MiLB Recap Blog: Starting Pitchers Dominate

Each morning, check in for the Minor League Recap Blog. Get all of the results from the games, the latest standings and the daily blog recapping the previous day's action.

May 24th Games

AAA Toledo Mud Hens – LOUISVILLE 1, TOLEDO 2
33-17, 1st in West division

AA Erie SeaWolves – ERIE 5, AKRON 1
18-30, 5th in West division

A+ Lakeland Flying Tigers – SUSPENDED DUE TO RAIN
27-21, t-3rd in West division

A West Michigan Whitecaps – DAYTON 0, WEST MICHIGAN 2
27-20, 1st in Eastern division

1-10-1, 8th in VSL

After a stellar start from Casey Fossum, the Toledo Mud Hens needed the bottom of the ninth to pull out a win against Lousiville. Fossum struck out eleven in seven innings, allowing just won run. In his first rehab appearance with Toledo, Denny Bautista threw a perfect eighth to bridge the gap to Ian Ostlund's ninth. Mike Hessman scored the first run to tie the game, with a ninth inning triple. Jackson Melian followed with a game winning single to score infielder Derek Wathan.

Erie continued the system's winning ways with a 5-1 win over Akron. Leading the way were Max Leon (2-for-4) and Deik Scram (3-for-3), along with an eighth inning home run from catcher Dusty Ryan. Danny Christensen managed to pick up his first win of the season by working seven strong innings, and the lead was held by scoreless frames from Casey Fien and Juan Cedeno.

West Michigan only compiled five hits en route to a 2-0 victory over Dayton. Jon Kibler continued his strong run with six scoreless innings with six strikeouts. Noah Krol managed to make things interesting with a rough ninth, but he still picked up his sixth save of the season. While it wasn't surrounded by the dramatics of the last two nights, for the third night in a row, Roger Tomas still scored what proved to be the winning run int he third inning.

A night after picking up their first win of the season, the VSL Tigers were back on the losing side of the ledger. Luis Sanz, Alexander Moreno, and Hernan Perez each picked up two hits, while four players picked up doubles. Eduardo Gonzalez was roughed up in four innings, yielding seven runs, followed by two runs in one inning by Jose Siso. Clemente Mendoza slowed the onslaught with three scoreless innings with two strikeouts to give the offense a chance. In the end, the VSL Astros were too much and pulled out the 10-5 win.

Posted by: Mark, 5/24

May 23rd Games

AAA Toledo Mud Hens – LOUISVILLE 0, TOLEDO 6
32-17, 1st in West division

AA Erie SeaWolves – ERIE 0, AKRON 4
17-30, 6th in West division

27-21, t-3rd in West division

A West Michigan Whitecaps – DAYTON 2, WEST MICHIGAN 3
26-20, 1st in Eastern division

1-9-1, 8th in VSL

Toledo managed to keep their winning ways afloat, as Virgil Vasquez turned in his best start of the season. Tossing seven shutout innings with four strikeouts, Vasquez did his best to get his season on track. Francis Beltran closed out the win with two scoreless innings. In what as become a theme of the season, three 'Hens went yard; led by International League leader Mike Hessman, who hit his 19th in the sixth inning. Brent Clevlen also notched a home run -- his seventh -- en route to a 2-for-4 night.

It took ten innings, but the VSL Tigers picked up their first win of the season on Friday. Led by two hits from Luis Sanz, the Tigers were the 3-2 victors over the Cardinals. Jose Diaz turned in a stellar performance, going six innings while allowing only two runs on two hits with nine strikeouts. Michael Torrealba picked up the win in relief with four shutout innings.

West Michigan also managed a 3-2 win, though their victory only required nine innings, as Roger Tomas again singled home the game winning run for the 'Caps. Tomas finished the night 3-for-3, raising his team leading average to .366. Chris Carlson also helped the offensive cause with his third home run of the season. An error by Audy Ciriaco (his 18th of the season) allowed two unearned runs to score against Lauren Gagnier, but that was all the 'Caps starter would allow. Despite Gagnier's strong pitching, Mauricio Robles picked up his first stateside win by tossing two perfect innings with two strikeouts.

Cleveland starter Jake Westbrook, on a rehab assignment from the big leagues, dominated en route to a 4-0 shutout of the Erie Seawolves. Jon Connolly was solid in 7 2/3 innings of work, but it just wasn't enough. Danny Worth, Wilkin Ramirez, and Jeff Frazier each picked up a hit; the only hits of the game for the 'Wolves.

It took extra innings (seven innings is regulation during a double header), and a strong showing from Jay Sborz for the LFT to pick up the 3-2 win against Jupiter in the first game of a double header Friday night. Duane Below was outstanding through five innings, but Jupiter was up to the task. In a strange turn of events, both Michael Bertram and Cale Iorg scored on a wild pitch in the top of the ninth, which proved to be enough for the win.

In the second game of the double dip, right-hander Jonah Nickerson continued to dominate Florida State League lineups. For the second start in a row, and the third start in five games, Nickerson was absolutely unhittable. Nickerson threw a complete game, allowing three hits with ten strikeouts; completely overmatching the Hammerheads. The LFT offense -- aided by three Jupiter errors -- scored three runs in the final three innings, led by home runs from Jeramy Laster and Ryan Strieby. Strieby finished the night 2-for-4 with two extra-base hits and four runs driven in.

Posted by: Mark, 5/23

May 22nd Games

AAA Toledo Mud Hens – LOUISVILLE 6, TOLEDO 7
31-17, 1st in West division

AA Erie SeaWolves – BOWIE 11, ERIE 4
17-29, 5th in West division

A+ Lakeland Flying Tigers – POSTPONED DUE TO RAIN
25-21, t-3rd in West division

A West Michigan Whitecaps – WEST MICHIGAN 5, SOUTH BEND 4
25-20, 1st in Eastern division

0-9-1, 8th in VSL

West Michigan pulled out a tight game with South Bend, scoring in the top of the ninth to break the tie and take the game. Roger Tomas' lone hit of the night, signled home Kyle Peter from second base, after Peter had ran for Adrian Casanova earlier in the inning. Casanova didn't start the game but came on in the seventh for Jordan Newton who was hit in the face with a pitch. News on Newton was not available at this time. Manny Miguelez battled his command and mechanics through 6 1/3 innings, before giving way to Andrew Hess, Wilton Garcia, and Noah Krol. Garcia earned the win, moving to 2-1 on the season, as Krol picked up his first save with a perfect ninth.

Also winning a tight game, Toledo managed a 7-6 win against the Louisville Bats and stud prospect Jay Bruce. Timo Perez knocked two doubles in four trips to the plate, driving in two runs in the process. Clete Thomas contined to slowly heat up with a double and a walk, along with two stolen bases. Eddie Bonine -- perfect on the season -- was roughed up in just four innings of work, but his offense bailed him out and allowed him to remain undefeated. Picking up a well-deserved win was right-hander Matt Rusch, who struck out five of the ten batters he faced, and Blaine Neal picked up his league leading 16th save of the season.

The Erie bullpen absolutely imploded on Thursday, as Angel Castro and Marcelo Perez yielded seven earned runs in just 1 2/3 innings of combined work. Andrew Kown took the loss, giving up four runs in six innings, but did manage seven strikeouts in that stretch. Working from the leadoff spot for the second day in a row, Max Leon picked up another two hits and a walk, rasing his season average to .315.

Rookie right-hander Bruce Rondon picked up his first career loss, as the VSL Tigers remained winless on the season. Rondon gave up seven runs with only four earned, thanks in part to a team total of five errors behind him. Fellow rookie Frank Penalver was solid in 2 1/3 innings of work, and he could see some starts in the near future. Leading the way offensively was talented outfielder Avisail Garcia who finished the day 3-for-5 with a double, raising his average through ten games to an even .300. Driving in two of the Tigers five runs on the day was catcher Luis Sanz (actually started at first base), who picked up a double and a single in five at-bats.

Posted by: Mark, 5/22

May 21st Games

AAA Toledo Mud Hens – OFF DAY
30-17, 1st in West division

AA Erie SeaWolves – BOWIE 2, ERIE 9
17-28, 5th in West division

A+ Lakeland Flying Tigers – PALM BEACH 11, LAKELAND 12
25-21, t-3rd in West division

A West Michigan Whitecaps – WEST MICHIGAN 4, SOUTH BEND 1
24-20, 1st in Eastern division

0-8-1, 8th in VSL

If there was skepticism in the minds of Seawolves fans this morning, they probably had a right. With a spot start from the sometimes shaky Matt Righter, there was no security in their ability to go out and hold Bowie at bay. Well, that all when out the window as Righter spun five innings of one run ball; working the ball around the zone and making the opponents put it in play. Coming back from a rough last outing, reliever Casey Fien worked the final two innings without allowing a run. Righter was also helped by a nice 4-0 lead after two innings of play, led by a three-run shot from catcher Max St. Pierre. The other Max, Leon, worked from the leadoff spot playing left field, and he picked up a single and a triple in three trips to the plate, along with two walks.

The Alfredo Figaro freight train continued in South Bend last night, as he moved to 6-1 on the season with 7 2/3 shutout innings. While he did managed to walk five hitters, giving up only two hits helped keep any potential damage to a minimum. Figaro's stellar performance lowered his season ERA to a shiny 1.09. A bunch of singles from eight of the nine players in the lineup led to four runs for the 'Caps, including two more hits from shortstop Audy Ciriaco; raising his average to a respectable .277, and maintaining the belief that the toolsy prospect may yet be starting to figure things out.

It may just be one of those years in the VSL. With another shutout loss, things are starting to look really ugly in the VSL standings, for the Tigers. With only six hits in the game, there isn't much to highlight outside of Ivan Espinoza's 2-for-4 performance. On the hill, 16-year old rookie Josue Carreno was solid, yielding three runs in five innings while maintaining a 5:1 K:BB ratio.

After being pummeled two nights in a row by Palm Beach, you would have thought an 11-4 lead after four innings would serve as enough to get Lakeland back on the winning track with relative ease. Rick Porcello was far from dominant, but he was good enough in five innings of work, and was in line for the win prior to a bullpen implosion in the sixth and eighth innings. Nick Martin and Jay Sborz combined to give up seven runs in a combined 2 1/3 innings, with a scoreless 1 2/3 from Derek Witt seperating them; and all that combined led to extra innings for the LFT. The same offense that scored seven runs in the fourth inning, finally managed their 12th run of the game as Scott Sizemore chased home Brandon Timm with a single to win the game. Sizemore finished the game 2-for-4, but the offense was led by third baseman Santo De Leon who was 3-for-6 three-run bomb. Jeramy Laster also ripped a three-run homer, his ninth of the season.

Posted by: Mark, 5/21

May 20th Games

AAA Toledo Mud Hens – COLUMBUS 7, TOLEDO 5
30-17, 1st in West division

AA Erie SeaWolves – BOWIE 10, ERIE 5
16-28, 6th in West division

A+ Lakeland Flying Tigers – PALM BEACH 5, LAKELAND 2
24-21, t-3rd in West division

A West Michigan Whitecaps – WEST MICHIGAN 10, SOUTH BEND 4
23-20, 1st in Eastern division

0-7-1, 8th in VSL

Well, the young VSL Tigers alsmost picked up their first win of the season, but two unearned runs in the ninth from Clemente Mendoza led to a tie in eleven innings. Michael Torrealba was the pitching star, giving three scoreless innings with four strikeouts. Center fielder Alexander Moreno led the way with a 3-for-4 performance, including his first home run of the season; a three run shot in the fourth. Also poking his first home run of the season was catcher Luis Sanz. Avisail Garia and Wondy De Los Santos each collected two hits on the day.

Despite a strong starting outing from lefty Ramon Garcia, the LFT dropped a 5-2 decision to Palm Beach; having now been outscored 18-2 in the first two games of the three game set. Garcia finished the night with six solid innings of two-run ball. Guillermo Moscoso came on in relief for the seventh, but yielded three runs in 2-plus innings. The offense just couldn't get rolling against the Cardinals staff, with Scott Sizemore's fifth inning solo shot providing the only significant highlight.

Former Pittsburg pitcher Paul Nardozzi continues to dazzle for the 'Caps, flipping five shutout innings in South Bend with two strikeouts. Mauricio Robles tried his hardest to give away the lead, getting roughed up yet again, as he continues to struggle with his command. Finally, Wilton Garcia and Rudy Darrow combined to allow only one run in the final 2 1/3 innings to secure the victory for West Michigan. Multiple hits were the theme for the 'Caps, as Kyle Peter (2-5), Chris Carlson (2-5), Kody Kaiser (2-4), Cory Middleton (2-4), and Roger Tomas (2-4), all got in on the act.

Well, the offense kept slugging at Toledo, but the bullpen also kept up its recent trend...of blowing games. Chris Lambert was solid, yielding only two runs in 5 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts. In the end, Anistacio Martinez yielded two runs in less than an inning, and Preston Larrison gave away three runs on four walks and a hit. Jeff Larish (1-3) and Michael Hollimon (2-5) both slugged homers, their 15th and 12th, respectively.

Rounding things out on the farm, was a disappointing night in Erie. Trailing by only one run entering the ninth inning, Anthony Tomey, Danny Zell, and Marcelo Perez combined to surrender four runs to let the game get away from the offense. Luke French couldn't build off his recent strong starts, allowing six runs in seven innings of work. At the plate, Wilkin Ramirez remained red-hot, going 2-for-5 on the night with his fourth triple of the season, and 14th stolen base. Justin Justice also continued to come around since his promotion to Double-A, with a double, a home run, and two runs driven in.

Posted by: Mark, 5/21

May 19th Games

AAA Toledo Mud Hens – COLUMBUS 3, TOLEDO 4
30-16, 1st in West division

AA Erie SeaWolves – BOWIE 8, ERIE 4
16-27, 6th in West division

A+ Lakeland Flying Tigers – PALM BEACH 13, LAKELAND 2
24-20, t-3rd in West division

A West Michigan Whitecaps – WEST MICHIGAN 1, SOUTH BEND 4
22-20, t-1st in Eastern division

0-7, 8th in VSL

The balls weren't flying out of the park for the Mud Hens like they were last night, but Clete Thomas (2-for-4) still managed to poke his fifth bomb of the year, leading the 'Hens to their 30th win of the year. Brent Clevlen and Erick Almonte both went 2-for-4 on the night. Jeremy Johnson and Yorman Bazardo gave up three runs in seven combined innings, striking out four. Matt Rusch picked up his first Triple-A win with a scoreless inning, and closer Blaine Neal notched his league-leading 15th save.

The VSL Tigers remained winless on the year, avoiding a shutout only by scoring a run in the top of the ninth. Alexander Moreno remained the only consistent offensive contributor, with a 2-for-3 performance. Carlos Alvarez was the pitching star in relief, working three innings while striking out six.

Second starts in a league didn't go as well as first starts for Luis Marte and Brandon Hamilton. Marte's control escaped him as he surrendered six walks in just 4 1/3 innings, while giving up four runs. Casey Fien was also roughed up, getting knocked for three runs in one inning of work. Offensively, Wilkin Ramirez and Justin Justice each collected two singles, and Ryan Roberson ripped his seventh home run of the season; a two run show in the sixth.

Brandon Hamilton showed exactly why he is considered such a project, walking three hitters in four innings while failing to strike out a batter. Hamilton took the loss in his second start, surrendering three runs, while reliever Andrew Hess gave up one additional run in four innings of strong relief work. The 'Caps only managed four hits in the game, with Ronnie Bourquin driving in his 17th run of the year.

The Flying Tigers took the worst punishing last night, getting hammered by the Palm Beach Cardinals to the tune of a 13-2 defeat. Brennan Boesch, who Manager Andy Barkett insists is coming out of his funk, knocked a two-run jack in the fourth inning to account of all of Lakeland's runs on the night. While Matt O'Brien and Jordan Tata both gave up runs on the evening, the big culprit was right-hander Zach Simons, who gave up five runs on four hits and three walks in just 2/3 of an inning.

Posted by: Mark, 5/19

May 18th Games

AAA Toledo Mud Hens – TOLEDO 10, COLUMBUS 0
29-16, 1st in West division

AA Erie SeaWolves – ERIE 10, BINGHAMTON 5
16-26, 6th in West division

A+ Lakeland Flying Tigers – PALM BEACH 0, LAKELAND 4
24-19, 3rd in West division

A West Michigan Whitecaps – WEST MICHIGAN 4, LANSING 2
22-19, 1st in Eastern division

R VSL Tigers – OFF DAY
0-6, 8th in VSL

The Toledo Mud Hens are just insane right now. Insane, I tell you! Three players each managed three dingers on Sunday, as the team totaled seven in a 10-0 romp over the Columbus Clippers. Mike Hollimon (3-5) hit two from the leadoff spot, giving him eleven even though he missed the start of the season with a bum shoulder. Nick Trzesniak (2-5) and Timo Perez (2-5) each ripped two homers, and Freddy Guzman hit his first as a 'Hen. First baseman Jeff Larish also managed his tenth double of the season as he drove in his 38th run. On the hill, lefty Casey Fossum was stellar; tossing seven superb innings with only three hits and one walk allowed while striking out ten.

Second-year pro Jon Kibler picked up his fourth win of the season as he spun a complete game gem for West Michigan. Allowing only two hits and one earned run while striking out eight, Kibler is showing that the strides he made last summer, were real. Offensively, Jordan Newton ripped his sixth triple of the young season from the DH slot, while driving in two. Audy Ciriaco continues to hit well, going 1-for-4 on the day with his 17th RBI, while also stealing his fifth base of the season.

Danny Christensen gave up five earned runs in just three innings of work, but thanks to RBIs from all but one player in the Erie lineup, and six innings of excellent relief work, Erie managed a 10-5 win over the B-Mets. Angel Castro picked up the win in his Double-A debut, and Casey Fien shut the door with a two strikeout ninth. At the dish, Max St. Pierre (3-4) and Wil Rhymes (3-5) led the way, with the former notching his second home run of the season; a three run shot in the second. Also collecting multiple hits were Wilkin Ramirez (2-5), Justin Justice (2-6), and Jeff Frazier (2-4).

For the second time in recent memory, an LFT pitcher took a perfect game to the eighth inning; this time Jonah Nickerson did the honor before giving up a hit and a walk. Jay Sborz came on to close out the eighth, then loaded the bases in the ninth before Brendan Wise came on to put out the fire and get his first save of the year. Jeramy Laser provided all the offense the F-Tigers offense would need, knocking a two-run homer in the third inning. Brennan Boesch broke out with a 3-for-4 day that will hopefully mean the beginning of a nice hot streak for him.

Posted by: Mark, 5/18

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