Quite often, the results of a major league team and their minor league affiliates have absolutely nothing in common. But when they both happen to following a similar pattern of losing, it just makes the frustration bubble over even more. It was bad enough that the Rays lost 2-1 in 10 innings, but three more minor league affiliates losing by one run? Give me a break.
Triple-A International League: Charlotte Knights (CHW) 5, Durham Bulls 4
The Bulls blew a 4-2 lead after five and a half innings as they lost their second straight game after a four-game winning streak. Jake Odorizzi took the hill for Durham and was great overall but allowed a 2-run homer to Brent Morel in the 6th inning to knot the game up at 4. Odorizzi went 5.1 innings allowing 4 runs on 5 hits, but most impressively, he struck out 9 while walking none, improving his strikeout-to-walk ratio to a ridiculous 17-2 for the season. But even as Odorizzi racks up the strikeouts, he has to do a much better job keeping the ball down in the zone before he can unleash his potential at the MLB level for the Rays. The Bulls did have a decent offensive day in the loss, with Jason Bourgeois going 3 for 5 with an RBI, Rich Thompson going 2 for 5 with a stolen base, Brandon Guyer going 1 for 3 with a hit-by-pitch, an RBI, and a run scored, and most impressively, Hak-Ju Lee slamming a solo home run in 4 trips.
Double-A Southern League: Jackson Generals (SEA) 10, Montgomery Biscuits 9 (10 innings)
This one really stung. The Generals jumped out to a 9-3 lead after 5 innings before the Biscuits came all the way back to tie the game at 9 in the 9th on a 2-out, bases-clearing 3-run double by Mark Thomas, but they lost in walk-off fashion in the 10th. Enny Romero got hit hard for the Biscuits, going 4.1 innings allowing 7 runs, 6 earned, on 6 hits, striking out 3, walking 3, and allowing 3 home runs, but it was three shutout innings by C.J. Riefenhauser and Neil Schenk that allowed Montgomery to rally. The Biscuits offense did everything in their power to win this game, with Thomas going 2 for 5 with his huge hit, Riccio Torrez going 3 for 5 with a homer, 2 doubles, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored, and Todd Glaesmann homering while Ty Morrison and Shawn O’Malley laced triples, but it wasn’t enough as the Biscuits’ bullpen could only keep Jackson off the board for so long.
High-A Florida State League: Fort Myers Miracle (MIN) 8, Charlotte Stone Crabs 7
The Stone Crabs fought valiantly, but a 4-run 8th wasn’t enough to overcome the fact that they gave Fort Myers this game on a silver platter with 5 errors and 3 passed balls. Roberto Gomez continued his early-season struggles after blowing by Low-A, allowing 5 runs on 5 hits in 5 innings, striking out 4 while walking 3. Eliazer Suero and Lenny Linsky couldn’t do much better, allowing 3 runs in 4 innings. The bats did show a good deal of promise, with Alejandro Segovia going 2 for 4 with a homer, a double, 3 RBI, and 2 runs scored, and Kyeong Kang, Jake Hager, and Drew Vettleson also having multi-hit games, but the Stone Crabs have to be hitting themselves for letting this one get away with their defensive miscues.
Low-A Midwest League: Bowling Green Hot Rods 4, West Michigan Whitecaps (DET) 2
There is hope for the future as at least the Hot Rods found a way to win. Of course it’s all about the pitching. Sean Bierman breezed by the Whitecaps, going 6 shutout innings allowing just 5 hits, striking out 4 while walking none. Bowling Green manager Jared Sandberg loved the way he “pounded the zone on both sides of the plate with all his pitches,” and after Bierman has thrown 11 shutout frames to begin his season, the 24 year old Bierman may be ticketed for High-A if he keeps impressing as the Rays try to make up for his advanced age for the level. Bierman was followed by Nick Sawyer, who struggled in his first two outings of the season but was right back to the domination that pervaded his 2012 pro debut on Saturday, going 2 no-hit innings striking out 4 while walking 1. Control has been an issue at times for Sawyer, but his stuff is electric and he was locked in against the Whitecaps. In terms of the lineup, Joey Rickard, Justin O’Conner, and Leonardo Reginatto all had multi-hit games with a double and Tyler Goeddel encouragingly went 1 for 3 with a walk and an RBI as the Hot Rods offense was far from prolific but got plenty given the quality of their pitching. Hopefully the Rays can take the same queue.