With the Columbus Clippers and Akron RubberDucks heading into their All-Star breaks, it was up to the bottom levels of the Cleveland Indians affiliates to provide some excitement on Monday. Only the AZL Indians were able to do so with a win, but more importantly, Michael Brantley began his rehab with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers.
Brantley only played five innings, as was initially planned, but this is a huge step back for the injured outfielder.
Lynchburg Hillcats 5, Salem Red Sox 6
Box Score · Hillcats fall to 55-33
The Lynchburg Hillcats offense had a pretty solid day, overall, racking up 12 hits and walking five. However, they were just 3-for-14 with runners in scoring position and they struck out 13 times. Oh, and their pitching staff issued 11 (!!) walks.
Lynchburg was sunk by a big fifth inning that contained five of those 11 walks and resulted in the Salem Red Sox plating four runs.
Martin Cervenka led the way for Lynchburg, offensively, going 3-for-4 with a double and a home run. Mark Mathias and Luigi Rodriguez both had multi-hit games as well, with three hits and two hits, respectively.
Starting pitcher Mitch Brown threw just 2.2 innings but racked up 62 pitches in the process, walking six and striking out one batter. Reliever Matt Whitehouse did not fare much better, throwing for two innings, walking three, and allowing four earned runs in the loss.
Lake County Captains 0, Lansing Lug Nuts 5
Box Score · Captains fall to 47-41
Well this was a game to forget. The Lake County Captains mustered just four hits as a team -- all from the top four hitters in the lineup -- and fell, 0-5, as a result.
Ordomar Valdez and Bobby Ison drew the team's only two walks of the day, while the Captains struck out seven times, collectively.
Matt Esparza had a "bad" start, but only "bad" because he has been incredible this season. His three earned runs is the most since he allowed three back on June 9. Between the two starts, he had two shutouts and two games where he allowed just one earned run. In his last 10 games overall, Esparza has a 2.54 ERA over 49.2 innings with 55 strikeouts and just 10 walks. He has been good. Real good.
Mahoning Valley Scrappers 5, Tri-City Valley Cats 6
Box Score · Scrappers fall to 6-18
TheMahoningValleyScrappersplayedabaseballgameandlostlatewhatelseisnew MICHAEL BRANTLEY IS PLAYING BASEBALL AGAIN, YOU GUYS!
The Indians' All-Star outfielder played his set five innings in Mahoning Valley Monday, tallying a hit in two at-bat. His rehab could still be a long road back, but the fact that he is finally playing again is huge. A lot of fans were taking pictures of the event if you want to see Michael Brantley playing real baseball again. David Dermer had some really good ones, and Mike Melaragno of Burning River Baseball caught a video of Brantley getting his hit in the second inning:
The Dr. reached base with an infield single in the fourth. Swing still smooth as silk. pic.twitter.com/mSXXaR1PuS— Mike Melaragno (@MikeMelaragno22) July 12, 2016
AZL Indians 4, AZL Dodgers 2
Box Score · Indians improve to 11-6
A win! They do exist! The AZL Indians provided the only win of the farm system yesterday with a three-run outburst in the first inning carrying them to their 11th victory of the season.
Roberto Perez continued his rehab assignment with two at-bats in Monday's game; drawing a walk and scoring a run in one of them.
Will Benson has struggled to get his feet under him so far in Arizona League. He was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts yesterday. In 11 games this season he has gone 7-for-42 with 15 strikeouts to four walks.
Another first round pick, Brady Aiken, rebounded nicely from his poor start last week by striking five batters in just three innings of work. He now has 18 strikeouts in 12 innings this season.
DSL Indians 5, DSL Yankees 6
Box Score · Indians fall to 15-16
The top three hitters in the Indians lineup were awful yesterday, combining to go 1-for-14, but the bottom half of the lineup almost made this game competitive.
Wilbis Santiago, Miguel Jerez, and Luis De La Rosa all had two hits apiece. Santiago and Cristopher Cespedes each had home runs as well.
Starting pitcher Juan Mota lasted four innings, allowing three earned runs off six hits.
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The Columbus Clippers and the Akron RubberDucks had a scheduled off day.