It was a rough day for Tribe affiliates, as every full-season club lost last night and Francisco Mejia’s hitting streak came to a halt, but there were some silver linings.
Several top Triple-A players had big games for Columbus while one of the brightest young southpaw pitchers in the organization continued to dominate opposing hitters, continuing his tremendous scoreless innings streak.
Columbus Clippers 5, Lehigh Valley Ironpigs 8
Box Score · Clippers fall to 7-11
The three top offensive prospects on the team (Yandy Diaz, Bradley Zimmer and Tyler Naquin) all had monster games. Diaz went 2-3 with a double and two walks from the leadoff position, Naquin went 3-5 with two doubles from the two-hole while Zimmer went 3-3 with two doubles and a walk. Unfortunately, the rest of the team combined had one hit.
Columbus repeatedly battled back in this game, but they were never quite able to tie the game or take the lead at any point, due to some untimely poor pitching.
Starter Adam Plutko was decent, tossing a quality start of three earned runs spread over six innings while striking out four and walking one. Things weren’t so great for Shawn Armstrong, however, who was hammered for three runs in his one inning of work to put the game just out of reach.
Akron Rubberducks 3, Binghamton Rumble Ponies 4
Box Score · Rubberducks fall to 8-10
Joe Sever was excellent on offense, but a trainwreck on defense.
The Rubberducks third baseman had a great day at the dish, going 3-4 with two doubles, an RBI and a stolen base. Unfortunately, his fielding error followed by a throwing error in the eighth inning allowed the go-ahead run to get on base and in scoring position, leading to an unearned run and a loss for reliever Robbie Aviles, who otherwise pitched pretty well.
Greg Allen also had a decent day offensively, going 2-3 with a HBP and a successful sacrifice bunt/suicide squeeze to bring in a run. Top prospect Francisco Mejia’s 21-game hitting streak dating back to last season came to a halt with an 0-4 day at the plate.
On the mound, Michael Peoples remained consistent, giving up three runs in 5.2 innings to just miss a quality start. He walked three and struck out three while giving up six hits.
Lynchburg Hillcats 2, Salem Red Sox 6
Box Scores · Hillcats fall to 8-6
The story of this game was starter Thomas Pannone, who continued his incredible streak of scoreless innings which, dating back to last season, now stands at 38.2 innings.
Pannone was dominant again last night, but his pitch count became an issue. The 22-year old southpaw struck out nine batters over four scoreless innings, but it took him 79 pitches to get through the first four frames after he left the bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth.
Pannone was replaced by former position player-turned pitcher Paul Hendrix, who made his season debut for the Hillcats......and it did not go well.
Hendrix was all over the place, giving up two hits, three walks and five runs without getting an out before being yanked. His current season ERA is infinity. By the time the fifth inning was over, the game was pretty much out of hand.
Claudio Bautista had a strong game for the Hillcats, going 2-4 with a double while Ka’ai Tom accounted for both runs with an RBI double and a sacrifice fly.
Lake County Captains 0, Great Lakes Loons 9
Box Score · Captains fall to 8-10
This game looked like it was going to be a pitcher’s dual, as both Shane Bieber and Devin Smeltzer were perfect through the first three innings, and the first four innings were completed within about 40 minutes total.
Everything fell apart in the sixth for Bieber, who’s final line of 5 runs in 5.1 innings was much worse than how he actually looked out there, considering he whiffed eight batters while walking his first of the year.
All in all, Great Lakes scored eight runs in the sixth to turn this game from a nailbiter into a laugher. Henry Martinez had a rough outing in relief, lasting just 0.1 innings, allowing his inherited runner to score and giving up another four runs.
No one on Lake County had an extra base hit or a multi-hit game.