Part of baseball is that at any given time you’re going to have some players struggling and others hitting their stride. It’s the times when several players auddenly got hot, though, when your team can go an an extended run. We talked yesterday about how Curt Casali, Ryan Brett, and Jake Thompson have been unstoppable of late for the Montgomery Biscuits. And with that in mind, it’s not surprising that the Biscuits have dominated their opposition with no signs of slowing down.
Triple-A International League: Durham Bulls 5, Charlotte Knights (CHW) 2
Matt Buschmann just hasn’t fallen back to earth. The 29 year old entered the season stuck in the twilight zone as a player too old to be a prospect who still hadn’t played a big league game, and since then he has doen nothing but show that he may have something to give a big league team regardless of how old he is. In this game, Buschmann went 6 innings allowing just 1 hit, striking out 7 while walking 3. In 13 starts and 73.1 innings pitched, Buschmann is 6-1 wtih a 2.95 ERA for the Bulls. That in and of itself isn’t so surprising. What’s amazing is that he has struck out 89 batters, 10.9 per 9 innings, while walking jsut 34 and allowing only 4 home runs. Do the Rays have something in Buschmann?
Brandon Gomes followed Buschmann but was quite ineffective in relief, allowing 2 runs on 2 hits in 1.1 innings of work, striking out 2 while walking none. The Rays may just have a spot for Gomes, but he isn’t exactly forcing them to call him up. Kirby Yates, meanwhile, continued to dominate, tossing 1.2 perfect innings with a strikeout and 3 groundouts to lower his ERA to a puny 1.15. If that ERA and his 82-19 strikeout to walk ratio in 54.1 IP are any indication, Yates will be a big part of the Rays’ bullpen in coming seasons. With a 95 MPH and sharp slider, there’s no reason to think he won’t be. Leslie Anderson and Shelley Duncan both went 2 for 3 with a walk for the Bulls, with Anderson driving in 2 and Duncan driving and 1 and scoring a run.
Double-A Southern League: Montgomery Biscuits 10, Tennessee Smokies (CHC) 2
All season, the Durham Bulls have by far been the funnest Rays affiliate to watch. But the way the Biscuits are playing lately, they’re certainly giving them a run for their money. Jake Thompson took the ball for Montgomery and continued his dominance of late, going 7 innings allowing just an unearned run on 3 hits, striking out 4 while walking 1. Thompson has been enigmatic the past few years but certainly not right now as he has allowed more than 2 earned runs just twice in his last 7 starts, completing 6 innings each time and 7 innings in each of his last 3 outings. And in this game, the Biscuits offense gave him plenty of support. Curt Casali went 2 for 4 with a 2-run homer, a walk, and 2 runs scored and Ryan Brett went 2 for 5 with a double, a walk, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored. Brett is hitting .400 in 25 at-bats for Montgomery–that would be impressive except for the fact that Casali is hitting .440 in 50 ABs. Cameron Seitzer also went 3 for 5 with 3 RBI while Todd Glaesmann went 2 for 5 with a run batted in.
High-A Florida State League: Bradenton Marauders (PIT) 8, Charlotte Stone Crabs 5
He’s finally back. After a long recovery from Tommy JohnSurgery, Garvin finally made his long-awaited return to the Stone Crabs on Saturday and showed exactly why the Rays have always been excited to see what he could do. Garvin allowing 2 runs, 1 earned, on 3 hits in his 2 innings of work, but he also struck out 4 while walking none. Garvin was expected to be on the fast-track to the big leagues after the Rays selected him in the supplemental first round in 2011, and now that he’s finally healthy, he could be an interesting sleeper for the Rays next season. Andrew Bellatti allowed 4 runs in 4 innings behind him to take the loss, but Shay Crawford did pitch well, allowing just 1 hit and 1 walk in 2 innings of work, striking out 2 and getting 3 more outs on the ground. On the offensive side, a barrage of 2-hit games wasn’t enough for the Stone Crabs as their pitching staff struggled. Jonathan Quinonez and Alejandro Segovia both went 2 for 4 with a double while Richie Shaffer, Drew Vettleson, Jake Hager, and Willie Argo all went 2 for 5. Argo has quietly had a very nice season for Charlotte, managing a .312/.417/.397 line with 30 stolen bases in 73 games.
Low-A Midwest League: Lake County Captains (CLE) 6, Bowling Green Hot Rods 5
Lefty Stone Speer was pitching so well that the Hot Rods decided to give him his first professional start. Unfortunately, it did not go so well. Speer went just 2.1 innings allowing 5 runs, 4 earned on 5 hits, striking out none while walking 5. He had walked just 6 batters in his first 17.1 innings for Bowling Green, but whether out of nervousness or simply because he was having a bad day, Speer’s first start just didn’t work out. Austin Pruitt did pitch outstanding in relief, allowing just a solo home run in 4 innings of work, striking out 3 while walking 1. At the plate, the Hot Rods did have a few key contributors, with Joey Rickard going 3 for 5 with a double, an RBI, and 2 runs scored and Andrew Toles and Tyler Goeddel both going 2 for 4. Luke Maile had a 2-run triple and the slumping Brandon Martin finally had a breakout game, going 1 for 3 with a double, a walk, and a run scored.