The Undercards: Richie Shaffer, Jake DePew Slam Clutch Home Runs As Stone Crabs Come Back to Win


The past couple days, there has been a bizarre trend for the Rays. Roberto Hernandez pitched extremely well on Tuesday but the Rays lost while Matt Moore was enigmatiac on Wednesday yet earned the win. More of that to be found in the Rays’ minor league games as not one, but two pitchers struck out 10 but lost while pitchers who allowed 3 and 4 runs respectively both led their teams to victory.

Triple-A International League: Syracuse Chiefs (WSN) 5, Durham Bulls 3

Quite impressive to strike out 17 batters in a nine-inning game. It’s arguably even more impressive to do that and lose, and that’s exactly what the Bulls pulled off on Wednesday. Alex Colome got the start for Durham and had an up-and-down outing, but when he was on, boy was he impressive. Colome went 5.2 innings allowing 4 runs, 3 earned, on 6 hits, striking out 10 while walking just 1. Colome rebounded nicely from allowing 3 runs between the 2nd and 3rd to toss shutout ball in the 4th and 5th, but Jeff Beliveau allowed his inherited runner to score in the 6th to end his outing on a sour note. This game was as good of a showcase as any that Colome still has a long way to go in getting his command up to major league quality, but he has the stuff to dominate when he’s right, and with plenty of starting depth in front of him, the Rays will give him as much time as he needs to find a way to do that on a more consistent basis. Beliveau allowed 3 hits in just 1.1 innings in relief of Colome, but he recorded 3 of his 4 outs via the strikeout, and Kirby Yates finished the game with 2 perfect innings striking out 4 more to give the Bulls 17 for the game. On the offensive side, the Bulls didn’t get much as Daniel Rosenbaum outdueled Colome with 7 innings allowing just 2 runs, 1 earned, on 4 hits, striking out 7 while walking 1. Chris Gimenez did go 2 for 4 with a run scored, Cole Figueroa and Leslie Anderson both went 1 for 4 with an RBI, and Wil Myers went 1 for 3 with a walk for Durham. Tough loss for the Bulls when their pitching was so overpowering, but good things are ahead if Colome continues to look as electric as this.

Double-A Southern League: Montgomery Biscuits 8, Mississippi Braves 4

Matt Buschmann pitched well and the Biscuits had a diversified attack of five different players with multiple hits as they eased by the Braves 8-4. Buschmann allowed 3 runs but had a strong outing in every sense of the word, going 7 innings allowing 3 runs on 5 hits, striking out 8 while walking 1 and managing a 9-3 groundout to flyout ratio. Buschmann was extremely efficient, throwing just 96 pitches, 63 strikes, and gave the Biscuits about as good of an outing as they could have hoped for. Buschmann has allowed just 4 runs on 14 hits in 20 innings over his last three starts, a 1.80 ERA, striking out 22 while walking just 4 in the process. Buschmann is trending in the exact opposite direction of his former Vanderbilt roommate, David Price, and we’ll have to see whether this is the spurt that finally gets him to Triple-A for an extended period of time after he spent almost all of last year at Double-A. With an intriguing sinker-slider combination, Buschmann has some potential in a relief role. Now to the run support. Robby Price went 2 for 4 with a double, 3 RBI, and a run scored, Cameron Seitzer went 2 for 3 with a double and 2 RBI, Shawn O’Malley went 2 for 4 with a triple, an RBI, and 2 runs scored, and Kevin Kiermaier and Riccio Torrez also registered 2 hits. The Biscuits went 5 for 10 with runners in scoring position and stranded just 5 while scoring 8 runs. 8-4 isn’t the prettiest score, but Montgomery had almost everything go right on their way to a nice win.

High-A Florida State League: Charlotte Stone Crabs 7, Brevard County Manatees (MIL) 6

Wild game in this one, but the Stone Crabs rode late-inning heroics on their way to victory. Felipe Rivero got the start for the Stone Crabs and had good stuff but looked enigmatic, and the results were not too good as he went 4.1 innings allowing 4 runs on 5 hits, striking out 7 while walking 3 and allowing 2 home runs. Rivero left with the game tied at 4 after the Stone Crabs had rallied for 3 in the 5th. Then Jacob Partridge let up a run in the 7th, and suddenly the Stone Crabs were down 5-4. But the following inning, Richie Shaffer came through with a 2-run home run to make it 6-5 Charlotte. The bottom of the inning was scary as Eliazer Suero got into a bases-loaded jam and Lenny Linsky had to come in to escape it, which he did successfully but not before allowing the game-tying run. But in the top of the 9th, Jake DePew could not have picked a better time for his first home run of the season as he hit a game-winning home run to send the Stone Crabs to a 7-6 win. Shaffer has hit in 9 of his last 10 games as he slowly but surely is righting himself after a tough start to the season, while DePew went 2 for 4  with his homer and 2 runs scored as he’s now hitting .273 on the season. The homer was his first extra-base hit, but DePew has some potential as a defense-first backup. Other strong performers were Willie Argo, who continued his hot start since joining the Stone Crabs by going 2 for 4 with a triple, 2 RBI, and a run scored, and Kes Carter, who went 2 for 5 with a home run to lead off the game and a double. Amazing job by the Stone Crabs stepping up in the clutch as their pitching sputtered, and the result was a satisfying win.

Low-A Midwest League: West Michigan Whitecaps (DET) 2, Bowling Green Hot Rods 0

Blake Snell was dominant, but 2 first inning runs accounted for all the scoring in the game as the Hot Rods fell 2-0. Snell allowed a Jeff Holm 2-run home run in the first inning but that was hit only real mistake as he went 6 innings allowing just 2 runs on 3 hits, striking out 10 while walking none. Not too often do you see a pitcher deliver that good of an effort and lose. Snell has been inconsistent this year, managing a 2.81 ERA but just a 4.21 run average (counting unearned runs) as he has managed a strikeout to walk ratio of 2-to-1 or better in just two of his six starts. In both of those starts, though, Snell struck out 9 or more while walking none, so he still has flashed plenty of dominance. Now he has to work to sustain that. Jordan Harrison and Matt Ramsey allowed just 2 hits in the final 3 innings while striking out 3 to end the game, but the Hot Rods just could not push a run across. Joey Rickard went 2 for 3 with a double while Marty Gantt went 2 for 4, but the Hot Rods failed to score despite getting at least one baserunner in 7 of 9 innings and that just won’t do the job. Sad to see Snell deliver his best outing of the season yet be saddled with the lost as the Bowling Green offense got him nothing.