Before getting into the games, here’s a quick playoff status for the affiliates…
- Charlotte Knights: 3rd place in IL South, 6 games out of wild card with 15 to play
- Birmingham Barons: 2nd place in SL North (2nd half), 2.5 games out with 15 to play (no wild card in SL)
- Winston-Salem Dash: 1st place in CAR South (2nd half) by 1.5 games, lead wild card by 5.5 games with 14 to play
- Kannapolis Intimidators: Eliminated
- Great Falls Voyagers: 2nd place in PIO North (2nd half), 2 games out with 15 to play
- AZL White Sox: Clinched 1st half division title and already in the playoffs
Old friend Dayan Viciedo continues hitting AAA pitching – as he should – but his 2-3 day with another home run wasn’t enough as the Knights fell again and are nearly out of playoff contention. Starter Brad Penny gave up five runs on nine hits in six innings, and though two of the runs were unearned, that is only because of his own error. Kevan Smith (who is slashing a very nice .359/.419/.462 in August) and Tyler Colvin each contributed 2-hit days, while Daniel Webb and Blake Smith combined for three scoreless innings in relief.
Tyler Danish posted a pretty unusual line in his start (5 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 1 K), but the bullpen held it down and the middle of the order did their part for the Barons. Jacob May, Christian Marrero and Joey DeMichele all had two-hit days, and Danny Hayes was Danny Hayes (1-2, 2 BB). Hayes now leads the Southern League in walks (82). Tim Crabbe and Peter Tago put together four innings of scoreless relief, while only Tim Anderson and Tony Thomas went hitless.
The Dash rode brilliant pitching as they further solidified their post-season chances in winning their fourth straight game. Brandon Brennan made his first start back from the DL and opened the game with two scoreless innings. But the pitching star was Brian Clark, who allowed one run in his six innings on just three hits and a pair of walks, striking out six. Clark has emerged as a legitimate pitching prospect whose results are starting to match his stuff, and here is his combined line in his last five outings as he transitions back to starting: 28.1 IP, 17 H, 3 ER, 9 BB, 23 K, 1.32 GB:FB rate. Matt Cooper put the bow on it, throwing his 21st consecutive scoreless inning for the save. Offensively, Adam Engel had a triple in four trips and added his 56th stolen base, and Eddy Alvarez went 1-3 with a walk and his 9th stolen base (though he was also caught stealing for the 6th time). Trey Michalczewski doubled and walked in four plate appearances.
All three Intimidators pitchers struggled and the offense couldn’t keep up. Kelvis Valerio, recently moved into a starting role, allow five runs (all earned) in three innings, Devon Davis gave up three in a pair, and Jacob Morris allowed one in his inning. The lineup generated only four hits, with Toby Thomas‘ double being the biggest clout. But in a fun box score oddity, catcher Ryan Plourde walked in all three of his plate appearances, and scored twice. In addition to this being the fifth straight defeat for the I’s, it was an amazing 18th straight win for the apparently immortal Sand Gnats. And then…
That’s right – the winning streak was put to rest, in the lamest way possible as Mother Nature ended this one with her tears after five innings complete and a 1-1 tie. I suppose there is some sort of justice in the idea that bats can’t beat sand gnats, but the rain can. Thaddius Lowry was the hero in this one, limiting a very good Savannah lineup to just one run on one hit over five innings. Hunter Jones went 2-for-3 and scored the only run Kannapolis needed to TKO the juggernaut.
The Voyagers offense, potent earlier in the season, continues to struggle of late as they drop their third straight. Great Falls only managed a season-low four hits, with Johan Cruz‘ double and a walk being the line highlight from the lineup. The usually strong Brannon Easterling struggled in this start, allowing all six of those runs (earned) in his 5 innings. On the positive side, Alex Katz continues to look good (22 K vs 4 BB in 15.2 IP for GTF), striking out the side in his inning of work to close it out.
A rehabbing Micah Johnson had a pair of hits with a walk, and Seby Zavala added a double and two free passes, but it wasn’t enough for the AZL club. Andres Sanchez had a nice start (3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K), but the team’s whopping six errors resulted in six unearned runs as Jaider Rocha (3 R, 1 ER in 2 IP) and Jack Charleston (4 R, 0 ER in 1.1 IP) were victimized (though Rocha himself had one of the errors on an errant pickoff throw). Maiker Feliz has been having a tough early go of it in AZL (.179 AVG, 8 K in 31 PA), but he just turned 18 a week ago and it’s very early. Some patience is required here.
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Filed under: Daily Game Recaps