Sunday was a rarity in the Rays organization: in all four minor league games, plus the Rays game, the Rays affiliate won or lost by 5 or more runs each time. So much for the low-scoring games we’re used to. Mixing it up with some slugfests is fun, though, and at least the hitters had a fun time across the Rays organization.
Triple-A International League: Durham Bulls 13, Syracuse Chiefs (WAS) 3
Through his first 10 games of the 2013 season, Vince Belnome had really been struggling, going just 6 for 29 (.207) with no homers, 2 doubles, and 2 RBI. Then the last 10 games have been an entirely different story. Belnome has hit .486 (18 for 37) with 5 doubles, 4 homers, and 15 RBI including his second four-hit game in five days on Sunday to lead the Bulls to a 13-3 victory. J.D. Martin, the only pitcher in a prospect-laden Bulls rotation who isn’t really a prospect, got the start for Durham and allowed quite a few hits, 10 in 6 innings, but managed to deliver a good outing nevertheless, allowing just 3 runs while striking out 6 and walking none. Martin has now allowed 38 hits in 26 innings pitched, but his strikeout to walk ratio on the season has been really impressive as he has struck out 21 (7.3 per 9) while walking just 4 (1.4 per 9). Will Inman and Kirby Yates finished off the game for the Bulls striking out 4 while allowing just 1 hit over the final 3 innings. Now to the offense. Belnome had a huge game, going 4 for 5 with a homer, 4 RBI, and 2 runs scored, Cole Figueroa went 2 for 4 with a walk, an RBI, and a run scored, and Tim Beckham went 2 for 5 with an RBI and 2 runs scored. Beckham is another player who has been red-hot of late, hitting .353 (12 for 34) in his last 10 games after starting just 6 for 31 (.194). Wil Myers and Jason Bourgeois also had multiple RBI for the Bulls, who had an outstanding all-around day on their way to an easy win.
Double-A Southern League: Birmingham Barons (CHW) 14, Montgomery Biscuits 8
How crazy was this game? Every hitter in both teams’ lineups reached base at least once, with every player but one for Birmingham reaching at least twice, and the winning pitcher in this game allowed 6 earned runs. Go figure. Enny Romero started and didn’t have any control for Montgomery, going 3 innings allowing 4 runs on 3 hits, striking out 3 while walking 4. Just 39 of his 80 pitches were strikes. Andrew Bellatti and Zach Quate were even worse behind him, allowing 9 runs in 2.1 innings, before C.J. Riefenhauser and Braulio Lara held the Barons to just one more run in the final 2.2 frames. On the whole, Biscuits pitching had an afternoon they would much rather forget. The lopsided score overshadowed the enormous game that the Biscuits received from Todd Glaesmann, who went 3 for 5 with a double, a homer, 5 RBI, and 2 runs scored. Glaesmann, the Rays’ 2012 Minor League Player of the Year, has struggled to a .253/.301/.453 line so far this season for the Biscuits with his plate discipline being a major concern, but he has incredible power and he just has to learn to harness it more often. Mikie Mahtook and Cameron Seitzer also notched 3-hit games for the Biscuits, with Mahtook going 3 for 5 with a triple, a double, a stolen base, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored, and Seitzer going 3 for 3 with 2 doubles, 2 walks, and 2 runs scored. Seitzer continues to thoroughly impress, now getting his average up to .318 on the season, and between Glaesmann, Seitzer, and Mahtook, the Biscuits will be just fine on offense–if only they can get some pitching.
High-A Florida State League: Lakeland Flying Tigers 11, Charlotte Stone Crabs 4
No one can do anything against Jesse Hahn right now. However, the Rays have limited to just 3 innings per start for right now as they try to limit his innings, and the Stone Crabs have to worry about the other 6 innings of the game. Hahn’s ERA in this one was 0.00–the rest of the Stone Crabs had an ERA of 16.50. Hahn went 3 innings allowing just 1 hit, striking out 4 while walking 2. He has now tossed 15 innings allowing just 1 run on 10 hits, striking out 16 while walking just 4. With a fastball hitting 98 MPH, Hahn is an excellent prospect for the Rays, but you really want to see him go more innings before you start evaluating him. If Hahn does keep dominating even when he gets extended to 5 or 6 innings, though, the innings he’s saving early on in the year may be enough for Hahn to surface in a big league bullpen role at the end of the year if the Rays so choose. But the rest of Charlotte’s pitchers were a great deal worse. Jake Floethe has had his moments this season relieving Hahn but had absolutely nothing in this game, going 3+ innings allowing 5 runs, 4 earned, on 7 hits, striking out just 1 while walking 3. Floethe simply didn’t have it, but because Hahn only went 3 innings and the Stone Crabs needed length from Floethe, they basically had to hang him out to dry. Nate Garcia allowed 6 more runs in 2.2 innings before first baseman/left fielder Steven Tinoco came to the mound to record the final out of the game. Tinoco also had a solid day at the plate, going 1 for 4 with a walk and 2 RBI, and Drew Vettleson and Luke Scott both went 2 for 5 with a double, with Scott also scoring a run. How he performed Monday was going to determine whether Scott returned to the major leagues for the Rays on Tuesday, and it looked like he will make his long-awaited season debut after looking great for the Stone Crabs the last few days.
Low-A Midwest League: Bowling Green Hot Rods 9, Peoria Chiefs (STL) 4
Granden Goetzman was a second round pick by the Rays in 2011 and has been a highly-touted prospect since then–but played in only 37 games because of a series of injuries. Goetzman hopes that this is the year he stays healthy and shows what he can do, and he got off to a great start in his season debut with the Hot Rods, slamming a 3-run triple as the Hot Rods won 9-4. Eduar Quinonez got the start for Bowling Green and allowed 3 runs on 5 innings, but this game was really all about the offense. Marty Gantt, who has found his way to the third spot in the Bowling Green batting order after batting a low as 9th earlier in the season, went 1 for 3 with a 2-run homer, 2 walks, and 3 runs scored, Tommy Coyle went 1 for 3 with a double, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored out of the leadoff spot, and Luke Maile, Patrick Leonard, and Leonardo Reginatto also had multi-hit games to go along with Goetzman’s 3 RBI as the Hot Rods offense pulled away in this one even batting against one of the Cardinals’ top prospects, right-hander Tyrell Jenkins. The Hot Rods went a ridiculous 5 for 11 with runners in scoring position and left just 6 runners on base all game as they made the most of their opportunities and made sure this one wasn’t close.