Opponent: Tri-City Dust Devils
When: 7:05 p.m.
Where: Everett Memorial Stadium
Radio: KRKO (1380 AM)
Probable starting pitchers: Everett left-hander Jordan Shipers (1-4, 4.43 ERA) vs. Tri-City right-hander Ben Alsup (2-1, 2.10)
Protecting the young arms
When the AquaSox recently rejiggered their starting rotation to create, at least temporarily, a six-man rotation, they had three things in mind:
Stephen Landazuri, Jordan Shipers, Jose Campos.
Everett’s three youthful starters have spent the entire season in the rotation, and the extra day of rest is designed to help protect their arms.
“With Shipers, Campos and Landazuri, they’ve never had a full season of baseball before,” Everett pitching coach Andrew Lorraine explained. “The high school season is once a week and it’s a different set of demands. They’re in uncharted territory, all three of them, so we’re being real careful.”
Landazuri, Shipers and Campos, who were all teenagers when the season began, find themselves starting back-to-back-to-back for the first time, beginning with Landazuri’s start Thursday night.
All three have have held up to the workload so far. Campos and Landazuri have made each of their scheduled starts. Shipers missed one start, but that was a precautionary measure forced by a cracked fingernail, not by arm trouble.
Campos in particular has shined. Going into Thursday night’s action the right-hander from Venezuela was 4-3 and ranked ninth in the Northwest League in ERA (2.82) and third in strikeouts (56 in 541/3 innings).
Right-hander Landazuri and lefty Shipers have also held their own. Landazuri was 4-2 with a 4.50 ERA prior to Thursday’s start, and Shipers was 1-4 with a 4.43 ERA. Both were striking out nearly a batter an inning.
And there’s no plan to shut any of the three down.
“So far they’re all good (physically),” Lorraine said. “They’ve all had their dips at some point in the season as far as how they’re feeling, but they’ve all king of rebound a little bit. A lot of it’s mental at this point in the season. To do the same routine for a full season is tough. People don’t realize they’ve been doing this not only in Everett, but at extended spring training, too. So the mental drain is tough at this point of the year.”
Salivating Dust Devils
Teams generally prefer to play at home. However, the Tri-City hitters couldn’t help but be a little excited about traveling to Everett for the current five game series.
Tri-City plays in the best pitcher’s park in the league as Gesa Stadium in Pasco is infamous for the strong winds blowing in from the outfield. The result is that the Dust Devils’ offensive numbers are often depressed.
Everett Memorial Stadium, in contrast, is the best hitter’s park in the league. The Dust Devils couldn’t contain their excitement in the series opener Wednesday, erupting for 18 runs and four home runs. Prior to that Tri-City had hit just 25 home runs in 52 games.
“We knew it was a short park in right-center and the ball flies good everywhere,” said Dust Devils outfielder Jared Simon, who went 5-for-6 and slugged two homers Wednesday. “But you try and stick with the same approach, try to hit line drives.”