The Tampa Bay Rays’ minor league starters on Friday were quite an impressive group–the veteran Matt Buschmann joined Ryne Stanek, Taylor Guerrieri, and Brent Honeywell. At least on this night, the names didn’t quite match the results.
Triple-A International League: Durham Bulls 3, Syracuse Chiefs (WSN) 1
This was a bizarre game–the Bulls were 1-hit yet scored 3 runs with the help of 8 walks. Juniel Querecuto had the lone hit to cap a 1-for-2 game with a walk and an RBI while Richie Shaffer and Curt Casali each went 0 for 1 with 2 walks. We probably won’t hear about a game like this for a while.
On the pitching side, Matt Buschmann tossed 5 innings allowing no runs on 5 hits, striking out 9 while walking 2. C.J. Riefenhauser followed with a perfect frame before Enny Romero tossed 2.1 innings allowing 1 run on 3 hits, striking out 4 while walking 1. Is Romero being converted to relief? Ronald Belisario then finished the game by retiring both batters he faced.
Double-A Southern League: Montgomery Biscuits 4, Jackson Generals (SEA) 3 (12 innings)
Daniel Robertson drilled a clutch RBI single in the eighth inning to tie this game before Joey Rickard‘s base hit won it in the 12th frame. Robertson finished 2 for 5 and also having big games were Boog Powell (3 for 5, run), Justin O’Conner (3 for 6, SB, RBI), and Tyler Goeddel (2 for 6, run). O’Conner is 9 for his last 21 (.429).
On the pitching side, Ryne Stanek ran out of steam at the end of his Double-A debut but still finished with solid numbers. He went 6.2 innings allowing 3 runs on 7 hits, striking out 3 while walking 2. His groundout to flyout ratio was 10-5. It is a little ironic that Stanek was given a chance to pitch the seventh while Nate Karns was not on Friday.
After Mark Sappington followed with 1.1 hitless innings, getting past a walk with 2 strikeouts, and Matt Lollis 2 shutout innings allowing a hit and a walk while striking out 2, Kyle Winkler continued his dominance. He struck out 4 in 2 perfect innings, giving him 4.2 innings allowing just a hit and no walks while striking out 9 since joining the Biscuits. It is time to start wondering whether the Rays knew something that others didn’t when they signed Winkler to a minor league deal. At this rate, he will be finishing the season in the Tampa Bay Rays’ bullpen!
High-A Florida State League: Brevard County Manatees (MIL) 3, Charlotte Stone Crabs 1
Results can be quite variable in short starts because the pitcher in question doesn’t have a chance to make up for a bad frame. With that in mind, it isn’t surprising that Taylor Guerrieri’s first start was good and his second was bad. His third game, however, was incredible. Guerrieri tossed 3 perfect innings, striking out 5 and forcing a 3-1 groundout to flyout ratio. He liked his fastball command and thought his curveball looked more like it did pre-surgery. Guerrieri has a long way to go, but a game like this is always a good sign.
Eduar Quinonez allowed 3 runs in 0.2 innings behind Guerrieri, and that was enough for Charlotte to lose this game. Kyle McKenzie did throw 3.1 shutout innings of relief to keep this one close, working around a hit and 2 walks while striking out 2.
Offensively, Willy Adames went 2 for 4 with a double and the lone Stone Crabs RBI, Braxton Lee went 2 for 3 with a double, and Pat Blair went 1 for 3 with a double. Adames’ numbers continuously get more impressive–he’s now at a .307/.370/.448 line on the year.
Low-A Midwest League: Great Lakes Loons (LAD) 9, Bowling Green Hot Rods 2
The day has come: Brent Honeywell disaster start. He went 5 innings allowing 6 runs, 5 earned, on 10 hits. Of course, he still struck out 4 while walking 1–disaster start is relative. Honeywell has experienced a little bit more trouble lately–we have to wonder if the Rays have say asked him to throw his screwball less–but hopefully he is learning something from the occasional bad outing as well as all the good ones.
At the plate, Riley Unroe went 2 for 3 with an RBI and a run scored, Mac James went 1 for 3 with an RBI, and Cristian Toribio went 1 for 3 with a double. Unroe has a 5-game hitting streak and a .390/.413/.512 line in his last 46 plate appearances. Unroe always had a great plate approach, and this may finally be him using it to come together offensively.
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