Running down what took place in the Jays’ minor league system for Thursday and Friday, a total of 15 games were played because of a Vegas off-day on Thursday and two doubleheaders. Overall, the Jays’ affiliates went 10-5.
Highlights include Adeiny Hechavarria‘s Triple-A debut, Nestor Molina‘s dominant Double-A debut, the Dunedin Jays beating Alex Rodriguez in his rehab appearance with the Tampa Yankees, and stellar starting pitching in Bluefield.
Wins/Losses: 60-60 | Streak: L1 | 2nd in PCL Pacific South (10.0 GB)
August 11: Off-Day
August 12: Nashville Sounds 13, Las Vegas 51s 3 (LP: Beck)
Adeiny Hechavarria made his highly anticipated Triple-A debut, but that wasn’t enough as Nashville scored three runs early and led the entire game, topping the 51s 13-3 on Friday.
Hechavarria held his own in his debut, going 2-for-4 with a strikeout and a pair of runs scored. He recorded his first Triple-A hit (and extra-base hit) in his very first at-bat, ripping a double in the first inning before striking out swinging in the third. He added his second hit of the game with a single in the sixth, and finished his night with a pop out in the eighth.
Fielding-wise, Hechavarria turned one double play and factored into a few other outs, but was charged with an error on a throw in the eighth that should have ended the inning.
Aside from Hechavarria, the 51s scored just three runs on eight hits, going 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position. David Cooper went 1-for-3 with a pair of RBIs, Travis Snider went 2-for-4 with an RBI, and Brian Jeroloman added a double.
Las Vegas starter Chad Beck (1-2) was charged with the loss after getting roughed up, to the tune of nine earned runs on ten hits in 5.1 innings. He walked two and struck out one, but his inability to keep the ball in the park burned him, as he allowed four home runs.
Ronald Uviedo came into the game and didn’t fare much better, allowing two earned runs of his own and a pair of walks after struggling to find the strike zone, throwing just eight of his 22 pitches for strikes.
Wins/Losses: 66-52 | Streak: W3 | 1st in EAS Eastern (0.0 GB)
August 11: New Hampshire Fisher Cats 3, Erie SeaWolves 0 (WP: Jenkins | S: Everts)
Thanks to dominant pitching overall, the Fisher Cats were able to blank the Erie SeaWolves and record their second consecutive shutout with a 3-0 win on Thursday.
Three runs by the Fisher Cats’ offense proved to be more than enough. Kevin Howard, who played only his third game with the Fisher Cats since hitting .291/.338/.425 in 35 games for Vegas, led the charge going 3-for-4 with a double, stolen base, and two RBIs. Howard, an infielder, likely got the short end of the stick with Hechavarria’s call-up despite posting decent numbers in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.
New Hampshire starter Chad Jenkins (5-4) had a fantastic outing, holding Erie just five hits in 6.2 scoreless innings of work to earn his third consecutive win. He struck out eight and walked four, but what was most impressive about Jenkins’ outing was that he kept his team in the game as they clung to a slim 1-0 lead the whole time he pitched.
Jenkins departed in the seventh inning with runners on second and third, but Yohan Pino came in to end the threat, marking Pino’s first of four consecutive outs. Clint Everts pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his third save of the season.
August 12: New Hampshire Fisher Cats 7, Akron Aeros 1 (WP: Molina)
Thanks to a dominant Double-A debut by Nestor Molina and strong relief pitching, the Fisher Cats were able to top the Aeros 7-1 on Friday to take the first game of their three-game series.
Mike McDade, who finished 3-for-4, and Travis d’Arnaud hit back-to-back home runs in the fifth inning, Kevin Howard went 1-for-2 with two RBIs and a walk, Darin Mastroianni hit a triple, and Yan Gomes drew a game-high three walks.
D’Arnaud’s homer was his team-leading 17th of the season, though McDade’s was his 15th, so he’s not too far behind.
Molina, one of the Jays’ most underrated prospects heading into the season (but one of my favorites), was electric in his first Double-A start, allowing one earned run on just four hits, walking one and striking out eight in six strong innings of work. The six-inning outing was an especially good sign for Molina as he continues to emerge as a legit prospect, since he had never pitched more than five innings in any start while with Dunedin.
Molina could easily have finished with a scoreless outing on three hits, but his final pitch on a strikeout in the sixth inning – which should have ended the frame – bounced in the dirt. Molina wound up being charged with a wild pitch and that runner reached base, scoring on a double by the very next batter.
Wins/Losses: 26-22 | Streak: W3 | 1st in FSL North (0.0 GB)
August 11 (Game 1): Dunedin Blue Jays 7, Brevard County Manatees 6 (WP:Mozingo)
In a back and forth game where the lead constantly changed, the D-Jays were able to erase an early three-run deficit to eventually win 7-6 in walk-of fashion on Thursday.
D-Jays starter Andrew Liebel, who allowed six earned runs in his previous start, improved slightly in this contest, allowing four earned runs on eight hits in 4.2 innings of work, striking out four and walking four. He was charged with an error on a pickoff throw, but managed to get another pickoff in the game, too.
Aaron Loup came on in relief to pitch 1.1 scoreless frames, Matt Daly was charged with the blown save after giving up two earned runs on four hits in two innings of work, and Harold Mozingo (1-0) earned his first win of the season after pitching a scoreless ninth inning.
August 11: (Game 2): Dunedin Blue Jays 9, Brevard County Manatees 3 (WP: Wojciechowski)
Thanks to a solid showing by Dunedin’s offense, the Jays were able to defeat the Manatees 9-3 in seven innings on Thursday to capture the series win.
Brian Van Kirk was a main factor as he finished 2-for-3 with a walk, solo home run, and three RBIs, Kevin Ahrens had a very nice day at the plate finishing 2-for-2 with two RBIs and a pair of walks, and Sean Ochinko and Jon Talley both added doubles.
Leadoff hitter Brad McElroy, who finished 2-for-4 in game one of the doubleheader, went 2-for-4 yet again with a pair of stolen bases as well, bringing his season total to 26. McElroy has been on fire in ten August games so far, having gone 17-for-40 (.425) with a .961 OPS, six walks, and he’s been a perfect 5-for-5 in stolen base attempts.
Dunedin starter Asher Wojciechowski was solid, allowed three runs (two earned) on eight hits in 5.2 innings of work, walking none and striking out three. It was a solid rebound from his previous start where he did not allow a run but lasted only three innings.
Scott Gracey recorded four straight outs, including a pair on strikes, to earn his first save of the season.
August 12: Dunedin Blue Jays 6, Tampa Yankees 4 (WP: Wright, S: Loup)
With all of the attention on this game because Alex Rodriguez was making a rehab appearance, the D-Jays were able to prevail 6-4 on Friday thanks mainly to a four-run fifth inning.
Alex Rodriguez hit a solo home run in the first inning for the Yankees, but Ryan Schimpf responded the very next inning with a solo home run of his own, before Jon Talley added another solo bomb in the eighth inning.
Ryan Goins hit his 19th double of the season, A.J. Jimenez had two RBis, and Sean Ochinko went 2-for-4.
Dunedin starter Willie Collazo lasted just three innings, allowing two earned runs on five hits with four strikeouts. Matt Wright earned the win despite allowing two earned runs himself in 2.2 innings of work. Steve Turnbull pitched 2.1 shutout frames before Aaron Loup, filling in for soon-to-be activated closer Wes Etheridge, notched his first save of the season with a scoreless ninth.
Wins/Losses: 28-19 | Streak: W2 | 2nd in MID Eastern (2.5 GB)
August 11: Lansing Lugnuts 3, South Bend Silver Hawks 1 (WP: Antolin, S: Barnes)
Both teams managed six hits, but the Lugnuts were about to come out with the 3-1 win on Thursday thanks to dominant relief pitching that kept the game close.
Canadian Marcus Knecht put the Lugnuts on the board early with a solo home run in the first inning, his 13th of the season, and K.C. Hobson went 2-for-4 hitting cleanup. Oliver Dominguez and Matt Nuzzo each drew a pair of walks as well.
Lugnuts starter Tyler Powell scattered just four hits in five strong innings, and allowed just one earned run and one walk. Dustin Antolin earned the win in relief after allowing one hit in two shutout frames, and Danny Barnes pitched two scoreless frames of one-hit ball as well.
August 12: Lansing Lugnuts 6, South Bend Silver Hawks 2 (WP: Smith)
A four-run fifth inning put the Lugnuts ahead 6-0 and they never looked back, topping the Silver Hawks for the second-straight night 6-2 on Friday.
After being held without a hit the night before, Lugnuts center fielder Jake Marisnick came back with a vengeance, going 4-for-5 in the leadoff spot. In addition to hitting his 12th home run of the season, a solo shot in the first inning, Marisnick stole two bases, bringing his season total to 31.
Backup catcher Jack Murphy had a nice night as well, going 3-for-3 with two doubles, three RBIs, and a walk.
Lugnuts starter Egan Smith earned his sixth win of the season after allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits in five innings, walking one and striking out four.
Escalante allowed only one hit in two innings of relief, and Griffith followed suit without allowing a hit in two scoreless frames.
Wins/Losses: 5-12 | Streak: L6 | 4th in NOR West (5.0 GB)
August 11: Yakima Bears 3, Vancouver Canadians 1 (LP: Hernandez)
It’s hard for a team to win when they score only one run, let alone taking until the ninth inning to do so, and that’s exactly what happened to the Canadians on Thursday against Yakima, falling 3-1.
The C’s outhit the Bears 9-6, but finished 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position. Roan Salas’ double was Vancouver’s only extra-base hit, and leadoff hitter Jonathan Jones went 3-for-5 with the C’s lone RBI. Bryan Kervin and Shane Opitz each had two hits, and Nicholas Baligod drew a pair of walks.
Vancouver starter Jesse Hernandez took the loss despite tossing a quality start, as he allowed three earned runs on six hits in six effective innings, walking one and striking out two.
Brandon Kaye pitched a perfect seventh, while Drew Permison pitched a perfect inning of his own in the eighth. Permison has been a staple at the back end of Vancouver’s bullpen this season, as not only has he not allowed an earned run in over a month, but opposing hitters are hitting just .135 off of him in his last ten outings.
August 12: Yakima Bears 5, Vancouver Canadians 4 (LP: Garrett)
Despite scoring a few runs early in the first inning, the Canadians weren’t able to top the Bears on Friday, eventually falling 5-4 en route to their sixth-straight loss.
Vancouver starter Taylor Cole pitched three solid innings, walking two and striking out one, and the only hit that he allowed was a solo home run in the second inning.
Wins/Losses: 30-21 | Streak: W4 | 1st in APP East (0.0 GB)
August 11: Bluefield Blue Jays 6, Princeton Rays 2 (WP: Sanchez)
Bluefield needed only two pitchers, Myles Jaye and Aaron Sanchez, to stifle the Rays on Thursday, as their performances were the difference in giving the Jays the 6-2 win to complete the three-game sweep.
Kevin Pillar had a 3-for-3 night, Chris Hawkins continued to rake with a 2-for-3, two RBI night, and both hitters drew a walk. Canadian Dalton Pompey stole his first base with Bluefield, Art Charles hit his 14th double of the season, and Peter Mooney went 2-for-3 with a walk.
Bluefield starter Myles Jaye had to settle for a no decision despite only allowing one run on four hits in five dominant innings. He did not walk a batter, struck out three, and the only run that he allowed came off a solo home run.
Aaron Sanchez pitched four innings of one run ball in relief, allowing five hits while striking out one and walking none.
August 12: Bluefield Blue Jays 10, Pulaski Mariners 2 (WP: Meyer)
Thanks to ten runs on 11 hits – not to mention five Pulaski errors – the Bluefield Jays were able to take the series opener against the Mariners 10-2 on Friday.
Pillar continued to mash at the plate, this time going 4-for-5 with a pair of RBIs, and three of his four hits were for extra bases (two doubles and a triple). Daniel Arcila hit a two-run home run in the second inning, Chris Hawkins went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a walk, and Peter Mooney added a pair of doubles.
Dalton Pompey showed how he can affect the outcome of a game after going 0-for-3 at the plate but reaching base twice with a walk and a HBP, as both times he got on base, he stole second.
B-Jays starter Ajay Meyer was electric in his start, allowing just one earned run on five hits in six innings of work. His only real mistake was the solo home run that he surrendered in his final inning, and he struck out seven without walking a single batter to earn his third win of the season.
Wins/Losses: 20-27 | Streak: L2 | 6th in GCL North (12.0 GB)
August 11 (Game 1): GCL Jays 1 @ GCL Tigers 2 (LP: Kelly)
Playing a home-and-home series with the GCL Tigers in the same day on Thursday, the GCL Jays lost a close one on the “road”, falling 2-1 to the Tigers in seven innings.
Jays starter and 2011 draft pick Joe Musgrove allowed just one hit in three shutout innings with three strikeouts, but Adaric Kelly took the loss after allowing the Tigers’ only runs on five hits in 2.2 inning of work.
August 11 (Game 2): GCL Tigers 2 @ GCL Jays 3 (WP: Navarette)
In their second game of the day, this time at home, the GCL Jays came out on the winning side of a close one-run game, winning 3-2 in extra innings.
Seth Conner hit his first triple of the season in a 3-for-4 night, Jorge Vega-Rosado went 2-for-3 with an RBI, and Kenen Bailli had the Jays’ only other RBI when he singled in the first inning.
Randal Thompson allowing one earned run on four hits in four strong innings, with his only slip up being a solo home run that he allowed, and Alex Ramirez had a very similar line, allowing one earned run (from a solo homer) on two hits in three innings with four strikeouts. Jorge Navarette picked up the win after pitching two thirds of the 11th inning.
August 12: GCL Braves 8, GCL Jays 5 (LP: Roman)
The Jays scored five runs in the game’s first three innings, to take a 5-1 lead, but seven unanswered runs by the Braves doomed them and they dropped Friday’s contest 8-5.
Santiago Nessy hit a double, leadoff hitter Ronald Melendez went 2-for-5 with a stolen base, and Eric Arce went 1-for-2 with a first-inning, two-run home run and a pair of walks.
Jays starter Nicholas Purdy allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits in 4.1 innings, walking two and striking out six, while Chris Roman allowed three earned runs, including two home runs, in 1.1 innings of relief.