Blue Jays MiLB Recap: Buffalo dominates; Vancouver walks off

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Rochester Red Wings (60-57) @ Buffalo Bisons (60-57) – 9-0 W

The Bisons dominated the Minnesota Twins AAA affiliate Tuesday night, winning a rain shortened affair 9-0. The lineup was relentless, scoring 8 runs in the first three innings. They combined for 10 hits in 7 innings, four of which were extra base hits.

Ezequiel Carrera, Andy Burns, Ty Kelly, and Josh Thole all had multi-hit games. Kelly led the way, hitting a grand slam in the third inning to give the Bisons a large lead. They also worked 5 walks in the victory and struckout only once.

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Burns is hitting .368 in his last 10 games with a 3:1 BB:K ratio, putting his season long slash rate at .290/.351/.373. The power he’s displayed in each of the last two years, 15 HR in 2014 in AA and 15 HR in 2013 in high-A/AA, hasn’t shown up in 400 AB’s in Buffalo this year. The 25-year-old has notched only 4 homers this year, but the plate discipline and bat-to-ball skills he’s shown are positive signs. He could potentially be a guy who competes for a bench role, or could serve as an injury replacement next year.

The Bisons staff surrendered 7 hits, but limited the damage by not allowing any extra base hits. Chad Jenkins started this one, going 3 IP, giving up 6 H, 1 BB, and striking out 2. He now has a 2.48 ERA through 72.2 IP in 36 games (7 starts), with 45 K’s and 20 BB’s.

Ryan Tepera followed Jenkins, throwing 2 IP without allowing a baserunner and striking out 2. His season ERA sits at 1.38 in 26 IP. He’s only allowed 11 base hits, 11 walks, while striking out 28. He’s definitely a candidate to rejoin the big league team in September.

Akron RubberDucks (62-54) @ New Hampshire Fisher Cats (57-55) – 10-3 L

The New Hampshire staff got knocked around in this one, as the Cleveland Indians AA squad notched 15 hits, including 2 home runs. Austin Bibens-Dirkx struggled in his 16th start of the year, giving up 5 ER through his 5 innings of work. The 30-year-old minor league journeyman did however go over a month without giving up more than 2 ER in a start before last night.

Dustin Antolin and Danny Barnes followed Bibens-Dirkx and didn’t do much better, combing for only 2 IP and giving up 4 ER. However, Chad Girodo, a 24-year-old relief pitcher drafted in the 9th round in 2013, came up in mop-up duty, and was the only pitcher to have any success. He went 2 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K. His season ERA between Dunedin (27.1 IP) and New Hampshire (21.2 IP) is sitting at 1.10 in 49 IP. He’s notched 48 K’s and only 9 BB’s. He may be someone to watch next year if he can continue his success into Buffalo next year.

Dwight Smith Jr. carried the Fisher Cats offence, hitting a three-run home run, scoring New Hampshire’s only runs in the game, and added a single as well. It’s been a disappointing year for Smith, as he’s failed to have success in AA. He was coming off a strong season at Dunedin in 2014, slashing .284/.363/.453/.816, with a strong wRC+ of 137 to go with 12 HR and 15 SB, and a very strong 58:69 BB:K ratio. His 2015 season has been a shadow of that, obviously at a higher level, but you wouldn’t have expected him to drop off like this. He’s slashing .258/.319/.356/.675 with a 96 wRC+, the power and speed have greatly diminished (5 HR, 4 SB), and his walk and strikeout rates are headed in the wrong directions.

Daytona Tortugas (64-49) @ Dunedin Blue Jays (51-63) – 8-0 L

Not much to look at in this one, as Dunedin got smashed by the Tortugas. The Dunedin offence only managed 3 base hits, while only issuing 3 walks and striking out 8 times in the shutout.

Nick Travieso, the 21-year-old Cincinnati Reds prospect taking 14th overall in 2012, shut down Dunedin’s offence through 5 no-hit innings. Dunedin’s starter, Conor Fisk, didn’t fare nearly as well, going 5 IP, 5 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 2 K.

Griffin Murphy made his first appearance of the year for Dunedin, going 2 innings without allowing a baserunner and striking out 1.

Lansing Lugnuts (66-48) @ Clinton LumberKings (35-78) – 6-4 W

The Lugnuts jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead in the top of the first, jumping all over Clinton starter Ryan Yarbrough. Juan Kelly, the Lugnuts catcher, led the way on offence, going 3/5 with 2 2B and an RBI. Prospect Richard Urena, who was sent back down to Lansing, went 1/5 with a 2B, R, and an RBI. However, he did make three errors in the field.

DJ Davis also went 1/5, and Lane Thomas, who was promoted from Vancouver, appeared in his first game for the Lugnuts. He didn’t get any base hits, but he did drive in a run, worked a walk, and stole a base in his debut at 2B.

Clinton Hollon wasn’t as dominant in this start as he was in his first Lugnuts start, but he still threw together a solid outing. He went 4.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K. He hasn’t allowed an earned run since his promotion to Lansing, and his ERA between the two levels is a tidy 2.53 in 57 IP.

Everett AquaSox (29-22) @ Vancouver Canadians (22-29) – 7-6 W

The Canadians walked it off in front of a home crowd Tuesday night, breaking a 6-6 tie in the bottom of the ninth to win. They fell down 4-0 in the top of the first, but chipped away and tied the game at 6-6 in the 6th inning before holding off the Everett offence and winning it in the 9th.

Vancouver starter Michael Kraft, struggled mightily in this one, only going 1.1 IP while giving up 4 ER on 4 H and 2 BB. He was bailed out by Daniel Young, Ryan Cook, and Turner Lee, who kept the Everett offence at bay over the next 7.2 innings. Those three combined only gave up 2 ER on 5 H and 4 BB while striking out 3, and ultimately gave the Vancouver offence a chance to win it.

The Vancouver offence was led by Sean Hurley, who went 3/4, including the game winning 2B. He also added a BB and another RBI in the game.

Next: Blue Jays' Kevin Pillar: 2015 Gold Glove Winner?

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