The Undercards: Chris Kirsch Dominant as Renegades Win 2nd Straight to Open Season

By Robbie Knopf

It had to be frustrating for Chris Kirsch and several members of the Rays’ A-ball teams to be sent down to the Short Season-A Hudson Valley Renegades when the Renegades’ season debut a few days ago. However, it’s an opportunity for them to get their feet under them and their careers on  track, and with a strong performance they will be able to have more confidence as they give Bowling Green a second try next year. Kirsch in particular looks to be taking the demotion just fine.

Triple-A International League: Louisville Bats (CIN) 5, Durham Bulls 2

A middling pitching performance coupled by a quiet offensive night led the Bulls to a 5-2 defeat. After melting down in his last start, Mike Montgomery got a little better luck in this outing although his outing ended on a downer with 3 runs in the 6th. Montgomery went 6 innings allowing 5 runs, 4 earned, on 10 hits, striking out 4 while walking 1. He was able to get his control back after two straight 4-walk outings, and hopefully his command will be sharper next time out. Steve Geltz and Will Inman struck out 3 working around 2 hits and a walk in the final 3 innings. In terms of the lineup, there wasn’t much production to speak of, but Leslie Anderson went 2 for 4 with an RBI, Mike Fontenot went 1 for 3 with a walk and a double, Tim Beckham went 1 for 3 with a walk out of the leadoff spot, and Brandon Guyer went 1 for 4 with a stolen base.

High-A Florida State League: St. Lucie Mets 7, Charlotte Stone Crabs 6

This was very much a game of momentum, and unfortunately the momentum went the Mets’ way at the end. The Stone Crabs led 2-0 before allowing 3 straight runs, then scored 4 straight runs but allowed 4 straight runs to come away with the loss. Parker Markel battled to have a decent but short outing, allowing 1 run on 4 hits in 4 innings of work, striking out 3 and walking 3 as well, but the fact that he was out of the game so early made more of a difference than his tidy 2.25 ERA on the day. Andrew Bellatti was overexerted for 2.1 innings, coming in at least an inning earlier than he had hoped, and wound up allowing 4 runs, and Lenny Linsky allowed 2 more runs over the final 1.2 innings. The Stone Crabs did have a solid day offensively, with Alejandro Segovia going 3 for 5, Richie Shaffer going 2 for 5 with 2 doubles and an RBI, Taylor Motter going 2 for 4 with 2 doubles, a walk, and 2 runs scored, and Drew Vettleson going 2 for 5 with 2 RBI and 2 runs scored.

Short Season-A New York-Penn League: Hudson Valley Renegades 10, Aberdeen Ironbirds (BAL) 5

So far, so good for the Renegades this season as they opened the season with their second straight win. Chris Kirsch got the start for Hudson Valley and pitched excellently, going 6 innings allowing 2 runs, 1 earned, on 4 hits, striking out 8 while walking none. Kirsch was decent in a bullpen role for High-A Charlotte, managing a 3.80 ERA in 5 appearances, but his strikeout-to-walk ratio was just 3-5 and the Rays will slow down his timetable and see how well he does in a starting role. If this first start means anything, Kirsch should be just fine. In terms of his run support, his former Charlotte teammate Ryan McChesney had a big day, going 4 for 5 with a double, 3 RBI, and 2 runs scored, Darryl George went 2 for 4 with a double, a walk, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored, Ariel Soriano had a 2-run triple, and Granden Goetzman and James Harris both went 1 for 4 with a walk and 2 runs scored. Not a single 2013 draftee was in the Renegades’ lineup as the Rays keep trying to sign their draftees and get them ready, but the players there right now appear to be doing just fine.