Preview: Hoppers look to park Drive

(Jak Kerley / Greensboro Grasshoppers)

By Josh Feldman / Greensboro Grasshoppers | May 6, 2018 10:45 AM ET

GREENSBORO GRASSHOPPERS vs. GREENVILLE DRIVE
15-12 - Miami Marlins 6-23 - Boston Red Sox
Sunday, May 6, 2018 - 2:00 p.m.
First National Bank Field - Greensboro, N.C.
Game #28 of 140
RH Brandon Miller (0-1, 7.99) vs. RH Denyi Reyes (2-2, 3.58)

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Today's Preview: The Grasshoppers (A, Marlins) look to bounce back after a late loss to the Drive (A, Red Sox) on Sunday afternoon at First National Bank Field. Greensboro saw its streak of offensive eruptions pause with one run on Saturday night, falling 2-1, to last-place Greenville. The Hoppers are currently 4.0 games back of first place Delmarva in the South Atlantic League Northern Division, sitting in third place.

Hoppers Hurler: Brandon Miller, 22, makes his fifth start of the season and the first start of his career against a Red Sox affiliate. He is coming off a no decision May 1 against Hagerstown as he worked 5.1 innings, allowing four runs on three hits with a walking and a season-high-tying five strikeouts. He has allowed four runs in each of his last three starts. The right-hander ended last season with the Grasshoppers after joining the Marlins organization as part of a mid-season trade from the Mariners in a July 20, 2017, deal that sent RHP David Phelps to Seattle in exchange for Miller, outfielder Brayan Hernandez, RHP Lukas Schiraldi, and RHP Pablo Lopez. In five starts for Greensboro in 2017, Miller went 0-3 with a 8.86 ERA, finishing his 2017 season 9-7 and 4.56 ERA (71 ER/122.1 IP) and 106 strikeouts in 23 games (23 starts) between Clinton and Greensboro. The Mariners drafted Miller in the sixth round of the June 2016 First-Year Player Draft out of Millersville University of Pennsylvania.

About Last Night: Brady Puckett became the first Hoppers pitcher to work into the eighth inning, but Greenville scored two runs late in a 2-1 win over Greensboro on Saturday. The 6'8" starting pitcher took the hard-luck loss, allowing two runs (one earned) on seven hits in 7.2 innings while striking out seven and walking one. Greensboro broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the seventh when Micah Brown singled and made his way to third base before crossing the plate on a 2-out wild pitch from Juan Florentino for a 1-0 lead. Drive hitters Frankie Rios and Lorenzo Cedrola singled with one out in the eighth. Both crossed the plate on a wild pitch and ensuing error when Puckett's delivery bounced away from catcher BJ Lopez, and Lopez's throw back to the plate sailed wide as well for a 2-1 lead.

Puckett Pacing Sally League: Hoppers starter Brady Puckett worked the longest outing of the season for a Greensboro arm in 2018, going 7.2 frames on Saturday. He now has worked 39.2 IP this season, tops in the Sally League and 4.2 innings ahead of Kannapolis lefty John Parke (35.0) who ranks second. Puckett, the Grasshoppers' opening day starter, also leads the league in hits allowed (38), at-bats against (149), and total batters faced (158). Among starters, he ranks fifth in lowest walks/9 IP ratio at 0.91 (4 BB/39.2 IP).

No Jolt from Jones: For the first time this year - in his fourth game with Greensboro - center fielder Thomas Jones did not hit a home run on Saturday night. The Marlins 2016 third round selection debuted with the Grasshoppers on May 2 by going 2-for-4 with a double and a home run, sparking a run of three straight games with a bomb. Jones, who homered twice on May 3, jacked four home runs in three games from May 2-4. Saturday, however, the outfielder went 0-4 to drop his average to .375 (6-16) in four games with Greensboro.

I love LA: They say all good things must end. Lazaro Alonso's 6-game hitting streak since his Hoppers debut ended on Saturday with an 0-for-4 night, dropping his average to .516 (16-31) in seven games since April 28. The Cuban first baseman has five doubles, three home runs, 11 RBI and eight runs scored. In fact, in every game in Alonso's hitting streak from April 28-May 4, he registered multi-hit games, including four 3-hit games in each of his first four games.

Comeback Kids: Greensboro's 6-run come-from-behind win on Friday sets a new mark for the team's largest deficit overcome this season. On April 12, the Hoppers overcame a 5-run deficit against the Hagerstown Suns in an eventual 10-9 win in 10 innings. Friday, the Hoppers fell behind 8-2 before scoring six in the sixth and the game-winning run with one out in the bottom of the ninth.

 

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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