When you’re a top prospect, a couple of bad years and suddenly everyone discounts you no matter how talented you are. When you’re Wil Myers, a couple of bad weeks and everyone thinks you’re a bust. On Thursday, Montgomery and Myers made progress towards proving that they’re every bit as good as we thought they were for the longest time.
Triple-A International League: Durham Bulls 8, Scranton-Wilkes Barre RailRiders (NYY) 5
What the Rays will end up receiving in the James Shields trade is still very much up in the air. Want some optimism? Jake Odorizzi made his MLB debut the other day and Montgomery and Myers showed signs of breaking out in this game. Mike Montgomery had one good rehab start and one bad rehab start for High-A Charlotte but pitched well in his return to Triple-A, going 5 innings allowing 2 runs on 5 hits, striking out 2 while walking 2. He threw just 69 pitches, 42 strikes. We definitely want to see Montgomery strike out more batters moving forward, but it was definitely a step in the right direction as Montgomery hopes to finally get himself back on track after struggling mightily the past couple of years. Montgomery’s outing was good, but not so exciting. If you want something to get worked about, look no further than the Bulls offense. Wil Myers finally slammed his 5th homer of the year, a 3-run shot in the 4th inning, and although he went 1 for 5, he didn’t strike out. Myers isn’t playing particularly well right now, but he’s doing a great job putting bat on ball, not striking out a single time in his last four games while walking twice. Great to see Myers defying the propensity for striking out that has derailed him this season, and if he keeps doing that the hot streak we’ve been waiting for could finally arrive. Shelley Duncan also went 2 for 5 with a 2-run homer, Vince Belnome went 1 for 3 with a triple, 2 walks, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored, and Brandon Guyer, Cole Figueroa, and Juan Apodaca all had multiple hits. A bullpen collapse made the score in this one a little ugly, but Montgomery looked good and the offense was churning on all cylinders as the Bulls rolled.
Double-A Southern League: Jackson Generals (SEA) 3, Montgomery Biscuits 1
Not fun to get 3-hit. The Biscuits managed a walk, a hit, and a run scored on an error but got basically nothing after that as Anthony Fernandez and the Jackson bullpen was outstanding. Matt Buschmann took the loss as he had an up-and-down outing, doing 5 innings allowing 3 runs on 6 hits, striking out 9 while walking 4. 62 of his 108 pitches were strikes. He allowed a lot of baserunners, but a Brad Miller 2-run homer was his only real mistake. Andrew Bellatti and C.J. Riefenhauser tossed 4 shutout relief innings to finish this one off for Montgomery, but unfortunately it went for nought. Mikie Mahtook, Cameron Seitzer, and Riccio Torrez had the 3 hits for the Biscuits.
High-A Florida State League: Charlotte Stone Crabs 9, Clearwater Threshers (PHI) 8 (11 innings)
Finishes in games do not get any crazier than this. In the 11th against Kevin Brandt, the Threshers came up with two runs on a 2-out double by Cameron Perkins. But in the bottom of the inning, the Stone Crabs refused to go down. They had 2 outs, a runner on 3rd, and 1 run in when Ryan Brett came up with a game-tying RBI single. Then Brett pulled off a gutsy steal of second base to set up Jake Hager‘s walk-off single as the Stone Crabs won 9-8. Wow. Ryan Carpenter got the start for Charlotte in this one and did not pitch well, going 6.1 innings allowing 6 runs on 9 hits, actually striking out 8 while walking 1 but never really settling in. Jacob Partridge allowed an inherited runner from Carpenter to score but tossed otherwise scoreless ball in his 1.2 innings before Nate Garcia continued his incredible run of late with 4 strikeouts in 2 shutout innings. Now to the offense. Brett went 2 for 6 with a double and of course his stolen base, RBI, and run scored all in the 11th, and he has really made a major impact since returning from his suspension. If he can stay clean, he’s an interesting prospect. Alejandaro Segovia went 3 for 4 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored, Willie Argo went 2 for 4 with a double, a stolen base, 2 RBI, and a run scored, and Taylor Motter went 2 for 4 with a walk and 2 RBI. The pitching for the Stone Crabs was not really there for most of this one (although they struck out 14 in the game) but the offense came up huge in the clutch to help Charlotte find its way to a satisfying win.
Low-A Midwest League Game 1: Great Lakes Loons (TOR) 4, Bowling Green Hot Rods 3 (7 innings)
Rain cost the Hot Rods big-time in this one as Blake Snell hadn’t allowed a hit in 2 innings of work before the game was suspended yesterday, taking him out of the game, before resuming today. Brandon Henderson allowed 4 runs on 6 hits in 4 innings of work, although he did strike out 4 while walking 2. Among the highlights in this one for Bowling Green were Ryan Dunn, who went 1 for 3 with a double, a stolen base, and a run scored, and Tommy Coyle, who went 1 for 3 with a walk, two stolen bases, and a run scored.
Game 2: Loons 1, Hot Rods 0 (7 innings)
This second loss was especially tough for Bowling Green because Dylan Floro was about as good as you can possibly be and lose. Floro went 6 innings allowing just 1 run on 4 hits, striking out 5 while walking none and managing a 9-2 groundout to flyout ratio. He lowered his ERA on the season to 1.54 as he hasn’t allowed more than 2 earned runs in a start a single time all year. Have to wonder how much longer he’ll stay in Low-A as a polished college arm blowing away these inexperienced hitters. But the run support for Floro simply did not come in this one as he was charged with his first loss of the season. Coyle capped his great day by doing 2 for 3 with a double and a stolen base. Coyle has really been unbelievable this year, managing a .277/.398/.426 line with 7 doubles, 5 triples, 2 homers, 16 RBI, a 22-29 strikeout to walk ratio and 17 of 18 stolen bases. But for the Hot Rods to start winning these games, they’re going to have to push some runs across, and they simply could not do that in this game.