Suns notes - Pitchers turn Macon's Giles inside out

August 24, 1998|By BOB PARASILITI

The Hagerstown Suns pitching staff showed the heart of a cat burglar this week.

They stole the power from Macon's Marcus Giles during a four-game series. It had Suns pitchers' fingerprints all over the scene because it was strictly an inside job.

Giles came to town as one of the hottest hitters in the South Atlantic League with 34 home runs and 99 RBIs and a .329 batting average. He left Thursday night after going 7-for-18 (.388) - including one homer and six singles - with three RBIs, good for two additional points on the batting average.

"Once we saw him swing the bat, we saw his approach was to hit the ball to right field," Suns pitching coach Hector Berrios said. "We wanted to pound the ball to the inside and keep him deep in the zone. That isn't his game."


By his own admission, most of Giles' hits were bloop singles that he fought off by just getting the bat on the ball. On most occasions, Suns pitching backed Giles on his heels and forced him to lunge at outside pitches.

"He didn't pull the ball. He tried to hit everything to the opposite field," Berrios said. "That's what made him a good hitter. We were able to make him think about the inside pitch and forced him to speed up his bat and then feed him the changeup to the outside to get him ahead of the pitch."

Giles went 3-for-4 in Monday's opening game and followed it with another three-hit game, including his solo homer in the first - on Tuesday. He managed only one hit in the final two games, going hitless Thursday against John Sneed.

"We threw inside well against him," Sneed said after his 5-4 victory. "We had to establish the inside against him and that held him to the one bomb (homer). We saw him coming in here with 34 homers and said we can't let him beat us. He's a strong man who can drive the ball. It was big that we got the ball inside."

Making an impression

Most players are rated by their physical talents when battling through the minor leagues.

The numbers usually tell what kind of impact the players has. But for some, like Tony Peters, they have more impact than the numbers indicate.

Peters has 10 homers this season, all in the second half, and all but one of the blasts have had a direct bearing on Hagerstown victories, putting the Suns in contention for a possible sweep of Northern Division titles.

"I don't know what to say ... it just happens," Peters said. "I could just as easily come up in those situations and not make anything happen."

At least for now, it doesn't seem likely.

If Babe Ruth is famous for calling his shot, Peters should be known for picking his. Especially if you consider his home run timeline:

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> July 17 - Peters ties the game with a third-inning solo homer and then puts the game away with a sixth-inning grand slam in a 10-2 win over Asheville.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> July 18 - Peters hits a solo homer in the seventh to bring the Suns within 5-4, but Hagerstown goes on to lose 8-7 to Asheville. It's the only homer that didn't make a difference.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> July 29 - Peters hits a one-out homer in the first to stake John Sneed to an early en route to a 9-1 win over Cape Fear.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> July 31 - Peters leads off the game with a home run to stake Matt McClellan to a quick 1-0 lead en route to a 11-4 victory over Charleston.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> August 7 - Peters' solo homer in the fourth ties the score at 1-1 and puts Joe Young in position for a 7-1 win over Augusta.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> August 13 - Peters leads off the bottom of the first with a home run to move the Suns into a 1-1 tie, bringing Young even again in a 7-4 win over Charleston (W.Va.).

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> August 15 - Peters hits a two-run homer in the fifth against Charleston, which is the game-winning hit in a 2-1 victory and leads Sneed to his 14th win.

"That home run was big," Sneed said. "That turned all the pressure around and put it on (Charleston)."

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> August 16 - Peters hits a one-out solo shot in the seventh inning for what was an important insurance run at the time in the Suns' 7-1 win over Charleston.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> August 19 - Peters hits the first pitch over the right-field fence to break the Suns on top to start a 9-6 victory over Macon.

Peters has had more of an impact on the Suns' recent fortunes than the meteor in Armageddon. The secret to his success is still a secret, even to him.

"I've been fortunate," Peters said.

Honor roll

As if the Suns needed a testament to prove the strength of their pitching staff, the South Atlantic League gave the ultimate seal of authenticity on Friday.

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