There were two “debuts” in the KC Royals farm system over the last 24 hours.
Lefty prospect Sean Manaea made his Double-A debut on Monday night with NW Arkansas. He had the opportunity to pitch at the Naturals home park against Tulsa.
Manaea did not have good command, as he walked three, hit one, and threw a wild pitch over 3+ innings. He also airmailed a throw into centerfield on a potential double play ball. Over his 77 pitches thrown, 41 were strikes.
He had a perfect top of the first with two strikeouts. Then the Drillers went to work in the 2nd inning, which started with a single and a hit batter. After a strikeout, Manaea allowed an RBI double, but escaped further damage.
The 3rd inning started with a walk. After a strikeout, Manaea allowed a double, but left fielder Alex Liddi threw a runner out at the plate. Two more singles followed to give Tulsa a 2-0 lead.
In the fourth, Manaea once again walked the leadoff hitter. After his throwing error, the Drillers delivered with a two-run double. A walk and a wild pitch ended Manaea’s debut. Mark Peterson got out of the jam with a strikeout and a double play.
On a positive note, Manaea did strike out five:
Right-hander Brooks Pounders has struggled to get on the mound over the last two years. In 2013, he succumbed to Tommy John surgery (after pitching with the Naturals for the entire season). The surgery cost him most of the 2014 season, but he did make it back to High-A Wilmington to finish the season (three starts).
A torn lat muscle in spring training this season cost him half of the year. After four starts in the AZL and one start with Idaho Falls, Pounders found himself back with Wilmington on Tuesday morning.
He got the morning, series finale start in Carolina.
The Mudcats jumped all over him in the first, scoring four runs after not having a base runner with two outs. Then it was three straight singles (and a fielding error in right field by Elier Hernandez). Joe Odom followed with a two-run home run.
After allowing a single to start the 2nd inning, Pounders retired eight in a row with five strikeouts before being lifted in favor of Kevin McCarthy.
The Blue Rocks offense actually came back to tie the game in the fifth at 4-4, but a fielding error in centerfield by Logan Moon allowed the leadoff hitter to reach third base to start the bottom of the fifth. An RBI single followed before McCarthy retired the next three hitters. McCarthy took the loss, despite allowing just that one hit over 3.1 innings of relief.
Odom added a three-run home run in the 8th inning off reliever Andrew Edwards. It was the only hit Edwards allowed, but he walked a batter and hit another before the two out homer. He did however throw 27 pitches, 15 for strikes.
*On a negative note, the Blue Rocks dropped below .500 in a half for the first time since April 29th (they are 12-13 in the second half). In losing the three-game series in Carolina, the Blue Rocks committed eight errors. That is a growing trend and not a good one. Maybe it has something to do with all the new players, but they REALLY need to clean it up.