The Tampa Bay Rays have had way too many close games not go their way this year, and even on a day they were off that would leak down to their minor league teams. 3 of the 4 affiliates would lose by just 1 run, though the other got blown out.
Triple-A International League: Toledo Mud Hens (DET) 1, Durham Bulls 0
Nate Karns struggled early this season, but he has been making up for lost time as of late. In this game, he went 6.0 scoreless innings, allowing only 2 hits and striking out 5, though he did walk 3. He has given up 2 or less runs in each of his last 5 starts, and has gone at least 6.0 innings in every one. Karns was passed up as an option for the big league rotation early this season when the Rays suffered a multitude of injuries, but if another injury is to occur he will receive strong consideration. After him, Brandon Gomes went an inning while striking out two. C.J. Riefenhauser threw the last inning while giving up the game’s lone run.
Offensively, the Bulls didn’t get much of anything. Mikie Mahtook did go 2-4 with a double. In his last ten games, he is hitting an unreal .410/.429/.718. But, Bulls hitters not named Mahtook would only get 3 hits, and they wouldn’t be able to plate a single run in this ugly offensive showing.
Double-A Southern League: Jacksonville Suns (MIA) 5, Montgomery Biscuits 4
Roberto Gomez was efficient in this start, going 6.0 innings and taking just 85 pitches to do so. But despite that, he still gave up 5 runs on 6 hits and a walk. Matt Ramsey did have a nice outing behind him, going 2.0 perfect innings while striking out 3. The offense was no-hit by Marlins’ top prospect Justin Nicolino for 6 innings, but they managed to plate a pair of runs in the 7th and 8th. Cameron Seitzer managed a nice 2-4 performance with a 2-run homer. Ryan Brett added a 2-run homer of his own, though that was his only hit in 5 at-bats. Joey Rickard also had two hits, but the offense as a whole couldn’t do enough to overcome Gomez’s subpar outing.
High-A Florida State League: Dunedin Blue Jays 7, Port Charlotte Stone Crabs 0
Blake Snell had managed a 1.79 ERA with 49 strikeouts in 40.2 innings with Low-A Bowling Green this season while repeating the level, and the Rays finally decided he had done enough to earn a promotion. In his first start in High-A, Snell gave up 5 runs in 4+innings of work. But, 3 of those were unearned thanks to a Tyler Goeddel error, and he managed a solid 3-1 K-BB ratio. He could do better, but not an awful way to start his time in Port Charlotte. Behind him, Jose Molina allowed 2 runs (1 earned) in 2.0 innings, though he did throw 4 wild pitches. Kevin Brandt threw the final scoreless 2.0 innings.
The Stone Crabs offense isn’t even worth talking about, as they managed just 3 singles and no walks while striking out 11 times.
Low-A Midwest League: Fort Wayne Tincaps (SDP) 3, Bowling Green Hot Rods 2
Ben Griset had been in the bullpen at High-A Charlotte, but the Rays sent him down to Low-A to get stretched out as a starter. He had a solid first start, going 5.0 innings and giving up just a pair of runs. Jorge Rodriguez threw 4.0 innings of relief, giving up just 1 run, though that would end up being the winning run for the Tincaps. On offense, Armando Araiza led the way with a 3-3 performance, and Kean Wong also added a 2-4 performance. He now has a .331 average, and while he hasn’t hit for much power, that should come as the 19-year old matures and fills out. Overall the Hot Rods offense was disappointing, as they would plate just two runs on 7 hits, none of them for extra bases.