MOOSIC — Cody Carroll has taken his first season of Triple-A baseball by the horns.
The flame-throwing reliever has been one of the anchors out of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre bullpen this season, leading the RailRiders with two saves.
Carroll shined brightly on Wednesday when Syracuse’s Jose Marmolejos led off the bottom of the ninth inning with a double before the 25-year-old struck out the next three batters he faced. It was Carroll’s second inning of work and he was able to preserve the 8-7 win.
The reliever’s performance drew more high marks from his manager.
“I looked at (RailRiders hitting coach Tommy Phelps) and I go, ‘Now that was seriously impressive,’” RailRiders manager Bobby Mitchell said. “He pretty much dominated with his stuff. He was 97, 98 (mph) — way up there — and then these sliders were, I asked Tommy how fast they are and he said 86 but they looked like they’re 90. The thing about it is, he’s throwing strikes and when he’s doing that he looks unhittable. To strike out those three guys with a man on second and nobody out, that’s huge.”
Carroll has done a good job of working in both his fastball, which sits in the upper-90s, and his slider, which plays faster than it is.
The ability to mix in his slider with his fastball has been something Carroll has been working on with Phelps. And he’s making progress at a faster rate than Mitchell thought he would heading into the season.
“It’s huge. And like 3-2, he threw 3-2 breaking balls,” Mitchell said. “When you throw that hard, nobody’s looking breaking ball off of him. If it’s in the zone, it’s pretty much unhittable unless it’s a hanger. Yesterday he was really sharp”
Frazier ‘feeling the dance’
There was a point during the RailRiders’ recent series in Syracuse that outfielder Clint Frazier and hitting coach Phil Plantier made an adjustment to the 23-year-old’s swing. They focused on Frazier’s timing.
Plantier wanted Frazier to get more loose and show more athleticism in his upper body, and it’s paying dividends in a big way.
Frazier is batting .400 since the start of the Syracuse series, including the nightcap of Friday’s doubleheader against Rochester when he was 3-for-3 with a walk, two doubles and a home run.
“Just trying to feel — we keep calling it ‘feeling the dance,’” Frazier said. “I have a last-second hitch in my swing if anyone sees it. The point was to get the hitch timed up with my knee, to try to get it out of the way early because I felt like I was just missing fastballs because it was last second. It’s still there, a little bit, but by creating it early, it’s helping me turn around fastballs for the first time in a while. It feels good.”
Drury wearing glasses
When Brandon Drury walked out of the dugout during Thursday’s batting practice to take some swings, he was sporting a pair of glasses with yellow-tinted lenses.
The glasses only lasted for one round in the cage and didn’t even make an appearance again until the nightcap of Friday’s doubleheader against the Rochester Red Wings, but when he put them back on again, they did the trick.
Drury walked in his first at-bat before breaking the game open with a grand slam in the second inning. Drury’s four-run shot gave the RailRiders a six-run lead en route to a 7-0 win over the Red Wings.
“I just got them,” said the New York Yankees third baseman. “My vision kind of gets worse at night when it’s dark because it’s very blurry. So, it kind of lightens it up a little bit. It helped. Still kind of getting used to it though because wearing glasses is different.”
After the game, Drury said that he could see himself wearing the glasses moving forward.
“I liked what it did to the feeling I had on both sides of the ball under the lights,” Drury said. “Still not exactly where I would like to be but I’m stepping in the right direction.”
Adams working on consistency
There have been times this season when Chance Adams has looked like a future front-of-the-line big-league starting pitcher that the Yankees hope he can one day be. Like when he pitched six innings of two-run baseball in a no-decision against Pawtucket on May 4.
But then there are his outings like Wednesday’ when he gave up five runs in 2.2 innings despite having a 5-0 lead before he even got on the mound.
It’s that up-and-down play that has Adams still searching for his first win of the season while sporting a 5.67 ERA. If he can find some consistency, Mitchell believes the 23-year-old right-hander will able to take his play to the next level.
“I know he’s frustrated a little bit, but he just has to keep working and locating,” Mitchell said. “It’s just back and forth. I think two outings ago he was absolutely outstanding. Plus, you run into things where one day the hit balls that are hit pretty good are hit at people and you look great, then the other day you run into bad luck and you get ground balls that are (tough) ground balls. Then he made some — he would admit, he got some balls up over the plate. That’s when hitters hit them, especially at this level.”
Reach DJ Eberle at 570-991-6398 or on Twitter @ByDJEberle