Luis Bolivar is a positive, encouraging manager to his young ballplayers on the Dayton Dragons. He’s aggressive on the basepaths and he makes as many moves as he can to give his team a chance to win.
But some nights try the patience of even the most patient of managers.
Bolivar had reason to be frustrated Wednesday night when the Dragons lost 3-2 to the Quad Cities River Bandits.
“We didn’t see any fight, no energy, it was flat today,” Bolivar said. “Bottom line is you’ve got to come ready to play every day and do your part to help the team win.”
Bolivar’s actions spoke loudly in the top of the eighth inning when he sent Mark Kolozsvary to the plate in place of starting catcher Hendrik Clementina. In the previous inning, Clementina did not hustle after a wild pitch on ball four to Ruben Castro. So Castro ran to first hard and continued on to second. He didn’t score, but that didn’t matter to Bolivar.
“All I ask is that you give me your best effort all game no matter what,” Bolivar said. “And part of the learning experience there is that no matter what’s going on, just give me your best effort. I feel like he didn’t that time, so that’s why I took him out.”
The Dragons (9-11, 40-48) scored on an error in the first inning after Jose Garcia and Lorenzo Cedrola started the game with singles. But the Dragons got only one more hit, a single by Alejo Lopez in the fifth. Raul Wallace hit a sacrifice fly that inning for a 2-1 lead.
“Thirteen strikeouts tells you a lot,” Bolivar said. “You’ve got to put the ball in play, and we didn’t.”
Dragons pitchers Adrian Rodriguez, Miguel Aguilar, Andy Cox, John Ghyzel and Ryan Nutof held the River Bandits (10-9, 50-39) down with 12 strikeouts, but they walked eight and allowed two runs in the sixth inning after a leadoff walk.
“Way too much,” Bolivar said. “In close games like that you just can’t give free bags.”
Ghyzel entered in the seventh. He’s usually a ninth-inning closer and leads the league with 16 saves, but he hadn’t pitched for four days. Bolivar wanted to give him some extra work, but Ghyzel left after 16 pitches with inflammation in his biceps tendon. Bolivar said Ghyzel said that he’s had soreness for about a week and a half.
Dragons tales: Former Sinclair Community College pitcher Patrick McGuff will start Saturday’s game in his first appearance for the Dragons. He was signed from Evansville of the independent Frontier League after posting a 3-1 record and 1.55 ERA in five starts. McGuff will start in place of Hunter Greene, who is skipping his start to play the Futures Game on Sunday at Nationals Park as part of All-Star week.
McGuff played at Hamilton High School and then Sinclair in 2013 and 2014. He was drafted out of Morehead State by the Minnesota Twins in the 36th round in 2016. He pitched two seasons in the Twins’ organization, including last summer in the Midwest League with Cedar Rapids, and had a 2.40 ERA in 48 relief appearances and one start.
(BULLET) The Dragons continued to make roster changes Wednesday. Pitcher Connor Bennett, 21, was sent down to rookie team Greeneville in the Appalachian League. Bennett made six relief appearances with the Dragons and posted a 6.75 ERA. Bennett was replaced by reliever Brian Hunter, 25, who was sent down from advanced Class A Daytona. Hunter has a 2.55 ERA in 86 appearances since joining the Reds’ organization in 2014 as a ninth-round draft choice. He previously pitched for the Dragons in 2015 and 2017.