Obviously minor league results have nothing to do with the Rays’, but sometimes they encapsulate the feeling of the organization nevertheless. All four Rays affiliates in action lost on Thursday night, with one each losing in a slugfest, a nail-biter, a blowout, and a bullpen collapse.
Triple-A International League: Syracuse Chiefs (WSN) 8, Durham Bulls 5
Here we go again with Mike Montgomery. In this start, he allowed 8 runs, 7 earned, on 11 hits in just 4.2 innings. Here is his season so far: two great starts, one terrible start, two great starts, one OK start, and another disaster. We’ve seen promise from Montgomery this season, but will he is turning 25 in July and is running out of time to find the consistency necessary for him to remain a starter. Jim Patterson, Jeff Beliveau, and Juan Sandoval did toss the final 3.1 innings of the game in scoreless fashion.
In terms of the bats, Kevin Kiermaier had another great game, going 2 for 4 with a 2-run homer, a walk, and 2 runs scored. He now has a .306/.355/.490 line on the season. Any chance the Rays make him a hyped callup in a month or two? Jerry Sands also went 2 for 4 with a double, Curt Casali went 1 for 3 with a walk, and Mikie Mahtook went 1 for 3 with a double and 2 walks. It is nice to see Kiermaier, Casali, Mahtook, and Hak-Ju Lee give the Rays a quartet of position player prospects at Durham to join all the pitchers.
Double-A Southern League: Jacksonville Suns (MIA) 4, Montgomery Biscuits 3
This was pretty much a mediocre game all-around for the Biscuits, and, of course, they lost. Mike Colla allowed 3 runs in 5 innings before Kevin Brandt delivered two shutout frames. Unfortunately, the run Andrew Bellatti allowed in the 9th–one of the few he has allowed all year–was enough to make the difference. At the plate, Ryan Brett went 3 for 5 with a triple, a double, and an RBI to raise his average to .309 on the year. Then there were the Biscuits’ struggling corner infielders Cameron Seitzer and Riccio Torrez, who both went 2 for 4 with a double. Seitzer is off to a disappointing start after his solid season at Double-A last year, and the Rays have to hope he can get himself going. Something worth looking at: he has made a pronounced effort to hit the ball in the air and hit for more power, and it is not going well.
High-A Florida State League: Bradenton Marauders (PIT) 8, Charlotte Stone Crabs 2
This was an ugly contest for Charlotte. Reinaldo Lopez started and allowed 6 runs, 2 earned, in just 4.1 innings. Bruedlin Suero allowed 2 more runs in 2.1 innings before Ryan Garton finished with 1.1 perfect frames. On offense, Patrick Leonard and Marty Gantt each went 2 for 4 with a run scored to account for basically the entire offense. The Stone Crabs did draw a bunch of walks, including 3 by Josh Sale, but they went just 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position.
Low-A Midwest League: Lake County Captains 5, Bowling Green Hot Rods 1
2013 Rays first rounder Ryne Stanek had to undergo hip surgery that sidelined him until now. But he finally made his pro debut on Thursday, and the results were outstanding. Stanek went 5 innings allowing just 1 run on 5 hits, striking out 6 while walking none. He also forced a 5-2 groundout to flyout ratio. That is the type of dominance we would expect from a college first rounder debuting at Low-A, and the fact that he did that even coming off his injury is a great sign. No word on his stuff, but it is great to see him start off his career with a bang. Stanek will likely make a few more starts at Bowling Green before the Rays push him up to Charlotte. His journey to rank among the Rays’ top pitching prospects is officially underway.
The other highlights in the game: Oscar Hernandez picking a runner off 2nd base, Alexander Simon going 1 for 3 with a double and a run scored, and Juniel Querecuto going 1 for 3 with an RBI. The negatives: basically everyone else on offense–the Hot Rods got 4-hit in this game–and Aaron Griffin, who allowed 4 runs in 3 innings of work.