A majority of affiliates in the Tampa Bay Rays organization have seen their seasons come to an end, but two are still alive. Both the Durham Bulls and the Hudson Valley Renegades started their playoff runs on Wednesday, though they experienced mixed results.
Triple-A International League Postseason Game 1: Columbus Clippers (CLE) 9, Durham Bulls 4
The Bulls did not get the pitching performance they wanted out of Alex Colome. Thanks to some iffy control, Colome walked 3, and he finished by allowing 4 runs in 5.0 innings. Colome’s 3.77 ERA on the year for Durham is a solid mark, but his command and control remain inconsistent. At that point the game was still within reach, but the bullpen let it get out of hand. C.J. Riefenhauser let up 3 runs while getting only 2 outs, and Jake Thompson then allowed 2 runs in 1.1 innings. Cory Burns did his job by throwing a shutout inning, but at that point it hardly mattered. Burns has been solid since coming over to the Rays via a waiver claim, posting a 2.00 ERA in 16 appearances with Double-A Montgomery and a 2.77 ERA in 7 games with Durham.
The offense managed a decent 9 hits, however they went just 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position. Cole Figueroa and Ali Solis had nice 2 for 4 nights, and Jeremy Moore added a 2-run homer. Moore started the year showing little life at Double-A Montgomery, posting a .613 OPS in 38 games. But in 55 games since a promotion to Triple-A, he has posted an outstanding .827 OPS and a .492 slugging percentage.
Short Season-A New York-Penn League Playoffs Game 1: Hudson Valley Renegades 3, State College Spikes (STL) 0
The Renegades began their playoff run with a bang, shutting out State College in their victory. Enderson Franco had a fantastic start, throwing 7.0 shutout innings and giving up 5 hits and no walks while striking out 8. The 21 year old Franco has experienced a breakout season for the Renegades this year in his first season in the Rays organization, posting a 3.28 ERA and a 50-8 K-BB ratio in 68.2 innings. Edgar Gomez then finished things off, throwing 2.0 scoreless innings while striking out 2. Like Franco, Gomez has broken out this year to the tune of a 2.44 ERA in 48.0 innings for the Renegades.
Bralin Jackson had a nice day for the offense, going 2 for 4 with a double. The toolsy Jackson has finally started to see his potential turn into production this year, as he has hit .279/.349/.384 with 17 stolen bases. No other Renegade had multiple hits, though Grant Kay did drive in a pair of runs with a key hit.