The Undercards: Craig Albernaz, Ace Pitcher

By Robbie Knopf

Through the organization, majors and minors, there were three games on Monday. All of them were games pitchers would love to forget- well, Craig Albernaz can feel happy about himself, but then again he isn’t really a pitcher.

Triple-A International League: Empire State Yankees 12, Durham Bulls 8

If you want a definition of “pitching debacle,” it is this game. Jhonny Nunez started and allowed 4 runs in 2 innings. Alexander Torres allowed 2 more runs in 2.2 innings of work. Romulo Sanchez allowed 3 runs in 1.1 innings. And then Ryan Reid allowed 3 more in 2 innings. Everyone allowed multiple runs.


Horrific. But wait, that’s only 8 innings. There was a 9th inning as well. The Bulls brought in backup catcher Craig Albernaz to pitch for the third time all season. And what did he do? He allowed 2 hits, but tossed a scoreless frame. So the pitchers can’t pitch but Albernaz can? What in the world has happened?

That goes without saying that the Bulls had an excellent offensive day that only fell short because the Yankees were better. Henry Wrigley went 4 for 5 with a homer, a double, 3 RBI, and 3 runs scored while Leslie Anderson went 2 for 4 with a double, a homer, 3 RBI, and 2 runs scored. Chris Gimenez went 3 for 4 with a double and 2 RBI as well. The Bulls battered Yankees starter D.J. Mitchell for 8 runs in 5.2 innings. But Russell Branyan, in his first pro game of the season, came up huge for the Yankees’ Triple-A squad, slamming 2 homers and driving in 6, and that was too much for the Bulls.

Double-A Southern League: Tennessee Smokies (CHC) 12, Montgomery Biscuits 3

Speaking of disaster pitching performances, Jake Thompson allowing 6 runs on 6 hits in 2.2 innings, striking out just 1 while walking 4. Merrill Kelly followed with 6 runs allowed, 3 earned, on 8 hits in 3 innings of relief. Let’s move on. Hak-Ju Lee went 2 for 5 and actually hit a solo homer in the 9th inning, his second in as many days. That was nice to see. Guess we had to wait until the end of this game to find a highlight.