Sunday, June 25, 2006

Niemann not great, but not bad, either

Jeff Niemann took the loss in the opener of Sunday's doubleheader, a 3-0 Mobile victory. The second game was rained out.

Niemann gave up three hits over four innings, including a two-run home run to Stephen Smitherman on his next-to-last hitter. Niemann followed with a strikeout of Brett Dowdy. He walked two and struck out four.

Niemann's count -- 84 pitches, 53 strikes. Of the strikes, 18 were called, 18 were fouled off, seven were swung on and missed, and 10 were put into play.

To my untrained eye, he didn't look overly comfortable and seemed to rush his delivery when he threw a fastball. The press box took a good peppering from foul balls, meaning the hitters had the pitch timed, but were just missing it and fouling it straight back.

The first pitch that a hitter swung at and missed wasn't until the third inning. It was Niemann's 42nd pitch and 25th strike.

His fastball did show some steam, much to the misfortune of former Biscuit Joey Gomes. Leading off the second, Gomes took an 0-2 heater off the elbow and his pained expression was audible to the stands. Gomes stayed in the game.

Gomes played with Niemann last year at Visalia, so he took a good-natured swipe at Niemann: "It didn't hurt at all. I didn't even feel it. I've been hit by harder."

Niemann's fastball regularly hit 92 mph and topped out at 95.

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