There’s an interesting dichotomy in baseball between individual performances and team results. People call baseball an individual sport masquerading as a team one as a team one because when a player is at the plate, it is him and him alone facing the pitcher and there is nothing anyone else can do. At the end of the day, the only thing we care about at the big league level is our favorite team winning. But in the minor leagues, individual performances can sometimes mean more to us, especially for top prospects. When your teams lose, we just have to find a way to stay positive and individual performances can do just that.
Triple-A International League: Norfolk Tides (BAL) 3, Durham Bulls 2
Matt Buschmann pitched well, but the Bulls were 3-hit and were lucky to score 2 runs. Buschmann went 6 innings allowing 3 runs, 2 earned, on 5 hits, striking out 4 while walking 3. He will finish the regular season at 14-5 with a 2.86 ERA between Durham and Montgomery, striking out 167 while walking just 67 in 160.2 innings pitched. He really had an unbelievable season, and please check out Rays Colored Glasses later today because he was kind enough to take part in an interview for the site. Adam Liberatore followed Buschmann with 2 shutout innings, allowing just 2 hits, but by then it was too late. Mike Fontenot went 1 for 3 with an RBI double in the loss for the Bulls.
Double-A Southern League: Birmingham Barons (CHW) 7, Montgomery Biscuits 1
The Biscuits’ season is about to end (they have one more game), and you have to hope they can end on a better note than this. Marquis Fleming got the start in this one and went 5 innings allowing 5 runs on 9 hits. Jeff Beliveau, who was demoted to Montgomery so he can return to the major leagues more quickly, was understandably dominant in his inning pitched, striking out the side working around a walk, but Neil Schenk allowed 2 more runs in the final 2 innings. On the offensive side, Shawn O’Malley is about the only one hitting on the entire team as he went 2 for 4 with a double, the only RBI, and his 24th steal. O’Malley has put together three straight multi-hit games to bring his line in his last 10 games up to .353/.450/.471.
High-A Florida State League: Charlotte Stone Crabs 3, Palm Beach Cardinals 2
The Stone Crabs threw a no-hitter for the first 6 innings in this game, but it wasn’t until they got the type of hit the entire organization has been waited for, a huge go-ahead 3-run homer by Taylor Motter in the 8th, that they actually set themselves up to win. Grayson Garvin got the start for Charlotte and went 4 no-hit innings, striking out 2 while walking 2 although he did force a 6-3 groundout to flyout ratio. Lenny Linsky and Jacob Partridge both followed with shutout frames before things got more dicey in the final 2 innings. On the offensive side, it was basically all Motter as he went 2 for 2 with that big home run. Hector Guevara had a pinch-hit just before to set it up. If only the Rays’ pinch-hitters could do things like that! (No offense, Kelly Johnson. You actually did your job yesterday.)
Low-A Midwest League: Bowling Green Hot Rods 9, Lake County Captains (CLE) 4
At least someone in the organization is scoring runs. With this win, the Hot Rods clinched the best record in the Midwest League for the second half and also notched the most overall wins in franchise history. Reinaldo Lopez got the start for the Hot Rods but was on a tight leash as they saved him for the playoffs. He went 2 shutout innings working around a hit and 2 walks before departing. Stone Speer then allowed 2 runs in the next 2.2 innings, but Bowlign Green’s offense and bullpen picked him up. Matthew Spann went 3.1 one-run innings before Marcus Jensen struck out one in a perfect 9th. And at the plate, Tommy Coyle went 1 for 2 with a walk, 2 RBI, his 40th stolen base, and a run scored, Ryan Dunn went 2 for 3 with a double, a walk, an RBI, and 2 runs scored, Tyler Goeddel went 2 for 5 with an RBI, his 29th steal, and a run scored, and Justin O’Conner went 2 for 5 with a double and a run scored. Coyle’s overall numbers on the season for the Hot Rods are as good as any one could have expected as he has hit to a .278/.399/.405 line with 24 doubles, 8 triples, 6 homers, 58 RBI, 40 stolen bases in 48 attempts, and a 78-91 strikeout to walk ratio in 126 games. Time to officially annoint the former 16th round pick an organizational sleeper.