The Undercards: Jeff Ames, German Marquez Hit Hard, Affiliates Swept
Wednesday was a pretty miserable day for the Tampa Bay Rays organization as a whole. Not only did the big league club lose despite giving up only one hit, but the three minor league affiliates that played would all also lose. It has been a dismal year for the Rays all-around. Let’s just hope these minor league teams can bounce back on Thursday.
Double-A Southern League: Huntsville Stars (MIL) 5, Montgomery Biscuits 2
Jared Mortensen started the game for the Biscuits and did his best to ensure that they had a chance to win the game. He went 5.0 innings, giving up 2 runs on 3 hits and 3 walks while striking out 7. Behind him, Sam Runion and Bryce Stowell threw 3.0 scoreless innings and allowed the Biscuits to keep the game tied heading into the 9th. But, usual shutdown reliever Andrew Bellatti could not hold the lead, allowing 3 runs in the 9th and earning the loss.
The Biscuits offense actually managed two more hits than the Stars, but poor timely hitting cost them a chance at winning this game. Cameron Seitzer led the way with a 2-3 performance that included a walk. No other Biscuits’ hitter would have multiple hits, but Joey Rickard, Jake Hager, Luke Maile and Taylor Motter all had doubles. Maile has been especially hot as of late, putting up a .343/.415/.468 line in his last 10 games including 11 hits in his last 21 at-bats. But, despite plenty of doubles to go around, the Biscuits would not get the key hits needed.
High-A Florida State League: Lakeland Flying Tigers (DET) 9, Port Charlotte Stone Crabs 4
Jeff Ames showed promise last year by putting up a 2.98 ERA last season at Low-A Bowling Green. But he has looked horrendous this year, and a 5.0 inning performance in which he allowed 8 runs rose his ERA to an ugly 6.75 on the season. Ames’ uninspiring stuff is being exploited by more advanced hitters, and uncharacteristic command issues are hurting him greatly. Something has to change if he wants to avoid a move to the bullpen. Kevin Brandt came on for the 6th, but would only get 2 outs and allow a run before being pulled in favor of Ben Griset. He became the lone bright spot of the Stone Crabs pitching staff by putting up 2.1 scoreless innings.
The offense was solid, though they would get nothing out of the middle of their order, as the 3 through 5 hitters went a combined 0-12. Maxx Tissenbaum and Kes Carter added 2-4 performances out of the 8th and 9th spots respectively. Leonardo Reginnatto went 2-3 to continue a recent hot streak. He is hitting an outstanding .411/.511/.474 in his last 10 games, and his average has risen all the way to .325 on the season. The Stone Crabs didn’t have an extra base hit in this game, and that’s something you would like to see improved. But, not a bad day for them overall.
Low-A Midwest League: Lansing Lugnuts (TOR) 13, Bowling Green Hot Rods 8
One of the few positives for the entire Rays organization on Wednesday was the Hot Rods offense. Despite just 8 hits, they took advantage of clutch performances, as well as a couple of Lugnuts’ errors, to plate a solid 8 runs. Granden Goetzman accounted for three of the runs thanks to a 2-5 performance, though he did put up a golden sombrero with 3 strikeouts. Ariel Soriano put up a 2-5 performance of his own, adding a double, scoring 2 runs, and driving in another. Oscar Hernandez scored a run and drove in another as well in a 1-2 performance.
Despite the great offense, the Hot Rods would get nothing out of their pitching staff. German Marquez let up 6 runs without even getting out of the 1st inning. Jose Rodriguez, Andrew Hanse, and Brad Schreiber also all gave up runs in the next 6.2 innings. The only bright spot for the pitching staff was Darryl George, who is normally an infielder for the Hot Rods. He would give up no runs and get 2 outs, becoming the only Hot Rod pitcher not to give up a run in the game.