If you are still frustrated about Wednesday’s Tampa Bay Rays loss, the Princeton Rays’ defeat last night was so much worse, not that you will likely feel much better. At least you will get to hear about some nice offense for Durham and Princeton.
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Triple-A International League: Charlotte Knights (CHW) 11, Durham Bulls 7
The Bulls actually led this one 7-3 after 6 innings before Andrew Bellatti and Parker Markel collapsed. Everett Teaford wasn’t great either, giving up 3 runs in 5.1 innings, but it looked like he was doing enough given how good the Bulls’ offense was looking. Boog Powell had a career game, going 4 for 5 with a homer, 2 doubles, 4 RBI, and 2 runs scored. He also added an outfield assist. The homer was Powell’s first at Triple-A while the doubles gave him 3 extra-base hits in this game compared to just 11 in his first 50 Triple-A contests.
Powell has a lot of things going for him, particularly his on-base skills, centerfield defense, and outstanding bunting. It would be nice if he could learn to use his speed to become a better basestealer, something we have recently seen from Kevin Kiermaier, but the thing he absolutely needs is to start hitting the ball with more authority. He has 5 homers in 4 minor league seasons, and he better capable of hitting 5 home runs per season to have a chance at being a starting outfielder in the big leagues. Hopefully this game is a sign of an adjustment from him.
Cameron Seitzer also went 2 for 5 with a double and an RBI while Ryan Brett went 1 for 3 with a run batted in. Seitzer now has multiple hits in each of his first 3 Triple-A games, which is a great sign for him. It doesn’t bode well for any prospect’s future to spend three years at Double-A, but Seitzer does have the plate approach, defense, and raw power to at least give him a chance.
Then we have the call-ups from way down below: catcher Wilmer Dominguez and infielder Alec Sole. In his second game above Short Season ball, Dominguez somehow went 2 for 5 with an RBI and 2 runs. Sole, meanwhile, had a more expected result in his second game above Low-A, going 0 for 5 with 4 strikeouts and a run scored. Sole did great things this year in Bowling Green, but he is obviously overmatched at Triple-A.
Double-A Southern League: Montgomery Biscuits 4, Birmingham Barons (CHW) 3
Jacob Faria‘s 2.51 ERA at Double-A hides a 6-start stretch when he managed a 4.31 ERA and just a 28-15 strikeout to walk ratio. In any event, he has rebounded quite nicely since then. This was his worst outing since August 17th, but no one is complaining too much after he tossed 5 shutout innings, getting past 3 hits and 3 walks while striking out 8. He has impressively raised his K/9 from 7.6 all the way to 11.5 since his promotion from Charlotte, enough to cancel out increases in his walk rate and home rate.
Behind Faria, Kyle McPherson gave up a run in 2 innings before Matt Lollis gave up 2 more in his frame to make it 4-3. Luckily Brad Schreiber was able to finish the game for the save, striking out 2 as he worked around a hit. Marty Gantt, recently up from Charlotte, delivered the game’s biggest hit, a 2-run triple in the second inning, and also added a run scored and a sac fly. Justin O’Conner and Thomas Coyle each went 2 for 3 with a run scored in the win.
High-A Florida State League: Fort Myers Miracle (MIN) 9, Charlotte Stone Crabs 5
Hector Guevara and Braxton Lee both had strong games for the Stone Crabs, with Guevara going 2 for 4 with 2 RBI and a run scored while Lee went 2 for 5 with an RBI. Josh Kimborowicz and Colton Reavis each looked good in relief–Kimborowicz got past 2 hits in 1.2 shutout innings before Reavis struck out 1 in a perfect frame. None of that really mattered, though, as German Marquez gave up 6 runs in 5.1 innings before Hunter Wood allowed 3 more in his inning of work.
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Short Season-A New York-Penn League: Vermont Lake Monsters (OAK) 4, Hudson Valley Renegades 1
The Renegades fell into a tie for the NYPL’s Wild Card spot with this loss. A rough first inning did them in as an error and a passed ball helped Vermont to 4 runs, just 1 earned. Angel Yepez was good aside from that, finishing with 5 innings allowing those 4 runs on 4 hits, striking out 6 while walking 2 and forcing in a 7-1 groundout to flyout ratio. Yepez has looked great for the Renegades, pitching to a 2.97 ERA, a 51-13 strikeout to walk ratio, and a 46% groundball rate on the year. Tyler Brashears then finished the game with 3 shutout innings, getting past a hit with a strikeout and 5 groundouts.
Offensively, Michael Russell went 2 for 3 with a triple, a double, a walk, and a run while Taylor Hawkins continued his strong recent hitting by going 1 for 3 with a double. Hawkins has a .298/.340/.468 line in his last 52 plate appearances as he hopes to finally start reaching his potential as a strong offensive catcher.
Advanced Rookie Appalachian League Postseason Game 1: Pulaski Yankees 9, Princeton Rays 8 (10 innings)
This game was really rough. The P-Rays led 8-4 after 7 innings only to see Alberto Casanas give it all back in the eighth before Ty Jackson allowed the game-winning run two innings later. Everything could have been different had Blake Bivens been able to deliver a longer start. He lasted just 3.2 innings giving up 3 runs, 1 earned, on 4 hits, striking out 6 while walking 4. Bryan Bonnell was then great in relief, giving up just 1 more run in 3.1 innings while forcing 2 strikeouts and 4 groundouts, but his efforts could only get Princeton through 7 frames.
There were some offensive fireworks, with Kewby Meyer leading the way by going 3 for 5 with a homer, a double, and 3 runs scored. Meyer delivered a decent pro debut with Princeton, hitting to a .268/.325/.395 line, and it is always nice to have a veteran collegiate hitter in your lineup in a high-pressure game like this. Peter Maris and Jose Rojas also each went 2 for 5 with an RBI and a run scored, with Rojas adding a double, and Zac Law also contributed a 2-run triple.