The Undercards: Braulio Lara, Stone Crabs 1-Hit Lakeland
Only the Rays organization could have a pitcher allow 1 hit through 7 innings and leave in line for the loss, right?
Triple-A All-Star Game: Pacific Coast League All-Stars 3, International League All-Stars 0
Another shutout loss in the All-Star Game, although this one wasn’t as bad. The Durham Bulls’ representatives in this game were right fielder Leslie Anderson and right-hander Dane De La Rosa, and both played well. Anderson batted second for the International League and went 2 for 3, while De La Rosa tossed a shutout 7th inning, allowing a hit and a walk while striking out 2. Former Bulls included Chris Bootcheck, who tossed 0.2 scoreless for the IL, and the one, the only Dan Johnson, who went 0 for 2. Everyone knows he’s only good in the clutch.
Double-A Southern League: Montgomery Biscuits 6, Jacksonville Suns (MIA) 2
A series of breakthrough performances made Wednesday a great night for the Biscuits. Nick Barnese finally put something together, going 5.1 innings allowing 2 runs, neither earned, on 5 hits, striking out 2 while walking none and posting a decent 5-3 groundout to flyout ratio. Hopefully he has made real progress now. Joseph Cruz and Adam Liberatore pitched the last 3.2 innings, allowing just 1 hit between the two of them and striking out 3 while walking none. On offense, Michael Sheridan had a huge game, going 2 for 4 with a homer, a double, 3 RBI, and 2 runs scored, Brad Coon had a 2-run single, and Tyler Bortnick and Ty Morrison each went 2 for 4 with a run scored, with Morrison also stealing a base. And then there’s Hak-Ju Lee, who hit a 9th inning RBI double to extend his hitting streak to 21 games, a Biscuits record.
High-A Florida State League: Charlotte Stone Crabs 3, Lakeland Flying Tigers 2
Craziest game of the season, maybe craziest game I have ever seen. Wild chain of events for Hector Guevara in this one. He doubled to lead off the game- but then he was picked off second base. In the third inning, Guevara hit a go-ahead RBI single. And then he ruined it for his teammate, right-hander Braulio Lara. Lara had a perfect game through 4 innings, but things came apart a little bit in the 5th. The perfect game ended on a Wade Gaynor walk, then Daniel Fields beat out an infield single to deep short to break up the perfect game. Then Hernan Perez bunted the ball in front of home plate. Lucas Bailey fielded and threw to the second baseman Guevara covering first base, but Guevara missed the catch and let the ball get by him, scoring the tying run and giving the Flying Tigers runners on 2nd and 3rd with nobody out. Lara then forced James Robbins to ground out back to the mound, holding the runners, and then Dixon Machado grounded out for what should have been the third out of the inning, but instead scored a second run before Lara got Adolfo Reina to ground out to end the inning. Lara went 7 innings allowing 2 runs, neither earned, on just 1 hit, striking out 2 and walking 2 as well but posting a nice 12-5 groundout to flyout ratio. That from a player with just a 1.03 groundout to flyout ratio on the season. It was an outstanding start, yet Lara could not win the game, only lose. Jared Wesson allowed 5 hits but just 1 run in 7 innings for Lakeland and left in line for the win.
Jim Patterson tossed a perfect 8th for the Stone Crabs to keep the 1-hitter going and the Stone Crabs within a run. In the bottom of the inning, the hitters due up were Bailey, Cody Rogers, and Guevara against Guido Knudson. Bailey struck out to begin the inning before Rogers worked a walk to bring Guevara to the game. With a big hit, Guevara could be the hero. If he failed, he was the goat who ruined Lara’s gem. Guevara chose the former. Guevara drilled a flyball to deep left field and over the wall for a 2-run home run, and Chris Rearick tossed a perfect 9th for the save as the Stone Crabs emerged victorious 3-2. Wow.
Low-A Midwest League: Bowling Green Hot Rods 3, Burlington Bees (OAK) 1
A’s hard-throwing RHP prospect A.J. Cole has been nearly unhittable this year in the Midwest League, posting a 2.44 ERA entering his start Wednesday with an insane 5.78 strikeout to walk ratio, a 10.6 K/9 versus just a 1.8 BB/9. Beating him was going to be a major challenge. Yet they pulled it off. Trevor Shull tossed 4 great innings, tossing shutout ball in 2 hits, striking out 4 while walking none and posting a 5-1 groundout to flyout ratio. Jacob Partridge followed with an incredible relief effort, going the rest of the game, 5 innings, allowing just 1 run on 3 hits, striking out 5 while walking 1. Cole pitched great as well. But his defense made a couple errors behind him and the Hot Rods did not let the opportunity pass them by, scoring 3 times in 6th on a Juniel Querecuto RBI single and then a Drew Vettleson 2-run double. Cole went 5.1 innings allowing 3 runs, 1 earned, on 5 hits, striking out 5 while walking none and posting a 7-2 groundout to flyout ratio. But the Hot Rods pitching was incredible and the bats came through when they had a chance. Vettleson went 2 for 4 with the huge 2-run double, while Tyler Goeddel went 2 for 4 with his 21st stolen base of the season and a run scored.
Short Season-A New York-Penn League: Batavia Muckdogs (STL) 4, Hudson Valley Renegades 2
Joey Rickard was great again in his second pro game, but the Renegades couldn’t muster much else as they fell to Batavia. Jesse Hahn got the start for Hudson Valley and struggled despite some positive signs, allowing 3 runs on 5 hits in 3 innings, striking out 4 while walking 1 and posting a 3-1 groundout to flyout ratio. Eduar Quinonez followed him up with 4 shutout innings, allowing 4 hits and a walk while striking out 3, before Kris Carlson allowed a David Washington homer in the 9th. The offense for Hudson Valley was… Joey Rickard. He did it all. Batting leadoff a playing centerfield, he went 3 for 4 with 3 stolen bases, an RBI, and a run scored. The Renegades mustered just 6 hits, 3 by Rickard, with Justin O’Conner having the other RBI. But if Rickard can keep playing like this, no doubt he’ll be a spark to this team to get it going.
Rookie Gulf Coast League: Game 1: GCL Red Sox 2, GCL Rays 0 (7 innings)
You have to feel for Geisel De La Cruz. You have to listen to these numbers. He went 4.2 innings allowing 2 runs on 8 hits, striking out 4 while walking none. Here’s the kicker: his groundout to flyout ratio was 9-1! His groundball to flyball ratio was 14-1! Yes, 5 of the 8 hits he allowed were on groundballs! Even when you add in line drives and pop-ups, he still had a 14-4 ratio of groundballs to balls hit in the air. De La Cruz has been incredible and is getting messed up (to put it nicely) by his defense. Sheesh. Bralin Jackson also went 1 for 2 with a triple and a walk for the GCL Rays.
Game 2: GCL Rays 7, GCL Red Sox 3 (7 innings)
The GCL Rays actually scored some runs and won this one. Stepan Havlicek pitched pretty nicely, going 4 shutout innings allowing 2 hits and a walk while striking out 3 and posting a 2-2 groundout to flyout ratio. Damion Carroll relieved him but struggled in this one, going 1+ innings allowing 1 run on 3 hits and 3 walks, striking out just 1. Ouch. He could have legitimately allowed 3 or 4 runs, but Jason Wilson bailed him out in the 6th before allowing a couple of runs of the 7th. Wilson did strike out 3 in 2 innings. The offense gets more of the focus here. Jiminson Natera had a great game, going 3 for 4 with a 2-run homer, Johnny Eierman went 2 for 3 with a double, a walk 2 RBI, and a run scored, and Douglas Duran went 2 for 2 with a walk, an RBI, and a run scored.