The three-run homer is a Tony Robichaux standby … when he’s talking about what his own pitchers should avoid. But it was Troy that fell victim to a three-run blast at the Cajuns’ hands, and Dylan Butler’s homer in the sixth inning gave the Cajuns more than enough breathing room in a 6-2 win. They’re now winners of five straight, and I’m finding it increasingly harder to find some stuff to nitpick over — but hey, nobody’s perfect.
The Cajuns will go for a series sweep tomorrow, with first pitch coming at 1 p.m. Here’s a look at three things that went right for the Cajuns, and three things that could use a little work.
DYLAN BUTLER’S RESURGENCE: Dylan Butler has been a streaky hitter throughout his career, and that is certainly ringing true based on his start this season. After the conclusion of the Alabama series, he was hitting just .111 and was not an every day member of the lineup. But Robichaux must’ve sensed he was about to break out of it, and Butler is hitting .400 (4-for-10) in his last three games. When he’s going good, Butler might have the best power stroke on the team and he showed it off when he pounced on a hanging curve ball, sending it bounding off the midway portion of the left field foul pole for the aforementioned three-run shot.
FIVE SIDES OF BACON: I just promised someone on Twitter that I wouldn’t make a pun out of Bacon’s last name, but I’ve already told you guys about my problems with self control. Anyway, Bacon was really impressive Saturday. He struck out six in five scoreless, hitless innings of relief. It wasn’t a perfect outing, as Bacon walked three and hit another, but for the most part he attacked the zone (51 strikes on 79 pitches) and he did yeoman’s work bailing out Greg Milhorn (4 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 K) after a short outing.
SMALL BALL WINS, TOO: Troy’s got a good one in starting pitcher Grant Bennett, who breezed through the Cajuns lineup for four innings after giving up a leadoff double to Blake Trahan. But the Cajuns started getting to him in the fifth by using small ball tenets. Joe Robbins led off with a bunt single, then went first to third when Kyle Clement hit behind him on a hit and run. Robbins scored the tying run on Brian Mills’ safety squeeze, and Clement moved to third when Bennett’s flip to the plate got away from him and rolled into foul territory. Clement scored the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly. Butler’s home run is sexy, but the Cajuns got it done using every tool at their disposal.
MILHORN’S COMMAND: He was bailed out by Bacon, so this wasn’t that big of an issue today, but Milhorn’s walk numbers were high again. With three more walks today, Milhorn is up to 12 in just 18.1 innings this season. All those free passes have meant the senior starter has only gotten out of the fifth inning once in four starts. The Cajuns bullpen has been up to the task of going deep, but Milhorn has to start locating better as the season goes on.
TROY’S BUNTING ABILITY: I know this section is all about what the Cajuns need to work on, but the outcome could’ve been different here if Troy could’ve executed some Baseball 101. The Trojans had multiple opportunities to move some of those walks into scoring position Saturday, but they blundered them away. After Clay Holcomb led the game off with a walk, Nick Masonia popped his bunt up to first base. Greg Davis made a diving grab, and doubled off Holcomb at first. Then in the second and third innings, a pair of Trojan bunts were bounced sharply to Milhorn, who turned and fired out the lead runner in both instances. It wasn’t just today, the Trojans also struck out on a key two-strike bunt opportunity Friday.
HOT, HOT CORNER: I’ve been harping on defense a lot lately, but that’s the only phase of the Cajuns game that still — in my opinion — needs a lot of work. Tyler Girouard committed his fifth error of the season Saturday when he misfired on a throw to first in the second inning. I thought he could’ve had a play at the plate, but he opted to go for the safe out and uncorked a wild throw instead. As I’ve said previously, I think the Cajuns — specifically Girouard and Trahan — will get better in this area (and Trahan made a couple fine plays today, I might add). But Girouard’s fielding percentage is currently .839, and he needs to turn that around. Girouard is not alone. As a team, the Cajuns are fielding at a .957 clip right now on the year, and that’s down more than 20 points from last year’s club.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
3 – The Cajuns left just three runners on base Saturday.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
“That ball hung in there for a while, and I finally put a good swing on it.” Dylan Butler, on his home run stroke.
If he hangs it, bang it.