The Undercards: Offense Explodes, Archer Sharp as Bulls Thump Ironpigs
Looking around the organization, a couple squads actually had themselves a nice day. Wish we could say the same at the big league level, but right now let’s bask in the glory of the Durham Bulls (at least on Thursday).
Triple-A International League: Durham Bulls 12, Lehigh Valley Ironpigs (PHI) 2
What a game this was. Everything simply came together at the exact same time. Chris Archer gave the Bulls a nice outing, going 7 innings allowing just 2 runs on 5 hits, striking out just 5 while walking 3 but also posting a 9-1 groundout to flyout ratio. And the offense was ridiculous. Leslie Anderson went 3 for 5 with a homer, 3 RBI, and 2 runs scored. Stephen Vogt went 2 for 5 with a double, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored. And even Reid Brignac got into the act in a big way, going 2 for 4 with a homer, a double, a walk, and 2 RBI. Briggy has himself a 6-game hitting streak and is hopefully well on his way to figuring out what the heck has happened the past two years. It was a big win for the Bulls, and hopefully this group of players can use this as a rallying point as their record stands at just 29-39 on the season.
Double-A Southern League: Montgomery Biscuits 9, Huntsville Stars (MIL) 7
Now this is Rays baseball. The Biscuits managed to score 9 runs despite just two extra-base hits, both doubles, thanks to 6 stolen bases, 3 from Tyler Bortnick and (in vintage Rays fashion as well) overcame a shoddy bullpen effort to hold on for a 9-7 win. Alex Colome had a nice outing, going 5 innings allowing 1 run on 4 hits, striking out 4 while walking 2. His groundout to flyout ratio was just 3-5, a red flag. On offense, Bortnick stole the three bases despite just a 1 for 4 day with a walk, driving in 1 and scoring once. His stolen base count on the season now stands at 19. The big boppers for Montgomery were Omar Luna and Mark Thomas, who each went 2 for 5 with 2 RBI and a run scored. At the top of the lineup, Hak-Ju Lee went 2 for 5 with a walk and a run scored, and Ty Morrison went 2 for 3 with 2 walks, a steal, and a run scored. The Biscuits improve to 35-30 on the season, and we’ll have to see how far their speed takes them.
High-A Florida State League: Jupiter Hammerheads (MIA) 10, Charlotte Stone Crabs 5
Speaking of bullpen debacles… there was this game. The Stone Crabs let a 4-0 lead turn into a 10-0 deficit in a hurry. Uh-oh. Kyle Farnsworth pitched another perfect inning in a rehab appearance, striking out 1, but apparently starting the game with a reliever threw off the balance of the universe as the Stone Crabs bullpen allowed 6 runs in the 5th and 4 more in the 7th to turn this game into a blowout. In terms of the positives other than Farnsworth, Mikie Mahtook hit a solo homer as part of a 1 for 3 day, and Robi Estrada, Alejandro Torres, and Cody Rogers all went 2 for 4. The Stone Crabs drop to 27-37 on the year.
Low-A Midwest League: West Michigan Whitecaps (DET) 9, Bowling Green Hot Rods 1
Several times this year I have compared the Hot Rods to the big league Rays. Well, here they certainly followed the same path. Look away. The Hot Rods got 5-hit, with the only run coming on a 3rd inning Tyler Goeddel sac fly. The bizarre thing that this game featured the longest outing of Felipe Rivero‘s career, but it wasn’t particularly good as he went 6.1 innings allowing 5 runs, 4 earned, on 7 hits, striking out 6 while walking 2 and posting a 9-1 groundout to flyout ratio. He allowed solo homers to our new nemesis Steven Moya and Curt Casali, both in a 4-run 5th inning. The Hot Rods are still looking to clinch a first half division title and did themselves no favors on Thursday night. The Hot Rods fall to 35-32 on the season.