ThunderBolts Notebook: Bullpen superb for ThunderBolts
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media June 15, 2014 5:46PM
Updated: July 17, 2014 11:26AM
When the Windy City ThunderBolts take a lead into the late innings, you can pretty much count on a win.
The T-Bolts’ bullpen has been phenomenal in 2014. The three pitchers that have been counted on at the back end of the bullpen since the beginning of the season — Daniel Carela (0.93 ERA, 3 saves), Reese McGraw (0.73 ERA, 17 strikeouts in 121/3 innings) and Jessie Snodgrass (2-1, 1.32 ERA) — all have been nearly untouchable.
And even when Carela, who is expected back soon, went down with a groin injury on June 5, the bullpen hasn’t missed a beat.
“All three of those guys can be used interchangeably,” T-Bolts manager Ron Biga said. “So losing Danny is tough, but we know we can put Reese or Jessie in that role and have all the confidence in the world in them. Our whole bullpen has been fantastic. They all go out there and get the job done.”
Rookie left-hander James Ferguson (1.12 ERA in 16 innings) and veteran Victor Larez (one run allowed in 102/3 innings since moving out of the starting rotation) have provided depth to the bullpen.
Snodgrass, meanwhile, has continued to thrive in his role as the team’s escape artist. Consistently inserted into games in sticky situations with runners on base, Snodgrass gets out of the jams more times than not.
“I had that role in college and then here last year,” Snodgrass said. “It’s fun. There’s always a big adrenaline rush when you come into a game in a big situation like that. You try to come out there and help the guy who just left the game get out of that situation. It’s a lot of fun helping out your teammate.”
Don’t run on him
Andrew Brauer showed again Saturday night what T-Bolts fans already know: running on him is a bad idea.
The Mokena native unleashed two lasers to the plate on fly balls to right. He would have gunned down Mark Nelson in the second inning, but catcher Doug Joyce dropped the throw. Brauer threw out Alexi Colon at home in the third.
“I’m a converted infielder so I love those chances to try a guy out from the outfield,” Brauer said. “I didn’t get those chances as an infielder. It’s a lot of fun and it’s always a big momentum shift when you throw a guy out at home. Our pitching coach (Brian Smith) jokes with me that he counts on me to do that, so I need to do it for him, too.”
The T-Bolts on Saturday acquired catcher Justin Dalles from the Rockland Boulders of the Can-Am League for a player to be named later. Dalles reached Double-A in the Philadelphia Phillies organization. Windy City released Matt Scioscia.
Scioscia, the son of Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia, hit .238 in 18 games with the team.
Lincoln-Way East alum Brandon Hohl was released last week after recording just one hit in 13 at-bats.