Sometimes you have a nice game, and every so often, you get the chance to make history. Blake Snell did exactly that in the Stone Crabs’ 10-0 win on Saturday.
Triple-A International League: Lehigh Valley IronPigs (PHI) 4, Durham Bulls 1
Matt Andriese has been struggling for the Bulls of late, and while this game may have been a step in the right direction, clearly he has more work ahead of him. He went 6 innings allowing 4 runs, 2 earned, on 10 hits, striking out 3 while walking 1. Two reasons for major optimism: his groundout to flyout ratio was 6-2, and an insane 7 of his 10 hits allowed came on groundballs. Andriese’s mediocre start certainly had something to do with bad luck. And, unfortunately, that bad luck was enough to cost Durham the game. Brandon Gomes and Josh Lueke did toss a scoreless inning of relief, while Mikie Mahtook went 3 for 4 with the only Bulls runs scored.
Double-A Southern League: Montgomery Biscuits 4, Jackson Generals (SEA) 3
Richie Shaffer stayed red-hot and had some help from Cameron Seitzer and his pitching staff as the Biscuits came away with the win. Shaffer and Seitzer each drilled a 2-run home run, with Seitzer’s blast giving him a team-leading 14th and Shaffer’s putting him right behind him at 13. Montgomery got only 3 other hits, but Shaffer and Seitzer took advantage of two of the only mistakes from opposing starter Stepen Landazuri and that made all the difference. On the pitching side, Albert Suarez delivered a good start, going 5 innings allowing 1 run on 2 hits, striking out 4 while walking 2. Suarez, 24, is having a nice bounce-back season after making just 2 starts last year, putting up a 2.34 ERA in 9 starts between Charlotte and Montgomery. Matt Lollis had a rough outing, allowing 2 runs in just 0.2 innings pitched, but Jim Patterson, Bryce Stowell, and Cory Burns combined for 2.1 hitless innings of relief to finish off the game. Burns, the only non-injured member of the Rays 40-man roster who is below Triple-A, has a 2.40 ERA and an 18-3 strikeout to walk ratio in 15 innings pitched.
High-A Florida State League: Charlotte Stone Crabs 10, Bradenton Marauders (PIT) 0 (Finished with 1 out in top of 6th–rain)
Blake Snell never had a chance to finish the deal. Nevertheless, what he did manage to do was extremely impressive. Snell went the rain-shortened complete game, going 5.1 innings, and he allowed no hits and 3 walks while striking out 9. His performance marked the first no-hitter in Stone Crabs history. Snell features one of the most promising repertoires in the Rays’ system, but it remains to be seen whether he can harness his pitches well enough to emerge as the next impressive Rays starter. Snell now has a 2.02 ERA and a 46-18 strikeout to walk ratio in his last 7 starts and 35.2 innings pitched, so he is on the right track. This game and that entire stretch demonstrate just how talented Snell can be, and with his confidence rising, everything is beginning to click.
The offense was also quite impressive in this game, making sure that Snell never had to worry about run support. Leading the way were Granden Goetzman, who went 1 for 3 with a triple and 4 RBI, Maxx Tissenbaum, who went 2 for 2 with a double, a walk, an RBI, and a run scored, and Josh Sale, who went 2 for 3 with 2 RBI and a run scored. Sale is playing well right now, hitting to a .371/.405/.429 line in his last 37 plate appearances. He is a long way to go to reestablish himself as a prospect, but he has to start somewhere. Ryan Hanigan also went 1 for 3 with a walk and 2 runs scored in his rehab start. He wasn’t catching in the game, but he picked a good time to join the Stone Crabs as he took part in quite a game.
Low-A Midwest League: Bowling Green Hot Rods 6, Lake County Captains (CLE) 0
The last game was a shortened no-hitter, and this one was a nine-inning one-hitter. Jake Faria retired the first 11 batters he faced before allowing a lone hit. That was all he allowed in 7 innings of work as he retired the other 21 batters he faced, 6 via the strikeout. Then Willie Gabay was perfect behind him, tossing 2 perfect innings with 3 strikeouts. What a day it was for Faria and Gabay as they combined to face just one batter over the minimum in the game. After making just 20 appearances in his first two pro seasons, Gabay has performed very well in his third, managing a 2.67 ERA and a 26-4 strikeout to walk ratio in 27 innings pitched.
On the offensive side, the story was Willy Adames, who had a tremendous first game in the Rays system. The 18 year old went 2 for 4 with a walk and a pair of run scored. So far, so good. Oscar Hernandez also had a huge game, going 3 for 5 with a triple, a double, an RBI, and a run scored, and then there was Kean Wong, who drilled a 2-run blast for the first homer of his professional career. The billing on Wong was that he was an excellent pure hitter whose power would eventually come. Maybe that is finally beginning to take place.