It was one of those days in the Rays system where every game was either a satisfying win or a stunning loss. Unfortunately, Rays affiliates went 3-4, so more negatives than positives down on the farm, but there were still plenty of great performances and plenty to look back on in this minor league recap.
Triple-A International League: Durham Bulls 3, Norfolk Tides 2
Jim Paduch is no prospect, turning 30 in December, but he has to get a lot of credit for his great outing on Thursday to lead the Bulls to victory. Paduch went 6 innings allowing 2 runs on 7 hits, striking out 3 while walking 2 but posting a 7-1 groundout to flyout ratio including 4 double plays. Paduch did a nice job, and the Bulls got him enough run support to win. The Bulls scored 2 in the 1st on a Chris Gimenez sac fly and a Brooks Conrad RBI single before Nevin Ashley slammed a solo homer in 4th, and the 3 runs was enough between Paduch and a trio of relievers as the Bulls won 3-2. Cole Figueroa went 2 for 4 with a run scored while Tim Beckham went 1 for 3 with a walk and a stolen base.
Double-A Southern League: Pensacola Blue Wahoos 6, Montgomery Biscuits 0
The Biscuits beat Billy Hamilton and the Blue Wahoos the past two days, but this one did not go nearly as well as the Blue Wahoos used a 5-run 5th as they won handily. Jake Thompson started and was never dominant but tossed shutout ball for 4 innings before completely imploding in the 5th, allowing 6 straight hits to begin the inning and 7 overall in allowing 5 runs. On the day, Thompson went 4.2 innings allowing 5 runs on 9 hits, striking out 1 and walking 1 as well. His groundout to flyout ratio was 5-3, but he completely lost his command in the 5th. Thompson has shown flashes this season, but now his ERA on the year is an ugly 5.48. Marquis Fleming did follow Thompson with 2.1 shutout innings, striking out 4. The Biscuits managed just 4 hits, 2 by Omar Luna, who went 2 for 3, and Derek Dietrich tripled while Mikie Mahtook singled. Mayo Acosta went 0 for 3 but threw out Hamilton both times he attempted to steal.
High-A Florida State League: Palm Beach Cardinals 9, Charlotte Stone Crabs 2
The Stone Crabs actually led 2-0 in this game after a 2-run 1st. That was it for the highlights as Enny Romero‘s struggles were exacerbated by horrific defense as this one turned into a blowout. Two Charlotte errors led to 5 unearned runs for Romero in the 3rd, and 2 of his inherited runners scored in the 5th for his only earned runs. Romero went 4+ innings allowing 7 runs, just 2 earned, on 5 hits, striking out 3 while walking 3 and posting a 3-4 groundout to flyout ratio. Enigmatic Enny surfaced again, although who knows how this outing turns out without the errors. After Theron Geith struggled in relief of Romero, Chris Andujar tossed 3 shutout innings to end the game for the Stone Crabs, allowing just 1 hit and recording 2 of his outs via strikeouts and the other 7 on groundouts. Kevin Kiermaier did have a good game for the Hot Rods, going 2 for 3 with a double, a walk, a run scored, and an outfield assist.
Low-A Midwest League: Bowling Green Hot Rods 2, Dayton Dragons (CIN) 1 (13 innings)
The Hot Rods got incredible pitching and the offense came up huge later in the game as Bowling Green came away with a nice win. Felipe Rivero started and was dominant albeit in a brief stint, going 3 innings allowing just 1 hit and recording 3 outs via strikeouts and his other 6 on groundouts. The Hot Rods have been trying to limit the innings of their pitchers and had been using Rivero as their second starter after Roberto Gomez (who we’ll talk about in a second), but Rivero never really got comfortable. Back in a starting role though, Rivero was great. Rivero now has a 2.56 ERA and an 81-24 strikeout to walk ratio in 20 starts spanning 91.1 IP compared to just a 5.63 ERA albeit with a 12-2 strikeout to walk ratio in 5 relief appearances and 16 IP, allowing 23 hits. Gomez followed Rivero and struggled just enough in his new role, allowing 1 run on 2 hits in 3 innings, striking out 2 while walking 2 although his groundout to flyout ratio was 4-0. The Hot Rods had to hope that they could overcome Sean Buckley‘s RBI single in the 6th off of Gomez, but for a long time, it looked like they wouldn’t. James Allen tossed 6 shutout innings to begin the game for Dayton before Carlos Gonzalez tossed 2 shutout innings of relief. Jacob Partridge did keep the Hot Rods at just a 1-run deficit with 3 shutout innings, allowing just 1 hit, striking out 1 and posting a 5-0 groundout to flyout ratio. Ryan Kemp came in for Dayton to try to nail down the save in the 9th. But with 1 out, Jeff Malm singled. A Kemp wild pitch moved Malm into scoring position with the tying run. Kemp then intentionally walked Cameron Seitzer to set up a double play with the .220-hitting catcher Keith Castllo coming to the plate. But Castillo came up huge, lacing a game-tying RBI single as the game went into extra-innings. Both teams got great pitching over the next 3 innings, and after working around a hit in the 13th, Andrew Bellatti had gone 4 innings allowing just 3 hits, striking out 5 while walking none and posting a 3-0 groundout to flyout ratio. The Hot Rods finally rewarded him with a win as Drew Vettleson reached on a 2-out error in the 13th before Alejandro Segovia drilled a double to drive him in as the Hot Rods won 2-1 in walk-off fashion. Segovia went 2 for 6 with his clutch hit while Taylor Motter went 2 for 4 with a walk and a double. Hot Rods pitchers posted a ridiculous 18-0 groundout to flyout ratio in the game.
Short Season-A New York-Penn League: Hudson Valley Renegades 1, Connecticut Tigers 0
More great pitching to found here, and luckily the Renegades got their offense early. In the 1st inning, Marty Gantt and Joey Rickard walked before Richie Shaffer lined a single up the middle to score Gantt and give Jeff Ames and the Renegades a 1-0 lead. That’s all the Renegades got in the game, and that’s all that they would need. Ames didn’t allow a hit through 4 innings and wound up going 5 innings allowing just 1 hit, striking out 8 while walking 2 although his groundout to flyout ratio was just 1-4. Brandon Henderson followed with 2 perfect innings, striking out 1 and posting a 4-1 groundout to flyout ratio, before Marcus Jensen and Dylan Floro held the Tigers at bay in the final two innings to nail down the 1-0 victory, finishing with a combined 3-hitter. Shaffer went 1 for 3 and now has a nice .282/.372/.419 line on the season, while Tommy Coyle went 1 for 3 with his 16th stolen base of the season.
Advanced Rookie Appalachian League: Bristol White Sox 4, Princeton Rays 0
The Renegades 3-hit Connecticut. Bristol 3-hit Princeton. Not fun when it’s the other way around. Hugo Duarte started for the P-Rays and struggled, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits in 3.1 innings, striking out 2 while walking none. Pedro Silvestre and Daniel Bream did toss 3.2 shutout innings to end the game for Princeton, with Silvestre striking out 3 while walking 1 in 1.2 innings. On offense, well there wasn’t very much. Reid Redman did go 1 for 3 with a walk for Princeton. For Bristol, lefty Todd Kibby went 8 shutout innings. I had previously never seen a Rookie ball pitcher go as many as 6.
Rookie Gulf Coast League: GCL Red Sox 10, GCL Rays 4
Never fun to see not one, but two pitchers blow up. Geisel De La Cruz and Carlos Cedeno combined to allow 10 runs in the first 3 innings of the game. Ouch. Cedeno, Kyle Pelchy, and Matthew Ramsey did toss shutout ball for the last 5 innings of the game, but by then it was too late. On offense, Armando Araiza went 2 for 4 with a run scored, Yoel Araujo went 2 for 5 with a run scored, Bralin Jackson went 2 for 5, and Spencer Edwards went 1 for 3 with a walk, a stolen base, and a run scored. There was no scoring in the game from the 4th inning on.