Not a good night for pitchers in the high minors.
Before this game, Chad Bettis had a 1.54 ERA with the Sky Sox this season. Despite his tremendous struggles at the top level, there were real signs of progress here. That came to a crashing end last night as he was shelled for seven runs on ten hits in just 3.1 innings of work.
The offense cashed in seven runs in on their 12 hits, but only four of them went for extra bases. Angelys Nina led the way with a three hit effort and Christian Adames was also on base three times with a single, a double and a walk.
Eddie Butler is rapidly turning into one of the biggest concerning mysteries in this system. After last night's outing where he gave up four runs in five innings which included a home run, two walks, and only one strike out, Butler now has a 6.08 ERA over his last nine minor league starts. In addition to this, he has just 31 strikeouts to 20 walks over this time - And perhaps most concerning of all, he's now allowed five home runs in his last six outings compared to allowing just three home runs in his first 14 outings. Butler is getting worse, not better, and if this is a sign of things to come, the disaster that is the Rockies pitching staff is likely to continue into next season. They need help from their farm system to fix it, and as of May of this year, it looked like Butler was going to be part of that solution come 2015.
The big news of the night offensively was Trevor Story, who hit his eighth home run in just 47 games at this level. He's batting just .198 for the Drillers, but his walk rate and power are productive enough to get excited about. He does however have to cut down on his appalling 35 percent strikeout rate. Taylor Featherston also went 2-4 with a double.
David Dahl went 1-4, Juan Ciriaco went 3-5 from the top of the lineup, and Patrick Valaika had two hits. David Bergin had the only extra base hit of the night for the Nuts.
On the mound, Mike Piazza went six innings giving up four runs on eight hits and got the loss. Tyler Gagnon and Peter Tago each pitched clean relief appearances.
Nothing new here: Asheville won! Although their offense being held the just three runs on four hits is quite unusual. Correlle Prime had two of them and a walk, and Ryan McMahon was on twice with a pair of walks.
Instead, what won this game was outstanding pitching. Kyle Freeland, who is over the top polished for a guy drafted in June, went five scoreless innings on just three hits, six strikeouts, and one walk. He's on pace to rocket through the lower half of this system.
The Dust Devils had their best pitcher on the mound for this one in Helmis Rodriguez, and good things happened. He went six innings on just one run, and it marked the 12th time in 14 outings this season where he allowed two runs or less. The 20-year-old now has a 2.11 ERA at this level.
Offensively, Tri-City piled up 13 hits in their nine run attack. Drew Weeks hit his second home run of the season, and Marcos Derkes, Sean Dwyer, Sam Bumpers, Ryan Garvey, Denzel Richardson all had multi hit games. The Dust Devils also made five errors in this win.
These Rockies had to finish a game from a week of rain delays and then play another seven inning affair. In the first game, Alex Rodriguez (not that one) allowed seven runs in less than an inning of work. However, on the offensive side of things there was good news as Forrest Wall hit a home run and Dom Nunez recorded a double.
In the second game, Wes Rogers and Kevin Padlo were at it again, each racking up a pair of hits. Padlo's numbers are outrageous at this level, and even though he just turned 18, he's too good for this group. He now has an OPS of 1.157. He also still has more walks than strikeouts. He'll be fun to track in Asheville next season.
DSL Rockie: Postponed
The Dominican League was halted yesterday as a tropical wave that could become tropical storm Chistobal later this weekend impacted the island of Hispaniola.