Monday was a sad day as the regular season has ended for every Rays affiliate other than the Hudson Valley Renegades. The Double-A Montgomery Biscuits, the Low-A Bowling Green Hot Rods, and the ‘Gades will all be heading to the postseason, but it’s always sad to see things come to a close.
Triple-A International League: Charlotte Stone Crabs (CHW) 5, Durham Bulls 3 (8 innings)
Unfortunately, the Bulls’ season ended on a down note. Lance Pendleton started for Durham and struggled in his final outing of the season, allowing 5 runs on 6 hits in 4.2 innings, striking out 4 while walking 1. The Bulls were down 5-0 after 4 but then finally came alive offensively. Cole Figueroa singled in a run in the 5th, and then Kevin Kiermaier singled in a run and Nevin Ashley doubled in a run in the 6th. But the Bulls could get no closer and the game was ended early by rain as the Bulls lost 5-3. Jim Patterson was great in relief, allowing just 2 hits in 3.2 shutout innings, striking out 4 while walking none. Ashley and Stephen Vogt both went 2 for 3, while Tim Beckham went 2 for 4. Beckham finished the season with a .256/.325/.361 line in 72 games.
Low-A Midwest League: Game 1: Bowling Green Hot Rods 5, Fort Wayne Tincaps (SDP) 4 (7 innings)
The Hot Rods battled back from a 4-1 deficit as they came away with a great win. Felipe Rivero struggled in his final regular season start, allowing 4 runs on 7 hits in 3 innings, striking out 2 while walking 1. But the Hot Rods began to chip away at the 4-1 deficit in the 3rd, scoring a run on a Cameron Seitzer RBI single, and then Alejandro Segovia slammed a solo homer to make it a 4-3 game. Then the Hot Rods took the lead in the 5th, scoring 2 runs on a Kes Carter run scoring double (with an error involved) and a balk. Jason Wilson went 3 shutout relief innings before Hubbard tossed a shutout 9th for his 23rd save as Bowling Green won 5-4. Juniel Querecuto went 1 for 2 with a double, a walk, and 2 runs scored, Seitzer went 1 for 2 with 2 RBI, and Jake Hager went 1 for 3 and stole his 17th base of the season.
Game 2: Fort Wayne Tincaps 5, Bowling Green Hot Rods 2 (7 innings)
The Hot Rods only managed to win 1 of 2 on the regular season’s final day as the Tincaps got them in this one. Reinaldo Lopez started and struggled, allowing 5 runs on 8 hits in 5.2 innings, striking out just 2 while walking 4. Shay Crawford went 1.1 perfect innings, getting half his outs via the strikeout and the other half on groundouts, but by then it was too late. Ben Kline did go 1 for 3 with an RBI double in the 9th, Keith Castillo went 2 for 3 with a run scored, and Drew Vettleson went 1 for 2 with a walk and his 20th stolen base of the year. Vettleson finished with a .275/.340/.432 line with 24 doubles, 5 triples, 15 homers, 69 RBI, and 20 stolen bases. Not too shabby at all.
Short Season-A New York-Penn League: Hudson Valley Renegades 2, Tri-City Valleycats (HOU) 1 (11 innings)
This would have been a nice way to end the season. Unfortunately, the Renegades have a few more games to go. Tommy Coyle gave the Renegades a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the 1st on a solo homer, and Taylor Guerrieri made sure it held up, going 5 innings allowing just 2 hits, striking out 4 while walking 3 and posting a 9-0 groundout to flyout ratio. It was Guerrieri’s first start of the entire season where he didn’t have a 2-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio. Pretty unbelievable. Guerrieri has somehow (i.e. the bullpen) gone just 1-2, but with a 1.05 ERA and a 45-5 strikeout to walk ratio in 12 starts and 52 IP. Jordan Harrison followed with 2 great relief innings, allowing just a hit and striking out 4 while walking none. But the Renegades’ lead was still just 1-0 as Brian Holmes, who entered in the third inning, was amidst a performance in which he allowed no hits in 7 innings, striking out 7 while walking 1. And Rob Finneran popped in the 8th for the Renegades as part of a ZERO contact inning, striking out the side while walking 4 to plate a run to make it a 1-1 game. Marcus Jensen followed with 2.2 shutout innings of relief for the win, striking out 2, and the Renegades scored the go-ahead run in the 11th as Marty Gantt somehow scored from 2nd on a passed ball (the ball got away very far and Gantt can fly) as the Renegades won 2-1. The Renegades managed just 3 hits, and 2 of them were by Tommy Coyle, who went 2 for 5 with the solo homer and his 20th stolen base of the season.