After catching 20 innings of baseball Thursday, followed by a nearly eight-hour bus ride, Bryan Holaday had to be the most tired man in Toledo on Friday.
“Any time you have a travel-day game that goes extra innings, that’s not desirable,” he admitted. “I think I’m fine — luckily I got the day off [Friday] to let my body recover. I was happy to get home and get some rest.”
So were all the Mud Hens after playing one of the longest games in International League history. The 20-inning game with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre was just the 12th game in the league’s 130 seasons that lasted at least 20 innings, and it was the first 20-inning game since Toledo played the longest game in franchise history, a 21-inning contest at Richmond on Aug. 7, 1989.
And for those who thought the 20-inning game was bad, consider this: The contest in Richmond was the first game of a doubleheader.
That’s right, after playing 21 innings, that Hens team had to play seven more. By the time that twinbill ended, it was 1:57 a.m.
Holaday said players have to fight off the tendency to lose focus or concentration in a game that goes beyond nine innings.
“You can’t let yourself get tired — you can’t really give in to [being tired] in an extra-inning game,” he said. “You have to make the best of every inning to keep it going, especially in a one-run game.”
The Mud Hens struggled offensively in the extra-inning affair, collecting just nine hits in 20 innings. Believe it or not, those nine hits were collected by just three batters — Mike Cervenak had four hits, Danny Dorn had three, and Danny Worth added a pair — as the other six hitters combined to go 0 for 44 with 19 strikeouts.
While Toledo gave up 20 hits in the contest, Holaday felt the pitching staff deserved credit for limiting the RailRiders to a pair of runs in the 2-1 loss.
“They did a great job of keeping the ball down in the zone,” Holaday said. “They made [Scranton/Wilkes-Barre swing the bat and put the ball in play.
“Robbie [Weinhardt] got double plays in four straight innings, and that speaks to how well his sinker was working and how well he kept the ball down in the zone.”
The RailRiders had numerous runners in scoring position, but the Hens allowed the opposition to hit just 3 for 17 with runners in scoring position.
“That’s really what it’s all about: Damage control,” Holaday said. “Guys are going to get on base and into scoring position. If you don’t give in, and you make your pitches when the game is on the line, you’re going to have success.”
NO. 2: Mud Hens manager Phil Nevin made a change in the Toledo batting order Saturday, inserting Jordan Lennerton into the second spot in the Hens’ batting order.
It’s hard to imagine the power-hitting first baseman has hit second much in his career, right?
But Lennerton has hit second professionally, filling that spot in the order for 38 games with High-A Lakeland in 2011. And he thrived in that position, hitting .379 with nine home runs and 28 RBIs.
Lennerton also walked 17 times to give him a .443 on-base percentage, which, combined with a .679 slugging percentage, resulted in an outrageous 1.122 OPS.
THE MEAL IS SERVED: Mud Hens reliever Jose Valverde is proving to be a big help in the Toledo clubhouse, especially when it comes to the post-batting practice meal.
Three times since joining the Hens, Valverde has provided a pregame spread of rice with beans, chicken, and spare ribs from a Detroit eatery.
— John Wagner