The Wilmington Blue Rocks were unable to secure a series tie against the Hudson Valley Renegades on Sunday, August 6, dropping the series finale by a final score of 3-1.
This game was largely a pitcher’s duel, with the starters on both sides turning in great performances. Andrew Alvarez pitched six solid innings for the Blue Rocks, allowing six hits and two runs while striking out five. Sean Herrman, the No. 21 prospect in the Yankees’ organization, put together a similar line for the Renegades, tossing five innings of one-run ball while also allowing six hits and striking out five.
For Alvarez, Sunday was the fourth time in his last five starts that he’s pitched at least six innings. In addition, the Southpaw hasn’t allowed more than four earned runs in an outing since May 14, and his season ERA now sits at an elite 2.83 in 95 ⅓ innings pitched.
The 24-year-old went into detail about what’s worked for him in the midst of this dominant stretch, including Sunday afternoon.
“Just competing in the zone, mixing my pitches, and trusting the defense and my catcher behind me,” Alvarez said. “Going ahead, just continuing to do the same things. Showing up to the ballpark and sticking to the routine.”
Manager Mario Lisson also had high praise for Alvarez and noted how big of a piece to the rotation he’s been in 2023.
“He’s been pretty good, man. He’s been consistent, that’s what we want,” Lisson said. “He’s been locating and pitching his tail off, and that’s what we want. We feel good for him.”
Despite the excellent performance, Alvarez made one mistake on Sunday that wound up costing the Rocks. After walking Spencer Henson with one out, Aldenis Sanchez stepped up to the plate and blasted his fourth home run of the season well over the right field wall to give Hudson Valley the 2-1 lead, one that they wouldn’t relinquish.
Alvarez went into detail about his thought process during the at-bat, and what allowed Sanchez to take away Wilmington’s lead.
“Walked the guy before, just trying to compete in the zone,” Alvarez said. “Eight-hole hitter, just trying to get him out and not give up a walk. Left one up over the plate, and that’s what happens.”
With the Rocks scoring just one run on Sunday, the offense has now averaged just 1.6 runs over their last five games. Despite the recent struggles, however, there have been some bright spots.
Both Branden Boissiere and Murphy Stehly are newcomers to the Blue Rocks, with Boissiere debuting on July 19 and Stehly on July 21 after getting called up.
During that time, Boissiere has accumulated a .333 batting average while also riding an eight-game hitting streak, and Stehly has recorded a hit in all 13 games he’s appeared in which has resulted in a .395 average. Their success continued on Sunday, with the 23-year-old Boissiere registering a 2-4 day at the plate with a run scored, and the 24-year-old Stehly going 1-4 at the dish.
Lisson has been nothing short of impressed with the impact both of them have been able to make in their short time with the team.
“They’re good players; quality at-bats,” Lisson said. “That’s what we ask for all the time; take quality at-bats, and they’ve done that and squared the ball up.”
Next for Wilmington is a 12-game road trip, beginning on Tuesday, August 8 against the Bowling Green Hot Rods. With the Rocks looking to win their first series since June 3, Lisson knows what he needs to see out of his team in order to make that happen.
“Quality at-bats, man,” Lisson said. “It’s been tough to score runs lately, but just quality at-bats. Control the things that we can control, which is hitting the ball hard, and then good things will happen.”
For comments/questions about this story tweet @TheWhitSports.