Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Crabs Stay Hot With Combined No-Hitter

Posted By on Tue, Jul 26, 2022 at 5:50 PM

The Humboldt Crabs put together yet another dominating week in the season as both the pitching staff and lineup were firing in all cylinders. The weekend was highlighted by a combined no-hitter from Crabs pitchers Nick Perryman and Eureka local Garrison Finck, which came not even a week after Caleb Ruiz threw his own complete game shutout.


Pitching has been a strong point for the Crabs for much of the season and with a deep bullpen to pull from in games, there is always a fresh arm waiting in the wings to close the door if needed. The Crabs pitching staff gave up only 10 runs in five games while the offense combined for 46 runs which allowed them to win all but one game.


The week started with a two-game series against Medford Rogues, which had also spent the previous weekend in Arcata playing the West Coast Kings team in town to face the Crabs. Tyler Davis led the way for the offense on Tuesday night against the Rogues, hitting a two-run home run in the first inning before and followed it up with a triple in the third and a solo home run in the eighth inning as well.

click to enlarge Crabs catcher Tyler Davis heads back into the dugout between innings on July 24 while facing the Fairfield Indians. - THOMAS LAL
  • Thomas Lal
  • Crabs catcher Tyler Davis heads back into the dugout between innings on July 24 while facing the Fairfield Indians.

While talking about timely hitting and capitalizing on offensive situations, Crabs Manager Robin Guiver praised the team’s ability to bring runners in more consistently, pointing to Davis’ hitting as a prime example.


“We’ve had some clutch moments for sure where we’ve been able to cash in,” Guiver said following Sunday’s game. “Earlier this season we were leaving a lot of guys on base. Every game we’d go and look at the box scores after and have 17, 18, 19 guys left on base. Which is good because it means we’re getting guys on base. But we’ve got to cash in and we’ve been doing a better job of that lately. Tyler Davis has just been an RBI machine for us, he cashes in. He had one where he didn’t today and it’s like the first time that he hasn’t cashed in in a long time with a runner on third and one out. He’s human but he's got 40-something RBIs, so he’s been awesome.”


With Davis and the rest of the Crabs' offense taking care of business at the plate, it gave plenty of breathing room for regular Tuesday starter Marcelo Saldana to do what he has done best this season and shut the game down. Through seven innings of work, Saldana struck out nine batters while only allowing three hits and one walk. From there, Drew Woody finished the job for the last two innings, only giving up one run to seal the Crabs’ victory 10-1.

click to enlarge Crabs pitcher Marcelo Saldana prepares to throw a pitch in the bullpen before the start of the Crabs' game on July 24. - THOMAS LAL
  • Thomas Lal
  • Crabs pitcher Marcelo Saldana prepares to throw a pitch in the bullpen before the start of the Crabs' game on July 24.

Wednesday was a somewhat frustrating game for the Crabs as they battled an early 2-0 Medford lead and while they clawed a run back in the second inning, would ultimately fall short 3-2. While starting pitcher Ethan Brodsky gave up only two runs on three hits while striking out seven batters, the Crabs struggled offensively, stranding eight runners on base even while Davis had four stolen bases on the night.


The weekend would prove to go more smoothly for the Crabs, according to the final score scores. Friday’s game against the visiting Fairfield Indians was a close affair initially with Fairfield taking the lead in the fourth inning before the two teams traded single run innings up to the sixth frame where the Crabs strung together four runs. They scored another four in the next inning before getting another two runs off of AJ Esperanza’s second home run of the night and ultimately won 13-3.

click to enlarge Crabs catcher AJ Esperanza into home plate to score during the Crabs' game against the Fairfield Indians on July 23. - THOMAS LAL
  • Thomas Lal
  • Crabs catcher AJ Esperanza into home plate to score during the Crabs' game against the Fairfield Indians on July 23.

Esperanza has been one of the most effective Crabs batters over the course of the last week, hitting .333 over 14 plate appearances and maintaining the same average with runners in scoring position. His two home runs on the week bring him up to a total of four which puts him second on the team behind only Davis who has seven.


“I feel like I’m figuring it out a little bit in the second half of the season,” Esperanza said. “Just trying to really shorten my swing, stay within myself and go after good pitchers and I was able to do that a couple times.”


Esperanza says that he has been enjoying the atmosphere of playing in Arcata Ballpark as well as working with his teammates to help each other improve on the field as the season has gone on.


“It’s so fun,” Esperanza said. “I just feel so lucky to be able to play with this crowd on this team. It’s a super special environment. The teammates are great. Everyone is helping everyone out and it’s just been an awesome summer.”

click to enlarge Crabs catcher AJ Esperanza gets set to catch a pitch in the bullpen before the start of the Crabs' game against the Fairfield Indians on July 23. - THOMAS LAL
  • Thomas Lal
  • Crabs catcher AJ Esperanza gets set to catch a pitch in the bullpen before the start of the Crabs' game against the Fairfield Indians on July 23.

Along with his offensive output, Esperanza has also been a big part of the Crabs' defensive strengths behind the plate as one of the Crabs’ three primary catchers this season working with the bullpen staff.


“It’s been great just trying to sort of learn about all our pitchers,” Esperanza said. “Build those relationships and work with those guys to help them bring out their best game. And we’ve had some success, it’s been fun to catch a lot of these guys. We’ve got a lot of talented arms.”


Saturday night was another night for the pitchers to be proud of this season as Perryman and Finck combined to lock the Fairfield offense out of the game with a no-hitter. The two pitchers each struck out seven batters for a combined 14 over nine innings with the only traffic on the basepaths coming from a handful of walks.

click to enlarge Crabs pitcher Nick Perryman throws a pitch against the Fairfield Indians on the way to a combined no-hitter on July 23. - THOMAS LAL
  • Thomas Lal
  • Crabs pitcher Nick Perryman throws a pitch against the Fairfield Indians on the way to a combined no-hitter on July 23.

The 15-0 final result was the sixth shutout for the Crabs this season and a welcome "bounce-back" game for Perryman, who started the game, after an outing last week where he didn’t allow a run but wasn’t fully satisfied with his own performance.


“Yesterday was definitely a good feeling to have a bounce-back start,” Perryman said after Sunday’s game. “My previous two or three, they weren’t bad but they weren’t what I want out of myself, you know? I hold myself to a higher standard. So yesterday was just a big day for me, a confidence booster. The game plan going into that start was just to get ahead early and be efficient and I was able to do that yesterday.”


For Perryman, the prospect of a no-hitter was on his mind less than his approach to each at bat where he aimed to be aggressive and execute on the game plan that he established prior to the start.

“The only thing I try to think about is ‘be aggressive, attack and just get ahead,’” Perryman said. “If I can get ahead it’ll be my game and I’ll just let them hit the ball and let my defense work for me, we have a great defense out here.”

click to enlarge Crabs pitcher Garrison Finck walks beside the dugout before the start of the Crabs' game against the Fairfield Indians on July 20. - THOMAS LAL
  • Thomas Lal
  • Crabs pitcher Garrison Finck walks beside the dugout before the start of the Crabs' game against the Fairfield Indians on July 20.

Even when Perryman handed the ball over to Finck, he was confident in his fellow pitcher’s abilities and praised his efficiency and effectiveness on the mound to close out the game through the remaining four innings.


“He’s a strike thrower and he just got in the zone, got in a good groove and he didn’t let up,” Perryman said. “From pitch one to his last one. I think he threw 40 pitches in four innings. That’s called being efficient right there. That’s how you do it. And he was all over the zone, he filled it up and was great.”


On Sunday, the Crabs took the lead in the first inning but it was by no means comfortable as Fairfield came back and scored three runs of their own to take the lead briefly before the Crabs lineup responded in kind with three more runs of their own to reclaim the lead in the bottom of the second inning. The Crabs held onto that one-run lead for three innings while Sunday starter Ruiz was forced to work significantly harder this week than he did a week before during his shutout. Relief finally came for the Crabs in the sixth inning when Drew Porter hit an RBI double to extend the lead, followed by a Jackson Giacone RBI single to score Colby Lunsford, who made his way from first to third base after a single and currently leads the team with 19 stolen bases. The Crabs took the win with a final score of 6-3 to close out the week and bring their current record to 26-10 on the season.

click to enlarge Crabs pitcher Drew Woody (Left) and Andrew LaCour (Right) head back to the dugout after Woody completes an inning of work against the Fairfield Indians on July 24. - THOMAS LAL
  • Thomas Lal
  • Crabs pitcher Drew Woody (Left) and Andrew LaCour (Right) head back to the dugout after Woody completes an inning of work against the Fairfield Indians on July 24.

Guiver was complimentary of his team’s pitching staff after a couple of particularly strong weeks for the Crabs bullpen and noted how even when guys have an off day they are able to keep games competitive and allow the Crabs to challenge for the win.


“They’ve been doing really well,” Guiver said after Sunday’s game. “Caleb [Ruiz] looked a little tired today, honestly, he threw a lot of pitches. Last Sunday he went nine innings in a 2-0 game and we had to ride him hard and he’s definitely looking a little tired today. But he still grinded through five innings and kept it down so we’ll take it. Drew Woody came and did a real nice job today too. Yesterday’s no-hitter was pretty sweet. A good start by [Nick] Perryman, got his pitch count up a little bit so we had to get him out of there. And Garrison Finck came in and did a great job pounding the strike zone.”

click to enlarge Crabs second baseman Nick Leehey celebrated with teammates on the way back the dugout after rounding the bases by hitting a double then reaching home on an error on the night that the Crabs celebrated 'Christmas in July' on July 23. - THOMAS LAL
  • Thomas Lal
  • Crabs second baseman Nick Leehey celebrated with teammates on the way back the dugout after rounding the bases by hitting a double then reaching home on an error on the night that the Crabs celebrated 'Christmas in July' on July 23.

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