It was not a pretty day around the minors, box score-wise, but as far as top prospect performances go, you cannot ask for a much better day.
Bradley Zimmer hit his 14th home run of the season, while Will Benson hit his first as a professional baseball player. Even Mike Papi, who some are beginning to think of as a lost cause, had arguably the best game of his career that included a grand slam and six runs batted in.
Columbus Clippers 0, Toledo Mud Hens 10
Box Score · Clippers fall to 46-40
Wow... that's. Wow. Okay.
I usually try to catch a few innings of whatever games are streaming on MiLB.tv, but I was unable to watch any of the Columbus Clippers yesterday, which appears to be a blessing in disguise. Columbus was held to just four hits as a team, including doubles from Guillermo Quiroz and Yhoxian Medina.
Starting pitcher Cody Anderson pitched for two innings (26 pitches) in his first start back from being on the disabled list for tightness in his right elbow. He pitched well over those two frames, striking out three and not allowing an earned run.
The first reliever to take over for Anderson, Toru Murata, did not fair as well. He lasted just 1.2 innings and gave up eight runs, five earned, off of six hits. Starting second baseman Yhoxian Medina was called upon to pitch for the second time this week -- he held the Mud Hens to one hit over an inning of work.
Akron RubberDucks 10, Altoona Curve 0
Box Score · RubberDucks improve to 48-38
That's more like it. Thanks to some impressive at-bats from the Cleveland Indians' top prospect, Bradley Zimmer, as well as a career day from Mike Papi, the RubberDucks were able to blow out the Altoona Cure, 10-0.
Zimmer started the scoring in the first inning with a solo shot, his 14th of the season. He also went on to hit a double and a single, falling just a triple shy of his first career cycle. Zimmer how has four home runs in his last 10 games, although he has struck out 15 times and walked just twice in that span.
Mike Papi, who has struggled to adjust to Double-A pitching, had one of the best days of his professional career yesterday, going 2-for-3 with a grand slam and six runs batted in. By the time he hit his big home run the game was mostly in the bag -- Akron was up 6-0 -- but another four runs never hurts.
Batting from the No. 9 slot, shortstop Eric Stamets recorded three hits himself, two of which were doubles.
DJ Brown turned in a stellar seven innings for the ducks, striking out seven batters and holding the Curve to just six hits.
Lynchburg Hillcats 8, Frederick Keys 12
Box Score · Hillcats fall to 51-31
Despite only losing by four runs, the Lynchburg Hillcats were hardly ever in this game. They were down 5-0 by the time the second inning ended, only scoring bunches of runs late, well after the Frederick Keys piled seven runs into the seventh inning to seal their fate.
Greg Allen led the way offensively, going 3-for-6 with two doubles and two runs batted in. Anthony Santander, Francisco Mejia, and Mark Mathias all had two-hit games as well. Mejia's two-hit game means he now has a 31-game hit streak between Class-A and High-A, the longest streak at any level of baseball this season. In seven games with the Hillcats, Mejia is slashing .345/.323/.517 with three doubles, a triple and six runs batted in.
The Hillcats pitching staff struggled as a whole, with all six pitchers used giving up at least one hit and half of them giving up at least one earned run. Luis Lugo gave up four runs in four innings, while Jordan Milbrath did the same in just 0.2 innings.
Lake County Captains 0, Bowling Green Hot Rods 3
Box Score · Captains fall to 47-36
The Lake County Captains could only muster three hits as a team while Matt Esparza's great start was wasted in a losing effort.
Willi Castro, Connor Marabell, and Sicnarf Loopstok were the only Captains batters with hits on the day; none of them were extra-base hits. As a team, the Captains struck out nine times and walked once.
Starting pitcher Matt Esparza lasted five innings (74 pitches), striking out four and allowing one earned run off three hits. Since allowing nine earned runs in his 2016 debut, Esparza has not allowed three or more runs in any of his 15 starts.
Mahoning Valley Scrappers 0, Vermont Lake Monsters 7
Box Score · Scrappers fall to 4-15
Nothing is going right for the Scrappers this season. Other than games where Triston McKenzie starts, they are losing just about everything.
Last night's blowout loss came while the offense recorded just five hits, two apiece from Jodd Carter and Silento Sayles.
Luis Jimenez started the game and left the Scrappers in a good place after five innings with one earned allowed and three strikeouts.
However, Dace Kime imploded. Again. Kime allowed six earned runs off six hits in his lone inning of relief work, and I have to think his time as a member of the Indians organization has to be dwindling. After making it as high as Double-A this season and High-A in 2015, he has just not pitched well at any level. His ERA in Low-A sits at 13.50.
AZL Indians 8, AZL Padres 5
Box Score · Indians improve to 7-5
The AZL Indians' 8-5 victory came in large part because of their five-run explosion in the fourth inning. More importantly than them scoring a bunch of runs was the fact that 2016 first round pick Will Benson hit his first professional home run.
Benson's home run aside, Oscar Gonzalez was the real offensive star of this game, going 3-for-4 with two home runs and a double. Because small sample sizes are fun, Gonzalez is now slashing a rediculous .405/.432/.905 in the Rookie League this season.
Roberto Perez took two at-bats in the early stages of his rehab assignment, drawing a walk, striking out, and scoring a run before being pinch-hit for by Hosea Nelson.
Felix Tati, who started the season in the Dominican League, made his second start for the AZL Indians, striking out four and allowing four hits over 5.2 innings.
DSL Indians 6, DSL Cubs1 4
Box Score · Indians improve to 15-11
The DSL Indians recorded 10 total hits as a team in their 15th win of the season, with Jean Montero and Pablo Jimenez each adding two apiece. Starting pitcher Juan Mota lasted five innings, striking out three and walking four.
Over three innings of work, relief pitcher Jose Oca struck out five Cubs1 batters and walked just one.