There is no relation between a major league’s performance and their minor league affiliates. Monday, though, may have been an exception. Almost every Rays affiliate was playing at night and the Rays were playing a 2:10 game. There had to be some players who decided to catch the game and imagine themselves in a Rays uniform. And then the Rays lost 11-1 and all their dreams came crashing down. Maybe it was just coincidence that Rays affiliates went just 1-6 on the day of the Rays’ worst lost of the season. But if any Rays prospects were watching, it’s understandable that things did not go well when they took the diamond themselves.
Triple-A International League: Norfolk Tides (BAL) 4, Durham Bulls 3
Especially when compared to the games below, this game really was not so bad. Merrill Kelly started for Durham and was doing pretty well, allowing 2 runs in his first 4 innings, before a Tim Beckham error opened the floodgates for 2 more runs in the 5th. Kelly still did pretty well all things considered, going 5 innings allowing 4 runs, 2 earned, on 7 hits, striking out 6 while walking 1 and forcing a 7-1 groundout to flyout ratio. The Bulls got great relief from C.J. Riefenhauser and Steve Geltz, with Riefenhauser striking out 3 while walking 1 in 2 no-hit innings and Geltz worked around a hit and a walk in his 2 shutout frames, but by then it was too late. All three Bulls runs came on a Ryan Roberts bases clearing double in the 4th inning. Kevin Kiermaier went 2 for 4 with a double in the Bulls loss.
Double-A Southern League: Jacksonville Suns (MIA) 9, Montgomery Biscuits 0
This game was your two worst nightmares rolled into one. Enny Romero started for the Biscuits and had absolutely no idea where the ball was going, allowing 7 walks in just 3 innings of work and being lucky to allow just 4 runs. Then Erik Hamren dominated for the only Biscuits highlight in the game, tossing 3 perfect innings with 6 strikeouts, but his performance was just a temporary reprieve. Carlos Fischer allowed 3 more runs in just an inning of work and Joe Van Meter gave up 2 more in his 2 innings to make the game just as lopsided as it was. But it wasn’t just giving up 9 runs for the Bisuits–they also got 2-hit! Bryan Evans totally dominated for Jacksonville, allowing just 2 hits as he went the compete game shutout, striking out 9 while walking 1. Sheesh. Let’s move on.
High-A Florida State League: St. Lucie Mets 5, Charlotte Stone Crabs 2
Nothing going on here either. Ryan Carpenter got the start and was pretty bad, allowing 2 runs in 3 innings. Then Andrew Bellatti allowed 3 runs in 5 relief innings, all 3 in the 8th inning as the Mets pulled away. There were a couple offensive highlights, with Drew Vettleson going 1 for 3 with a walk, a stolen base, and an RBI and Willie Argo going 1 for 4 with a walk, 2 stolen bases, and an RBI, and Kes Carter going 2 for 4 with a double. Argo’s stolen bases give him 37 on the year. That’s nice.
Low-A Midwest League: Fort Wayne Tincaps (SDP) 7, Bowling Green Hot Rods 4
The good news: Andrew Toles went 2 for 4 with 2 doubles, 2 runs scored, and 2 stolen bases, giving him an insane 61 on the season. The bad news: basically everything else. Reinaldo Lopez is definitely back on Planet Earth now after allowing 7 runs on 7 hits in 5 innings, his second disaster start in his last 3 innings. Nick Sawyer, Jose Alberto Molina, and Ryan Garton did toss scoreless ball for the last 4 innings. Leonardo Reginatto also went 2 for 3 with a double, a walk, and an RBI in the Hot Rods defeat.
Short Season-A New York-Penn League: Connecticut Tigers 4, Hudson Valley Renegades 1
The Renegades basically came up with nothing in this game. Aaron Griffin for some reason lasted just 3 innings allowing an unearned run on 2 hits, striking out 2 while walking none. Why was he removed? Injury? Promotion? Well, it’s the low minors, so we’ll just have to wait and see. Brad Schreiber allowed a run in his inning of work before Eli Echarry allowed 2 more, 1 earned, in his 4 frames, striking out 4 while walking 2. Echarry has an 18-3 strikeout to walk ratio in his last 5 games across 13 innings. Doesn’t get much better than that. On the offensive side, Julian Ridings went 2 for 4 and Ty Young had the RBI.
Advanced Rookie Appalachian League: Elizabethton Twins 11, Princeton Rays 3
As crazy as it may sound, Princeton really could have won this game. Instead, 8 runs, just 2 earned, in the final 4 innings turned this one into a blowout. Jorge Rodriguez started and was not that bad, allowing 3 runs on 6 hits in 5+ innings, striking out 3 while walking none and forcing an 8-1 groundout to flyout ratio. Oscar Armenta and Josh Kimborowicz then got tagged by the Twins with an assist to their non-existent defense. At least they hit a little bit, with Hunter Lockwood going 3 for 4 with 2 doubles, and Leopoldo Correa, Johnny Eierman, and David Garcia also notching multi-hit games.
Rookie Gulf Coast League: GCL Rays 8, GCL Twins 2
Yay! A Rays affiliate won a game! Jesse Hahn started for the GCL Rays in a rehab appearance and did fine, allowing an unearned run on 4 hits in 3 innings, striking out 4 while walking none. Hahn is extremely talented, but the 24 year old Tommy John survivor has gone 5 innings just twice all year. He’s not young–at what point do the Rays stick him in the bullpen, where he has closer upside? Jose Alonzo then went the next 5 innings allowing just an unearned run on 2 hits, striking out 2 while walking none. Then Wilking Rodriguez tossed perfect game in the 8th and 9th to finish the win. Rodriguez, also rehabbing, has appeared in relief his last two times out–after shoulder issues, has he been coverted to the bullpen? Now to the offense, where there was plenty of excitement. Kean Wong went 3 for 4 with a walk, an RBI, and 2 runs scored, Nick Ciuffo went 2 for 5 with 2 RBI, Clayton Henning had a 2-run double, Riley Unroe went 2 for 4 with a walk and 2 runs scored, and Thomas Milone went 2 for 3 with a walk, an RBI, and a run scored. Wong isn’t hitting for any power, but he’s playing out of his mind nevertheless, hitting .368 with 9 RBI and 3 stolen bases in his last 10 games.