SAN ANTONIO, Texas — The Missions have lost 11 out of 14 games, including the last five and seemingly are finding different ways to beat themselves each evening.
Tonight San Antonio again made multiple errors and seemed incapable of getting the big hit to break open the game despite multiple opportunities.
Michael Kelly got the start and although the right-hander flashed plus stuff – according to the radar guns he was between 92-95 most of the night and touched 98 – he struggled with consistency. The former first round pick in 2011 has all the ability, just not the consistency.
Last night the bullpen was lights out, tonight Rafael De Paula gave up a first pitch home run and lefty Brad Wieck, usually one of the more dependable arms, also struggled.
“If you want to pitch in the big leagues and you are left-handed, you have to get left-handers out,” said Wellman on the big lefty. “He didn’t get three of them tonight and you have to be able to fire a breaking ball right from the beginning, and he didn’t throw any to left-handed hitters.”
“That is going to change.”
Luis Urias continues to hit, whether he is a shortstop or second base. Tonight he was 2-5 with a double and after an early miscue at shortstop where he was unable to catch a relatively routine pop fly in shallow center, rebounded to turn in a pair of sparkling plays.
So the $64,000 question is can he play there at the next level?
To an assortment of people that have seen him play at short the consensus is that he has the arm to play there, but not the range. He is more than capable of filling in for a game or two, but the Missions are a better team with Rondon at short and Urias at second, where he is a plus defender.
At the plate Urias is hitting .345/.415/.571.
“His approach is way advanced. He makes great swing decisions and where he gets it, he doesn’t miss it,” said Wellman.
A big spot this season has been the play of OF Nick Schulz, who had one of the better nights of his professional career with a pair of doubles, his Texas League leading seventh home run, two walks, three RBI and he stole his third base of the year.
Schulz, 25, is hitting .321/.442/.692, and leading the Texas League in home runs, slugging percentage, extra-base hits and total bases.
“He was our most consistent guy last year, he is our most consistent guy this year,” said Phillip Wellman, the Missions’ manager. “Right now the only two guys that are giving us consistent at-bats are [Luis] Urias and Nick.”
Schulz was signed by the Padres as undrafted free agent out of San Jose State in 2014, where on the basis of a good workout he was sent to Eugene of the Northwest League and caught a break when he got promoted to Fort Wayne when someone was injured and proceeded to hit .341/.386/.545 for the TinCaps.
The next season was a down year for him in Lake Elsinore, but again an injury opened a spot in San Antonio and he made the most of it hitting .282/.365/.422 and was the MadFriars’ Player of the Year for the Texas League.
“Nick plays every game like its his last, heck he takes every at-bat likes it his last. Since he was a non-drafted guy he is very grateful for the opportunity he has been given and he is going to make the most of it.”
Mission Notes: The Missions are hitting 100 points higher on the road than at home..tomorrow Enyel De Los Santos, who has been San Antonio’s best starter this year, will take the mound in an afternoon matchup and attempt to break the losing streak.