Sunday was a return to normalcy for the Rays organization from the major leagues all the way down: the offense wasn’t that great, but pitching reigned supreme.
Triple-A International League: Norfolk Tides (BAL) 3, Durham Bulls 2 (7 innings- rain)
For the second straight day, the Bulls-Tides game was shortened by rain and lasted just 7 innings. This time, though, it was the Bulls that were on the wrong end of a 3-2 score–but a couple minutes later and it easily could have ended differently. The game was ludicrously called with the Bulls have two on, nobody out and one run already across in the 7th inning, so if this game goes nine innings, the Bulls very well could have won. J.D. Martin got the start for Durham and tossed a rain-assisted complete game, going 7 innings allowing 3 runs, 2 earned on 9 hits, striking out 7 while walking just 1. Martin is the “other guy” in a Bulls rotation laden with prospects, but he has pitched very well, going 5-2 with a 3.48 ERA and a 36-9 strikeout to walk ratio in 9 starts and 51.2 innings pitched. On the offensive side, Wil Myers had an encouraging game, going 1 for 3 with a walk and a run scored without striking out. Myers hasn’t gotten his power stroke going all season, but he’s showing improved plate discipline and you have to hope that he’s on the cusp of breaking out.
Double-A Southern League: Montgomery Biscuits 3, Huntsville Stars (MIL) 0
In 2012, Matt Moore had a 3.81 ERA, showing promise but plenty of inconsistency. Merrill Kelly is not nearly as talented as Moore, but the same can be said of his ERA and his performance. This game was one of the good ones. Kelly went 6.2 innings allowing no runs on 3 hits, striking out 5 while walking 2. In three of his nine appearances (eight starts), Kelly has a 2-0 record, a 0.90 ERA, and a 16-6 strikeout to walk ratio in 20 innings pitched. In the other six, he is just 1-4 with a 5.76 ERA and a 16-16 strikeout to walk ratio in 29.2 IP. Kelly’s low-90’s fastball is a solid pitch, but maybe it’s the effectiveness of his changeup and curveball that fluctuates, leading to his inconsistent results. C.J. Riefenhauser and Juan Sandoval tossed perfect ball in the final 2.1 innings to seal the 3-hitter. On the offensive side, the Biscuits didn’t get much themselves but went an outstanding 3 for 4 with runners in scoring position. Cameron Seitzer went 1 for 3 with a double and a hit-by-pitch and Mikie Mahtook and Todd Glaesmann had the other RBIs for Montgomery. Seitzer has been in an extended slump, but he’s now 5 of his last 14 (.357) and hopefully he’s getting himself back on track.
High-A Florida State League: Charlotte Stone Crabs 2, Fort Myers Miracle (MIN) 0
It wasn’t pretty but it somehow all worked out for Stone Crabs pitching as they stranded 8 hits and 6 walks on their way to victory despite striking out just 5. Felipe Rivero took the ball for Charlotte and was able to escape several jams, going 5.2 innings allowing no runs on 6 hits, striking out 4 while walking 3. Jake Partridge worked around 2 walks to pitch scoreless ball for the next 1.1 innings before Lenny Linsky got past 2 hits and a walk to nail down the save in the final 2 frames. In terms of the run support, Richie Shaffer went 2 for 4 with an RBI while Willie Argo, batting third now after hitting extremely well to begin the year, went 1 for 4 with 2 stolen bases and a run scored. Shaffer is doing great in his last ten games, going 15 for 44 (.341) as he’s beginning to erase his early-season struggles from his numbers.
Low-A Midwest League: Bowling Green Hot Rods 8, West Michigan Whitecaps (DET) 0 (7 innings)
Just seems like there is no way to stop Taylor Guerrieri. Guerrieri got the start and was dominant once again, going 6 innings allowing no runs on just 1 hit, striking out 3 while walking 1 and managing an 11-2 groundout to flyout ratio. Guerrieri tossed shutout 1-hit ball for the second straight outing, and while he wasn’t able to overpower hitters in this one, his command is just uncanny for Low-A and he is just able to force groundball after groundball. He threw just 59 pitches and could have easily gone the complete game, but the offense gave him plenty of run support and made sure this game was out of reach and the Hot Rods coaching staff decided to play it safe with the Rays’ prized right-handed pitching prospect. Leonardo Reginatto went 2 for 3 with a double, a stolen base, and 2 runs scored, Joey Rickard went 2 for 2 with a double, a walk, an RBI, and a run scored, and Tyler Goeddel and Luke Maile drove in 2 runs each.
Whitecaps 5, Hot Rods 1 (completion of suspended game)
This suspended game did not go nearly as well. Reinaldo Lopez has been surprisingly good all season for Bowling Green managing a 1.64 ERA in 33.1 IP entering Sunday, but this was simply not his game. Lopez went 5.1 innings (on May 10th) allowing 4 runs on 7 hits, striking out 3 while walking 2. He forced a ton of groundballs, managing a 9-2 groundout to flyout ratio, but his results were not nearly as good this time around. Marcus Jensen went the final 3.2 innings allowing 1 run on 5 hits, striking out 3 while walking none. In terms of the offense, there wasn’t much going on as Tommy Coyle went 1 for 4 with an RBI triple and Graden Goetzman went 1 for 3 with a run scored as they teamed to account for the only Bowling Green run.