Quite a few strong efforts from starting pitchers, but a lack of offense for most of the clubs spelled more losses than wins…
Falling under the category of not surprising, Erik Johnson threw another gem as he waits patiently for a much-deserved promotion to the big club. In this one he allowed two runs in eight innings, walking none and striking out seven. Rob Brantly‘s 3-run homer in the 6th was enough to win it for the Knights, but he was further aided by 2-hit days from Jason Coats and Tyler Colvin (with Coats adding his 11th stolen base). The 3rd catcher slot in September may be a tough decision, as both Brantly (.296/.321/.493 since joining Charlotte) and Kevan Smith (.333/.391/.429 in August) are swinging hot bats while alternating between catcher and DH.
Starter Mark Blackmar, who we recently wrote up in some depth, had a rough 2nd inning that gave the Suns all they needed to win. Blackmar threw six innings; in the 2nd he allowed 5 runs on 5 hits, while in his other 5 frames he allowed just one base-runner in total. On the offensive end, Danny Hayes went 2-for-4 with a double (but did not draw a walk), Jacob May reached twice on a base knock and a free pass but was caught stealing, and Tim Anderson was 1-4 and stole his 47th base.
The Dash wasted a very nice start from James Dykstra (6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K) in this one, as things fell apart in quite an unusual sequence of events. Jefferson Olacio opened the 7th inning allowing two doubles, a single and two walks around one fly-out, at which point hitting coach Charlie Poe was ejected from the game, apparently for arguing the strike zone. After Olacio induced a ground-out that produced the third run, Euclides Leyer entered the game and promptly hit the first two batters he faced, with the second one forcing in a run – then he struck out the next batter to mercifully end the frame. Nolan Earley and Michael Danner each had two singles, but the offense as a whole just wasn’t there on this night. Fun fact: Olacio has been on the roster of four different affiliates this year and been re-assigned at least seven times.
The Intimidators struck first but couldn’t hold the lead as their offense continues to scuffle. Starter Luis Martinez, who had been showing very good control until recently, struggled with command as he walked three batters and hit two more resulting in 4 earned runs in 5.1 innings. In fact, Kannapolis pitching hit four batters with Bradley Salgado and David Trexler plunking one each. Louie Lechich went 2-4 and Toby Thomas‘ RBI single was the only run-producing hit for the home team.
The Voyagers lost their fifth straight game and fell to three games back in their division despite some strong pitching performances. Tanner Banks allowed a pair of earned runs in six and a third innings, and given his numbers and age it’s a surprise he’s still in Great Falls. Tanner Mendonca and Braulio Ortiz (speaking of guys who shouldn’t be there) added 2.2 scoreless in relief. But the offense just couldn’t get it going, with Johan Cruz‘ 2-4 day being the highlight. Cruz continues to have a very good 2015, hitting .324 with a reasonable contact rate (19.0% K/PA) and some power (4 HR, 15 2B in 231 PA) as a 19-year old in a league of mostly college-experienced players.
The Arizona club won big again, behind another strong start from Yosmer Solorzano (6 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K). ESPN baseball analyst Eric Longenhagen (@longenhagen) was at the game, and had this to say about Solorzano:
@FutureSox Soloranzo was good. 88-91, repertoire showed some depth and refinement. Visibly competitive. I like him.
The offense was led by Seby Zavala‘s triple and single, and he knocked in three runs. David Walker also had a two-hit day, and Micah Johnson‘s rehab assignment continued as he was a perfect 2-2 at the plate with a walk. The team has already clinched a playoff spot, and their post-season begins in just a few days.
***The DSL White Sox have finished their season, and did not make it to the playoffs.
Want to know right away when we publish a new article? Type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. Our list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.