All About the Pitching
Ask any manager or baseball mind what the key ingredient to winning a championship is, and they’ll almost always tell you the same thing: pitching. You can never have enough of it. Between starters, relievers or guys who can do both, it’s vitally important for any successful team to have a strong pitching staff. When the Ducks won back-to-back championships in 2012 and 2013, they certainly had their fair share of timely hits (see: Dan Lyons’ bunt single in 2012 and Ray Navarrete’s three-run homer in 2013, just to name a few). However, had four of the five starters in 2012 not had ERAs under 4.00 and had the entire pitching staff not posted a 2.59 ERA in 2013, the Ducks might not be about to raise their second consecutive championship banner.
Today, pitching took center stage at Bethpage Ballpark as the Ducks took part in their third day of spring training workouts. Before we get to the pitchers though, a big tip of the cap must go to the Ducks grounds crew and front office staff for getting the field ready today. With a day’s worth of pouring rain on Tuesday followed by some snow, frost and ice overnight, lots of work needed to be done to prepare for today’s workout. Sure enough, the front office and ground crew was able to remove an icy tarp, clear frost and excess water from the field and be ready to go by about 11:00 this morning. Here are some photos of their tremendous work:
Now, onto the pitchers, who were the centerpiece of today’s workout. After Tuesday’s rain prevented pitchers from throwing live batting practice on the field, more hurlers than usual needed to take the mound and get in their work today. Between starters and relievers, a total of 13 pitchers threw today. That means everyone but John Brownell and Bobby Blevins (who both pitched Monday), took the mound.
The first two who threw the ball were right-handers Shaun Garceau and Jared Lansford. Garceau is entering his second year with the Ducks after joining the team late in 2013. His three starts to close out the regular season were very impressive, and his effort in starting Game Two of the Atlantic League Championship Series was superb. Lansford is back for a third season with the Flock after being a part of the bullpen as a late inning reliever/set-up man over the past two years. The California native is 5-3 with a 3.61 ERA, nine saves and 88 strikeouts in 94 regular season games and 3-0 with a 0.73 ERA in the postseason since joining Long Island.
Both pitchers threw 60 pitches during their live batting practice session, as did left-hander Matt Way, while most of the other pitchers threw 20-25. Garceau essentially assured himself a spot in the starting rotation with his splendid work last year. While nothing has been decided for sure just yet, it appears as though Lansford may have an opportunity be in the starting rotation as well. The right-hander has not started a game since 2008, but he was extremely successful as a starter in the first two seasons of his career. He compiled a 1.27 ERA in seven games (six starts) with the Athletics Arizona League team in 2005 and a 3.82 ERA in 21 starts combined with Kane County (A, Athletics) and Stockton (A+, Athletics in 2006. If chosen to start and successful in that role, Lansford’s versatility will surely be an added asset on the Ducks pitching staff.
We had a chance to catch up with both Garceau and Lansford after their 60-pitch sessions today. You can listen to the two interviews below:
We also were able to take some video of Garceau, Lansford, Way and righty Fernando Hernandez pitching today. Check out the video below:
Following the live batting practice sessions for pitchers, the team took a round of batting practice as well before their workout ended. To check out a Facebook photo album from spring training today, please CLICK HERE.
Tomorrow is the final day of spring training workouts before the exhibition schedule begins. The Ducks will take the ferry across the sound to Bridgeport on Friday for a 1:05 p.m. contest with the Bluefish before returning home to host the ‘Fish on Saturday at 1:05. For tomorrow’s post, we will focus on some of the newcomers to the Ducks this season. If there are any players you would like to know more about, let us know in the comments section, and we’ll be sure to include them in upcoming blog posts.
Posted on April 16, 2014, in Feature Articles and tagged 2014, Atlantic League, Bethpage Ballpark, Championship, Fernando Hernandez, Grounds Crew, Jared Lansford, Kevin Baez, Long Island Ducks, Matt Way, Pitchers, Shaun Garceau, Spring Training, Tarp. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.