The Undercards: Douglas Duran’s 4 Hits Propel Hot Rods
By Drew Jenkins
The Tampa Bay Rays organization saw a pair of exciting games on Sunday, as the Durham Bulls and Bowling Green Hot Rods each broke out to score 10 runs. However with those great wins, there were also a couple of tough losses.
Triple-A International League: Durham Bulls 10, Charlotte Knights (CHW) 5
Mike Montgomery‘s recent struggles continued in this game as he allowed 4 runs (3 earned) in just 3.2 innings while walking 3 and striking out 3. After Montgomery had broken out in a huge way at the beginning of the season, a 5.63 ERA in his last 10 games has pushed his ERA on the season to an underwhelming 4.29. Right around when his struggles started, Montgomery had been experiencing some elbow soreness, so you have to wonder if there is anything still lingering from that. In relief, recently demoted Brandon Gomes three 2.1 shutout innings before C.J. Riefenhauser threw 2.0 scoreless innings. Josh Lueke came on to finish the game, however he let up a run while getting on one out, forcing Adam Liberatore to come on and secure the final two outs.
Offensively it was catcher Ali Solis who led the way, going 2 for 3 with a 3-run homer and a pair of runs scored. Wil Myers added a homer of his own, a 2-run shot, for his only hit in 4 at-bats. Through 5 games of rehab with Durham, Myers is hitting .286/.313/.529. Also with great days at the plate were Mike Fontenot, who went 2 for 4 with a double and 3 RBIs, and Nick Franklin, who was 3 for 5 with a pair of runs scored.
Double-A Southern League: Tennessee Smokies (CHC) 7, Montgomery Biscuits 3
After Mike Colla had seemingly turned things around from a disastrous start to the season, he took a step back in his start Sunday. He would go 4.0 innings, allowing 7 runs (6 earned) on 11 hits and a walk. The bullpen did a good job of keeping the Smokies’ hitters at bay, as Jim Patterson and Santiago Garrido each threw 2.0 shutout innings while Braulio Lara added one of his own.
Richie Shaffer went 2 for 3 with a double, a walk, an RBI, and a run scored to contribute nicely to the offense. Shaffer remains one of the more frustrating prospects in the Rays system as he is still showing great raw power at the plate but can’t seem to make enough contact to tap into it. Other than Shaffer, the Biscuits’ offense was fairly quiet.
High-A Florida State League: Game 1: Charlotte Stone Crabs 4, Jupiter Hammerheads (MIA) 1 (7 innings)
Blake Snell once again showcased great stuff, scattering 3 hits and 1 run while striking out 4 in 4.1 innings. But his control got the best of him once again, as he walked 4 and couldn’t make it out of the 5th inning. This has become a bit of a recurring theme in Snell’s starts, showing he still has a ways to go with his control if he wants to reach his lofty ceiling. In relief, Jordan Harrison threw 1.2 scoreless innings before Colton Reavis added a shutout inning. Johnny Field led the offense, going 1 for 2 with 2 walks and 2 runs scored. Tommy Coyle also added a pair of runs scored.
Game 2: Jupiter 6, Charlotte 5 (7 innings)
The pitching in game 2 was much worse than game one. Jaime Schultz lasted 4.1 innings as the starter, giving up 4 runs (3 earned) while walking 4. Jose Molina then allowed a run in 0.2 innings of work, and Ryan Garton also let up a run in his 1.1 innings. Marty Gantt had a 2 for 4 performance, but no one else had multiple hits for the Stone Crabs. Granden Goetzman did add a solo home run.
Low-A Midwest League: Bowling Green Hot Rods 10, Dayton Dragons (CIN) 4
It is hard to know where to start with the Hot Rods offense, as there were so many great performers. Out of the nine-hole, Douglas Duran went 4 for 4 with 3 RBIs and a run scored. Spencer Edwards also had a nice day, going 2 for 3 with a triple and 3 runs scored. Edwards is hitting just .198 this year and has never hit much as a pro, but he is still toolsy and games like these make you wonder if maybe one day he can tap into those tools. Oscar Hernandez also had an outstanding day, going 2 for 5 with a homer and 3 RBIs. Alexander Simon contributed a 3 for 5 outing as well.
On the pitching side of things, Issac Gil had a nice start, throwing 5.0 innings and giving up 1 run while striking out 4. Stone Speer then allowed 3 runs (1 earned) in 2.0 innings, though he did strike out rehabbing big leaguer Brandon Phillips. To finish things off, D.J. Slaton threw 2.0 shutout innings while striking out 4.
Short Season-A New York-Penn League: Lowell Spinners (BOS) 9, Hudson Valley Renegades 1
It was a rough all-around game for the Renegades as they dropped one to the Lowell Spinners. Oscar Armenta allows 4 runs (3 earned) in 5.0 innings as the starter before Edgar Gomez allowed a run in his 2.0 innings. After Ryan Pennell threw a scoreless inning, Kyle McKenzie let up 4 unearned runs in his inning of work.
Bralin Jackson had a nice day at the plate, going 3 for 4. Jace Conrad and Alec Sole each had a pair of hits, but ultimately the offense couldn’t do much to overcome the defense and pitching staff’s struggles.
Advanced Rookie Appalachian League: Elizabethton Twins 11, Princeton Rays 0
Just like Hudson Valley, the P-Rays didn’t do much right in this game. Greg Maisto was hit hard, letting up 9 hits en route to 7 runs (6 earned) in just 3.0 innings of work. Piggyback Trevor Lubking wasn’t much better, giving up 4 runs in 3.0 innings. Kyle Bird did have a nice outing, throwing 2.0 scoreless innings. Thomas Milone went 2 for 4, but other than that not much was doing for the offense.