They say that pitching wins ballgames. That’s mostly true, but unfortunately you need at least 1 run to win. Rays fans have seen that way too often in recent years, and Matt Buschmann saw it firsthand on Monday night.
Double-A Southern League: Jacksonville Suns (MIA) 1, Montgomery Biscuits 0
How much better can you be? Matt Buschmann was just about as good as you can get on Monday night yet lost a heartbreaker as the Biscuits fell for the 5th consecutive game and got swept in a 4-game series by the Suns. Buschmann allowed just 3 baserunners over 8 innings, and he had the misfortune to allow them all in the same inning. Buschmann retired the first 9 batters he faced before walking Jake Smolinski to begin the 4th. After he struck out Chris Gutierrez, he walked Zach Cox. A Ben Lasater ground out gave the Suns 2nd and 3rd with 2 outs and Kyle Skipworth delivered, lining a single to score Smolinski before Gutierrez was gunned down at home by Mikie Mahtook to end the inning. That was it. Buschmann retired the final 12 batters he faced to end his outing. Buschmann went 8 innings allowing just the 1 run on 1 hit, striking out 3 while walking 2 but posting a ridiculous 16-2 groundout to flyout ratio. He was tremendous, but the Biscuits’ bats let him down, banging out 7 hits against Bryan Evans and a pair of relievers but going 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position. Omar Luna even went 3 for 4 with a triple but could not be driven in. Tough loss for the Biscuits and they have to be kicking themselves for not winning this one.
Low-A Midwest League: Bowling Green Hot Rods 11, South Bend Silver Hawks 5
On the opposite edge of the spectrum as the Montgomery game, Jake Floethe struggled but his offense and bullpen picked him up as the Hot Rods found their way to an easy win. Floethe lasted just 1.2 innings allowing 4 runs on 4 hits, striking out just 1 while walking 3. But Reinaldo Lopez and Stayton Thomas were great in relief as Lopez went 4.1 innings allowing just 1 run on 4 hits, striking out 4 while walking none and posting a 5-1 groundout to flyout ratio, and Thomas went 3 one-hit innings for his 5th save, striking out 1 with a 5-2 groundout to flyout ratio. Now let’s talk about the offense. Taylor Motter went just 1 for 4, but the 1 was a 2-run homer and he also walked and stole 2 bases. Tyler Goeddel and Alejandro Segovia drove in 3 each, with Goeddel also stealing his 30th bag of the season, and Jake Hager and Ben Kline each went 2 for 5 with a double. Kline now has 2 hits in each of his 3 games with the Hot Rods.
Short Season-A New York-Penn League: Staten Island Yankees 8, Hudson Valley Renegades 3
The Renegades saw their winning streak end at 9 as the Yankees roughed up lefty Matthew Spann and the Renegades didn’t have an offensive outburst this time around. Spann lasted just 3+ innings allowing 6 runs on 6 hits, striking out 5 but walking 5 as well as he struggled mightily with control. Alex Moshier did toss 2 perfect relief innings for the Renegades, and Tommy Coyle and Charles Epperson had the Renegades only 2 RBIs.
Advanced Rookie Appalachian League: Princeton Rays 4, Elizabethton Twins 3
Sure, there were only 4 games, but the pitcher who led the Rays system in strikeouts on Monday was a reliever- and he only threw 2 innings! His performance proved key as the P-Rays blew a 3-1 lead but managed to come away with a 4-3 win. Bruedlin Suero started for Princeton and wasn’t particularly good, allowing 3 runs on 6 hits in 4.2 innings, striking out 2 and walking 2 as well although he did post a 4-2 groundout to flyout ratio. He was handed a 3-1 lead on a wild pitch, a Julian Morillo RBI single, and Willie Argo groundout, but he gave it back in a tough bottom of the 5th. But Randy Davis kept the game tied by following Suero with 2.1 shutout innings, allowing just 1 hit and striking out 2, before Nick Sawyer struck out the side working around a walk in the 8th. And in the 9th, John Alexander drilled a go-ahead RBI double before Sawyer worked around another walk by striking out the side again, totaling 6 strikeouts in just 2 innings, as he nailed down his second professional win. Sawyer continues to impress, lowering his ERA on the season down to just 0.31 as he has struck out an incredible 56 while walking 12 in 29 innings across 18 innings. Sawyer was the Rays’ final pick in the 2012 draft down in the 40th round, but he sure isn’t pitching like it.