The Rays preach pitching up and down their organization. It’s always nice when that message gets across. On Saturday in the Rays system their was good, bad, and encouraging pitching evident all over.
Triple-A International League: Charlotte Knights (CHW) 7, Durham Bulls 1
Shane Dyer made his first Triple-A start for the Bulls, and while it did not got quite as well as he would have hoped, there were definitely some positive signs. Dyer went 5 innings, allowing 4 runs on 8 hits, but he struck out 3 while walking none. He forced an 8-4 groundout to flyout ratio and an 8-11 groundball to flyball ratio, not great, but a solid first step. Alexander Torres followed up Dyer with 2 shutout innings with 5 strikeouts before giving up 3 runs in the 8th, with 2 of them coming as inherited runners scoring with Ryan Reid on the mound. Torres went 2.2 innings allowing 3 runs on 2 hits, striking out 6 while walking 1. He just came apart in the 8th, allowing 2 hits and a walk, and Reid could not escape trouble. Reid allowed 2 hits in 1.1 innings but all four of his outs came via the strikeout. On the offensive side for the Bulls, Hideki Matsui went 1 for 4 to drop his average on the season to .111, 2 for 18. Hopefully he can get going soon. Matt Mangini did go 2 for 4 for Durham. The Bulls drop to 17-27 on the year.
Double-A Southern League: Montgomery Biscuits 1, Birmingham Barons (CHW) 0 (11 innings)
10 scoreless frames. That’s a lot- although the Rays did play that 16 inning, 1-0 game versus the Red Sox last season. Merril Kelly made his first start of the season following 9 relief appearances after making 23 starts in 2011, and he made his case to return to the rotation again, throwing 5 shutout innings, allowing just 1 hit, striking out 5 while walking none. His groundout to flyout ratio was a solid 6-3 thanks to Kelly’s nice sinker. He was followed by Frank De Los Santos, who allowed 1 hit in 2 shutout innings. Unfortunately, Pedro Hernandez for Birmingham was just about as good, allowing just 3 hits in 7 shutout innings, striking out 3 while walking 2. Kirby Yates then turned in 2 perfect innings for the Bulls, but Dan Remendowsky did the same for Birmingham to take the game into extra-innings. Then Neil Schenk and Remendowsky both were perfect in the 10th. But the Biscuits finally broke through in the 11th. Hak-Ju Lee singled to open the inning against Henry Mabee, but Ty Morrison struck out and then Lee was caught stealing. But Michael Sheridan worked a work, bringing up Ryan Garko to the plate. And Mabee left a fastball up, and the ex-big leaguer Garko drilled a go-ahead double. Schenk tossed a perfect bottom of the inning to seal the win for the Biscuits and a .500 record on the season at 22-22. Garko had the only multi-hit day in the game and the only extra-base hit for the Biscuits. But the hats have to come off for the pitching, who 2-hit the Barons for 11 innings. Wow.
High-A Florida State League: Charlotte Stone Crabs 5, Tampa Yankees 1
Grayson Garvin turned in a great outing for the Stone Crabs and the middle of their lineup stepped up as they went over .500 at 21-20. Garvin went 6 innings, allowing no runs on 4 hits, striking out 3 while walking none. He forced an incredible 12-2 groundout to flyout ratio, and his groundball to flyball ratio was still a ridiculous 14-4. Almost as incredible was 2-3-4 in the Stone Crabs lineup, who went 6 of 12 in the game. The rehabbing Brandon Allen went 2 for 4 with a double, a walk, and a run scored while Mikie Mahtook went 2 for 5 with a double and 2 runs scored. He has 7 doubles in his last 7 games. Nice to see the Stone Crabs playing well and running on all cylinders.
Low-A Midwest League: Bowling Green Hot Rods 9, Fort Wayne Tincaps (SDP) 3
The Hot Rods exploded offensively. Josh Sale had 3 RBI for the second time in 3 games, going 2 for 4 with a double, 3 RBI, and a run scored and Jeff Malm went 2 for 3 with 2 doubles of his own, 2 walks, 3 RBI, and a run scored. Joel Caminero went 2 for 5 with 1 double, 1 homer, and 2 RBI, and Drew Vettleson went 3 for 5 with a triple and 3 runs scored. On the pitching side, the Hot Rods were impressive as well. Parker Markel appeared in his first game since April 23rd, allowing 1 run on 2 innings but striking out 3 while walking just 1. Felipe Rivero, who was working on his regular starting day, pitching 5 innings of 1-run, 3-hit relief, striking out 5 while walking none. It was a great day all-around for the Hot Rods, who improved to 24-19 on the year.