As the Italian Baseball League season progresses, Mark Teahen finds himself still mired a slump, but his Tommasin Padova club has suddenly righted the ship, receiving stellar pitching after two months of underperformance. The Paduans are currently riding a three-game winning streak after a sweep of Padule and have a 1.94 ERA in their last six games.
On June 23 and 24, Padova took on surging Angel Service Nettuno and was faced with the same problem it has faced all year: getting behind early and spending the rest of its at bats trying to stage a comeback. In Game One, the Paduans ran into Ronald Uviedo, who allowed an unearned run on three hits in six frames, whiffing eight. Nettuno’s bullpen struck out six in three scoreless to preserve a 4-1 win.
The host’s stellar pitching overshadowed dominant relief work by Yunior Novoa, who tossed four frames, surrendering an unearned run on only one hit, sending five down on strikes. Teahen was 2-for-4 in the contest, but committed two errors.
A day later, the Tommasin men made a second inning run last into the sixth, but Nettuno put two on the board and held on for the win. This time it was Milvio Andreozzi (5 innings, 1 earned run) and Yuri Morellini (4 scoreless innings) who stymied the hapless visitors, who collected only five hits on the night.
Diego Fabiani kept Padova in the game till the sixth, when pinch hitter Giuseppe Mazzanti stroked a two-run single, one of only six Nettuno safeties. Teahen was 0-for-4 and committed another defensive miscue at third base. Ronald Bermudez, formerly a prospect in the Red Sox organisation had a double and a single as part of a 2-for-4 day, though he was hitless in four at bats in game one.
A week later, Novara’s Raul Ruíz one-hit Padua through 7 1/3 frames in the first game of the weekend series and the Paduans lost 2-0. Ruiz punched out 10 and allowed only a walk and a hit, while Brent Buffa and Jonathan Aristil struck out the game’s final five batters.
Roberto Canache and Novoa turned in great performances for the losing side. Canache tossed five frames, surrendering one run on three hits and three walks, while Novoa (2-2, 5.17) pitched three innings, whiffing four and allowing one runner to cross home. Teahen was 0-for-4, going down on strikes three times, as Novara’s hurlers struck out an incredible half of the 30 batters they faced.
A day later, however, Fabiani got Padova off to a good start, tossing six strong innings, and the offense finally pulled off the comeback it has needed so many times, plating the go-ahead run in the eighth. The 6-5 victory stopped a 1-10 run over the previous six weeks, snapping a four-game losing streak in the process.
Teahen had a RBI double as part of a 1-for-4 effort, though Carlos Perdomo continues to be the spark in Padua’s generally tepid offense. The shortstop collected a double, single, two stolen bases, and a pair of RBI on the night. As of last weekend, the 27-year old from Venezuela is slashing .313/.375/.475 with 15 stolen bases in his first Italian campaign.
Last weekend, the Padovan men finally put all the pieces together, and it was Fabiani who led the charge once more. The Italian-born righthander hurled six shutout innings against Sesto Fiorentino Padule, scattering six hits, and punching out three.
While the bullpen allowed three runs in the ninth, a trio of two-run innings by the Paduans ensured the 6-3 win. The 20-year old Fabiani finally saw a ‘W’ next to his name, improving to a hard luck 3-5 and dropping his ERA to 3.10. The up-and-coming pitcher has a 2.66 ERA with improving control in parts of two seasons in the IBL.
Teahen’s name was all over the ledger, with a mixture of positives and negatives. While he committed yet another error and was caught stealing for the first time, he also stroked a run-scoring double and walked twice. Still anchoring the cleanup spot for Padua, the former big leaguer snapped a run of strikeouts as well.
A day later, Tommasin once more secured a win at home, but did so in opposite fashion. Padule opened the game with three runs as the Paduan defence got off to a rocky start, but Canache was otherwise excellent. The 27-year old righty send seven men down on strikes in four frames, while only one run against him was earned. Canache is 1-6 with a 4.33 ERA, but has gotten stronger as the season has progressed, striking out 50 in 41 2/3.
Cuban Kenny Rodriguez then made his season debut for Padova and was superb. Rodríguez tossed four scoreless frames, scattering two hits and three walks, striking out a pair to earn a victory. Meanwhile, his offence gradually whittled the lead away with single runs in the fifth and sixth before exploding for four in the seventh, one of the bigger outbursts of the season. A further run in the seventh led to a 7-3 margin and improved Padua’s record to 8-16.
Teahen was 1-for-3 with a walk, with his uptick in performance over the past three games leaving hope for a strong finish. The former Royal is tied for third in the IBL in walks (20), but has struck out 16 times in 81 at bats. Against Padova’s competitors for bottom of the table, he has a .333/.500/.444 line during his club’s winning streak, but his .235/.392/.333 line has hardly been what Paduan bosses expected when they coaxed him out of retirement, particularly with his struggles at the hot corner of late.
The suddenly buoyant Tommasin club will have a hard time maintaining its winning form this weekend as the play home-and-away with UnipolSai Bologna, which is one game out of first at 17-7 and 11-2 at home, compared to Padua’s 3-12 mark on the road. The following weekend sees the Paduans travel to face T&A San Marino, currently atop the IBL standings at 18-6. Still, the more positive performance of late leaves hope for a strong finish.