When a player like Josh Sale has a great game, it’s nice, but you realize immediately that it means nothing if it does not get him back on track. Could a strong game Tuesday be the turning point for Sale?
Triple-A International League: Durham Bulls 6, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (NYY) 5
The Bulls’ pitchers were inconsistent, but a strong offensive night and just enough on the mound helped them to victory. Matt Andriese showed flashes of being extremely effective in this game, forcing an 8-2 groundout to flyout ratio and 6 strikeouts against no walks, but the RailRiders destroyed his mistakes, drilling 2 home runs as he allowed 4 runs on 9 hits. There is a certain element of bad luck there, but Andriese still has work to do locating his sinker consistently, and it won’t be a big league option until after that. Doug Mathis then followed with 2 perfect innings, striking out 1, before Kirby Yates allowed his first run of the season in the 9th. Luckily for the Bulls, they entered the inning with a 2-run lead and won 6-5.
In terms of the lineup, Charlie Montoyo pulled a Joe Maddon and batted Hak-Ju Lee leadoff to try to get him going, but it did not go well as he went 0 for 4. Luckily, a bunch of other things went right. Ray Olmedo went 2 for 3 with a triple, a stolen base, 3 RBI, and a run scored, Mike Fontenot went 3 for 4 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored, and Vince Belnome went 2 for 4 with a double and 2 runs scored. Belnome is hitting just .174 on the year, but he has now hit in four straight games, going 7 for 17 (.412) overall.
High-A Florida State League: Charlotte Stone Crabs 11, St. Lucie Mets 2
The Rays activated Josh Sale from his suspension at the beginning of the season and have just kept waiting and waiting for the real of version for him to show up. Finally it has. Sale had a huge game in this one to lead the Stone Crabs’ offensive attack, going 3 for 5 with a homer, a triple, 3 RBI, and 2 runs scored. He came a double short of the cycle–which unlike missing it by a triple, is actually pretty cool. Sale has just a .236/.345/.361 line on the year, but he has gotten that up to .263/.391/.474 in his last 10 games, drilling 5 extra-base hits and managing an 11-8 strikeout to walk ratio. Sale has made a lot of mistakes and will never be the prospect he once was. But the one thing he has done his entire life is hit, and let’s see if he can get back to that.
Aside from Sale, Thomas Coyle went 3 for 4 with a homer, 2 walks, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored and Justin O’Conner went 2 for 5 with a double, 2 RBI, a run scored, and a pickoff of a runner at first base. Andrew Toles, Maxx Tissenbaum, and Leonardo Reginatto also had 2 hits for the Stone Crabs also swiping 2 bases. On the mound, meanwhile, Austin Pruitt went 6 innings allowing just 1 run on 3 hits, striking out 3 while walking 3.
Low-A Midwest League: Bowling Green Hot Rods 11, South Bend Silver Hawks (ARI) 9
The Hot Rods’ record is going to be really bad for a long time, but they are starting to win games and that’s exciting to see. The pitching was a horror show in this one until Stone Speer tossed 2 perfect innings to end the game, striking out 2. The lefty Speer has gone from arguably the Hot Rods’ worst pitcher to among their best in his last few games, tossing 8 shutout innings in his last 3 outings, striking out 10 while walking none.
Now to the offense. Darryl George went 3 for 4 with a homer, a walk, a stolen base, 3 RBI, and 4 runs scored. We haven’t talked him all season, but he’s hitting .328. When did that happen? He’s one of three Hot Rods who raised his average above .320 in this game, with Granden Goetzman going 3 for 4 with a walk, a stolen base, an RBI, and a run scored, and Kean Wong going 2 for 5 with a double, a walk, a stolen base, and 2 runs scored. If it wasn’t clear, the Hot Rods running game was a big part of their offensive attack as they stole 5 bases. Ty Young also continued his recent hot streak, going 2 for 3 with a walk and 2 RBI. After a dreadful start to the year, he has hit in his last seven games, going 11 for 26 (.423).