There is never going to be a game where a team doesn’t blame itself for something. But after a certain point, you just have to tip your cap to teh other team and simply move on. It takes six months to move on, however, when that loss ends your season.
High-A Florida State League Championship Series: Daytona Cubs 4, Charlotte Stone Crabs 0
After their dramatic victory on Sunday, the Stone Crabs were just one win away from forcing a decisive Game 5 in the FSL Championship Series. From the start, though, they knew it would be a battle, and it turned out being one they could not win. Right-hander C.J. Edwards, acquired by the Cubs in the Matt Garza trade, started for Daytona and was excellent, going 5 innings of 1-hit ball, striking out 3 while walking 2. Edwards wasn’t overpowering, but the Stone Crabs couldn’t hit the ball with any authority against him all game, managing just a single by Jake Hager in the 4th inning. Then Ryan Searle finished the deal for Daytona, going 4 perfect innings forcing an 8-3 groundout to flyout ratio and striking out 1. The Stone Crabs struck out just 4 times in the game, but all they could manage off Edwards and Searle was a never-ending string of weak contact, and the result was a combined 1-hitter.
The defensive side of the game was just as frustrating for Charlotte. Dylan Floro allowed an RBi single to Dan Vogelbach in the 1st inning, but things really came apart when the Stone Crabs’ defense imploded in the following inning. Jonathan Quinonez, who had been the hero on Sunday, made two key errors in left field, one each of the fielding and throwing variety, to score Anthony Giansanti from 1st and move Chadd Krist to 3rd and what should have been just a single by Krist. Wes Darvill followed with a groundball through the middle for a single, and the Stone Crabs were quickly down 3-0. Floro did everything he could from there, tossing the next 4 innings in shutout fashion, but by then, it was far too late. Floro went 6 innings allowing 3 runs, 2 earned (no idea what it isn’t 1 earned), on 7 hits, striking out 6 while walking 1 and forcing a 7-2 groundout to flyout ratio. Floro finished his breakout year with another outstanding outing, but between the defense behind him and the Cubs pitching on the other side, Floro’s efforts fell short. Andrew Bellatti followed with 2 shutout innings before a passed ball by Jake DePew led to a run off Lenny Linsky in the 9th as the Cubs won 4-0.
For the Stone Crabs, it was a tough loss, but at this point it’s time to realize just how excited the Rays should be about this team. Between Richie Shaffer, Drew Vettleson, and Hager, the Rays have three potential starting position players in the major leagues and possibly more, and on the pitching side, they have four potential number three starters or better in Felipe Rivero, Jesse Hahn, Floro, and Grayson Garvin. The 2013 Charlotte Stone Crabs could not win the Florida State League title, but we could look back in a few years and realize that they have amounted to so much more.