Yesterday was a disaster for the Tampa Bay Rays as they lost 9-0 to the New York Yankees, but they are already starting to make changes. After the game, they designated Grant Balfour for assignment and recalled Brandon Gomes to join their bullpen. In the minors, meanwhile, wins by each of their affiliates prompts reason for further hope.
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Triple-A International League: Durham Bulls 5, Norfolk Tides (BAL) 3
It was Gomes that received the call this time, but he is far from alone among Durham relievers with the ability to contribute to the Rays. After Scott Diamond tossed 4 innings allowing 3 runs, Jordan Norberto looked excellent, tossing 2 innings allowing just a hit, striking out 4 while walking none. The Rays may need a lefty and Norberto could be their guy. He pairs a fastball in the low-to-mid 90’s with a good slider and has a 0.00 ERA and a 9-2 strikeout to walk ratio in 5.2 IP this year.
Kirby Yates also looked decent, working around a walk with a strikeout in a scoreless inning before Bryce Stowell tossed 0.2 innings allowing a hit. Then there was Ronald Belisario, the big league veteran who went 1.1 innings working around a walk by forcing 3 outs on the ground. At the outset of the year, we had to wonder whether the Rays would ever need Belisario’s services, but at this point, a call-up for him may be only a matter of time.
Now to the offense, which is less relevant presently but may be more exciting in this game. Brian McCann hit a 2-run triple for the Yankees yesterday, but Bulls catcher Luke Maile pulled off the same feat to cap a 2-for-4 day with 2 runs scored. Maile has started off slowly, but that may be the type of performance he can build on. Hak-Ju Lee also went 2 for 3 with an RBI while both Joey Butler and Mikie Mahtook went 1 for 3 with a double and a run scored. Butler also had an RBI for Durham.
Double-A Southern League: Montgomery Biscuits 12, Jacksonville Suns (MIA) 5
You saw from the headline what Johnny Field did in this game, but several of the Tampa Bay Rays’ top prospects actually delivered breakout performances. Field went 3 for 5 with 2 homers and 4 RBI, bringing his line on the season to .333/.375/.567. He does have 10 strikeouts against just 2 walks, but it is great to see him continuing to thrive even as the Rays push him aggressively and hopefully he can make the adjustments to keep that up.
Daniel Robertson also had a huge day, going 3 for 5 with his first Double-A homer, 3 RBI, and 3 runs scored. Robertson has started off slowly, but the Rays knew that he was about to come around. That finally happened in this game, and the Biscuits are set to receive a huge lift. Tommy Coyle also drilled his first homer of the season, a two-run shot, while Boog Powell went 2 for 5 with a walk and 2 runs scored.
Finally, we need to talk about Tyler Goeddel yet again. The 22-year-old converted outfielder went 2 for 4 with a walk, 3 RBI, and 2 runs scored. He now has a 7-game hit streak with multiple hits in three of his last four. Overall, he has a .357/.438/.571 line with 2 homers, 8 RBI, and a 9-4 strikeout to walk ratio in 8 games. Now the Rays are just hoping that he can come remotely close to keeping that up.
On the mound, Reinaldo Lopez struggled but Mikey O’Brien had a huge relief appearance, going 4.1 innings allowing just 2 hits, striking out 3 while walking none. It was night and day from O’Brien’s last appearance, where he allowed 6 earned runs in just 2 innings. Colton Reavis also finished the game strongly, striking out 2 in a perfect frame.
High-A Florida State League: Charlotte Stone Crabs 11, Palm Beach Cardinals 3
This game was a little bit different from Montgomery’s in that the Stone Crabs scored their runs without the benefit of a single homer. Juniel Querecuto and Maxx Tissenbaum had identical lines of 2 for 5 with a double, 3 RBI, and a run scored to lead the way, and of course they were far from alone. Jake Bauers went 2 for 4 with a double, a walk, an RBI, and 3 runs scored while Joey Rickard went 1 for 2 with 2 walks, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored.
Andrew Velazquez also delivered a nice performance, going 2 for 5 with an RBI and a run scored. Velazquez has been dealing with a lot this season, splitting time between shortstop, third base, and second base, and it has been rough for him learning the hot corner especially. Even so, he has not relinquished the Stone Crabs’ leadoff job and will hope to keep getting comfortable in all facets of the game.
On the mound, Jacob Faria had a solid start, going 5 innings allowing 2 runs on 4 hits, striking out 5 while walking 2. Josh Kimborowicz followed by allowing just a run in 2.2 innings of work, and Brad Schreiber later finished the game with a scoreless inning working around a hit.
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Low-A Midwest League: Bowling Green Hot Rods 4, Lake County Captains (CLE) 3
The Hot Rods were running wild against Lake County catcher Sicnarf Loopstok to help them to victory in this game. Thomas Milone went 2 for 4 with a triple, 2 stolen bases, an RBI, and a run scored while Cristian Toribio went 3 for 4 with a double, a stolen base, an RBI, and a run scored. Finally, Jace Conrad delivered a 2-for-3 day with a a double, a walk, a stolen base, and a run scored. There is a lot of speed on the Hot Rods, and it is great to see them using it well.
Casey Gillaspie had a pair of RBI for Bowling Green in support of Henry Centeno, who went 5 innings allowing 2 runs, 1 earned, on 4 hits, striking out 4 while walking 2. Going up straight from the Gulf Coast League hasn’t affected Centeno as he has a 1.64 ERA in his first two starts. Kyle Bird finished the game with a pair of scoreless frames.