Opponent: Boise Hawks
When: 7:05 p.m.
Where: Everett Memorial Stadium
Radio: KRKO (1380 AM)
Probable starting pitchers: Everett left-hander Steve Uhlmansiek (2-1, 3.12 ERA) vs. Boise left-hander Mark Pawelek (0-3, 4.24)
Gregory Halman’s breakout game wasn’t all down to the presence of his mother in the stands.
Before his big performance in Everett’s 14-10 victory over Boise on Wednesday, the AquaSox center fielder told his mother, in town from their native Holland, he was going to hit two home runs. He did that and more, going 3-for-4 with two homers and a double to spark the Everett victory.
But just as important were the adjustments Halman made at the plate – or more accurately, his return to doing things the way he had before.
“I’m finally getting back to hitting the fastball again and laying off the breaking ball,” Halman explained. “That’s what I was doing coming out of Arizona (during extended spring training).”
Halman had been struggling mightily. In his previous six games, he was 6-for-25 with no runs, no RBI and 10 strikeouts. That stretch saw his average plummet to .252.
But with his big game Wednesday, Halman thinks he’s back on track.
“When things were getting a little worse I was changing my plan, getting a little insecure and looking for breaking balls instead of staying with my plan,” Halman said. “But Mike (Tosar, Everett’s hitting coach) told me to stick with my plan and not to change my mind, even if things got a little worse.”
Halman’s big game raised his average to .271, and going into Thursday’s game he was tied for the team lead in homers with four.
Up for grabs: The final spot in Everett’s rotation remains in flux.
Right-hander Bryan Ball was scheduled to start Wednesday’s game, but was replaced by fellow right-hander Drew Fiorenza.
“Ball’s arm is a little tender right now so we wanted to skip a start with him, and we wanted to give Fiorenza a shot,” Everett pitching coach Juan Alvarez said.
Ball made only one start since being added to the rotation, and that start did not go well. He lasted just two innings and took the loss in Everett’s 14-2 loss in Spokane last Friday.
Fiorenza fared better Wednesday, tossing three scoreless innings. He received no decision.
Who gets the start the next time that spot comes around in the rotation is not settled.
“It depends on where our needs are,” Alvarez said. “If we’re a little short in the bullpen, we like Fiorenza in the bullpen, too. It just depends on what we hear from the trainers and some of our coordinators.
“It’s probably one of those two guys unless something changes,”Alvarez added. “But everything changes in this game.”
White out: If the AquaSox were a little difficult to identify Thursday, it’s understandable. Everett played in unfamiliar white jerseys as part of the “Shirt Off Our Back” promotion, with some of the players having to change their numbers.
The jerseys were the ones the AquaSox used at home the previous 11 seasons.
After the game the jerseys were presented by the players to the winners of the silent auction held on the concourse during Thursday’s game, as well as online throughout the previous week. The proceeds went to United Way of Snohomish County.
Nick Patterson, Herald writer