While I was sitting in the 500 level at the Rogers Centre watching the travesty of a game that was last night, some pretty outstanding minor league baseball was happening across the Blue Jays’ system.
Unfortunately, the Buffalo Bisons weren’t a part of the minor league awesomeness. Their game was postponed due to weather and they were headed back to Buffalo for their upcoming home stand.
It was a wild one in New Hampshire as the Fisher Cats hosted the Reading Fightin’ Phils. Shawn Hill, signed just before the season as a minor league free agent officially joined the club on the roster and took the start, going six innings and giving up four runs on five hits with four strikeouts in his first real game action of the year. Staked to a five-run lead, the bullpen couldn’t hold on as Tyler Ybarra and John Anderson allowed three runs each before Wil Browning came on for the last two and two-thirds to carry the team into extra innings and hold on for the win. John Berti had a huge game, going 3/5 with a triple and two walks and winning the game 11-10 with a walk-off home run, his first in Double-A, in the bottom of the 12th inning. Ryan Schimpf also had a three-hit game, going 3/4 with a double, two walks and two RBI while Gabe Jacobo and Jonathan Jones both had two hits.
Player of the Game: Jon Berti
When it comes to big games, none was bigger than Matt Boyd‘s for the Dunedin Blue Jays. Boyd has been absolutely dominant this season with only one run allowed coming into Friday’s game. He continued his run, humiliating the Clearwater Threshers in a 2-0 victory and threw eight innings of insane baseball, facing 26 batters (two over the minimum), allowing only two hits, no walks and striking out 12. Just to give you a larger view, Boyd has thrown 31 innings this year with just one run against and has only allowed 23 base runners (18 hits and five walks) with 37 strikeouts and a 0.29 ERA! I think a promotion to New Hampshire would have to come soon for Boyd who is proving himself to be in outclassing his High-A competition. Dalton Pompey had a pair of hits and a pair of walks to go along with his 12th stolen base (without being caught) while K.C. Hobson took advantage of wild Clearwater pitching, walking four times.
Player of the Game: Matt Boyd
The Lansing Lugnuts dropped their first game in a series with the Bowling Green Hot Rods 9-3 on Friday. Tom Robson was off to a great start, getting through two scoreless innings before running into trouble in the third inning. Robson had his longest start of the season (four innings) but still allowed six runs (only three were earned) on eight hits. That said, Robson’s groundout-to-flyout ratio was pretty typical for one of his outings, getting eight outs on the ground and only one in the air. The biggest question is whether better defense will make him a better pitcher.
Alonzo Gonzalez relieved Robson and surrendered three runs on six hits but struck out three and Roberto Espinosa threw a scoreless ninth. The hitters managed eight hits on the night with Dickie Thon, Justin Atkinson (who’s swinging the bat well lately) and Dawel Lugo chipping in with two a piece. Jorge Saez hit his first A-ball home run in a 1/3 night that included a walk and two runs scored. Mitch Nay also contributed with a double and a walk.
Player of the Game: Jorge Saez
April 26 Preview
Buffalo Bisons (10-9)
The Bisons, after being rained out in Scranton, come home to face the 10-11 Louisville Bats and Tim Crabbe at 4:05 ET (on MiLB TV). Check out yesterday’s column to read about Sean Nolin and Crabbe has been very solid this year for Louisville. The 2009 14th-round pick has a 2.57 ERA and has been stingy with the walks so far this year, allowing just four in 21 innings.
New Hampshire Fisher Cats (9-10)
Just one game short of the .500 mark, the Fisher Cats send Scott Copeland to the mound to face the Reading Fightin’ Phils and an undetermined starter. Copeland has been hit hard in three of his four starts is looking to turn the season around. This game is also on MiLB TV at 5:05 PM ET.
Dunedin Blue Jays (16-5)
The D-Jays play another game in Clearwater against the 5-16 Threshers and send Taylor Cole to the hill against 0-2 righty Jon Prosinski. The 23-year-old Seton Hall pitcher has a 7.78 ERA in 19 2/3 innings so far this year, giving up 32 hits but only four walks and nine strikeouts. He’ll face Taylor Cole who was, until yesterday, the D-Jays’ strikeout leader. In 23 2/3 innings, Cole has an excellent 32 to six strikeout to walk ratio and a very good 3.04 ERA. Cole is another pitcher thriving under Darold Knowles‘ tutelage in Dunedin. Hear the game on the radio (via internet) at 6:30 PM ET.
Lansing Lugnuts (8-12)
The Lugnuts are home for game two of their series with the Bowling Green Hot Rods and Hunter Wood, a dashingly moustachioed, 20-year-old righty from Howard Junior College in Texas. Wood is coming of an excellent outing against the Clinton LumberKings on April 19 in which he threw four innings, allowing one run on three hits and two walks with six strikeouts. The Lugnuts counter with the Labour-ado piggyback duo of Jairo Labourt and Alberto Tirado. Labourt has not been good this year, walking 15 batters in only 10 innings with a 9.00 ERA. Tirado has been better but inconsistently. While his 3.27 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 11 innings aren’t bad at all, his thirteen hits (including two home runs) and ten walks are not very good over those same 11 innings. Both of these young pitchers (Tirado is still 19 and Labourt is 20) are going to have to find their way this season in Lansing.
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All photos are copyright Blue Jays from Away (2013-2014) and may not be used without permission.