few weeks it won’t be.”
Now that we have established that, my question of the weather was pretty lame considering that we live and play in Oregon, I asked Randy and Brian about something that was more in the team’s control; how do you stop the hottest team in the PCL?
Is there any one aspect of Salt Lake’s team that you can pinpoint and say, “We need to stop them from doing this…?”
“No one has figured them out yet, they’re 15-1 right now. The only loss that they suffered was to us opening night in Salt Lake. Right now, they’re playing well in all three areas of the game. They’re pitching and playing defense well and getting timely hitting; with that combination, they’re off to a nice start.”-—Randy Ready
“They are pretty well rounded. They have good hitting and pitching. I thought that we played them well in Salt Lake, we had a couple of games that we could have come away with, but the ball didn’t really bounce our way.”—Brian Myrow
Is there any aspect of the Beavers team play that could be improved upon to get another win against Salt Lake?
“We have to get into good counts, capitalize on their mistakes, and make their pitchers work hard. [On offense] We have to get some guys on base and drive them in just like any other day. We have to get some key hits and capitalize on our opportunities to score runs.” —Brian Myrow
“We are capable of doing the same things that they are doing; good pitching, making the defensive plays, and getting timely hitting. We played them tough [in Salt Lake]. They took three out of four, but we were in every game. We could have won three of those games and possibly even swept them…the ball has just been bouncing their way…”
The ball continued to bounce in Salt Lake’s favor as they shut out the Beavers 5-0 at PGE Park for their second win in the series. The Bees wasted no time as Brad Coon hit a solo homerun in the first at-bat of the game off Portland starter Josh Geer. Salt Lake was able to put away the game for good in the seventh when Matt Brown hit a two-run homer to push the lead to five.
Portland had plenty of base runners throughout the game, only in the fourth inning did the Beavers go down in order. It all came down to what Ready and Myrow mentioned before the game, timely hitting and capitalizing on opportunities.
Josh Geer went five innings, allowing three runs on seven hits while only walking one batter. He had a solid performance, but received little help from the offense in his third start of the year.
Myrow came into the game with a nine-game hitting streak, but went 0-for-2 with two walks and a strikeout, while Nick Hundley extended his hitting streak to five games with his single in the second inning.
The Beavers will be gunning for their first win of the series tomorrow when Shawn Estes (2-1, 3.63 ERA) is expected to get the call against Salt Lake and Shane Loux (2-0, 0.71) at PGE Park in Portland.
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