Blake Snell has tantalized Rays fans his whole minor league career, as he has great potential but has put up inconsistent results. That has been true again this year, as Snell dominated at Low-A before struggling in June after being promoted to High-A. But, something might finally be clicking for Snell, as he threw 6.0 scoreless inning in Port Charlotte’s win Saturday.
Triple-A International League: Pawtucket Red Sox 6, Durham Bulls 4
Mike Montgomery was scratched from this start after leaving his previous start with elbow discomfort. The good news is that he hasn’t been placed on the DL, but rather it seems that the Rays are simply being overcautious. Expect him to start in his next turn in the rotation, which should come Thursday in Gwinnett. Merrill Kelly received the spot start in Montgomery’s stead, and struggled by giving up 5 runs in 3+ innings of work. C.J. Riefenhauser did a good job limiting the damage, inducing a double play and striking out a hitter in the 4th. He would also stay on for the 5th and get one out in the 6th, all without giving up a run. Steve Geltz then threw 1.2 scoreless innings in his outing- only the second since returning from a drug suspension- and Adam Liberatore allowed a run in his inning of relief. Offensively, Justin Christian had a nice 3-4 day with a double and a triple, and Curt Casali went 2-4 with a double. But, the offense as a whole couldn’t make up for Kelly’s tough start.
Double-A Southern League: Huntsville Stars (MIL) 7, Montgomery Biscuits 4
Mike Colla struggled once again in this start, allowing 5 runs on 9 hits in just 2.2 innings. His ERA sits at 5.64 on the year and he is already 27-years old, so if he keeps pitching like this his time with the Rays organization may be limited. Bryce Stowell and Santiago Garrido had nice relief outings, going 2.1 and 1.1 shutout innings respectively, but Braulio Lara did struggle by giving up 2 runs in 1.2 innings. Cameron Seitzer had a nice day at the plate, going 2-3 with a double and a home run- his 9th of the season and 4th in the past 3 games alone. It is nice to see him hitting for some power, but at the same time he is hitting a career low .254. Jake Hager also had a solid performance, going 3-5 with a double and a pair of RBIs. But like Durham, the offense couldn’t overcome the poor pitching.
High-A Florida State League: Port Charlotte Stone Crabs 3, Jupiter Hammerheads (MIA) 1
Blake Snell has struggled mightily in June upon a promotion from Low-A to High-A, but he finally found his groove in this start. Snell would go 6.0 innings, allowing no runs on 5 hits and 2 walks while striking out 4 and managing a solid 8-1 groundout to flyout ratio. Kevin Brandt gave up a run in 1.2 scoreless innings, though that run was unearned and he would earn the win. Ryan Garton would earn then come on to earn the 4-out save.
Offensively, a 3 run 8th inning was all that the Stone Crabs would need. Maxx Tissenbaum went 2-4 with an RBI, and Tommy Coyle also went 2-4. Julian Ridings also had a 2-4 day that included a double. The 2013 18th rounder has put up a nice season despite skipping over Low-A, hitting .284/.304/.448, though that is in a small sample size of 19 games. Overall the offense could have done better, but they were fine given the solid pitching.
Low-A Midwest League: West Michigan Whitecaps (DET) 3, Bowling Green Hot Rods 1
Ben Griset had a solid start for the Hot Rods, going 7.0 innings and allowing 3 runs while throwing just 83 pitches. Josh Kimborowicz was also solid in his first game since being promoted from Short Season-A, throwing a scoreless inning and striking out two. Unfortunately for the Hot Rods, the offense couldn’t support the pitching. 7 of 9 hitters would get at a hit, and Juniel Querecuto had a pair of hits in 4 at-bats. But, the team went just 1-9 with runners in scoring position, and that would lead to a Hot Rods loss.
Short Season-A New York-Penn League: Hudson Valley Renegades 2, Aberdeen IronBirds (BAL) 0
2014 9th rounder Chris Pike had a great start for Hudson Valley, going 4.0 innings and allowing just 1 hit and 1 walk to keep his ERA a perfect 0.00. 2014 10th rounder Bradley Wallace also had a nice outing as the piggyback, going 3.0 innings and allowing 2 hits while striking out 4 to also keep his ERA a perfect 0.00. Gerardo Reyes continued the good pitching by throwing 2.0 scoreless innings and striking out 3 to earn the save. On offense, Jace Conrad led the way with a 2-5 performance, both of which were doubles. Casey Gillaspie would go 2-4 with a walk, and Coty Blanchard was on base in 3 of his 4 plate appearances. Hunter Lockwood was responsible for both RBIs with his lone hit of the day, and that would prove to be enough for the Renegades thanks to the pitching.
Rookie Appalachian League: Princeton Rays 4, Pulaski Mariners 1
This was another dominant pitching performance from a Rays short season affiliate. Trevor Lubking was the starter, going 4.0 shutout innings and allowing just 1 hit while striking out 7 batters. Fellow left-hander Greg Maisto was on as the piggy back, and he too would throw 4.0 scoreless innings while allowing just a solo hit. He would also earn his first win as a professional. Steve Ascher was the lone dark spot for the P-Rays, allowing a run in his inning of relief. The pitching was a show of 3 2014 draft picks, but the 2013 class led the way for the offense. Riley Unroe had a 2-5 day, and Thomas Milone went 2-4. Taylor Hawkins also went 2-4 as Princeton rolled to victory.
Rookie Gulf Coast League: GCL Rays 6, GCL Orioles 1
The third and final short season affiliate was yet another one that experienced a dominating pitching performance. This time Junior Feliz went 4.0 scoreless innings before Alberto Casanas threw 4.0 no-hit innings behind him. Tommy Lawernce then allowed a run in his inning of work. On offense, both Matt Ford and Jeremy Hadley went 2-4. Zach Marberry also smacked a 2-run homer. All-in-all a solid day for the GCL Rays.