2-0 losses like the Rays suffered on Thursday have almost been accepted as part of tradition for the Rays the past few years. The Rays’ pitching has almost always been great, and the question has been whether the offense could score them any runs. But this was not your ordinary 2-0 loss. The Rays didn’t see one of their star pitchers get no run support again but instead saw Jake Odorizzi start to prove himself as a capable starting option. And in the Durham game, the Rays got to see two more impact players playing out the final days of their rehab assignments.
Triple-A International League: Durham Bulls 7, Gwinnett Braves 6
Although the Bulls got to have Matt Moore, a well above-average major league starter, taking the ball for them in this game, they won this game more in spite of him than because of him. But Moore’s stuff was better than his results and the Bulls found a way to win the game, so everyone came out happy. Moore allowed 3 runs in the bottom of the 1st and wound up going 4 innings allowing 4 runs on 8 hits, striking out 2 while walking 2. Moore showed obvious signs of rust after not pitching in just over a month (July 28th) as his pitches went all over the place, especially in that rough first inning, but his fastball touched the mid-90’s and his secondary pitches had their moments as well. Overall, the Rays can be confident that he’ll be more like his usual self next time out on a big league mound.
The other Rays rehabber, Luke Scott, had a solid game, going 1 for 4 with a walk and a run scored. But the MVPs of this game were Cole Figueroa, Shelley Duncan, and the Bulls’ middle relief corps. Figueroa delivered a huge performance, going 2 for 4 with a triple and 4 RBI, Duncan had a triple and 2 RBI, and Adam Liberatore and Steve Geltz combined for 3.1 innings of perfect relief, striking out 5. Kirby Yates had some issues at the end of the game, allowing 2 runs in the 9th, but luckily the Bulls had built up enough of a cushion to hang on.
Double-A Southern League: Montgomery Biscuits 7, Birmingham Barons (CHW) 2
Mike Colla delivered a strong albeit brief start and Cameron Seitzer and Curt Casali proved next-to-impossible to get out as the Biscuits rolled over the Barons. Colla went 5 innings allowing no runs on 5 hits, striking out 3 while walking 1 and forcing an 8-1 groundout to flyout ratio. Colla isn’t overpowering anyone, but the Biscuits could not have asked for a better fill-in starter as the 26 year old Colla has gone 6-2 with a 3.70 ERA, a 5.9 K/9, a 2.3 BB/9, and a 1.2 HR/9 in 14 starts and 75.1 innings pitched. Jimmy Patterson allowed a pair of runs in his 2 innings of work, but Erik Hamren and Juan Sandoval worked around 5 baserunners in the final 2 innings to pitch shutout ball, striking out 3 in the process. Sandoval escaped a bases loaded, no out jam with a strikeout and a double play. But while the pitchers did quite well, the offense was even more exciting. Cameron Seitzer went 2 for 3 with a 2-run homer, 2 walks, and a run scored, Curt Casali went 2 for 3 with 2 doubles, 2 walks, and 3 runs scored, Kyeong Kang went 2 for 3 with a walk and a pair of RBIs, Todd Glaesmann went 3 for 5, and Delmon Young went 2 for 6 with a run scored. Casali has been on fire for a long time now, but Seitzer’s hot streak is interesting as he’s finally hitting for some power while also showing great plate discipline. In his last 10 games, Seitzer has a .303/.425/.515 line with 2 homers, a double, 7 RBI, and a 4-6 strikeout to walk ratio in 33 at-bats.
High-A Florida State League: Charlotte Stone Crabs 1, Palm Beach Cardinals 0
Felipe Rivero and Shay Crawford worked out of jams in the first 7 innings before Andrew Bellatti and Nate Garcia were on lockdown in the last 2 as the Stone Crabs 5-hit the Cardinals. Rivero was enigmatic but effective, going 4.2 innings allowing no runs on 4 hits, striking out 3 while walking 2 and forcing a 6-1 groundout to flyout ratio. Crawford replaced him and went 2.1 shutout innings working around a pair of walks, striking out 1. Crawford, the left-hander who was Rays’ 41st round pick in 2011, was not at his best on Thursday but may just be something against left-handed hitters, holding them to an .058 average with a 19-5 strikeout to walk ratio on the season. Righties have given him more trouble (24-24 K-BB), but he still has a 1.20 ERA in 52.2 IP with the Stone Crabs. Bellatti worked around a hit with 2 strikeouts in the 8th before Garcia tossed a perfect 9th. On the offensive side, Richie Shaffer went 2 for 4 with the only RBI, a 2-out single in the 6th, and that proved to be enough as the Stone Crabs edged the Cardinals.
Low-A Midwest League: Bowling Green Hot Rods 5, South Bend Silver Hawks (ARI) 3
Hot Rods are fast cars. The Bowling Green Hot Rods are certainly living up to the nickname. In this game alone, Bowling Green stole 4 bases, including Andrew Toles‘ 62nd and Tyler Goeddel‘s 27th, as the Hot Rods have exploded for 214 stolen bases on the year, 39 more than the second place team in the Midwest League. Pair those steals with solid pitching and some clutch hits, and you have yourself a winning formula. In this game, Jordan Harrison worked around an untimely error to have a strong start, going 6 innings allowing 3 runs, 1 earned, on 5 hits, striking out 4 while walking 1 and forcing a 7-3 groundout to flyout ratio. Nick Sawyer and Matthew Spann then tossed no-hit ball with 4 strikeouts over the last 3 innings, although Sawyer did allow a pair of walks in his 1.2 IP. In terms of the run support, Tommy Coyle went 2 for 4 with a wlak and 2 RBI, Patrick Leonard went 2 for 3 with a walk and a run scored, and Toles was the catalyst at the top of the lineup, going 2 for 5 with 3 runs scored.