It’s a good sign when you win games in baseball, but in particular for Independent players who were formerly in the major leagues. Their efforts to make a comeback often have a positive impact on games that result in wins, as it did Friday night. This bodes well for both the players and the teams.
Prior to Friday night’s game against the New Britain Bees, the Bridgeport Bluefish were three and five, two games below .500. With the help of right- handed starting pitcher Jonathan Albaladejo, fellow right- handers David Kubiak and David Carpenter, and first baseman Dan Johnson, the Fish sealed the deal to put a plus in the win column. Albaladejo, Carpenter, and Johnson, all former major league players, are making their mark not only for themselves, but on the Bluefish as well.
Coming into Friday’s game, Albaladejo had struggled at the beginning of the season, pitching only three and two- thirds, surrendering five runs(12.27 ERA) that included a home run in the process. Baseball is a game of adjustments, however, and if Friday night’s game was an indication of things to come, Albaladejo’s arrow might be trending upward. Albaladejo pitched a strong five innings, surrendering only one run, striking out five, and at one point retiring six batters in a row.
“I felt pretty good coming out of the bullpen”, Albaladejo said, “especially my breaking ball; it was working very well.” Of Albaladejo’s five strikeouts, three of them came on the breaking ball. What also helped Albaladejo was first pitch strikes and attacking the Bees’ hitters. The team as a whole is one of the most patient teams in the Liberty Division having thirty- eight base on balls.
As for his game plan was with his catcher, Rossmel Perez. would he attack the Bees’ hitters? “My plan at the beginning of the game was to attack the strike zone…fastballs and a lot of them. But when I came out for the second inning, I noticed they weren’t making adjustments, so I kept attacking with (a) fastball until the fourth inning,” he stated. Only until then did the Bees finally make an adjustment, but Albaladejo was more than prepared to snap off some nasty curveballs that had both depth and tilt at about eleven to five break.
Similar to Albaladejo, Dan Johnson also struggled at the beginning of the season, hitting only .172 with one homerun and six runs batted in. While an average fan will say his statistics don’t appear to be good, baseball junkies will tell you he’s a professional at bat, who will see numerous pitches and make the pitcher work for that out.
That’s exactly what Johnson did against Bees’ reliever, Josh Zied. With one out and runners on first and second, Johnson hit a single out to right field scoring the go-ahead run at the time. “My game plan is to get a good pitch and hit it,” Johnson said. “I hit the first pitch foul and after that I was locked in.”
As with any baseball game when the game is tight and with less than a four-run lead going into the ninth inning (and your team is ahead), you bring in your closer. For the Bluefish, David Carpenter was their man. Carpenter shut down the Bees, striking out two. He throws with power out of the bullpen combining a trade mark live fastball and good hard slider with late darting action towards the bottom of the strike zone.
“It was a very good team win today,” Carpenter said. “Guys put the bat on the ball; defense made some nice plays. Albaladejo really ate up some innings for us and did a nice job,” he added. ” Kubiak just keeps doing what he’s doing as it’s dog= gone impressive.” Carpenter being the class act he is, didn’t talk about himself at all or how he did on the mound. He was more into talking about his teammates and what helped the team win.
“He’s got a great breaking pitch,” Carpenter said when speaking about Kubiak. “I don’t know if it’s a slider or curveball, but that pitch is nasty.”
Being able to make it back to the big leagues is a dream everyone wants to achieve, but one that is not easily reached. For Jonathan Albaladejo, David Carpenter, Dan Johnson, and David Kubiak, their dream of reaching the promise land is still within their grasp. Keep busting your butt, guys, knowing that no matter what it takes, all you need is one person to see you do something great or impressive enough who will give you a shot. That goes for any player, not just those on the Bluefish roster, but all those in the Independent League. Keep fighting, don’t ever give up, never give in, and forever believe in yourself.
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