Three games in the Rays organization, three bullpen collapses. Yuck.
Double-A Southern League: Huntsville Stars (MIL) 3, Montgomery Biscuits 0
After flashing dominance in major league spring training, Enny Romero‘s regular season experience in Double-A has not been nearly as good. In his last four starts entering Monday, he walked more batters than he struck out each time. Against the Stars, though, Romero finally made some needed progress. Romero went 6 innings allowing no runs on 4 hits, striking out 6 while walking 3 and managing a 6-2 groundout to flyout ratio. Romero continues to impress with his electric mid-90′s fastball, sharp curveball, and even a changeup that shows promise, but he has to find a way to throw more strikes and hopefully this is the start of that. Unfortunately in this game, the bullpen could not keep up Romero’s strong performance with Marquis Fleming and Matt Nevarez allowing 3 runs in the 8th, and the offense got nothing at all, managing just 5 hits as Andy Moye tossed shutout ball over the first 8 innings for Huntsville. Shawn O’Malley did go 2 for 3 with a triple for the Biscuits in the loss.
Low-A Midwest League: West Michigan Whitecaps (DET) 7, Bowling Green Hot Rods 6 (11 innings)
This one was crazy, going back and forth time after time, but it finished in about the worst possible way for the Hot Rods as they blew a 1-run lead in the 9th before falling in walk-off fashion in the 11th inning. Joey Rickard left off the game for the Hot Rods with a home run, but West Michigan got a 2-run homer by Lance Durham in the 4th to give them a 2-1 lead. The Hot Rods were able to take a 4-2 lead in the 6th on a pair of huge errors and a Leonardo Reginatto sac fly, but Ames faltered in the bottom of the inning, allowing a Jeff Holm RBI single and another 2-run homer to Durham to make it 5-4 Whitecaps. Ames had his worst start of the year, going 5.1 innings allowing 5 runs on 10 hits, striking out 3 while walking none. His command was off and he allowed a ton of flyballs, and Durham especially made him pay. However, Ames has been so good this year that his ERA still stands at just 2.13. After solid relief work from Nick Sawyer and Matt Ramsey, the score was still 5-4 West Michigan after 7 innings, and the Hot Rods found a way to change that, with another error setting up a game-tying RBI single by Patrick Leonard. Then in the 9th, Andrew Toles delivered a go-ahead RBI triple to make it 6-5 Bowling Green. But a huge error by Tyler Goeddel allowed the tying run to cross against Jordan Harrison in the 9th and then Durham was up to his tricks one more time in the 11th, drilling a walk-off double to send the Whitecaps to a 7-6 win. Durham went 3 for 6 with the two homers, the double, and 5 RBI as he was the one player the Hot Rods just could not get out. Andrew Toles did go 2 for 6 with his triple, an RBI, and a run scored, Joey Rickard went 1 for 3 with the leadoff homer, 3 walks, and 2 runs scored, and Goeddel and Leonard both had a hit, a walk, a stolen base, and an RBI in the loss for the Hot Rods.