Results tagged ‘ Zach Collier ’
After posting a .285/.336/.425 slash line in 64 games with the Harrisburg Senators last year, Zach Collier earned a promotion to Triple-A Syracuse in late June. The veteran player had impressed the Nationals’ brass in his first season with the organization for his ability to play all three outfield positions as well as his considerable tools at the plate.
Despite the praise and extensive experience, Collier’s name was absent from all affiliates when minor league rosters were announced just days before the season began. An injury to his ankle late in spring training forced him to start the year on Harrisburg’s disabled list and assigned to extended spring training.
“The timing of his injury was bad for him,” manager Matt LeCroy said.
So instead of heading north with fellow Nationals minor leaguers, Collier toiled away in Florida recovering and rehabilitating. But like much of the struggles and hurdles that have come Collier’s way in the past, he doesn’t dwell on the negative but instead learns from every step so he can apply it in the future.
“I just had to keep in mind that while I was down there I could take advantage of that time to work on some things and I feel like my swing was one of those things,” he said. “I didn’t feel like I had the greatest spring. I didn’t feel all that comfortable. So I think that time I had down there was big for me.”
For the 26-year-old it was just another example of finding the positive when so many others wouldn’t.
In his young life, Collier has already undergone two heart surgeries for a defect, an anomalous left coronary artery, that restricted the amount of oxygen his heart could receive. His first procedure took place when he was a 16-year-old high school sophomore and his second after his career in the Philadelphia organization washed out after six middling seasons in the minors. Collier played the entire 2015 season with the independent Lancaster Barnstormers to prove to Major League organizations that he was both healthy and still as talented as ever.
After his ankle healed and he was game ready, Collier joined the Senators before their series last weekend in Bowie. The outfielder played sparingly in the last week and had amassed only 12 at-bats in limited action before Saturday night’s game against the same Baysox at FNB Field.
In his first at-bat, Collier crushed an 0-1 offering over the bullpen and boardwalk in right field to pace the Senators an early 3-0 lead off pitcher Chris Tillman, who was starting on a MLB rehab assignment. It was an advantage on the scoreboard the Senators would never relinquish. “I take an at-bat at a time regardless of who is on the mound,” Collier said.
“That was good for him and good for our club,” LeCroy said. “That was a big run.”
Getting consistent playing time is going to be difficult with Andrew Stevenson, Alec Keller, and Yadiel Hernandez entrenched as the starting outfield. “I think he can be a big part of this team even though he’s not going to be in there every day,” LeCroy said.
But once again Collier finds the positive attitude in the circumstance. “Going through this is helping me to prepare myself to come off the bench when we play National League games,” the outfielder said. “Learning how to have a quality at-bat and put the bat on the ball.”
LeCroy is relying on the veteran to be a presence in the clubhouse and on the diamond for his young squad. “Once he gets going, we saw what can happen last year. He can carry you for a while.”
Charles Dickens began his classic novel A Tale of Two Cities with the famous opening line, “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.” After a week and a half of games, the same could very easily be said of Senators’ players Raudy Read and Ozzie Abreu. Both are getting their first taste of Double-A Harrisburg to start the 2017 season and while one prospect flourishes, the other flails.
Read, a 23-year-old catcher, has adapted to the better pitching and looks like he has already made the necessary adjustments to succeed at this level. In eight games so far, Read has four doubles and two home runs while driving in seven runs to match Neftali Soto for the team lead.
“I think going to big league camp and comparing himself to all these other players, he realizes he’s close. He sees if he goes out and competes and plays the game right, he’s there,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “I think that shows in the way he’s been going out and doing his work.”
Throughout his career, Read has been known as an offense first option behind the plate, but the backstop has impressed his skipper with other tools. “I think he’s done a really nice job with our pitching staff. That’s what I’ve been pleased with,” LeCroy said.
On the other hand, Abreu has struggled in his opening salvo with the Senators. The 22-year-old shortstop is hitting a meager .147 thanks to only five singles in 35 plate appearances. At the plate Abreu appears overwhelmed at times as evident by his 15 strikeouts. “The game is a little faster at this level, but I think he’ll catch up,” LeCroy said pointing to Abreu’s respectable numbers in the prospect-laden Arizona Fall League last fall where he slashed .267/.303/.317.
After batting second during the opening week, LeCroy moved the scuffling Abreu down to eighth for Saturday’s game. Hopefully, the lower spot in the batting order will take pressure off the shortstop until he can get his feet under him.
PITCHING LEADS THE WAY
Although the Senators came away with only one win in their three game set against Bowie, Harrisburg has to be happy with the way they pitched against the potent Baysox lineup. In the first seven games of the season against Akron and Erie, Bowie averaged over seven runs a game and had clubbed 33 extra-base hits including 11 home runs. The Senators limited the veteran lineup to just 12 total runs and only four doubles and one home run in the entire series.
Overall, the Senators pitching has been their strongest asset so far as the staff has posted a 3.20 ERA (second only to Altoona in the Eastern League) and given away the fewest base on balls in the league. Led by Nationals’ top pitching prospect Erick Fedde,the starting pitchers have been excellent so far this season and have carried the load admirably. In two starts, Fedde has tossed 11 scoreless innings while holding opponents to a .171 batting average. As a unit, the starters are pitching to a 2.50 ERA while allowing a minuscule 1.09 WHIP.
CLEANING UP FROM THE CLEAN-UP SPOT
Much like he did last season for 93 games, Neftali Soto has provided the big veteran bat the Senators need in the middle of their lineup. He has provided protection for Drew Ward batting in front of him and has taken some pressure off Double-A rookies Read and Alec Keller behind him. Soto is in the top ten in the league in batting with a .382 average and has only whiffed twice in 39 plate appearances for an Eastern League best rate of 19.5 TPA/SO.
COMINGS AND GOINGS
The injuries to Trea Turner and Stephen Drew at the major league level caused a ripple effect down to the Senators as they embarked on their first road trip of the season. Adrian Sanchez, who had played second base this season but can handle multiple positions defensively, was promoted to Triple-A Syracuse. To fill Sanchez’s roster spot, the Senators activated Zach Collier off the disabled list and the outfielder went 2-for-5 with two doubles and two runs scored in his first game action on Saturday afternoon.
Prior to the team arriving in Harrisburg, many of the players drove their vehicles up from spring training so they would have a means of getting around town. The coaching staff is normally not any different, but ths season LeCroy chose to fly here. In the past he has done this at least once before, but then he had gotten a player (Jose Lozada) to drive his pickup truck to the midstate. This time, though, LeCroy pulled what he called “a veteran move” when he left his vehicle here after this year’s Hot Stove banquet in late January.
Reading starting pitcher Nick Pivetta exacted some more revenge on his former team as the right-hander pitched a complete game shutout over the Harrisburg Senators, 4-0. The loss was the Senators’ fourth shutout of the season.
Reading took control of the game when they sent nine batters to the plate in the second inning off Harrisburg starter Phillips Valdez. The Fightin’ Phils plated four runs on six singles in the frame. All four runs were scored with two outs.
“I was very, very pleased with his outing,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “We were one pitch away. That’s the difference with really good clubs. They tend to get those two out hits and make you work to get that last out.”
Meanwhile, Pivetta continued his mastery over his old team. Pivetta posted nine zeroes allowing seven hits and three walks while fanning five. The former Senator has now run his scoreless streak against Harrisburg to 20.2 innings over three starts since his was traded to the Philadelphia organization last July. Pivetta also went 2-for-2 at the plate with an RBI and run scored.
Valdez (0-1) tossed six innings surrendering just those six hits in the fateful second inning. The lithe right-hander walked one, struck out six, and hit a batter in his second outing for the Senators. John Simms and Koda Glover worked three scoreless to keep the Phils in check.
Zach Collier was the only Senator with more than one hit as the outfielder went 2-for-4. Wilmer Difo reached base three times as he walked twice and stretched a single into a hustle double.
“Offensively, we had a chance,” LeCroy said. “We just didn’t get it done.”
Harrisburg continues their three-game series against the Fightin’ Phils on Saturday night at 6:00 p.m. as they send Greg Ross to the FNB Field mound. The first 2,000 fans through the gate will also receive a blue item in support of Prostate Cancer Awareness and the Senators will be wearing special blue jerseys that will be auctioned off to benefit the cause. The game can be heard on Fox Sports 1460 AM, on the internet at senatorsbaseball.com, or through the TuneIn and iHeart Radio apps with The Matt LeCroy Show beginning the radio broadcast at 5:45 p.m.
The Harrisburg Senators four-game winning streak came to an end on Monday night amid a flurry of errors allowing six runs to score in a 7-4 loss to the Trenton Thunder. Harrisburg (34-29) had only six hits in the game while Trenton (38-26) went six-for-twelve with runners in scoring position.
Reynaldo Lopez started and pitched better than his line indicates. He was touched for six runs, just one earned, on nine hits while he struck out seven. Lopez allowed two unearned runs in the first and three more in a four run fifth inning that broke the game open for Trenton. He fell to 1-5 with the loss.
The Senators tied the game at two with two runs in the fourth. Isaac Ballou drove in a run with a singled and then Chris Bostick drove in the tying run with a sacrifice fly to left.
After Trenton took a 6-2 lead, the Senators scored two two-out runs in the seventh on a two-run single by Zach Collier.
Derek Self pitched 2.1 innings and retired all seven batters he faced. Nick Lee pitched the eighth and gave up the last unearned run to Trenton.
No Senator had two hits as six different Sens had one hit each.
Game two of the three-game series is Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. Tyler Mapes is on the hill for the Senators.
The Harrisburg Senators announced today that OF Zach Collier has been placed on the disabled list. OF Kevin Keyes has been assigned to the Senators.
In 52 games with the Senators this season, Collier is hitting .281/.337/.433 with three home runs, seven doubles, five triples and 14 RBI.
Keyes began the season with the Senators, hitting .317 with two homers and 10 RBI in 12 games. In 182 career games with the Senators, Keyes has hit .241/.319/.419 with 27 home runs.
A pitcher’s duel between Lucas Giolito and Justin Haley was decided by the bullpens as the Senators used a ninth-inning rally to top the Portland Sea Dogs, 2-1, in front of 2,345 fans at FNB Field.
Zach Collier led off the final frame against Portland reliever Luis Ysla with a single up the middle. After a sacrifice bunt by Spencer Kieboom, the Senators (23-21) used patience at the plate against the suddenly wild Ysla. Consecutive walks to Shawn Pleffner and Cutter Dykstra loaded the bases and brought Adrian Sanchez to the plate. Sanchez watched four straight pitches out of the zone for the walk-off walk and game-winning RBI.
“We played really good defense tonight and made some plays,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “Hopefully, we can continue to play like that because they’re starting to gel as a group and figure out ways to win.”
Portland wasted little time in getting on the scoreboard as they got to Giolito for a run in the first inning. Sean Coyle doubled and with Andrew Benintendi at the plate, Coyle took off for third and kept going as Benintendi grounded into the Senators’ shift in shallow right field.
An inning later the Senators evened the score as Collier tripled to lead off the frame and Kieboom singled down the right field line to drive him in. Kieboom was erased as a baserunner, however, as the catcher was thrown out at second trying to stretch the hit into a double.
Giolito went seven strong innings, his longest outing of the season, but earned the no decision for his efforts. The 21-year-old allowed one run on four hits and one walk while striking out six.
“I thought it was by far his best outing of the year,” LeCroy said. “I thought he was in good control of that ballgame.”
“A big key for me is to take everything one pitch at a time,” Giolito said. ”Once I commit to that then I’m able to get the ball back and get on the mound, throw a pitch, get the ball back, next pitch. It just goes from there. I’m able to get out of innings quickly.”
In Giolito’s final frame, Portland threatened with their first base hit since the third inning, a Cole Sturgeon double. The go-ahead run subsequently advanced to third on a groundout, but Giolito rose to the occasion as he struck out Sea Dogs’ designated hitter Aneury Tavarez on a sharp breaking ball in the dirt.
“In big situations I always have full confidence behind whatever pitch I’m going to throw,” Giolito said. “No matter how you’ve been throwing it the first five, six innings of the game once you get to that point and need to make a good pitch, you trust it 100 percent.”
“I thought he found a real, nice rhythm from the second inning on,” pitching coach Chris Michalak said. “And then at the end, he made some really big pitches. In that last inning, they had some good ABs against him but he threw probably his best curve ball of the night to strike out [Tavarez] and end the inning with a runner on third base.”
The Sea Dogs threatened in the top of the ninth as they loaded the bases, but Bryan Harper induced a 6-4 fielder’s choice to get out of the inning unscathed and earn the victory.
A Thursday matinee is the last chance to catch the Sea Dogs at FNB Field as the two teams conclude the series at 10:30 a.m. Harrisburg will send Austen Williams to the mound looking for his second straight victory against Portland’s Ty Buttrey.
The Harrisburg Senators fought their way out of a 4-1 hole and again at 5-4 to best the Portland Sea Dogs, 6-5, in the series-opening game. The victory extended the Senators’ winning streak to seven games.
“The guys are playing good,” manager Matt LeCroy said. “One thing I’m proud of is that if we make some mistakes, we don’t get down. I think earlier in the season we would make some mistakes, and then we wouldn’t get back in it.”
Harrisburg (22-20) pushed a run across in the second inning as Adrian Sanchez’ swinging bunt scored Zach Collier from third base. The lead was short-lived, however, as Portland broke through for a big inning in the top of the third when they plated four runs off Harrisburg starter Tyler Mapes. In the frame, the Sea Dogs rapped out a double, triple, single, and a home run to take a 4-1 lead. Mapes would hold the Sea Dogs at bay the rest of the way, scattering eight hits over six innings with four strikeouts.
After scoring a run on a Shawn Pleffner RBI single earlier, Spencer Kieboom delivered the big blow, an opposite field home run, to tie the game up at four headed into the seventh inning.
“I thought he took some hard swings. He got a ball up and he did the job and more,” LeCroy said.
Portland reclaimed the lead off Harrisburg reliever Derek Self, but the Senators had one more answer for the Sea Dogs. Chris Bostick led off the eighth inning with a triple, his second of the game, to the right-center field gap. Zach Collier followed with his own triple to score Bostick and put the go-ahead run 90 feet away.
“Late in the ballgame it was pretty loud. We hit some balls in the gap, driving the ball to all fields, and executed some situations there,” LeCroy said.
After a walk and a groundout, Sanchez came through with the two-strike sacrifice fly to score Collier with the deciding run.
Self (2-1) picked up the win and Koda Glover worked a perfect ninth inning with two strikeouts to pocket his second save of the season.
Bostick went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, Collier rapped out two hits and scored three times, and Shawn Pleffner chipped in two singles to lead the Senators’ offensive attack.
The Senators continue the Portland Sea Dogs’ only visit to City Island this season on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. Harrisburg will send Reynaldo Lopez to the mound looking for his second straight victory against Portland’s Keith Couch.
The Harrisburg Senators overcame a season-high five errors and missed scoring opportunities to defeat the Bowie Baysox, 7-2, for their fifth consecutive victory. Harrisburg starter Austen Williams earned his first win of the season after both teams sat out an 82-minute rain delay to start the game. The victory also evened the Senators’ record at .500 for the first time since they were 6-6 on April 20.
“We found a way to get it done and when you make five errors but still find a way to win. It’s a testament to those guys,” manager Matt LeCroy said.
Bowie used two Harrisburg errors in the first inning to take an early 1-0 lead. After a single by Jeff Kemp, Senators’ catcher Spencer Kieboom bounced a pickoff throw that deflected off Kemp’s helmet into the stands and moved the baserunner to third base. A fielding error by Stephen Perez extended the inning and scored Kemp to give Bowie the one-run advantage.
Harrisburg (20-20) would even the score in the bottom of the second as Kieboom lifted a sacrifice fly to left-center field to score Chris Bostick and advance Zach Collier to third base. The next batter, Shawn Pleffner, fisted a ball into shallow left field to score Collier and give the Senators a lead they would never relinquish.
The Senators’ fifth and sixth batters in their lineup, Bostick and Collier, teamed up again in the fourth inning to produce another run as Bostick led off with a triple and Collier plated the run with a grounder through the drawn-in Bowie infield. An inning later, Harrisburg added to their lead when Isaac Ballou came through with his second triple of the night to score Wilmer Difo from first base.
Bowie would get a run back in the sixth inning, but Williams (1-5) would hold the Baysox bats at bay to pick up the victory. Williams had his best and deepest start of the season as the right-hander worked into the seventh inning allowing two runs on five hits while striking out three. The outing of 6.1 innings was the longest of Williams’ career.
“We didn’t make the plays behind him, but he did a good job staying in there and not keeping his head down,” LeCroy said.
Faced with a bases loaded jam in the seventh inning, LeCroy called on Nick Lee out of the bullpen. The southpaw was up to the challenge as he struck out Henry Urrutia and induced an inning-ending fielder’s choice to keep the Senators’ margin at two runs. LeCroy put it bluntly, “That was a big spot.”
Lee came back out to work a perfect eighth inning striking out two before deferring to Koda Glover in the ninth.
The Senators’ 12-hit attack was highlighted by Bostick going 3-for-3 with three runs scored and two stolen bases. Collier chipped in with three hits while Kieboom and Perez added two RBI apiece as the Senators tacked on three insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth inning.
The Senators look for their sixth win in a row on Sunday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. Harrisburg will send Jaron Long to the hill against Bowie’s Parker Bridwell.