We all hear the “small sample size” refrain plenty in the early goings every season, but there is still that twinge of doubt in our minds that inevitably surfaces when a player starts off badly. Could their horrific start be indicative of a real problem? The questions were rampant for Dylan Floro entering his fourth start of 2014, but he proceeded to finally start putting his doubters to rest.
Triple-A International League: Norfolk Tides (BAL) 6, Durham Bulls 3
What was cool about this game was that Jerry Sands went 3 for 4 with his 5th homer of the season and 2 runs scored while Cole Figueroa homered for the second straight game as part of a 2 for 4 day. Sands continues to make his case for a big league call-up while Figueroa already has two-thirds of his power output from all of last season. Aside from Sands and Figueroa, though, this game was downright boring. Enny Romero went 5.2 innings allowing 5 runs on 7 hits, striking out 5 while walking 2. Juan Sandoval then finished the game by allowing a run on 2 hits in 2.1 innings pitched. Romero was bad, Sandoval was mediocre, and the Bulls offense went 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position, scoring on only the 2 homers and an Ali Solis groundout. The Bulls drop to just 13-5 on the season.
Double-A Southern League: Montgomery Biscuits 4, Mississippi Braves 3
No one in the entire Rays organization needed a good start more than Dylan Floro, and he was able to deliver. Floro went 6 innings allowing no runs on 2 hits, striking out 2 while walking none and forcing a 13-3 groundout to flyout ratio. He has not missed many bats at all early on in the season, but he was finally able to command his sinker in this game and give the Biscuits a great outing. The bullpen was sketchy behind Floro, but luckily the offense was enough to make up for it. Richie Shaffer went 2 for 4 with a homer, a triple, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored, Willie Argo had an RBI double and his 10th steal without getting caught, and Curt Casali went 1 for 2 with 2 walks and a run scored. In sharp contrast to Floro, Shaffer has been incredible to begin the season, hitting to a .260/.362/.640 line with 4 homers, 2 triples, 3 doubles, and 9 RBI. He even has a strong 14-8 strikeout to walk ratio. This is the player the Rays drafted in the first round, and the Rays have to hope he can make it last.