In a season that has been filled with tough injury news for the Tampa Bay Rays, the club got some good news with Tim Beckham returned to his first game action since tearing his ACL last offseason. Of course, Beckham has only seen a cup of coffee in the big leagues as a September call-up, but if healthy he could factor in again in a similar role this year.
Triple-A International League: Durham Bulls 5, Rochester Red Wings (MIN) 1
In a night where the Bulls needed a good start thanks to Mike Montgomery‘s short outing the day before, Enny Romero delivered. He would go 6.0 innings, allowing 1 run on 6 hits while striking out 4 and walking 3. Steve Geltz and Josh Lueke then combined to shutout the Red Wings over the final 3.0 innings. It is truly amazing how great this Bulls bullpen i– after Doug Mathis (4.22 ERA) the HIGHEST ERA among their relievers is a 3.32 mark from Brandon Gomes.
Offensively, the no one had multiple hits for the Bulls. However behind doubles from Hak-Ju Lee, Jeremy Moore, Ali Solis, and Mike Fontenot, the Bulls’ offense managed to score a solid 5 runs. Lee, once one of the top shortstop prospects in all of baseball, still has yet to hit this season, slashing just .203/.276/.260. His early season struggles were often credited to rust from missing almost all of 2013 with a knee injury, but as the season has gone on he hasn’t gotten any better.
Double-A Southern League: Montgomery Biscuits 9, Chattanooga Lookouts (LAD) 2
The offense broke out, and once again it was in a large part thanks to Taylor Motter. After hitting a homer as part of a 1 for 3, 3 RBI performance on the night, Motter has now hit 5 of his 12 homers in his last 5 games. Jeff Malm also joined the fun, going 2 for 5 with 2 RBIs and 3 runs scored. Alejandro Segovia also contributed with a 3 for 5 night, and Kes Carter and Luke Maile both had multiple hits as well.
On the pitching side of things, Mike Colla had a solid start, going 5.2 innings and allowing just an unearned run while striking out 7 and walking 1. Colla has experienced his fair share of struggles this year, but he has turned things on in his last 4 starts by allowing just 4 earned runs spanning 23.1 innings. Andrew Belatti allowed a run in 2.1 innings of relief before Jim Patterson finished things off with a final scoreless inning.
High-A Florida State League: Clearwater Threshers (PHI) 4, Charlotte Stone Crabs 3
Jordan Harrison made the start for the Stone Crabs, and while he let up just 3 hits, he would allow 4 runs in 5.2 innings while walking 2 and striking out 3. Kevin Brandt and Colton Reavis held things down in relief, but the offense never could put together a rally. Tyler Goeddel had a nice night, going 2 for 2 and adding a pair of walks. The toolsy infielder, known for his hot starts and second half blunders, might finally be putting together some late season performance as he is hitting .388 in his last 10 games. Justin O’Conner smacked a homer for his only hit, but the offense as a whole couldn’t put together much of an effort in a winnable game.
Low-A Midwest League: Bowling Green Hot Rods 7, Beloit Snappers (OAK) 3
Bruedlin Suero had a solid start for the Hot Rods, throwing 6.2 innings and allowing 2 runs while striking out 5 and walking none. William Gabay would then allow a run in 1.1 innings of relief before Luis Cabrera finished things off with a shutout inning. The offense was led by Ty Young, who went 3 for 4 with a homer, 2 RBIs, and 2runs scored. Juniel Querecuto also contributed with a 2 for 5 night out of the leadoff spot. Querecuto doesn’t hit for much power, but as his .300 average and .346 on base percentage attest to, he has solid contact abilities and a good approach at the plate.
Short Season-A New York-Penn League: Hudson Valley Renegades 3, Vermont Lake Monsters (OAK) 2
Enderson Franco had a solid start for the Renegades, allowing 2 runs over 5.0 innings while striking out 3 and walking none. The bullpen was key to the Renegades win as Justin McCalvin and Kyle McKenzie (more on him later) held Lake Monster’s hitters at bay by each throwing 2.0 shutout innings. Hunter Lockwood scored 2 of the Renegades 3 runs as part of a 1 for 3 night. No Renegade had multiple hits, however Casey Gillaspie, Bralin Jackson, and Coty Blanchard all smacked doubles.
Advanced Rookie Appalachian League: Kingsport Mets 3, Princeton Rays 1
Hyrum Forno had a great start for the P-Rays, scattering just 3 hits and allowing no runs over 5.2 innings of work. The bullpen struggled, however, with Kyle McKenzie giving up an unearned run in his 1.1 innings before Rafael Cordova allowed 2 runs in his 1.1 innings. According to box scores, McKenzie pitched for BOTH Hudson Valley and Princeton in the same day, which surely is an error. McKenzie tweeted something about being in Vermont, so it seems that someone else actually pitched in this game. Offensively the P-Rays could not manage much, smacking 6 hits en route to 1 run.
Rookie Gulf Coast League: Game 1: GCL Red Sox 7, GCL Rays 6 (8 innings)
Game 2: GCL Red Sox 4, Grays 1 (7 innings)
Most notably in the first game, Tim Beckham returned to game action for the first time since tearing his ACL this past offseason. Beckham would go 3 for 4 as the DH with a triple, 2 RBIs, and 1 run scored. The former first overall pick in 2008 still has a lot to prove if he wants to find himself with a utility role on a Rays roster full of versatile players, but just being back on the field is a good start. Also notable was that Zac Law would go 1 for 1 before being removed with a leg injury, the seriousness of which is not yet known. The offense did a good job in this game, however 3 unearned runs while Henry Centeno was on the mound came back to bite the Grays.
In the second contest, Deivy Mendez had a badly needed solid start for the GCL Rays. Mendez entered the game with a 9.24 ERA in not the smallest sample size (12.2 innings pitched), but he proceeded to go 4 innings allowing 2 runs, none earned, on 3 hits, striking out 3 while walking 2. Now his ERA stands at a tidy 7.02. On the offensive side, Oscar Sanay had a good game, going 1 for 2 with a walk and the only Grays run scored. Sanay, an undrafted free agent out of Cal State Bakersfield, has been excellent so far as the GCL Rays’ second baseman. He is very old for the league, but he has a .360/.458/.440 line in his first 15 professional games. That probably means nothing, but Sanay at least deserves a chance to play against some better competition.