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Triston McKenzie flirts with perfection, Martin Cervenka narrowly misses cycle

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Cleveland Indians minor league recap for July 16, 2017.

Columbus Clippers 3, Toledo Mud Hens 0

Box Score · Clippers improve to 49-42

Julian Merryweather’s return from the disabled list is going well two starts in, to say the least. The 25-year-old has been on a pitch limit in both games, but with last night’s win he has combined to go seven innings and allow just one run off five hits.

Merryweather was brilliant yesterday, holding the Toledo Mud Hens to just one hit. It almost went for naught when Chris Narveson came into the game and quickly put runners on the corners. He got out of that jam, and several more over his 4.2 innings of work in which he also allowed seven hits and walked a batter.

The Columbus Clippers offense managed 10 hits, but catcher Erik Kratz came away as the only batter with more than one. They also struck out nine times as a team and drew just one walk.

Akron RubberDucks 1, Erie SeaWolves 15

Box Score · RubberDucks fall to 44-44

Oh my. In the battle of “teams with two word-names shoved together and the second half of that name capitalized despite being in the same word,” the Akron RubberDucks fell hard to the Erie SeaWolves.

Starting pitcher Michael Peoples lasted just 3.2 innings, giving up eight runs off seven hits. That was bad, but reliever Jordan Milbrath gave him a run for his money with his own awful 2.1 innings of work in which he allowed five runs off six hits.

The Akron offense managed just five hits, but one came from center fielder Greg Allen, who tripled in his second game back from a lengthy disabled list trip.

The only Akron run of the game came off Francisco Mejia’s 10th homer of the season over the right field wall.

Lynchburg Hillcats 7, Wilmington Blue Rocks 4

Box Score · Hillcats improve to 54-38

Nineteen-year-old Tristan McKenzie hears you saying he won’t make it because he’s too skinny. He hears you saying he’s injury prone because he’s too skinny. He doesn’t care. He just pitches and he dominates.

Last night against the Wilmington Blue Rocks, McKenzie dominated to the tune of seven innings, nine strikeouts and two earned runs. He was so dominant, in fact, that he carried a perfect game through six innings — it was broken up by a leadoff single in the seventh.

McKenzie’s rediculous 124 strikeouts now leads the closest pitcher (Potomac’s Luis Reyes) by a full 24 whiffs. Reyes is 22. McKenzie is 19. While we’re talking leaderboards, McKenzie has the second-lowest WHIP in the Carolina League at 1.00, behind only teammate Brock Hartson’s 0.98.

As great as McKenzie’s outing was, it still might have gone down as a loss if he had, say, the Cleveland Indians lineup acting as his offense. Luckily, he had the Lynchburg Hillcats, who had 15 hits as a team, aided by four Wilmington Blue Rocks errors.

Martin Cevernka finished 3-for-5 with a double and a triple, just a home run shy of the cycle. Cervenka’s three hits led the Hillcats offense, but Willi Castro, Andrew Calica, Gavin Collins, Sicnarf Loopstok, and Jodd Carter all added two apiece.

Loopstok, a catcher, stole his eighth base of the season last night and is on pace to crush his career-high 11 swiped bases last season.

Lake County Captains 4, Burlington Bees 1

Box Score · Captains improve to 38-53

Things may be starting to click for 20-year-old pitcher Juan Hillman. In three of his last four starts, including last night, he has pitched seven innings and allowed two or fewer runs to cross the plate. He was a little light on strikeouts last night with just three, but he only walked one batter and the only run allowed came off a solo home run.

Leadoff batter Conner Capel led the Lake County Captains with three hits, including a home run.

Mahoning Valley Scrappers 6, Hudson Valley Renegades 2

Box Score · Scrappers improve to 14-11

Mahoning Valley Scrappers outfielder Oscar Gonzalez may be playing a very unsustainable brand of baseball — 19 strikeouts to three walks, .371 BABIP — but it sure is working for in the short term.

The 19-year-old leads the New York-Penn League in hits with 30 and he’s tied for third in doubles with six. He added two more yesterday to help the Scrappers inch higher above .500 with their 14th win of the season.

Mahoning Valley won yesterday despite not racking up a single extra-base hit, but they outhit the Hudson Valley Renegades 7-5 and drew six walks.

Gregori Vasquez recovered well from his first poor outing of the season last week. Yesterday he pitched 5.2 scoreless innings with two strikeouts and a walk.

AZL Indians 4, AZL Padres 5

Box Score · Indians fall to 5-12

Sam Henteges made his second start since 2016 Tommy Surgery yesterday, striking out four batters over two innings. In two short starts since his return, the 20-year-old has allowed three hits and one walk over three innings.

The AZL Indians offense outhit the AZL Padres, 8-7, but they still lost. All of both team’s runs came in one big inning — the Indians’ four runs came in the second off a grand slam, while all of the Padres’ five runs came in the third.

Tre Gantt and Ronny Dominiguez each had two hits. First baseman Michael Cooper had the only home run, the aforementioned second-inning grand slam.


The DSL Indians had a scheduled off-day.