By Aaron Lommers Herald Writer
EVERETT — Seattle Mariners relief pitcher Stephen Pryor, who has not pitched since the middle of April with a torn side muscle, struggled in a rehab start for the Everett AquaSox on Tuesday.
Pryor pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up three runs, two of which were earned, on three hits. He threw 26 pitches, 15 for strikes and committed a balk.
After retiring the first two hitters, Pryor gave up the second home run in as many days to Vancouver’s L.B. Dantlzer. The ball easily cleared the right-field wall for his third homer of the season.
The Northwest League’s leading hitter Jordan Leyland followed Dantlzer’s home run with a single to center and Justin Atkinson followed him with a single to right field.
After facing five batters, AquaSox manager Rob Mummau replaced Pryor with Thyago Vieira. The first batter Vieira faced was Vancouver’s Michael Reeves, who singled to right-center field to score Leyland. Atkinson also scored on the play on an error by right fielder Austin Wilson. Both runs were charged to Pryor.
A kickstart for Wilson?
It has been a struggle at the plate for Everett outfielder and Seattle Mariners second-round pick Austin Wilson this season. He’s batting just .165 in 20 games with no home runs.
He picked up his 13th hit of the season in Monday’s loss to Vancouver, an infield single to the shortstop that Wilson beat with an all-out sprint to first base.
For a player with so much potential, AquaSox manager Rob Mummau said he hopes a play like that can get Wilson going.
“Sometimes those infield hits or bloop hits can turn into hot streaks,” Mummau said. “That would be nice to see if that transpires here with Austin.”
The AquaSox may have the Northwest League’s best record, but they rank sixth in the league in scoring differential. Everett has allowed 147 run this season, while scoring just 128.
Mummau admitted the stat is uncommon, but insisted he isn’t worried.
“I’m not a big stat guy,” he said. “I just worry about the wins and losses. That is kind of an oddball there.”
Everett has played 11 one-run games this season and suffered five blowout defeats, a 7-1 loss to Hillsboro, back-to-back 8-0 losses to Eugene and an 11-1 loss to Vancouver coupled with Monday’s 13-1 defeat. That 47-3 differential in those games goes a long way toward justifying the odd statistic.
Vancouver shortstop Dickie Thon and second baseman David Harris have been red hot over the past 10 games for the Canadians.
Thon is hitting .400 in that span and Harris, after a 4-for-5 night on Monday, is hitting .500.
Mummau said the key to slowing down the two streaking hitters is to not give them the advantage.
“I think just getting strike one, that’s the main thing,” Mummau said. “Then working them in and out and changing speeds from there. They are two good hitters and they are hot. They are definitely hitters to be aware of.”