It was quite an exciting day in the Tampa Bay Rays organization. Both the Durham Bulls and Montgomery Biscuits had great wins, 5 Port Charlotte Stone Crabs represented the team in the Florida State All-Star game, and 3 players made their professional debut for Hudson Valley. The big league team may not be doing much lately, but as Saturday showed there are some players in the system to be excited about.
Triple-A International League: Durham Bulls 9, Indianapolis Indians (PIT) 2
The offense got going early by scoring 5 runs in the 1st inning, but they wouldn’t stop there, adding 4 more runs over the course of the game. Mikie Mahtook had a great day, going 2-5 with a 3-run home run, 5 RBIs, and 2 runs scored. As the Rays fall further and further out of contention, you would have to think that the 24-year old Mahtook, who is hitting .320/.389/.515 this year, is going to get a big league chance at some point this season. Both Cole Figueroa and Justin Christian would have 3 hit nights, and Robby Price added a pair of hits as well. Brandon Guyer made his first rehab appearance as the DH, and while he would go just 1-6, it is good to see him back on the field. He is scheduled to play the outfield for Durham tomorrow, and is not far off from rejoining the big league club.
From the pitching side of things, Mike Montgomery had a solid start, going 5.0 innings and giving up 2 runs while striking out 7. He continues a resurgent season, and like Mahtook he is a guy that should get a big league opportunity at some point this year. Doug Mathis and Josh Lueke would each throw 2.0 scoreless innings to cap things off for the Bulls.
Double-A Southern League: Montgomery Biscuits 5, Birmingham Barons (CHW) 2
Roberto Gomez had a nice outing for the Biscuits, going 6.0 innings and giving up 2 runs on 5 hits while striking out 2 and only throwing 74 pitches. Sam Runion, Andrew Bellatti, and Matt Lollis would all throw a scoreless inning in the game. At the plate, the Biscuits would smack 10 hits en route to 5 runs. Ryan Brett had a nice day in the leadoff spot, going 3-4 with a pair of runs scored. Taylor Motter had a 2-4 day as he continues a nice season that has seen him hit .319/.354/.461. Joey Rickard would also smack a pair of hits to cap off a nice day from the Biscuits.
High-A Florida State League: FSL North All-Stars (Non-Stone Crabs) 6, FSL South All-Stars (Including Stone Crabs’ players) 4
It was All-Star day for the Florida State League, and the FSL South, which included members of the Port Charlotte Stone Crabs, came up short. Justin O’Conner would start at catcher, going 0-2. Patrick Leonard had a great day as the South’s starting first baseman, going 3-5. The Stone Crabs also had three players play as reserves, with Leonardo Reginatto going 0-2 while playing short, Maxx Tissenbaum going 1-1 at catcher, and Kevin Brandt firing a scoreless relief inning. It was nice to have so many Stone Crabs see action in this game.
Low-A Midwest League: Fort Wayne Tincaps (SDP) 8, Bowling Green Hot Rods 4
Ryne Stanek experienced his roughest start as a pro in this game, lasting just 2.1 innings and allowing 6 runs on 8 hits. Aaron Griffin would throw 3.2 innings in long relief, giving up 2 runs. Brad Schreiber would then finish things off with 2.0 scoreless innings. Offensively Kean Wong had a nice 2-4 day with a double, a run scored, and an RBI. Johnny Field also had a solid 2-4 day and a double. No other Hot Rod would have multiple hits, but 8 of 9 hitters would manage at least 1 hit. But in the end, they could not overcome Stanek’s poor start.
Short Season-A New York-Penn League: Hudson Valley Renegades 4, Aberdeen Ironbirds (BAL) 3 in 11 innings
The second Renegades’ game of the year, this one was much more exciting than the first. Not only was it the professional debut of 2014 1st rounder Casey Gillaspie, 6th rounder Mac James, and 18th rounder Alec Sole, but it was an exciting extra-innings game. James had the best day of the three, going 2-5, while Gillaspie would go 0-5 and Sole would go 0-3. Coty Blanchard, a 2013 15th rounder, would have a nice 3-5 performance out of the 9-hole. He would also play hero in the game, hitting a walk-off single in the 11th inning.
Enderson Franco made his organizational debut as the starter after pitching the last few seasons in the Houston Astros organization. He would have a good outing, going 5.0 innings and allowing 1 unearned run. Darren Fischer, Gerardo Reyes (a non-drafted free agent last season also making his professional debut in this game), and Josh Kimborowicz would all throw 2.0 innings in relief, with Fischer and Reyes each giving up a run. Overall a great day from the pitching staff to ensure give the offense time to come up with the win.