Of course it takes a mediocre outing for Taylor Guerrieri to finally nail down his first win of the 2013 season. Maybe that’s appropriate–after just how dominant he has been, maybe he needed to put it a little more effort to appreciate the fruits of his labor.
Double-A Southern League: Tennessee Smokies (CHC) 8, Montgomery Biscuits 3
Not much going on for the Biscuits in this one, although a few players did have nice games. Merrill Kelly and Andrew Bellatti allowed just 8 runs on 8 hits in 7 innings, but Matt Nevarez followed by looking sharp in his season debut, striking out 2 in a scoreless inning working around a walk. Nevarez had been dealing with shoulder soreness, but he was able to get beyond that and get off to a nice start in his first outing. On the offensive side, Todd Glaesmann had a nice game, going 3 for 4 with a double and a run scored, and Mark Thomas went 2 for 3 with a double, a walk, and an RBI while Mikie Mahtook went 2 for 4 with an RBI. Obviously you want the entire team doing better, but it was great for Nevarez to start so well and all three players who had multi-hit games have been struggling to begin the year, making their nice performances even more notable.
High-A Florida State League: St. Lucie Mets 2, Charlotte Stone Crabs 1
The Stone Crabs shouldn’t have messed with the formula. Despite the trio of Jesse Hahn, Jake Floethe, and Lenny Linsky doing great things the last several times out, Charlotte changed up who would pitch on Monday, putting Jacob Partridge behind Hahn and Floethe. Partridge pitched well, striking out the side working around a walk in the 9th, but after a game like this you can’t ignore the urge to find someone to blame. Jesse Hahn was a little enigmatic but kept the Mets off the board, going 3 innings allowing no runs on 3 hits, striking out 1 while walking 1 and managing a 5-1 groundout to flyout ratio. Jake Floethe, though, let up 2 runs, 1 earned on 4 hits in 5 innings, striking out 2 while walking 2, and that would prove to be the difference. Alejandro Segovia did have a nice day at the plate for Charlotte, going 2 for 3 with 2 doubles, a walk, and an RBI, and Kes Carter went 2 for 4 with a double and a stolen base, but they accounted for most of the Stone Crabs’ offense as they got some baserunners but went just 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position. Tough loss for Charlotte, especially with the pairing of Hahn and Floethe pitching solidly again.
Low-A Midwest League: Bowling Green Hot Rods 10, Fort Wayne TinCaps (SDP) 5
When we watch games at the major league level, one of the keys for pitchers is the ability to battle to keep their team in games even without their best stuff. Taylor Guerrieri has pitched so well in his pro career that we can forget that even he has his bad days. When that happened for him on Monday, though, he followed the lead of the Rays’ starting staff he hopes to join within a couple of years and fought to give the Hot Rods 5 solid innings. Guerrieri, usually a control artist, was really off against Fort Wayne, walking 2 batters and hitting 2 more with pitches while striking out just 1 in 5 innings of work. However, he held the TinCaps to just 3 runs, 2 earned, on 5 hits, forcing a 9-3 groundout to flyout ratio, and while it was far from his best game, he was rewarded with a victory, his first of the season and second of his career, for his efforts. The Hot Rods’ offense certainly helped. Tyler Goeddel kept his hot streak going with his best game yet, going 3 for 5 with a stolen base and a run scored. He has now hit in 10 straight games, managing a .333/.391/.478 line over that span. But while Goeddel was great, it was three other Hot Rods who stole the show with 3 RBI each. Marty Gantt slammed a 3-run home run in the 5th inning, Andrew Toles went 2 for 5 with 2 doubles, a stolen base, and 3 RBI, and Joey Rickard had a bases-clearing 3-run double in the 4th. Ryan Dunn and Leonardo Reginatto also had multiple hits for the Hot Rods as they pounded out 10 runs on 12 hits as their offense was in full throttle. Great to see Guerrieri overcome some adversity, and especially in the Rays organization, offensive outbursts like this are always special.