Game 24: Somerset Patriots Post-Game Notes

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To create these notes, I make notes.

Tonight, they were “Sands Garcia Sears Junk.”

So, let’s go through those, shall we?

Donny Sands and Dermis Garcia both smacked two homers each tonight in Somerset’s 6-1 win over the Reading Fightin’ Phils on Tuesday night at TD Bank Ballpark.  For Garcia, who has a career high of 19 in both 2017 and 2019, that’s not entirely unexpected.

For Sands, who entered this season with eight career homers, perhaps it is.  At least statistically, anyway.  The eye test this season shows otherwise, as the 25-year-old has consistently shown strong gap power to his pull side.  More impressive tonight, however, were that both of his homers were shots to the deepest part of the ballpark in center.

“I think as you get older, you start learning your swing a little more,” he said.  “You start quieting things down and being more efficient, and not trying to do too much.  You know if you hit the ball solid in the air, the ball will go anywhere.  So, it’s just trying to stay consistent with what we’re doing, and just keep everything calm and easy.”

Sands joked that this was his first two-homer game since Little League, and said after he got a first pitch curveball in the first AB, he was sitting on a fastball down the middle.  On the next one, a 3-2 pitch, he sat on a changeup after having seen a few previously and took that one out as well.

“I had a pretty good idea,” Sands said through a smile when asked if he knew he got both pitches.

So too did manager Julio Mosquera, who knew it was in his catcher since seeing him in spring training, where he estimates he saw him hit five or six homers.

“Donny really worked hard this off-season, he’s more mature with his swing and he’s going to grow more into it and I think he’s going to have that power in there,” Mosquera said.  “It doesn’t really surprise me, I’ve seen it before.  It’s just a matter of him going out there, trusting it and swinging at good pitches.”

— J.P. Sears is usually the piggyback pitcher for Janson Junk.  Tonight, he wasn’t.  Why?

It was, Mosquera says, an “organizational decision.”  Sears, who was mostly a starter before he got here, was somebody they wanted to give a chance to as a starter here — which, in theory would be very simple in that they could just go to a six-man rotation instead of arbitrarily throwing one guy twice per series, but that’s just me spitballing there — and it went rather well for him tonight; Sears allowed just one unearned run through five frames in which he struck out ten.

His fastball had a little more life to it as well, it seemed — he was up to 94 miles per hour in the first inning — and it turns out that’s something that’s been noticed elsewhere, too.

“I’ve coached J.P. before, and his stuff plays really good as a starter,” Mosquera said.  “The preparation is a little bit different…he can take his time and do his pre-game routine nice and easy and prepare to start the game at 7:05 instead of waiting for when he’s going to pitch in the game.  When he starts the game, I’ve seen him before, he’s got good stuff and his velocity gets a tick up.”

On the flip side of that, while Janson Junk lowered his ERA to a microscopic 0.47 with four scoreless, he wasn’t quite as sharp as he ordinarily was as a starter, notably wiggling out of a bases-loaded jam early in his outing.

“That was the first time he’s done that this season, and I wouldn’t expect him to be very sharp,” Mosquera said.  “The routine changes a little bit, and it’s like I told you about J.P. starting the game, he has his routine.  Janson has the same thing.  It’s a flip today, and that’s OK.  They make an adjustment.  (Junk) didn’t have his best stuff, but he managed to finish the game.”

— Three Patriots had multi-hit nights.  Quietly, Max Burt was the third; he upped his average to .275 on the season with a 2-for-3 showing, and also drew a walk.

— Zack Britton will be tomorrow’s starter, which was officially announced very late on Tuesday night by the team.  Hopeful we’ll have some info on pitch/inning expectancy prior to first pitch tomorrow, but I wouldn’t expect significant increases in either.

— Highly touted Phillies prospect Bryson Stott was 0-for-3 with a walk in his Double-A debut with Reading tonight.

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