From the Chicago Cubs to the Peoria Chiefs, Thursday belonged to the bullpens. Fortunately, it wasn’t all bad news. After listening to Marmol melt down on Thursday afternoon, the minor league night games were almost therapeutic. Nothing wipes away the bitter aftertaste of a blown game quite like a come from behind win, and that is exactly what the minors provided us. The minor leagues may not quite save your sanity, but they might help keep the fun in following baseball, even during the darkest of days in Chicago.
Chris Rusin pitched six pretty good innings, but he left with one out in the seventh and the bases full of Cardinals. Frank Batista recorded the next five outs, giving up just one hit in the process, and struck out two. Unfortunately, that one hit (a double) cleared the bases and left Batista with a blown save (and an ERA of 0.00). Esmailin Caridad took the loss by giving up a run on two hits in the ninth.
Josh Vitters blasted a two run bomb, his first of the season, and Blake Lalli went long as part of his two hit night. Alfredo Amezaga also collected two hits (including a triple), as did Dave Sappelt (who smacked a double). Sappelt has elevated his game of late; his OPS over the last ten games is now 0.895. That includes seven walks and two home runs. I don’t think there is any room in the Wrigley outfield for him right now, but if there are any injuries he should be ready to go.
Trey McNutt started this game. He cruised through the first two innings, and might have kept going, until a pair of errors in the third led to a nasty jam. McNutt was lifted for Ryan Searle who promptly opened his night of work by giving up a double and a triple. Those were two of just five hits allowed by Searle in four and a third innings all night, but they put an exclamation point on Montgomery’s six run rally. Jeffry Antigua pitched two perfect innings to finish the game.
Tennessee rallied for four runs of their own in the seventh, but those were the only runs they managed in this game. Jae-Hoon Ha singled, doubled, and drove in the first of the Smokies’ runs. He was also along for the ride when Justin Bour finished the scoring with a three run homer.
Matt Loosen pitched the first three innings and gave up three runs on four hits. Tony Zych pitched the last two innings and earned the save despite giving up two runs on three hits. Pitching four nearly perfect innings in the middle was the winning pitcher. Care to make a guess?
Did anyone say Hayden Simpson? That’s right, the oft maligned Simpson faced the minimum, gave up one hit, and struck out four. According to the Daytona Cubs Twitter feed, his fastball was clocking in as high as 88 MPH. That’s not his old velocity, but it is as hard as I’ve heard of him throwing this season.
Rubi Silva was batting lead off for this game, and he apparently enjoyed it. His celebration included a two for four night, a walk, and a solo home run. Nelson Perez also launched a solo shot, but Arismendy Alcantara out did them both with a three run bomb.
Despite allowing two walks and ten hits in five and two thirds innings, Jose Rosario somehow limited Kane County to just three runs in that span. His six strike outs certainly helped matters. Austin Reed pitched two and a third and earned his first win of the season with a two hit, three strikeout performance. Jeffry Lorick finished the game for his third save.
Pin-Chieh Chen led all Chiefs with three hits, including a double. Rafael Lopez and Oliver Zapata both had two hits in the game, including a double for Lopez. Taiwan Easterling did not collect a hit, but he might have saved the game with his defense. Easterling gathered two outfield assists, cutting down one runner at third base and another one at the plate.