We can't have nice things. Daniel Winkler (PuRP 12), in the midst of one of arguably the best pitching seasons in the whole organization this year, left his start yesterday in the 4th inning with a right (throwing) elbow injury. Winkler will have a MRI in the coming days to determine the injury's severity. Obviously, you never like to see the words "elbow injury" in the same sentence as "top pitching prospect", as the news is rarely anything but very bad.
The 24 year-old Winkler had thrown 70 innings of 1.41 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, and 9.1 K/9 ball for the AA Tulsa Drillers prior to the injury and was a candidate to make a big league push or to get a promotion to AAA. Now that will have to wait on the MRI results.
Rafael Ynoa, Ben Paulsen, and Tim Smalling all had multi-hit games for the Sky Sox, who scored all of their runs in the 5th inning or later in this one. Yohan Flande delivered a quality start for the Sky Sox, throwing six innings of one run ball on three hits and four walks, striking out three. Manny Corpas (two perfect innings, three strikeouts) and Rob Scahill (scoreless inning) protected the 3-1 lead they were given.
Outside of the Winkler injury (insert Abe Lincoln joke here), this was the best game the Drillers had played all season. Drillers pitching combined for a two hit shutout while the normally moribund offense exploded for 17 hits and 11 runs - in a game that entered the top of the 6th in a 0-0 tie. The offense scored three in the 6th, four in the 7th, and four in the 8th to run away with it.
Winkler allowed only one baserunner in his 3 2/3 innings, then Ryan Arrowood allowed only four in his 3 1/3 innings to get the win. Kraig Sitton and Nate Stritz both pitched clean innings to preserve the shutout. On offense, every starter had a hit and seven players had two. Ryan Casteel (PuRP 11) and Brian Humphries both drove in three apiece, with Casteel hitting his 7th of the year - a three run shot in the 8th inning.
The Nuts fell behind 6-0 early on and were unable to recover. Devin Burke allowed six runs on ten hits in 4 2/3 innings pitched with five strikeouts for Modesto. On offense, Will Swanner (PuRP 24), Chris O'Dowd, Sean Dwyer, and Kyle Von Tungeln all had multi-hit games, while Pat Valaika (PuRP 21) knocked in two.
The Tourists were down 4-0 early, but they clawed their way back thanks to Herculean efforts by Raimel Tapia (PuRP 16) and Jordan Patterson (PuRP 23). Tapia went 5-7 in the game, including a walk-off two run homer (5), while Patterson was 5-6 with a solo homer (5) and two doubles. Jose Briceno added three hits for the Tourists. Despite a slow start (.244/.290/.326 in April) the 20 year-old Tapia is now hitting .306/.344/.445 on the year for Asheville.
PuRP 20 Alex Balog allowed all five runs in seven innings of work. He gave up seven hits and a walk while striking out seven. Daniel Palo (one inning), Dylan Stamey (two innings, four strikeouts), and Matt Carasiti (three innings, seven strikeouts) combined to keep the game in reach for the Tourists, with Carasiti securing the win.
The DSL Rockies had two runs on eight hits in this one - normally that's good enough to keep it close in the run-starved DSL. Unfortunately, the Rockies were undone by four errors in this one, leading to three unearned runs. Jorge Oviedo threw five innings of six hit, four run ball (one earned) with two walks and three strikeouts. Anthony Brito was 2-2 with two walks to lead the Rockies on offense.
AAA: Christian Friedrich
AA: Tyler Anderson
High A: Matt Flemer
Low A: Konner Wade