Hey, you. Remember when Brian Hemminger told you to keep an eye on this Thomas Pannone kid because he might be pretty good? Did you listen? I hope so. If you didn’t, you should start.
You’ll probably be hearing a lot about him this season, based on his first couple starts.
Columbus Clippers 2, Indianapolis Indians 0
Box Score · Clippers improve to 5-2
The Columbus Clippers’ hot start to the season continued with their sweep of the Indianapolis Indians. Columbus outscored the Indianapolis 10-6 in the series, including shutouts in the first two games.
Ryan Merritt was on the mound for the final game and he pitched 6.1 solid innings, giving up three runs and seven hits. He also struck out six batters, which is the most he’s whiffed in any minor-league game since last August.
Erik Gonzalez, Ronny Rodriguez, and Giovanny Urshela all collected three hits; Gonzalez started the game off with a home run.
Nellie Rodriguez was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts on the day as his Triple-A struggles continued. Since starting the season in Columbus, Rodriguez is 4-for-24 with an International League-leading 14 strikeouts. He is also tied for the IL lead in home runs with three, though, so the power is definitely still there.
Akron RubberDucks 3, Trenton Thunder 9
Box Score · RubberDucks fall to 2-5
A lot of things went wrong in the Akron RubberDucks’ 3-9 loss to the Trenton Thunder. For the ‘Ducks themselves, they still couldn’t get their pitching together, despite being in the upper-half of the Eastern League in terms of offensive runs. The Akron pitching staff has the worst ERA in the Eastern League at 6.83 and they have recorded just 45 strikeouts, the lowest in the league.
More importantly, however, Jason Kipnis was hit on the hand and later removed from the game. He did play a couple innings of defense after taking a pitch off his palm in the first inning, but when it was his turn to bat in the third inning he was replaced by Yhoxian Medina.
Kipnis is not expected to make his next scheduled start on Thursday, according to MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian.
The ball that hit Kipnis was thrown by none other than Justus Sheffield, a former member of the Indians organization who was sent to the New York Yankees in exchange for Andrew Miller last July. I’m sure it was an accident (OR WAS IT?!), but it’s an interesting coincidence, either way.
The rest of the Akron lineup didn’t do much, either. Lonnie Chisenhall, who is also rehabbing on his way back to the Indians, was 0-for-3 with a strikeout. The only Akron batter with more than one hit on the day was catcher Eric Haase, who was 2-for-4 with two doubles. Those were Haase’s first hits of the season.
Lynchburg Hillcats 4, Salem Red Sox 1
Box Score · Hillcats improve to 2-5
Thomas Pannone has made two starts this season and he has looked incredible in both.
Last night’s win was an absolute gem — six innings, two hits, no earned runs and eight strikeouts. But you could make the case that that was actually worse than his 2017 debut, when he threw a five-inning no-hitter.
On the season, Pannone has 11.0 innings under his belt with 16 strikeouts and a whopping three walks. The 22-year-old is off to an incredible start and it’s not hard to see him moving up to Double-A soon if this continues.
While Pannone’s no-hit debut was great, the Hillcats still lost. That wasn’t the case last night. Everyone not named Connor Marabell or Jodd Carter got a hit in the win, with Willi Castro and Andrew Calica adding doubles, as well. Still, it was closer to a loss than it had any right being because Lynchburg batters struck out 10 times and stranded seven runners.
The go-ahead runs came in the eighth inning in the most annoying 2015 Kansas City Royals way possible: Two singles, a double, and some crafty baserunning gave the Hillcats their second win of the season.
Lake County Captains 2, Great Lakes Loons 3
Box Score · Captains fall to 3-4
The Lake County Captains lost their fourth game in the last five days, but it certainly wasn’t because of starting pitching. Aaron Civale left Great Lakes Loons batters confused all night, as he finished his 5.2 innings of work with 10 strikeouts and just one walk. He just didn’t get much help last night, though, from his offense or his bullpen.
The Lake County offense mustered five hits, including a double from Emmanuel Tapia. Gabriel Mejia’s hot start seems to have already flared out — he’s 2-for-12 in his last three games with two strikeouts.