Sometimes your starter simply doesn’t have it. But it is awesome when your long reliever follows with a game like Merrill Kelly had on Friday night.
Triple-A International League: Pawtucket Red Sox 7, Durham Bulls 0
This was a bad game for the Bulls. They were held to just 3 hits- 2 by Cole Figueroa and 1 by Justin Christian– and Enny Romero allowed 6 runs on 8 hits in just 3 innings of work. But at least Merrill Kelly gave Bulls fans something to smile about. Kelly went 6 innings allowing just 1 run on 4 hits, striking out 8 while walking 2. That would be one heck of a start, and is a tremendous luxury for the Rays to have a guy with Kelly’s abilities coming out of the bullpen. In addition, while the Bulls’ starting five gets all the prospect hype, Merrill Kelly looks like a big league contributor in his own right.
High-A Florida State League: Tampa Yankees 4, Charlotte Stone Crabs 1
This wasn’t an especially bad game for Charlotte, just one where the pitching was unspectacular, the defense made a couple of mistakes, and the hitters couldn’t deliver with runners in scoring position. Austin Pruitt got the start and went 5.1 innings allowing 3 runs, just 1 earned, on 2 hits, striking out 6 against 2 walks. Parker Markel allowed a run in 1.2 innings behind him, but Nick Sawyer did finish the game in impressive fashion, striking out 1 in a perfect frame. Tyler Goeddel went 2 for 3 with a double in the loss, and the Rays have to hope that he’s getting going again.
Low-A Midwest League: Dayton Dragons (CIN) 8, Bowling Green Hot Rods 5
This was quite an unfortunate game. Jacob Faria pitched well again, allowing just a run on 3 hits in 6 innings, striking out 8 while walking 1. But then Aaron Griffin allowed 7 runs in just 1.1 innings (with Colton Reavis allowing 3 inherited runners to score), and the Hot Rods came away losers. Alexander Simon did have a big game, going 2 for 3 with a 3-run homer and a walk, while Johnny Field went 2 for 5 with a double.