AMARILLO, Texas — Tonight the Sod Poodles put six runs on the board, including solo home runs by catcher Luis Torrens and right fielder Edward Olivares, but it wasn’t enough to offset the four that Springfield Cardinals hit in the home team’s 9-6 loss on Wednesday night as the San Diego Padres’ Double-A affiliate fell to 10-16 on the year.
“It plays the same for both teams,” said Amarillo manager Philip Wellman on if the Amarillo home ballpark, Hodgetown, favored hitters. “He who makes the best pitches wins.”
Right-hander Emmanuel Ramirez took the loss and pitched well early, throwing three shutout innings, but twice gave the lead after the Sod Poodles had rallied in the bottom half of the frame.
In the third inning, down 2-1, Ramirez came through with his first hit of the year, a two-out, two-RBI single to center giving Amarillo the lead. Springfield tied the game in the fifth, but Edward Olivares hit his fifth home run of the year before, the Cardinals Double-A affiliate rallied again with two runs in the top of sixth that chased Ramirez.“We gave it to him twice, and he didn’t smell blood either time,” said Wellman. “We preach shut down innings here and he didn’t get a shutdown inning and those three stellar innings he threw are water under the bridge.
“Once your team gives you the lead you have to go out there and throw up zeros, and he didn’t do it twice.”
While Torrens and Olivares were the only Sod Poodles to hit home runs and each finished with a pair of hits, each also made costly mental mistakes. Torrens made a throwing error on an attempted steal of third base off of a pitch that was wide in the dirt inside and never should have been thrown.
Olivares popped out to the catcher attempting to bunt a shoulder-higher high fastball with two runners on and no one out.
“Mark it in your book, it’s May 1. Today is the day I am no longer going to be patient. It’s time for me to start doing a better job of teaching these kids how to play the game of baseball.
“I’ve been patient for one month and I’m tired of watching what I am watching. It’s unacceptable to me and it’s unacceptable to the organization. If we have to sit and have classroom meetings for one hour a day for the next 30 days to get this turned around, that is what I am going to do.
“I am not questioning anyone’s effort and intent. We put in a good day’s work, but no one gets promoted because they are good at early work. You still have to perform and execute.
“We need to learn how to play better baseball.”
Sod Poodle Notes: The Sod Poodles’ stadium is named after Jerry Hodge, a politician/businessman, who led the effort to bring affiliated baseball back Amarillo; that’s the “HODGE” part. The “TOWN” is defined in their media guide as the concept of the ballpark being a gathering place for everyone in the Texas Panhandle.