The Undercards: Nate Karns Has Breakthrough Outing in Durham Loss

By Robbie Knopf

As seasons progress, usually everything evens out. Most of the great players finish with excellent numbers while most of the bad players struggle yet again. However, there are always exceptions to that, and you always want to know that your guys are not among of them. After a horrific start, Nate Karns has been desperate to get his confidence back. His start on Sunday, though, reminds us not to give up on him and makes us realize that he should be just fine.

Triple-A International League: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (NYY) 2, Durham Bulls 1 (11 innings)

Yes, the Bulls lost this game, but none of the blame falls on the shoulders of Nate Karns. The highly-touted right-hander went 7.2 innings allowing just 1 run on 3 hits, striking out 6 while walking 1. This certainly was not Karns’ most dominant effort, but what stood out was his efficiency as he used just 103 pitches to get that far, 64 of which were strikes. This start demonstrates just how good Karns can be when his command is right, and hopefully that can start happening more often. Karns has not thrown two straight good outings, but his ERA still stands at 5.85. His work is only beginning.

Unfortunately for Karns, the Bulls offense was absent in this game, scoring only on a Cole Figueroa solo homer. Wilson Betemit did go 2 for 5 in the loss. Betemit has been romanticized by Rays fans–his .246/.336/.459 line is not that impressive. Nevertheless, he could be a useful bench bat, and we will have to see if he ever gets a chance.

Double-A Southern League: Montgomery Biscuits 4, Mississippi Braves 2

Wow, a Rays affiliate won a game! Victor Mateo started and pitched effectively again, allowing 1 run on 7 hits in 5 innings, striking out 2 while walking 3. This was not his best game, but he really needs to go to Triple-A only the Rays have no spots available. Matt Lollis had a rough appearance behind him, allowing 2 walks, 2 hits, and a run in 2 innings of work, but Andrew Bellatti did toss 2 shutout frames for the save. The run allowed by Lollis makes the ERA competition awfully close–Lollis is at 1.89 while Bellatti is at 1.93.

On the offensive side, Ryan Brett and Taylor Motter were dynamic from the top of the order. Brett went 2 for 4 with a walk, a stolen base, and 2 runs scored, registering his third straight multi-hit game. Motter, meanwhile, had a 2 for 5 day with a double, a stolen base, and an RBI. Brett is hitting .318 while Motter is at a paltry .306. The batter in third spot in the order, Cameron Seitzer, is also worth mentioning. He went 1 for 2 with 3 walks, an RBI, and a run scored. His return to Double-A has been tough, but he now has a .286/.366/.400 line in his last 10 games. Don’t look now, but he is coming around. Seitzer’s approach has remained sound all season, and bad luck was his real problem. Luckily, he never lost confidence and is finally breaking through.