There are not too many more satisfying feelings that the one when you realize that a prospect has finally broken through. The paranoia will be in the back in our heads for a long time, but Tyler Goeddel‘s numbers keep getting better and have shown all the signs that they are going to last.
Triple-A International League: Syracuse Chiefs (WSN) 6, Durham Bulls 5 (10 innings)
If you hadn’t had enough of nail-biting losses after the Rays game, you’ll find two more in this minor league recap. The Bulls were down 2-0 at one point but rallied to take a 4-2 lead after the top of the 6th. But then Enny Romero walked 3 in the bottom of the inning before departing with 2 outs, and Jim Patterson allowed a 3-run double to Emmanuel Burriss to give Syracuse a 5-4 lead. Durham did respond with a Kevin Kiermaier double followed by a Mikie Mahtook single to tie the game, but the Chiefs walked off in the 10th against Doug Mathis.
It was tough for Romero having those three runners he left on all score, but he clearly had a rough outing even if you want to ignore than, allowing 5 runs on 4 hits in 4.2 innings, striking out 4 while walking 6. This game was actually the first time in four starts that he failed to register a 2-1 strikeout to walk ratio, but he has been hit hard all season despite the improved control overall and this game was a step in the wrong direction. After Patterson’s blown save, Jake Thompson came in for his Triple-A debut and was excellent, throwing 2.1 innings allowing just a hit and a walk while striking out 4. Thompson was stuck at Montgomery the last two years as a starter before moving to relief this year and managing a 2.08 ERA and a 14-4 K-BB ratio in 17.1 innings pitched. He may have finally found a home in relief.
In terms of the offense, Robby Price had an excellent game, going 1 for 3 with a 2-run homer and 2 walks, and Mahtook went 2 for 5 with his big RBI, a stolen base, and a run scored. Also exciting was the performance of Hak-Ju Lee. The shortstop prospect went 1 for 2 with a walk and felt good enough to attempt 2 stolen bases, 1 of which was successful. Great to see Lee hitting and even running, and hopefully he is finally starting to come around after his knee injury.
Double-A Southern League: Montgomery Biscuits 6, Jacksonville Suns (MIA) 3
At least someone in the organization had a game with no complaints. Jared Mortensen started for the Biscuits and went 7 innings allowing 3 runs on 6 hits, striking 3 while walking 2. Mortensen’s 23-21 strikeout to walk ratio is not a good sign, but he does have a 3.24 ERA through 7 starts. Matt Lollis finished the game for the save, throwing 2 perfect frames with 3 strikeouts. He now has a 1.59 ERA and an 18-4 strikeout to walk ratio in 17 innings pitched. If Thompson was the first reliever promoted to Durham, Lollis could very well be next.
The bats also had themselves a fun game. Taylor Motter went 2 for 4 with 3 RBI, Joey Rickard went 3 for 4 with a double and 2 runs scored, Willie Argo went 2 for 4 with a double and 2 RBI, and Ryan Brett went 1 for 2 with a double, a walk, a stolen base, and 2 runs scored. Brett is hitting .297 on the season but for some reason has not been drawing any walks–his base on balls in this game was just his 6th of the year against 26 strikeouts. Hopefully that’s a trend that’s about to change.
High-A Florida State League: Bradenton Marauders (PIT) 6, Charlotte Stone Crabs 5
Demoralizing loss for the Stone Crabs as they blew a 3-run lead in the 9th. I’m actually not going to blame the pitcher who was on the mound, and you’ll see why in a second.
Roberto Gomez started for Charlotte and pitched well, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits in 5.2 innings. Then Ben Griset entered the game for his full-season debut after a strong season at Hudson Valley last year, and retired the first 7 batters he faced on his way to shutout ball in his first 2.2 frames. But then Griset had extraordinarily bad luck in this 9th, and it cost the Stone Crabs big-time in this game. The inning began with an infield single by Jin-De Jhang, and then the Walker Gourley beat out the back end of a potential double play grounder. Then Griset allowed two more groundballs to Taylor Lewis and D.J. Crumlich, but both of them made their way into the outfield for singles to load the bases. Griset forced yet another groundball, but Patrick Leonard picked a horrible time for an error, allowing 2 runs to score. Griset departed the game after that, but Parker Markel allowed a walk-off single (on a groundball) to Jonathan Schwind to win the game for Bradenton. Wow.
That last inning notwithstanding, Griset had a nice outing, striking out 3 and getting his other 6 outs on the ground in his 3 frames. More exciting, though, was the offense. Tyler Goeddel continues to be an impossible out, going 3 for 4 with a homer, a double, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored in this one. On the season, he has a .339/.424/.596 line with 16 extra-base hits, 6 stolen bases, and an 18-15 strikeout to walk ratio. And right now, he has a 5-game hitting streak, a 4-game multi-hit streak, and homers in consecutive games. This has been incredible season by Goeddel, and between the power and the plate discipline, he might just be able to make it last. Leonard made the big error but at least had a good game at the plate, going 2 for 3 with a double, a walk, and 2 runs scored, and Leonardo Reginatto went 2 for 4 with a double and an RBI.
Low-A Midwest League: Bowling Green Hot Rods 7, South Bend Silver Hawks 4
The Bowling Green Hot Rods are now 15-17. They started just 2-13, but teams have had little luck stopping them since. In this game, Chris Kirsch started and went 6 innings allowing 4 runs, 2 earned, on 7 hits, striking out 3 while walking 1. Kirsch has allowed at least one unearned run in his last three starts as his defense has not been there behind him. His bigger issue: home runs–the one he allowed in this game was his 6th in 31 innings pitched (1.7 HR/9). Colton Reavis did finish the game in style for Bowling Green, working around 2 hits with 4 strikeouts to toss shutout ball for the last three frames.
At the plate, Armando Araiza drove in 3 runs, but he did so in about the most bizarre way possible. One came on a solo homer, another on a suicide squeeze, and a third on a “sacrifice double play”–a sac fly where Kean Wong got thrown out at third base. How many players have hit a homer and a squeeze bunt in the same game? His baserunning blunder aside, Wong did have a great game too, going 3 for 5 with a double, and Juniel Querecuto did the same while also scoring 2 runs. Wong now has a 5-game hitting streak to raise his average to .336 on the season one year after hitting .328 in the Gulf Coast League. The 19 year old was born to hit. Granden Goetzman also went 2 for 5 with a double and an RBI in the win for Bowling Green.