It was a tough day for the Tampa Bay Rays minor league system. Their top two affiliates would win, but after that none of their stateside affiliates could avoid the loss. It was a combination of pitching and offensive struggles in the losses, and it is not encouraging to see the system struggling so mightily on both sides of the ball.
Triple-A International League: Durham Bulls 6, Indianapolis Indians (PIT) 3
Coming into this game, Nate Karns had given up 13 runs in in his last 5.2 innings over his last 2 starts. This go-around, he was much more respectable, going 6.0 innings and allowing 3 runs while walking 2 and striking out 6. Adam Liberatore then threw a scoreless inning. The lefty doesn’t get much credit, but he has put up a great year this year, posting a 2.19 ERA and a 48-7 K-BB ratio in 37.0 innings. Josh Lueke and Jeff Beliveau then combined to throw the final 2.0 shutout innings.
On offense, Vince Belnome went 3-4 with a homer and 2 doubles to lead the way. Curt Casali added a home run of his own as part of a 1-3 night that included a walk. Jeremy Moore, seeing his first action since being promoted from Double-A, also had a solid night by going 2-4 with a double and a pair of RBIs. Overall, a nice showing from the Bulls.
Double-A Southern League: Montgomery Biscuits 4, Huntsville Stars (MIL) 2
Grayson Garvin made his longest start of the season in this game, going 4.0 innings and allowing no runs and no hits while walking 1 and striking out 2. Garvin has struggled with injuries his entire career, but if he can just stay healthy he could be a solid big league starter sooner rather than later. Bryce Stowell would be the lone dark spot in the Biscuits bullpen, allowing 2 runs (1 earned) in 1.1 innings. Mike Colla, Santiago Garrido, and Matt Ramsey would all throw scoreless outings in relief.
For the offense, it was the double play combo that led the way. Shortstop Jake Hager went 2-3 while smacking a key 2-run homer as well as an RBI double on top of 2 walks. Ryan Brett would go 1-3 with a double, 2 walks, and 3 runs scored. It is possible that these two could become the big league double play combo as soon as 2016, though both have plenty of work to do for that to become reality.
High-A Florida State League: Palm Beach Cardinals 5, Port Charlotte Stone Crabs 2
Albert Suarez made just his second start this year after finally returning from an injury that had sidelined him since April 2013. He would go 5.0 innings, allowing just 1 run while striking out 3 and walking 1. Parker Markel was not so good behind him, going 3.0 innings and allowing 4 runs. After a strong start to the year, Markel has put up a 7.13 ERA in his last 10 outings, and that has ballooned his overall ERA to 4.73. Offensively, Maxx Tissenbaum continued a hot streak by going 3-4, and is now hitting .366/.366/.683 in his last 10 games. Tommy Coyle also had a nice day, going 2-4 and stealing a base. In his first game at High-A since being promoted from Low-A Bowling Green, Granden Goetzman would go 1-4. However, the offense could only score 2 runs, and that wasn’t going to work after Markel’s poor outing.
Low-A Midwest League: Game 1: Lake County Captains (CLE) 7, Bowling Green Hot Rods 2
The Hot Rods played two 7 inning games on Wednesday, and both would end with the same 7-2 result. In game one, Jake Faria struggled, going just 4.2 innings and giving up 7 runs (6 earned). Johnny Field had a nice day for the offense, going 3-4 with his 20th double of the season. But the rest of the offense was fairly quite, and the offense did little to attempt to overcome Faria’s struggles.
Game 2: Lake County 7, Hot Rods 2
This time it was the tandem of Jorge Rodriguez and Andrew Hanse who struggled, as Rodriguez gave up 4 runs in 2.0 innings and Hanse gave up 3 runs in 3.0 innings. The offense had an even worse showing in game 2, as they managed just 4 hits, none for extra bases. Also no hitter would have more than a single hit.
Short Season-A New York-Penn League : Staten Island Yankees 9, Hudson Valley Renegades 0
Nolan Gannon cruised through 5 innings, allowing only 1 hit while striking out 5 to that point. In the 6th he would give up a double and hit a batter before ceding the game to Eli Echarry. Echarry would allow both inherited runners to score, causing Gannon to be charged with 2 runs (1 earned). His troubles wouldn’t stop there though, as he would allow a run of his own in the 6th, as well as 6 runs in the 7th inning. Ryan Pennell then finished things off with a scoreless inning in relief. On offense it was a tough day for the Renegades, as they managed just 3 hits, none for extra bases.
Rookie Appalachian League: Kingsport Mets 7, Princeton Rays 4
Another game, another pitcher that struggled. This time it was Freddy Alvarez, who gave up 7 runs in 3.2 innings as the starter. At least the bullpen pitched well, as Damion Carroll, Steve Ascher, and Tomas Michelson went the final 5.1 innings while giving up no runs. Alvarez put the game out of hand, but at least the offense put up a fight. Hector Montes continued a solid start to his season, going 2-4 with a double. He has hit .471/.471/.647 for the P-Rays this year. Carter Burgess also went 2-4, but in the end Princeton could not come up with the win.
Rookie Gulf Coast League: GCL Red Sox 7, GCL Rays 0
Cameron Varga, the Rays 2nd round pick this year, made his pro debut in this game. He would go just 2.0 innings, but he only allowed 1 hit and 1 walk while striking out a batter. It was Deivy Mendez who struggled in this game, going 3.0 innings and allowing 5 runs (4 earned) while walking 3. Joselito Cano went 3.0 innings as well, giving up 2 unearned runs. It was another offensive struggle, as the GCL Rays managed just 4 hits and plated no runs.