Zimmer stays hot, but Scrappers fall to Spikes

NILES – The Mahoning Valley Scrappers’ season might be coming to down the home stretch, but that’s not stopping Bradley Zimmer -or his bat.

The left handed hitter continues to swing a hot bat, going 2 for 4 and driving in two runs on a triple to left center field in the fifth inning of the Scrappers’ 4-3 loss to the State College Spikes on Monday night. He is hitting the ball to all sides of the field and is now batting .311 on the season.

Hitting coach Phil Clark believes his recent success is due in large part to the adjustments he’s made to the way pitchers are throwing to him.

“I don’t think (him driving the ball to the opposite field) is intentional, I think that’s just how the ball is coming off his bat right now,” Clark said. “He’s feeling good at the plate right now and he’s gravitated to a lot of information that’s been passed on to him. I think the biggest thing right now is just getting the bat to the zone and the ball is just going wherever it goes.”

Monday’s game kicked off the final home stand of the season for the Scrappers as they play at home through Saturday and finish the season with a two-game road trip on Labor Day in Jamestown. With only seven games remaining and the team eliminated from playoff contention, there is still a lot for the players to learn and play hard for.

“Any part of the game of baseball (I can learn more from) is what I’m trying to do,” Zimmer said. “I think just improving every day and in every aspect of the game. Whether that’s on defense, my approach at the plate – you know, every day is a new day to come out and get better in some way.”

Following the conclusion of the season, most of the new players will be sent to Arizona for instructional league where players enter a program to get them “get acclimated to the Indians organization,” Clark said. Zimmer is one player who expects to be there after spending a couple weeks resting in his home in California.

Scrappers’ starting pitcher Juan Santana has had his share of bad luck this year. He gave up four runs in five innings, receiving his eighth loss of the season. Although his record (1-8) is an eyesore, he has been victim to very little run support in his starts. In seven of his 13 starts this season the Scrappers scored two or fewer runs. In six of those starts, Santana received a loss, including last night, where the Scrappers scored only three. He will likely get one more start before the season ends in attempts to reduce his 4.83 ERA.

The Scrappers finish their two game series with Spikes tonight at 7:05.