Friday, August 17, 2012

Betances, Thunder pounded by Bowie

For The Trentonian
TRENTON - There's never a dull moment at Waterfront Park. That mantra seems to hold true for a Dellin Betances outing these days as well.
At 6:30 p.m., Thunder radio broadcaster Josh Maurer announced to the press box that Betances had been scratched from his start and that Francisco Rondon was taking his place.
Ten minutes later, and Betances came running out from the clubhouse to reclaim his starting spot. Five minutes into the game, and it seemed perhaps he should have stayed there.
Betances got off to a rocky start in the first and despite breezing through two of his four-plus innings, never completely recovered en route to a second consecutive sub-par performance. Trenton lost 12-6 to the Bowie Baysox in front of 5,980 fans in the capital city on Friday night, but the real concern seems to be with their 24-year-old New York-born righty, who is just one season removed from a big league September call-up.
The 6-foot-8, 255 pounder was tagged by Baltimore's Double-A affiliate for seven runs on seven hits, five walks and a hit by pitch in the series opener, with the big blow coming on Buck Britton's no-out grand slam over the right field wall in the fifth. In his last two outings, Betances has allowed 15 runs on 17 hits and eight walks in just eight innings of work. Friday's outing raised his Double-A ERA to 6.15, which is a slight improvement over the 6.39 mark he pitched to in 74 2/3 Triple-A innings before being demoted in late June.
While things have not been going well for Betances lately, Trenton as a whole had seemed to turn things around after winning their last two contests following a season-long seven-game losing streak. They certainly had their opportunities on Friday, as they held the lead on two separate occasions in the early going.
Luke Murton's two-run home run to left field put the Thunder on top, 2-1, after just one inning of play. After a Betances bases loaded walk to Britton knotted the game at 2-2 in the top of the third, Trenton responded with a run of their own in the bottom half on a Zoilo Almonte RBI single. But then the wheels fell completely off for Betances.
Betances quickly loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth inning after walking Ty Kelly, allowing a single to Robbie Widlansky and issuing another free pass to Caleb Joseph. He then induced a weak ground ball to first base off the bat of Rhyne Hughes, but Luke Murton and Betances appeared to have a miscommunication on the play and Hughes reached safely, scoring a run and setting the table for Britton.
With Rondon warming up, Britton quickly made it obvious that Betances stayed in one batter too long. He needed just one pitch to blow the game wide open, sending Betances' first offering deep into the night and putting Bowie ahead, 7-3. Betances threw 93 pitches over his four-plus innings of work, with only 47 going down as strikes.


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