The affiliates went 1-3 on the day, but there were a few bright spots in yesterday's action.
Christian Bergman (Purple Row Prospect 26) was superb in his AAA debut. He cruised through seven innings on 83 pitches, allowing only two runs on two hits while striking out four. In fact, after allowing two runs in the second (and both of the hits), Bergman retired 18 straight batters before being pinch hit for in the 8th. It's a great start for the 25 year-old Bergman, who on his rise up the minor league system as a lightly regarded prospect has done nothing but put up great numbers.
On rehab assignment, Boone Logan was brought in face one batter, who he struck out. 2014 spring non-roster invitees Brooks Brown and Chris Martin each got in the game as well. On offense, Kyle Parker (PuRP 5) and Ben Paulsen both homered for the Sky Sox, with both Parker and Jason Pridie contributing three hits apiece to the 15 hit onslaught. Tim Wheeler (PuRP 27) and Paul Janish both had multi-hit games as well.
Tonight Tyler Matzek (PuRP 14) will make his AAA debut and try to continue the excellent pitching.
Dan Winkler (PuRP 12) didn't get the win in this one, but it was hardly his fault. The 24 year-old right-hander allowed only two hits and two walks while striking out five in 5 1/3 innings (70 pitches). Winkler, the reigning MiLB strikeout champ, can really improve his prospect stock if he continues to pitch this way in AA, sandwiched as he is between Eddie Butler and Jon Gray in the loaded Tulsa starting rotation.
Equally impressive in this game was reliever Nelson Gonzalez, who punched out five hitters and allowed only hit in 2 2/3 innings of relief. Like Winkler, Gonzalez too did not receive a win, namely because neither team scored until the 9th inning in this one. Unfortunately, it was Tulsa's Bruce Kern who blinked first, allowing two runs in the top of the 9th on a two base error, sacrifice, wild pitch, walk, wild pitch, double sequence. The Drillers got a two out rally going in the bottom half of the frame with back-to-back doubles by Harold Riggins and Tim Smalling, but Jayson Langfels struck out to end the game. In all, the Drillers had six hits but also three errors in the loss.
Tonight former Oklahoma pitcher and top prospect Jon Gray makes his debut in Tulsa. I'm sure it will be bonkers.
The Nuts fell behind 3-0 early in this one and never were able to claw back despite nine hits in the game, two each from Rosell Herrera (PuRP 4) and Will Swanner (PuRP 24). Herrera's second hit of the night was a two run single in the fifth inning that brought Modesto within one, but the Nuts were unable to capitalize beyond that, leaving nine men on base in the game.
The Nuts, who easily have the most anonymous starting rotation of the affiliates (Jayson Aquino - PuRP 15 - being the only prospect of note), sent out minor league free agent Ryan Gibbard in this one and the results weren't great. The 24 year-old Gibbard lasted just three innings, allowing three runs on six hits and two walks without striking out a batter. The equally anonymous Andrew Brown will go for the Nuts tonight.
The Tourists did not receive a strong pitching performance from Zach Jemiola in this one. Making his full-season minor league debut, Jemiola (Colorado's 9th round pick in 2012) allowed seven runs on ten hits and a walk, though he did strike out six in his four innings of work. Carlos Estevez, Matt Carasiti, and Trent Blank each were stellar in relief, but it's hard to come back from a 7-0 deficit.
On offense, Pat Valaika (PuRP 21) had a multi-hit night for the Tourists, including the lone extra base hit among Asheville's eight on the night, a double that drove in both runs for the Tourists in the 7th.
Tonight, Antonio Senzatela (PuRP 29) will make his full season debut for the Tourists.