Image: (Lindsay Carico)

After a hot start, the Hillcats offense has cooled off some, but they’ve recovered with three wins in a row. Now, they’re not doing it with offense. The pitching that was well advertised to start with has been carrying them once the unsustainable offense cooled. Xzavion Curry has been the most dominant pitcher in the league and Daniel Espino has started to settle in after a bumpy start. Relievers Zach Hart, Jaime-Arias Bautista, Andrew Misiaszek, and Jerson Ramirez have been locking up the second half of games. Misiaszek, Ramirez and Hart haven’t allowed a run to date. That is why despite the struggles of more on the offense, the Hillcats managed to salvage last week with a 3-3 record. 

Week in Review

5/13 L 10-2 at Salem – W: Rodriguez (1-0); L: Jones (0-1)
5/14 L 4-0 at Salem – W: Drohan (1-0); L: Morillo (0-1)
5/15 L 5-3 at Salem – W: Kwiatkowski (1-0); L: Wolf (0-1); S: Cobb (1)
5/16 W 2-1 at Salem – W: Mock (2-0); L: Perry (0-1); S: Arias-Bautista (1)
5/18 W 2-0 vs Myrtle Beach – W: Curry (2-0); L: Thoresen (0-2); S: Ramirez (1)
5/19 W 5-2 vs Myrtle Beach – W: Reindl (1-1); L: Feliz (0-1); S: Ocampo (1)

Player of the Week

SP Xzavion Curry: 1 GS – 6.1 IP, H, 11 K

Curry took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and has now wracked up 15.1 scoreless innings through three starts so far with 23 strikeouts, four hits, three walks and a hit batter. Daniel Espino, Josh Wolf and Lenny Torres Jr. came into the year with more fanfare and prospect hype but Curry has been the most impressive starter on the team so far with his fastball and big curveball.

Who’s Hot:

SP Daniel Espino: 1 GS – 4.2 IP, 2H, ER, 2BB, 7K

Espino had a no-hitter going himself into the fourth inning before allowing the two hits and a run. He reportedly touched 100 and 101 in the start and dropped several very nasty curveballs and sliders for ugly swings and misses. He still has trouble with control at times and misses with his fastball to his glove side especially in to left handed batters. But he was still dominant in his start Wednesday night. 

OF Micah Pries: 6-16, 3 2B, RBI, SB

Pries has an eight game hitting streak right now and while much of the Hillcats offense has sort of cooled, Pries is still getting on base and collecting hits everyday. At 23 he’s a bit older for Low-A but he was a Division II player and couldn’t get his career started in 2020 like everyone else.

RP Zach Hart: 2 G – 7.1 IP, 10K, BB, 3H

Hart has been on a tear as a multi-inning reliever for the Hillcats. He’s staying stretched out in a multi-inning role because he can still operate as a starter if need be and he needs the innings. And they’ve been good innings with a mid-90s fastball and a big curveball, and good slider.

Who’s Not

OF Alexfri Planez: 3-22, 3B, 8K/0BB

Planez is still getting exposed early in his minor league experience. He’s always been an aggressive hitter but he’s having issues hitting pitches in the strike zone right now including fastballs due the length of his swing.

INF Yordys Valdez: 1-16, 6K

Valdez wasn’t drafted for his bat but he’s had a hard time looking like he can handle full season pitching so far. 

Coming Up

5/20 vs. Myrtle Beach
5/21 vs. Myrtle Beach
5/22 vs. Myrtle Beach
5/23 vs. Myrtle Beach
5/25 at Delmarva
5/26 at Delmarva
5/27 at Delmarva 

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