The key theme in the Tampa Bay Rays organization on Sunday was offense- but not for good reasons. The Montgomery Biscuits did breakout to score 9 runs. However the other 5 affiliates would combine to score just 7 runs as Montgomery was the lone victor.
Triple-A International League: Gwinnett Braves 11, Durham Bulls 3
Mike Montgomery had a tough start, giving up 8 runs (5 earned) on 8 hits while only lasting 1.1 innings. Despite the awful outing, Montgomery still has a decent 3.63 ERA on the year. Doug Mathis wasn’t great in long relief either, giving up 3 runs and 7 hits in 3.2 innings. C.J. Riefenhauser, Merrill Kelly, and Adam Liberatore would then combine to throw 3.0 shutout innings. The offense, meanwhile, couldn’t get going until the 9th- when they scored 3 meaningless runs. Mikie Mahtook and Ali Solis did have nice days, both going 2 for 4 with a double. On the surface, Mahtook’s .303/.372/.485 line looks great this year, but the fact that he has a .393 BABIP and a career-high 24.9% strikeout rate have to make you skeptical about those numbers.
Double-A Southern League: Montgomery Biscuits 9, Jackson Generals (SEA) 8
Victor Mateo let up 6 runs as the starter, however only 3 were earned and he lasted 6.1 innings. The Biscuits made a disappointing 3 errors on the night, one each by Taylor Motter, Ryan Brett, and Cameron Seitzer. Most concerning was Brett’s, which was his 17th of the year. Brett has the potential to be a good defensive second baseman, but a combination of poor hands and recklessness has led to the high amount of errors. In relief, Bryce Stowell allowed 1 run in an inning of work. Cory Burns came on to try to get the 4-out save, however he allowed an inherited run and a run of his own to score which put the Biscuits down a run headed to the 9th.
Luckily for the pitching and defense, the offense came to play. Alejandro Segovia was the hero, smacking a walk-off single in the 9th to give the Biscuits a victory. That was Segovia’s only hit, but he was on base 3 times in 5 plate appearances. Taylor Motter also had a big night, going 3 for 5 with a pair of homers. Of Motter’s 11 homers in 80 games this season, 6 are in his last 10 games alone. Both Ryan Brett and Cameron Seitzer also had multi-hit games in the Biscuits’ exciting win.
High-A Florida State League: Clearwater Threshers (PHI) 5, Charlotte Stone Crabs 0
After being optioned to the minors prior to the All-Star break because of the Rays’ lack of a need for a 5th starter until July 29th, Jeremy Hellickson made his second start after previously pitching for the Biscuits last week. He was decent, allowing 4 runs (just 2 of them earned) on 7 hits in 5.0 innings while striking out 4 and walking 1. Hellickson wasn’t as dominant as he was with Montgomery (he struck out 11 in that start), but he seems to be getting back into shape lately after experiencing some struggles when rehabbing earlier this year. Behind him, Jose Molina threw 3.0 innings in relief while allowing 1 run. Offensively the Stone Crabs had their chances, but they would go 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position. They smacked 5 hits, 4 for extra bases, but no hitter had more than one hit.
Low-A Midwest League: Beloit Snappers (OAK) 4, Bowling Green Hot Rods 0
Jake Faria didn’t have a great start for the Hot Rods, going 4.1 innings and letting up 3 runs. Despite Faria’s short start, Josh Kimborowicz was the only reliever that the Hot Rods needed, as he would throw 3.2 innings and allow 1 run. Offensively the Hot Rods couldn’t do anything, as they managed just 2 hits on the night.
Short Season-A New York-Penn League: Vermont Lake Monsters (OAK) 3, Hudson Valley Renegades 1
At this point we have had a trend in the Rays organization- no offense. The Renegades scored just 1 run on the day off of a Grant Kay solo homer. They did managed 7 hits, but none other than Kay’s would go for extra bases, and the Renegades took just one at-bat with a runner in scoring position. Nolan Gannon had a nice start for the Renegades, going 5.0 innings and allowing 1 run while striking out 6 and walking none. Drafted as a projectable righty in the 2012 draft, Gannon is starting to turn his projection into results as he has put up a 2.81 ERA and has struck out 34 batters in 32.1 innings this year. Even better is that Gannon has shown great command over that time, allowing just 24 hits and 3 walks. Trevor Dunlap had a rough relief outing behind him, earning the loss by giving up 2 runs in 1.2 innings. Ryan Pennell did better, throwing 1.1 scoreless innings to finish off the game.
Advanced Rookie Appalachian League: Kingsport Mets 7, Princeton Rays 3
Freddy Alvarez had a nice start for the P-Rays, going 5.0 innings and giving up just 1 unearned run. However, the bullpen would collapse behind him, as Mario Fernandez gave up 5 runs in 1.2 innings and Ruben Paredes gave up a run in 1.1 innings. Offensively the P-Rays didn’t managed too much either. Thomas Milone kept up his good season by going 2 for 3 with a walk and a run scored. However, no other P-Ray had a multi-hit game, and the offense never put up much of a fight.