Bristol Blues left trying to fill holes in starting rotation after losing key pitchers

Published on Monday, 8 July 2019 19:28
Written by ZACK CARPENTER

@ZACKCARPENTERBP

BRISTOL - Two of the top three established starting pitchers on the Bristol Blues’ roster, and another exciting arm just getting going with the team, went down with injuries last week and were lost for the summer, forcing the club to scramble to find replacements. 

Jack Moore (shoulder tightness) and Arjun Thakar (back tightness) had been dealing well consistently, Moore as the team’s No. 1 starter and Thakar one of the FCBL leaders in strikeouts, and MLB Draft pick Ken Turner (back) pitched three solid innings in his lone start. Losing all three starters - plus losing reliever Ben DeLaubell (Army) due to his military service duties - has already been a difficult challenge to navigate. 

The Blues slid lefty reliever Matt Shane of CCSU into a spot start last week, and as of now, the rotation projects to be Ryan Lauk, Mark Faello, James Judenis, Cam Van Hoorebeke and Shane. A sixth starter is to be determined, and Wes Lahey got his first shot to earn his way into that role permanently with a start Monday night. 

“We’ve gotta find the sixth guy in the rotation,” Blues manager Ronnie Palmer said. “We like to give guys about a week’s rest because that’s what they get in college. Sometimes if we can extend it a little bit more, we will because they’re still out here every day. But we’ll get that figured out.”

As far as the starting rotation is concerned, losing Moore and Thakar is tough, as they had been two mainstays. 

“Certainly losing those two hurts, but it’s not something that’s gonna decimate our season,” Palmer said. “Any time you lose guys who have been rotation guys since the beginning, that’s always tough to rebound from. Myself and the coaching staff are working hard to figure out who we should slide into some spots.”

The Blues got a terrific start from Shane last Monday, but over the weekend he surrendered seven runs (three earned) in his second start, a 13-10 loss to North Shore on Sunday for the club’s third consecutive loss. The club is hopeful reliever Lahey’s first start will see similar success to Shane’s first outing. 

“Wes was a good addition for us,” Lauk said. “He fit right in no questions asked. He accepted his role and just went out there and did him.”

At the end of last week, the Blues brought in three new relief pitchers to attempt to certify the bullpen with the loss of DeLaubell and the insertion of Shane and Lahey into the mix of starters. 

Right-hander Tyler Boisvert (Post University) and righty Anthony Marrero and lefty Garrett Coe (both UConn signees) each got their opportunities in their first Blues action Thursday and Sunday.  

Boisvert and Marrero struggled, as Boisvert allowed seven runs (six earned) on seven hits with two walks and a strikeout in just two innings, and Marrero gave up five earned runs on five hits with three walks and two strikeouts in two innings. 

Coe pitched two innings of relief on Sunday, giving up one earned run on one hit with three walks and two strikeouts. 

The Blues will be hopeful all three will settle into their new confines and get comfortable as the rest of the summer wears on, similar to how many of the relievers who have been with the team since day one eventually gained more confidence as bullpen arms. Boisvert, Marrero and Coe are also all candidates to be slid into the starting rotation. 

“I think those guys will give us some good stuff out of the pen,” Palmer said. “You’ve got those two guys going to UConn, and that’s obviously a fantastic college baseball program. Those two will give it to us, and Boisvert comes from a quality D-II program that has won back to back division titles. We’re fortunate to get those three guys this late in the summer, especially coming from competitive programs.”

Zack Carpenter can be reached at (860) 973-1811 or zcarpenter@bristolpress.com



Posted in New Britain Herald, Bristol Blues on Monday, 8 July 2019 19:28. Updated: Monday, 8 July 2019 19:31.