You like top prospects hittin' dingers? You like winning? Then you will like yesterday's minor league games. Nearly every Cleveland Indians minor league affiliate was hitting on all cylinders, save for the Mahoning Valley Scrappers who lost due to some poor defense.
In a dramatic twist of events down in Akron, it was Bradley Zimmer hitting balls out of the park (not Clint Frazier), and it was the Akron RubberDucks winning (not losing).
Columbus Clippers 5, Lehigh Valley IronPigs 3
Box Score · Clippers improve to 41-37
It has been a rough couple of weeks for the Columbus Clippers, but with last night's victory over the Lehigh Valley IronPigs they have won three out of their last four games.
Abraham Almonte is doing his best to try and prove he deserves to join the Indians when his suspension is up on July 3 (hint: not with Naquin still hitting the way he is he doesn't), going 2-for-3 with two walks from the leadoff spot. Erik Gonzalez, batting second, had two hits as well.
Giovanny Urshela was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts on the day. The 24-year-old third baseman is mired in a terrible slump, going 6-for-40 with seven strikeouts and no walks in his last 10 games.
Ross Detwiler was nearly flawless through his first six innings but began to falter in the seventh. He allowed three total runs on the day, while striking out seven IronPig batters.
Shawn Armstrong closed out the game, getting his fourth save of the season. He now has 42 strikeouts in just 27 innings of work.
Akron RubberDucks 5, Richmond Flying Squirrels 4
Box Score · RubberDucks improve to 44-34
Thanks to some power from top prospects and a great outing from Shawn Morimando, the Akron RubberDucks were able to open their series against the Richmond Flying Squirrels with a win.
Bradley Zimmer wasted no time getting his 12th home run of the season with a solo shot in the first inning that opened the scoring for Akron. The RubberDucks built up a 3-1 lead after three innings and never trailed in last night's game. Nellie Rodriguez added another home run in the eighth to put the 'Ducks up 4-2, which seems inconsequential at the time. However, with the Flying Squirrels mounting a late comeback in the bottom of the ninth, Rodriguez's home run ended up being the difference.
In addition to his big home run, Rodriguez also added two singles and did not strike out.
While Frazier had a rather ho-hum day at the plate, especially considering how hot he has been recently, the most impressive thing he did was preserve the win with a laser from left field that got the runner at home plate.
Todd Hankins, who is normally a second baseman, got the start at shortstop tonight and had a few miscues. For one, in the seventh inning, he fielded a ball, considered throwing to first, then considered flipping it to second, then considered throwing to first again and wound up getting no one out. Offensively, he was 0-for-5 on the day batting from the leadoff spot.
Starting pitcher Shawn Morimando recorded six strong innings on the day with five strikeouts and just two earned runs. The big lefty's effort was enough to earn him in Eastern League-leading 10th win on the season. Morimando has allowed two or fewer runs in 13 of his 16 starts this season.
Lynchburg Hillcats 12, Wilmington Blue Rocks 3
Box Score · Hillcats improve to 46-28
The Lynchburg Hillcats opened their series with the Wilmington Blue Rocks in dramatic fashion with contributions from just about every offensive player. In fact, the only player to not register a hit was Paul Hendrix, and he still drew a walk.
The rest of the Hillcats offense was incredible, including three-hit games from Bobby Bradley and Luigi Rodriguez and two-hit games from Greg Allen, Anthony Santander, Alex Monsalve, and Mark Mathias.
Tyler Krieger, making his High-A debut since being promoted from the Lake County Captains, hit a triple in the fifth inning.
Starting pitcher Justus Sheffield has had a rough series of starts, but his 5.2-inning, two earned run effort was enough to get him his fifth win of the season. He struck out seven Blue Rock batters, the first time he has done that against any team since May 11.
Lake County Captains 6, South Bend Cubs 1
Box Score · Captains improve to 43-32
Even with losing two of their best hitters in Francisco Mejia and Tyler Krieger, the Lake County Captains keep winning. They nickel and dimed the South Bend Cubs to death, scoring one run in six separate innings.
Captains batters were just 3-for-14 with runners in scoring position on the day, stranding seven runners on the bases in total.
Ordomar Valdez, playing second base and batting leadoff in place of Tyler Krieger, was 3-for-5 on the day, including two of the team's five runs batted in. Sicnarf Loopstok, who was recently demoted from High-A, was 2-for-3 in his return to Class-A.
Starting pitcher Thomas Pannone continues to quietly have a good season for the Captains. He turned in six innings yesterday, allowing just one earned run on six hits. Pannone has allowed three or fewer runs in 12 of his 15 starts this season, including four shutouts. He leads the Captains in innings pitched (77.1) and is second in strikeouts (74) behind only Matt Esparza (86).
Mahoning Valley Scrappers 5, Batavia Muckdogs 11
Box Score · Scrappers fall to 2-9
Despite recording 10 hits, just four fewer than the Batavia Muckdogs, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers dropped their ninth game of the season Monday night.
Emmanual Tapia, Gavin Collins, and Grofi Cruz all recorded two hits on the day, while Logan Ice had one of the team's two extra-base hits, a double.
As you might expect in the lower levels of the minors, defense was not pretty. Although Scrappers pitching allowed 11 runs, only four of those were considered "earned." The rest came as the result of errors or sacrifice plays.
DSL Indians 4, DSL Pirates 3
Box Score · Indians improve to 10-10
Led by two-hit performances from Ronny Dominguez and Henry Pujols, the DSL Indians were able to get back to a .500 record with a win over the DSL Pirates.
One of Pujols' hits, a double, was also the team's only extra-base hit on the day and he also drew the team's only walk of the day.
Starting pitcher Luis Valdez lasted 4.1 innings, striking out five and allowing two earned runs off four hits. The bullpen combination of Jose Oca, Jahir Varela, and Luis Araujo held the Pirates to just two hits and no earned runs over the final 4.2 innings.
In eight innings of relief work this season, Luis Araujo has allowed zero hits, zero earned runs, and he has struck out eight batters.