With all minor league clubs having concluded their regular seasons, here’s a rundown of what transpired among the Jays’ affiliates over the last two days.
I’ll be doing season-in-review posts separately for each affiliate in the coming days, instead of blending them in here.
Highlights include the Fisher Cats closing out the year with a three-game win streak, a tough walk-off loss for Dunedin to end the year, a pair of one run games with good pitching in Lansing, the Vancouver Canadians in playoff action in their first season, and a tough championship loss for Bluefield.
Wins/Losses: 71-73 | Streak: W1 | 2nd in PCL Pacific South (17.0 GB)
Sept. 4: Salt Lake Bees 10, Las Vegas 51s 3 (LP: Gaudin)
After falling behind 4-0 by the first inning, the 51s found themselves behind the entire game and never able to catch up, ultimately falling 10-3 to the Bees on Sunday. After winning the first two games of the series, Sunday’s loss unfortunately guaranteed the 51s a below .500 finish on the season.
On a night where Vegas hitters went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and had just six hits, there’s not a lot to talk about offensively.
Overall, It was a rough night for Vegas pitchers, especially starter Chad Gaudin. He allowed seven runs (six earned) on ten hits in just five innings of work, walking three and only striking out one. He gave up a pair of solo home runs, and the rough start was just more of the same for Gaudin as his month-long tenure with Vegas came to a close this week as the season ended.
David Johnson, who spent the majority of the year with Triple-A Louisville in the Reds organization, didn’t fare much better, giving up two earned runs on three hits with a pair of walks in two relief innings. Kyle Davies gave up a solo homer in the eighth inning and Scott Richmond pitched a scoreless ninth.
Sept. 5: Las Vegas 51s 10, Salt Lake Bees 2 (WP: Mills)
Thanks to a six-run outburst in the first inning and strong pitching overall, the 51s were able to coast to an easy victory over Salt Lake 10-2 on Monday and, more importantly, end their season on a winning note.
One night after the 51s gave up ten runs, they managed to score ten of their own on 13 hits. Darin Mastroianni went 4-for-5 in the leadoff spot, Manny Mayorson went 3-for-3 with a walk, two doubles, and a RBI, and Ricardo Nanita went 2-for-3 with a pair of RBIs and a walk to finish his strong season. Ryan Shealy hit his 11th home run of the season and finished 1-for-3 with two RBIs and a walk.
Adeiny Hechavarria went 2-for-5 with a RBI and a triple. In 25 games (108 at-bats) at Triple-A this season, Hechavarria managed a .389/.431/.537 slash line with six doubles, two triples, and two home runs. While he did have 21 strikeouts against eight walks, it will definitely be interesting to see him offensively across a full season at Triple-A next year. Defensively, in 136 games split between New Hampshire and Vegas, Hechavarria committed 15 errors, was part of 87 double plays, and recorded 172 putouts and 339 assists for a .971 fielding percentage on the year.
Recently crowned the 51s’ Most Valuable Pitcher, starter Brad Mills finished his season strong with a quality start. He allowed two earned runs on six hits in 6.2 strong innings, walking a pair and striking out six. His only real mistake aside from giving up an RBI double in the first was the solo homer that he allowed in the third, but Mills settled down and was effective the rest of the way.
In 24 starts for Vegas this season, Mills finished with a 11-9 record and an even 4.00 ERA, with 136 strikeouts and 39 walks in 157.1 innings.
Wins/Losses: 77-65 | Streak: W3 | 1st in EAS Eastern (0.0 GB)
Sept. 4: New Hampshire Fisher Cats 7, Portland Sea Dogs 0 (WP: Hutchison)
Behind yet another dominant start by New Hampshire right-hander Drew Hutchison, the Fisher Cats were able to shut out the Sea Dogs for the second consecutive night with a 7-0 win on Sunday.
For the third time in four games, Fisher Cats pitchers managed to blank their opponent. With all of the great pitching prospects the Jays have in their minor league system, though, Hutchison could very well be the biggest story of the season.
He wasn’t just effective in his final start of the 2011 campaign, he downright dominated Double-A hitters. He allowed just one hit in five innings of work and struck out eight without issuing a walk.
Sept. 5: New Hampshire Fisher Cats 8, Portland Sea Dogs 3 (WP: Pino)
Thanks to seven runs in their first four innings, the Fisher Cats were able to top the Sea Dogs 8-3 on Monday. The win gave New Hampshire the series victory after winning three of the four games in the matchup, and the Cats were able to close out their regular season with a three-game win streak.
Anthony Gose led the way to close out his regular season on a high note, hitting his 16th home run of the season and finishing a triple shy of the cycle with a 3-for-4 night. In addition to the walk he drew and his two RBIs, Gose stole his 70th base of the season.
Fisher Cats starter Yohan Pino looked great in his final outing of the season, allowing two earned runs on just four hits in six strong innings. He struck out seven while walking none, and outside of the two-run, two-out home run that he allowed in the third inning, he was dominant.
Wins/Losses: 40-30 | Streak: L1 | 1st in FSL North (0.0 GB)
Sept. 4: Clearwater Threshers 5, Dunedin Blue Jays 4 (LP: Daly)
After quickly erasing Clearwater’s two-run first inning and holding a 4-2 lead heading into the final inning, the D-Jays were downed by a three-run Threshers ninth to end their regular season with a tough 5-4 walk-off loss on Sunday.
Brad Glenn hit his 26th home run of the season, a two-run shot, and Jon Talley hit a solo home run, finishing 2-for-4 with a walk. The two home runs were Dunedin’s only extra-base hits of the game, and they finished 3-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
Dunedin starter Andrew Liebel had one of his better outings of the year, allowing two earned runs on seven hits in five innings, settling for the no decision. Frank Gailey, Harold Mozingo, and Aaron Loup all pitched scoreless innings of relief, while Matt Daly was charged with the loss after allowing three earned runs on three hits including a home run in the game’s final inning.
Wins/Losses: 39-31 | Streak: L1 | T-2nd in MID Eastern (9.0 GB)
Sept. 4: Lansing Lugnuts 5, Dayton Dragons 4 (WP: Marze | S: Barnes)
Jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning, the Lugnuts were able to hang on and escape with the 5-4 win on Sunday over Dayton in a playoff preview.
Michael Crouse hit his 14th home run of the season, drew two walks, and stole his 38th base of the season in a 1-for-2 night, Jack Murphy also hit a solo home run, and Peter Mooney went 1-for-3 with a pair of walks.
Outside of two wild pitches, there was practically nothing you could hold against Lugnuts starter Shawn Griffith. He only pitched three innings, but allowed just one hit without walking a batter, and he struck out six. Dayton Marze earned the win after allowing just an unearned run in two innings of middle relief.
Daniel Webb allowed two earned runs on three hits in two innings, Dustin Antolin pitched a scoreless eighth, and Danny Barnes earned his 13th save of the season despite giving up a solo home run in the ninth.
Sept. 5: Dayton Dragons 3, Lansing Lugnuts 2 (LP: Walden)
The Lugnuts were able to get within one run in the top of the ninth inning, but ultimately dropped their regular season finale to Dayton 3-2 in a close one on Monday.
Jonathan Jones, another one of my personal favorites, went 4-for-4 with a walk and three stolen bases in the leadoff spot, and K.C. Hobson and Matt Nuzzo had the only other hits of the game for the Lugnuts, both singles.
Lugnuts starter Marcus Walden was tagged with the loss despite pitching very well, as he allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits in five innings, walking one and striking out three.
Wins/Losses: 15-23 | Streak: L1 | 4th in NOR West (7.0 GB)
Sept. 5: Eugene Emeralds 6, Vancouver Canadians 3
In their first game of the 2011 playoffs, C’s pitching was roughed up a bit which eventually led to an 8-3 defeat on Monday at the hands of the Emeralds.
Nicholas Baligod had Vancouver’s only extra-base hit, a two-out solo home run in the first inning, to finish 2-for-4 on the night. Kevin Patterson drew a pair of walks and Jonathon Berti went 1-for-4 with a RBI in the leadoff spot.
Vancouver starter Blake McFarland allowed four earned runs on four hits in five innings, walking four and striking out three. He gave up solo home runs in the first two innings of his start, and was charged with the loss.
Kramer Champlin had a rocky sixth inning in relief, allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits, Brandon Kaye pitched a scoreless seventh, and Zack Breault was charged with an earned run after the triple he allowed wound up scoring after he was pulled. Shane Davis walked the only two batters he faced in the ninth inning before being pulled in favor of Philip Brua, who recorded the game’s final two outs.
Wins/Losses: 40-28 | Streak: W1 | 1st in APP East (0.0 GB)
Sept. 4: Johnson City Cardinals 4, Bluefield Blue Jays 1 (LP: Estrada)
Despite relatively solid pitching overall, Bluefield’s bats went silent and could only manage one run on Sunday, as the B-Jays fell 4-1 to the Cardinals to lose out on the Appalachian League Championship.
It’s tough to win any game, let alone a playoff game, when your team manages only one hit. Aside from Leo Hernandez who recorded Bluefield’s lone hit, an RBI double in the second inning, Art Charles was the only other Jay to get on base in the game, drawing a pair of walks.
Starter Deivy Estrada, one of my personal favorites, allowed two runs (one earned) on just four hits in five innings of work, hitting two batters, walking one, and striking out five. He was saddled with the hard-luck loss, his first with Bluefield this season.