The Blue Jays keep rolling thanks to a huge night from the bats and have moved to a game above .500 and the blue birds are just a game and a half out of the AL East lead. In the minors, it was another mixed night with the top two teams scuffling, the Dunedin Blue Jays surging and the Lansing Lugnuts missing an opportunity to go back over .500. Don’t forget to check out Jays Journal for their minor league recap.
Buffalo Bisons 3, Gwinnett Braves 4
The Bisons’ slide continues as Sean Nolin had a weak outing and allowed all four Braves’ runs over 5 2/3 innings. He allowed 12 hits but only walked one and didn’t allow a home run. Ryan Tepera and Gregory Infante continued to be excellent, finishing off the game. The Bisons brought an 11-hit attack, including two from Kevin Pillar who is now hitting .293 but the biggest game came from Darin Mastroianni who went 3/4, coming just a triple short of the cycle and hitting his first home run of the year.
Player of the Game: Darin Mastroianni
New Hampshire Fisher Cats 2, Portland Sea Dogs 8
It’s always tough playing the best team in the league but it’s even tougher when your own staff ace struggles and you’re facing one of the top pitching prospects in baseball. Henry Owens was almost unhittable and despite issuing five walks, he struck out six and gave up just one hit in his 7 2/3 innings of work. Aaron Sanchez went for the Fisher Cats and cruised through two innings before losing his command in the third and walking three batters. He allowed three runs and struck out two. John Anderson also had some trouble with the potent Sea Dogs offense, surrendering four runs (three earned) over three innings. The offense only had two hits, including a no-hitter-breaking double by Andy Burns and a single by Mike Crouse.
Player of the Game: None
Dunedin Blue Jays 4, Clearwater Threshers 0
The D-Jays are continuing to beat up on their neighbouring rivals, the Phillies-affiliated Threshers (with a lowly 7-24 record) and scored single runs in the fourth through seventh innings to shut out their opponents. Despite working in and out of trouble at times, Ben White had his best start of the year, striking out six and allowing just three hits and three walks in 7 2/3 scoreless innings while Wil Browning (who had been returned to Dunedin from New Hampshire) finished the game off facing the minimum of four batters. The scoring came from three solo home runs (one each by Matt Newman, Dwight Smith and Emilio Guerrero) and an RBI double by Gustavo Pierre. Derrick Chung had a pair of hits including a double and Dalton Pompey has cooled off, going 0/4.
Player of the Game: Ben White
Lansing Lugnuts 6, West Michigan Whitecaps 7
The Lansing Lugnuts squandered another solid start from Jeremy Gabryszwski who, despite not having his best stuff, only gave up two runs in six innings. Roberto Espinosa allowed four runs in less than an inning and Adaric Kelly allowed a run in 1 1/3 innings to take the loss. The Lugnuts offense is swinging into gear as three different players had three hits on the night. Dawel Lugo is finding himself, going 3/5 with two runs scored while Derrick Loveless went 3/5. Jason Leblebijian was the hero of the night, going 3/4 and finishing just a triple short of the cycle with a home run and four RBI. Santiago Nessy, Dickie Thon and Matthew Dean all had two hits apiece while D.J. Davis struck out four times in an 0/5 night.
Player of the Game: Jason Leblebijian
May 9 Preview
Buffalo Bisons (18-13)
The Bisons are glad to get out of Gwinnett County as they move on to take on a much weaker team in Charlotte. The Knights are sending 27-year-old lefty Charlie Leesman to the hill who has been outstanding in the minors this year (but less so in the majors). Ricky Romero goes for the Jays to complete this battle of lefties. Romero continues to struggle with control, walking 18 in 24 innings so far and only striking out 17. Catch this one at 7:05 PM ET on MiLB TV.
New Hampshire Fisher Cats (14-18)
While the Buffalo Bisons get a break in their schedule, the Fisher Cats continue their series against a tough opponent. In a 6:00 PM ET game on MiLB TV, the Fisher Cats send Deck McGuire to the mound against Portland’s Brian Johnson. Johnson, a 6-foot-3 lefty from Florida, has settled right in to the Eastern League after a promotion from A-ball (following two consecutive Carolina League Pitcher of the Week awards). McGuire continues to struggle with inconsistency and big innings as was evident in his last start against New Britain. With such a strong Portland offense, McGuire will be tested in this outing today.
Dunedin Blue Jays (25-8)
At home tonight against the Clearwater Threshers, the Blue Jays have Jesse Hernandez on the mound against Luis Paulino. Paulino has been sent down from Double-A Reading (where he wasn’t bad) and has struggled in Florida, allowing seven runs (four earned) on 10 hits and five walks with six strikeouts in 8 1/3 innings. Jesse Hernandez has been solid for the D-Jays, limiting damage and being one of the veteran leaders on the pitching staff. In 27 2/3 innings this year, Hernandez has a 3.58 ERA and a sub-1.00 WHIP with just three walks and 18 strikeouts. Catch this one on the radio and internet at 6:30 PM ET.
Lansing Lugnuts (16-17)
In what promises to be a great pitching matchup in Grand Rapids (home of the West Michigan Whitecaps), the Lugnuts send Chase De Jong to the mound to face another second round pick, Kevin Ziomek (you can read my scouting report of Kevin Ziomek at Grading on the Curve). De Jong threw five scoreless innings at the Whitecaps in his last start and was very good despite not having the opportunity to use his trademark curveball very much (keep an eye on Grading on the Curve for my scouting report of that start, as well as an interview with Ziomek). De Jong, in his last four outings, has given up a maximum of one earned run and has struck out 14 batters in 15 innings. Ziomek, a 6-foot-3 lefty, has been very good in his first full year in the pros and struck out nine Lugnuts in six innings in his last start.
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