The Undercards: If You’re Going to Lose, At Least Make It Exciting
As the immortal Buzz Lightyear once said “I’m not flying! I’m falling with style!” At the major league level it’s “we lost, but… NO IT DOESN’T MATTER WE LOST!” In the minors, you always want to win, but with a greater emphasis on individual performances from the prospects, it’s easier to take positive signs from losses sometimes. And more than just stats, the Rays system played some legitimately exciting games on Tuesday. And yet we’re still frustrated. We want to win!
Triple-A International League: Syracuse Chiefs (WSN) 3, Durham Bulls 2 (12 innings)
This game with fun. It’s also near-depressing that they ended up losing. Kyle Farnsworth started the game in a rehab appearance and struck out 2 as he worked around a double in a scoreless frame. Then he was followed by Matt Torra and Torra was really good, going 6.2 innings allowing just 1 run on 4 hits, striking out 6 while walking 1. But he didn’t get the win as the Bulls scored just one run on a Tim Beckham RBI single. This game eventually went to extra-innings, and that’s where it got crazy. In the 11th inning, Bryan Augenstein allowed a Carlos Rivero RBI single. But the Bulls rallied to tie it in the bottom of the inning when Reid Brignac walked, advance to third base on a Matt Mangini single, and then Jeff Salazar scored him on a squeeze bunt. But Jim Negrych hit an RBI single against Ryan Reid in the 12th as the Chiefs won 3-2. Luke Scott went 1 for 5 in his second rehab game and Chris Gimenez was the only Bull with a multi-hit game, going 3 for 5 with a double, a walk, and a run scored.
Double-A Southern League: Montgomery Biscuits 7, Jacksonville Suns (MIA) 6
Anybody find horrific pitching starts funny? I certainly don’t. But if you do, you’re in for a treat. Jacksonville starter Omar Poveda couldn’t record a single out allowing 3 hits and 3 runs. But James Leverton tossed 4 innings of 4-run ball and Alex Colome was a disaster for the Biscuits, allowing 6 runs on 8 hits in 3 innings, striking out just 1 while walking 4. But the Biscuits came back from a 6-3 deficit on a run-scoring balk, a Mark Thomas RBI double, a Hak-Ju Lee RBI single, and a go-ahead RBI groundout by Thomas as they won this game 7- 6. Alex Koronis, Neil Schenk, and Adam Liberatore combined for 6 shutout relief innings and the offense had a good day. Kyeong Kang went 3 for 5 with 2 doubles and 2 RBI. Ryan Garko went 3 for 5, his third consecutive 3-hit game, raising his average all the way up to .344. Hak-Ju Lee also went 2 for 5 with his 26th stolen base of the season.
High-A Florida State League: Charlotte Stone Crabs
In case you’re wondering what the heck has happened to the Stone Crabs, they have had 6 consecutive games rained out, most recently because of Hurricane Debby. They’ll resume play… eventually.
Low-A Midwest League: West Michigan Whitecaps (DET) 13, Bowling Green Hot Rods 11
This game was as crazy as it gets. Jake Floethe allowed 6 runs on 6 hits in 2 innings and every Hot Rods pitcher in the game (4) allowed at least 2 runs. Bowling Green trailed 9-4 after 6 innings. But they got 1 run in the 7th and then they got 6 more to take an 11-9 lead in the 8th. The star of the inning was Drew Vettleson. Vettleson drilled a bases-clearing 3-run double and later in the inning stole home! Wow. Josh Sale and Matt Rice had the inning’s other RBIs. But Andrew Bellatti and Austin Hubbard allowed 4 runs in the bottom of the inning as the Whitecaps won 13-11. Vettleson had a ridiculous game, going 4 for 5 with a double, a walk, the steal of home, 4 RBI, and 2 runs scored. Four other Hot Rods had multi-hit games: Ryan Brett, who went 2 for 5 with a walk, his 20th stolen base of the season, and 2 runs scored, Matt Rice, who went 2 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored, and then two of the Rays’ top prospects other than Vettleson had nice games as as well. Josh Sale went 2 for 5 with a walk, his 5th stolen base of the season, an RBI, and a run scored. And Tyler Goeddel had his best game in way too long, going 2 for 3 with 2 walks and 2 runs scored. He has quietly reached base 11 times in his last four games.
Short Season-A New York-Penn League: Hudson Valley Renegades 4, Brooklyn Cyclones (NYM) 2
The Renegades got excellent pitching and rallied from a 2-1 deficit in the late innings to win this one 4-2. Matthew Spann got the start and was decent, allowing 2 runs on 6 hits in 4 innings, striking out 3 while walking 3. His groundout to flyout ratio was 6-1. Reinaldo Lopez and Dylan Floro, the Rays’ 13th round pick in 2012, both tossed 2 shutout innings, with Floro’s coming in his pro debut. And in the 7th inning, the Renegades rallied for 3 runs, with the big hit coming on a 2-run double by Deshun Dixon. Floro earned the win in the game. Tommy Coyle also went 3 for 4 with a double and 2 RBI while Justin O’Conner went 1 for 3.
Advanced Rookie Appalachian League: Greeneville Astros 8, Princeton Rays 7
Another game, another attempted comeback, and this one fell short. Kevin James started for the P-Rays and was not particularly good, going 4 innings allowing 4 runs, 3 earned, on 5 hits, striking out just one while walking 3. He did post a 6-1 groundout to flyout ratio. He was replaced by Hugo Duarte, who also struggled, allowing 4 runs in 3.1 innings. The P-Rays almost made up for it, pulling back within 8-7, but that would be the final score. Brandon Martin went 3 for 4 with a walk, 2 stolen bases, and 2 runs scored, Juan Morillo went 3 for 5 with 3 RBI, and Omar Narvaez, Reid Redman, and Daryl George all had 2-hit days.
Foreign Rookie Venezuelan Summer League: VSL Mariners 12, VSL Rays 6
Let’s be honest: we have completely ignored the Rays’ Dominican and Venezuelan Summer League here at RCG- other than the fact that promising catching prospect Oscar Hernandez played in the VSL. Well, I actually saw this one, and accordingly I’ll discuss it. Get ready to hear about a bunch of players you’ve never heard of before and may never hear of again.
The VSL Rays got some solid offense, but an utter disaster of a start ruined them in this one. 18 year old right-hander Yerwin Sanchez got the start and couldn’t managed to record an out, allowing 2 hits, 2 walks, and a hit batsmen, leading to 4 runs. Abrahan Rodriguez steadied the ship a little bit following him, allowing 3 runs, earned, on 5 hits in 5 innings, striking out 1 while walking none. Rodriguez is 17 and already 6’2″, 185. The game was quickly out of reach, especially after some poor bullpen work, but the VSL Rays did show some good offense. 19 year old first baseman Iago Januario (great name) went 2 for 4 with an RBI and 2 runs scored, 22 year old (gasp) catcher Nohisglin Rivero went 2 for 4 with a run scored. The other RBIs came from 17 year old catcher Kevin Barrios (2), 17 year old third baseman Jhonnathan Teran, and 18 year old second baseman Norly Suarez. Maybe it’s a good thing that we haven’t been following the VSL Rays- they’re 10-27 on the season.