Blue Jays: Lugnuts win their 8th in a row

ARLINGTON, TX - MAY 18: Toronto Blue Jays' players Wilson baseball gloves lay in the dugout during a baseball game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park on May 18, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. Texas won 6-2. (Photo by Brandon Wade/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - MAY 18: Toronto Blue Jays' players Wilson baseball gloves lay in the dugout during a baseball game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park on May 18, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. Texas won 6-2. (Photo by Brandon Wade/Getty Images) /

The Lansing Lugnuts have been off to an incredible start to the 2018 season. While I was in town I had to stop by for a visit and see this insanely good offense. What I saw was a team that is a complete package and filled with talent.

First, if you have not had a chance to go see a Lansing Lugnuts game do yourself a favor and book the trip. It is a great family environment that has this nice blend of a modern baseball stadium melded with a great small town feel. The Lugnuts will be hosting the Midwest League All-Star game this June. This wonderful new ballpark will be put on display and it is well deserved.

On the mound for this game was Yennsy Diaz. I was very excited to see him pitch as he has been off to a great start to the season. Diaz has nasty stuff and it appears that he has found how to control it. Diaz allowed a home run to lead off the game. The solo homer came off the bat of Jeter Downs who was a first-round draft pick last year for the Reds.

Diaz then settled in and held the Dayton Dragons in check. He allowed five hits during the outing but showed great command of his pitches. He walked a pair while striking out three. The movement on his secondary pitches was great as he danced the ball around the zone to keep the Dragons hitters from really squaring him up. Check out the below video I took of his second strikeout.

With Diaz throwing gas the Lugnuts offense could have taken a night off but they proceeded to pummel the Dragons pitchers instead. There are no off nights while your living the #LugLife apparently. The offense went nuts on Dragons starter Packy Naughton for seven earned runs over 4.1 innings.

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The Lugnuts capitalized on two walks and five hits to really run away with this one by the bottom of the 5th inning. Brock Lundquist opened up the scoring with a monster 2-run blast in the 2nd. The home run was Lundquist’s 8th of the season and he leads the team in that category. Lundquist is a solid looking ballplayer that has plenty of thunder in his lumber. He reminded me of Travis Snider in build and has a pretty looking swing.

With the offense off and running they were able to really put the pedal to the metal in the 5th. The bad luck for the Dragons started with Ryan Noda being hit by pitch. He was promptly rewarded for taking one for the team as Yeltsin Gudino doubled him home. A walk to Matt Morgan and a sac bunt by Kevin Vicuna moved the runners up for Norberto Obeso. He drove a single to center that scored the Morgan for the second run of the inning. The pitching abuse did not stop there however as Kevin Smith destroyed a 1-0 pitch over the left-field wall. With a crack that echoed through the ballpark, the Lugnuts were up 7-2 on Smith’s 6th home run of the season.

After a five-run 5th inning the Lugnuts were not done and looking to really pour on some more offense. Samad Taylor walked to start off the inning and quickly swiped 2nd base. That is already his 13th steal of the season. After a walk to Ryan Noda, Gudino struck again with a worm burner through the infield to score the speedy Taylor. After a walk to Matt Morgan, Norberto Obeso was plunked by a pitch to load the bases. Kevin Smith dug in and skyed a 3-1 pitch into no man’s land behind second base. The ball landed and he had already legged out a double and all three base runners scored. Brock Lundquist would pick up his third RBI of the game on a single that scored Smith as the Lugnuts went loco on the base paths to bat around the lineup. The Lugnuts scored five runs in back to back innings to sprint out to a 12-2 lead.

Yenny Diaz would throw six solid innings and be really only hurt by the one long ball. He had solid command and was rewarded with a big win. Dany Jimenez came on in the 7th and was very impressive. He allowed just one hit and struck out three in his pair of innings. He was hitting mid-90s on his fastball and moved his secondary pitches around great to rack u the strikeouts. Andy Raval would pitch the 9th and allowed just one base runner and struck out a batter.

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This was the Lugnuts 8th win in a row as they really have shown a consistent attack throughout the lineup. There starting pitching has been solid through the streak and this writer does not see them slowing down anytime soon. They have too many great bats in this lineup to ever be too far out of games. If they can get continued showings from their bullpen they will be a force in the Midwest League all season.