The Undercards: Tim Beckham, Nick Franklin, Wil Myers Impress for Durham
By Robbie Knopf
The overarching theme of Wednesday’s games is that great pitching performances don’t always get rewarded. Dylan Floro was incredible for Montgomery, but he had to settle for a complete-game loss. In the Durham doubleheader, meanwhile, the Bulls got two rough starts yet used the heroics of Tim Beckham, Nick Franklin, and Wil Myers to come away with one win.
Triple-A International League: Game 1: Durham Bulls 8, Rochester Red Wings (MIN) 7 (11 innings)
Game 2: Red Wings 4, Bulls 2 (7 innings)
This first game was the completion of the suspended game from Tuesday, and the circumstances were unfortunate for the Bulls. The rain forced Enny Romero‘s start to last just 2 innings, and scheduled Wednesday starter Matt Andriese came in for the top of the third inning. Whether it was because of the strange timing of his appearance or not, Andriese struggled for the fourth time in his last five appearances as he allowed 5 runs in 4.1 innings pitched. Luckily for Durham, Red Wings “starter” Mark Hamburger was just as bad, and this game eventually went into extra innings.
There it was Mike Fontenot who emerged as the hero, drilling a go-ahead double. Fontenot had a huge game, going 4 for 5 with 2 doubles, 4 RBI, and a run scored, and he was joined by two younger players who had great games. Tim Beckham made his 2014 Triple-A debut and was incredible, going 4 for 6 with an RBI and 3 runs scored, while Wil Myers went 1 for 3 with 3 walks, 2 stolen bases, and a run scored in his rehab game. Results from rehab stints don’t mean much, but it’s nice to see Myers showing off the patience and the speed.
The second game saw Jake Thompson make just his first start of 2014 after starting all but one time from 2011 to 2013. It was another case where we can ask whether an adjusted role threw him off as the usually reliable Thompson allowed 4 runs in 2.1 innings pitched. Cory Burns and C.J. Riefenhauser finished the game with 3.2 shutout innings (although Burns allowed 2 inherited runners to score). For Burns, it was his Triple-A debut and went decently as he allowed 3 hits in 2.1 innings, but struck out 3 while walking none. On the offensive side, Fontenot continued his insane day by going 2 for 3 with a triple while Nick Franklin accounted for the Durham score with a 2-run homer.
Double-A Southern League: Mississippi Braves 2, Montgomery Biscuits 0
I said it above, but I’ll say it again: it is criminal that Dylan Floro took the loss in this game. He put his recent struggles in the past as he went the complete game, allowing 3 hits and just 2 runs, 1 earned, in 8 innings of work. He struck out 5 while walking none and forced a 14-4 groundout to flyout ratio. Floro was outstanding as he recorded his third complete game of the year, the most in the organization and one more than some guy named David Price. That’s pretty incredible. Cameron Seitzer went 2 for 4 in the loss.
High-A Florida State League: Charlotte Stone Crabs 2, Palm Beach Cardinals 0
Juniel Querecuto and Johnny Field had an RBI single each in this game, and the Charlotte pitching staff did the rest. Reinaldo Lopez started and went 6 innings allowing no runs on 4 hits, striking out 3 while walking 3. Jordan Harrison followed by allowing just 1 hit in 2 shutout relief innings, striking out 1 and getting 3 more outs on the ground. Then Colton Reavis finished the game with a perfect 9th with a strikeout. Lopez has a pedestrian 73-53 strikeout to walk ratio on the season, but that hasn’t stopped him from posting a 3.18 ERA in 127.1 innings pitched. That mark actually goes down to just 1.92 if we take out three appearances where he allowed 7 runs. There’s no reason to think that he can keep this up, but it’s impressive nonetheless.
On the offensive side, Querecuto and Field both had multi-hit games to accompany their RBIs, with Field also stealing a base, and Thomas Coyle went 1 for 3 with a triple, a walk, and a run scored. Coyle has a five-game hitting streak going as he just may be heating up. He has hit the wall this season after excellent performance in his first two years as a pro, but he’s attempting to prove that he can recover.
Low-A Midwest League: Bowling Green Hot Rods 2, Great Lakes Loons (LAD) 1
The lone tally by the Loons ruined the streak of three streak 2-0 games, but the formula for this one was quite similar to the Charlotte game. Oscar Hernandez drilled a two-run homer, and that was enough for Bowling Green’s trio of pitchers. German Marquez got the start and looked every bit the high-rising pitching prospect he is known to be, going 5 innings allowing no runs on 2 hits, striking out 5 while walking 1. He also forced a 5-1 groundout to flyout ratio. Marquez has been pitching out of his mind since coming off the DL, pitching to a 2.30 ERA and a 38-8 strikeout to walk ratio in 31.1 innings pitched.
Brad Schreiber followed by allowing just an unearned run on 2 hits in 2.2 innings pitched, striking out 4 while walking 1, before Brian Miller allowed just a hit in the final 1.1 frames, striking out 1. Aside from Hernandez, it is also worth noting that Kean Wong had a huge game, going 3 for 4 with a stolen base and a run scored. With a six-game hitting streak and consecutive three-hit efforts under his belt, Wong has officially found his stride again.