Friday, June 21, 2019

PhoulBallz Interview: BlueClaws manager Mike Micucci talks win over WV

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 Following the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws' exciting walk-off victory in the 10th inning against West Virginia (Mariners affiliate) on Thursday night, I spoke with the team's manager Mike Micucci about several of his team's standouts including starting pitcher Dom Pipkin, who had a less than ideal performance, middle infielder Luis Garcia, who notched the game's big hit and others.  Micucci also talked about the recent promotion of top prospect Alec Bohm, who opened this season with Lakewood and is headed to Double-A Reading.  Read ahead for those interview excerpts.

Dom Pipkin, image- Jay Floyd
-Not a very good start from Dominic Pipkin, who only lasts an inning and a third, gave up three earned runs and threw more balls than strikes...

He looked a little rusty (coming off of the All-Star break), I thought.  Had a hard time getting in rhythm out there on the mound.  His delivery looked a little slow.  He was was having a tough time with it and was kind of fighting against himself.

-How will a guy move forward, following a start like that?

I think it's just one of those starts you just chalk up and he gets to work tomorrow on his next four days, preparing for his next start.

-The frown gets turned upside down, when Luis Garcia comes through with a huge hit- a grand slam to put the team up in the third inning.

Yeah, I mean we're down three runs and we're able to get some guys on base and Garcia gets to a good count and puts a good swing on a good pitch and was able to drive it out of the yard and really put some life into the club, which I thought really helped.  And I thought the bullpen did an outstanding job. 

-How about Gilmael Troya's efforts on the mound tonight?  Really good outing from him, getting the win in relief.

He did really, really well and (Luis) Carrasco did a good job too.  And then we get to (Jhordany) Mezquita.  I thought (he) threw the ball well, you know, he left the change up (up in the zone) and that really- uh, (Julio) Rodriguez hit it out of the ballpark.  He's a really good player, sometimes you make mistakes to him.  That's what happens.  At least he made him hit it out to the deepest part of the yard and he really earned it that way.  But, we were fortunate to play some good defense and come back and make some big pitches when we needed to.

-Hunter Stovall has helped the club here and there.  The numbers aren't astounding, but I think he's really been helpful to the team, playing infield and outfield.

He does a really good job.  He plays multiple positions like a lot of our guys do, you know.  I know he wants to be in there more than he gets in there.  Sometimes that makes it a little tough with the consistency of the at bats, but when he gets in there he usually puts together a couple good at bats.

-Who has been standing out on this team as leaders, to you?

Yeah, we're starting to see some guys.  I think both of our catchers (Abrahan Gutierrez and Rafael Marchan) are stepping up to be leaders. I think it helps they're both bilingual.  From the starting staff, you're looking at guys like Ethan Lindow and James McArthur are stepping up to be leaders on the club.  And there's little pockets all around, from the relievers to a couple starters, to some of the position guys, but really you can see the catchers really growing into that leadership role.

-News broke during the game that Alec Bohm gets promoted to Double-A.  Are you happy to hear that?

Yeah, absolutely.  He started here, but that was kind of the internal goal.  We hoped he'd finish the year in Double-A.

-You sounded sure of that in April, when we first talked.

Hey, he's a good player and that's what good players do.  You know, they kind of just do their thing and they go where they need to go. 

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