For the second straight day, the Durham Bulls played two games. The two contests were an ironic mix–the Bulls’ offensive futility defined one while Wil Myers‘ heroics at the plate defined the other.
Triple-A International League: Game 1: Rochester Red Wings (MIN) 3, Durham Bulls 0
Game 2: Red Wings 5, Bulls 4 (7 innings)
Maybe I’m just overly negative in this regard, but whenever I see a game where the Rays scored zero runs and don’t know anything about what happened, the first thought that crosses my mind “oh shoot, did they get no-hit?” Well, in this game, that’s exactly what happened to the Bulls. After Trevor May tossed three no-hit innings against the Bulls on July 24th, the game resumed on Monday and Logan Darnell allowed just a walk in the final six frames. For the Bulls, Alex Colome “pitched” for the second straight day and allowed 1 run on 5 hits in 4 innings, striking out 4 while walking none. Then, in terms of the actual action from yesterday, Doug Mathis allowed 2 runs on 4 hits in 3.1 innings before Jake Thompson allowed just a hit in the final 1.2 innings. I would talk about the offense…but, you know.
In the second game, Wil Myers had quite the rehab performance. He went 2 for 3 with drove in all the Bulls runs on a grand slam in the fifth inning. He topped it all off by stealing third base. Myers looked to be feeling good out there, and he may not be far from returning to the Rays. Unfortunately, the rest of the Durham offense did not do much alongside him–although Mike Fontenot went 1 for 2 with a double and a walk–and the pitchers struggled. Mike Montgomery needed 73 pitches to get through just 2.2 innings as he allowed 3 runs. Steve Geltz then allowed 2 more runs before Adam Liberatore finished the game strongly, allowing no runs on 2 hits in the final 2 innings, striking out 2. Ex-Bull Virgil Vasquez got the win for Rochester.
High-A Florida State League: Charlotte Stone Crabs 5, Jupiter Hammerheads (MIA) 3
This was quite the interesting game for a variety of reasons. After walking 5 in his Charlotte debut, Jaime Schultz was a little more locked in for his second start. He went 3 innings allowing 1 run on 5 hits, striking out 5 while walking 2. Schultz’s stuff is electric, with his fastball touching 97 MPH, and he can be a very interesting prospect if he can continue to improve his command. Behind him, Nick Sawyer made his first appearance back in Charlotte after a stint to fine-tune his mechanics in the GCL, and he looked a little better, going 1 inning allowing a run on a hit and a walk. The run would not have crossed the plate had he not thrown a wild pitch. Once again, Sawyer did not look that great, but everything is relative–last time we saw him, he had walked 5 while retiring just one batter.
Next to take the hill was Kevin Brandt, and he pitched extremely well, going 3 shutout innings allowing just 2 hits, striking out 1 and forcing 4 groundouts. His ERA is a tidy 1.25 in 27 appearances and 50.1 innings pitched, although the Rays would love to see some improvement in his 44-20 strikeout to walk ratio. Then Jose Alberto Molina allowed a run in the 8th, and the Stone Crabs found themselves trailing 3-1 in the game. They had already brought out three interesting pitchers, but their offense had scored just one run on a Maxx Tissenbaum RBI single. Luckily, that was about to change. In the bottom of the 8th, Charlotte got another RBI hit from Tissenbaum to go along with a Tyler Goeddel RBI double and a Granden Goetzman RBI single, and Josh Sale also contributed a sac fly. Zach Cooper tossed a perfect 9th with 2 strikeouts as that 4-run rally was enough for the Stone Crabs to win 5-4.
We’ve talked plenty about the pitchers, but in terms of the offensive lines, Tissenbaum went 2 for 4 with those 2 RBI and a run scored to raise his average to .301 on the year, Tommy Coyle went 2 for 3 with 2 steals and 2 runs scored, and both Patrick Leonard and Johnny Field went 1 for 3 with a walk and a run scored. The surprising thing: of Leonard and Field, it is extremely unlikely that Leonard would be the one to steal a base, but that was exactly what happened. Leonard does not feature much speed, but he is now up to a perfect 11 of 11 in stolen base attempts to go along with his .291/.370/.476 line on the season. His “speed” isn’t a major reason why, but Leonard is turning himself into a top prospect for the Rays.
Short Season-A New York-Penn League: Tri-City ValleyCats (HOU) 2, Hudson Valley Renegades 0
The ValleyCats held down the Renegades’ bats again as they pulled within one game of Hudson Valley for the best record in the New York-Penn League. Oscar Armenta has excellent for the ‘Gades, going 6 innings allowing no runs on 4 hits, striking out 6 while walking 1. He also forced an 8-4 groundout to flyout ratio. But Edwin Fierro allowed 2 runs in the 8th, and that was enough for Hudson Valley to lose. Fierro allowed those 2 runs on 5 hits in his 3 innings of work, striking out 3 while walking none. The Renegades managed just 4 hits, with Alex Sole following up his 9th-inning heroics on Sunday with a 1-for-2 day with a walk while Daniel Miles went 1 for 3 with a double.
Advanced Rookie Appalachian League: Game 1: Princeton Rays 3, Pulaski Mariners 2 (11 innings)
Game 2: P-Mariners 3, P-Rays 0 (7 innings)
The first game was your worst nightmare for the first game of a doubleheader–it was supposed to be a 7-inning game, but the game was tied until the 11th. Nevertheless, the P-Rays will certainly take the win. Greg Maisto gave them a nice start, going 4 innings allowing 1 run on 4 hits, striking out 4 while walking 2. He left trailing 1-0, but Thomas Milone tied the game with an RBI double in the 6th. Yonny Chirinos followed Maisto with a very similar line, allowing 1 run on 4 hits in 4 innings with 3 K’s and 2 walks, but the one run put the team behind entering their final chance in the bottom of the 7th. Luckily, Princeton was able to load the bases on 2 hits and a walk before an Angel Moreno hit-by-pitch tied the game. That was it for the scoring for a while, but after a shutout inning from Chirinos and 3 more from Rafael Cordova, Carter Burgess was the hero in the bottom of the 11th, drilling a walk-off single. Burgess went 3 for 5 with that RBI and a run scored in the game while Milone went 2 for 4 with a double, a walk, and an RBI.
In Game 2, Cameron Varga got the start, but was actually upstaged by the reliever behind him. Varga was decent, but nothing more, going 4.2 innings allowing 3 runs, 2 earned, on 5 hits, striking out while walking 1. Damion Carroll, meanwhile, was dominant behind him, going 2.1 no-hit innings allowing just a walk while striking out 5. The Rays would love to see a few more outings like this from Carroll–he has a 0.78 ERA, but his 29-14 strikeout to walk ratio in 23 innings pitched could be so much better. The P-Rays managed just 4 hits in the loss, with Enmanuel Paulino drilling a double and Jose Paez going 1 for 2 with a walk.
Rookie Gulf Coast League: GCL Twins 14, GCL Rays 9
Finishes don’t get an crazier than in this game. The GCL Rays failed 5-2 entering the bottom of the 8th inning, but they proceed to score 6 runs to take an 8-5 lead only to give up 9 runs in the top of the 9th. Brock Burke started for the Grays and pitched well, going 2 innings allowing 1 run on 1 hit, striking out 2 while walking 1. His groundout to flyout ratio was a perfect 4-0. Blake Bivens followed with 3 innings in which he allowed 7 hits, but somehow only an unearned run. The secret: two double plays and a caught stealing. He struck out 1 without a walk and forced a 3-1 groundout to flyout ratio. The pitching lines only get worse from there, so let’s move on to the offense.
David Rodriguez and Matt Ford went an identical 3 for 5 with a double, 2 RBI, and a run scored, but Rodriguez added something else as well: 3 runners thrown out in 7 attempts. Pretty good for an 18 year old in his first season in America. Christian Knott, Cade Gotta, Oscar Sanay, and Zacrey Law also had multi-hit games, with Law’s obviously being the most encouraging because he’s the only one in that group under 22 years of age at just 18. Law has been playing quite well lately, going 6 for 13 (.429) with a 2-2 strikeout to walk ratio on his four-game hitting streak.