If you were watching on MiLB.TV or listening to the Tennessee Smokies game on Sunday you were witness to a couple very unusual baseball events. First, Tennessee batters hit the Birmingham pitcher with batted balls twice. On consecutive batters. The first one clipped his foot and redirected away from the second baseman for a single, and the second bounced off his upper thigh for an infield single. I’ve seen the pitcher hit by a ball before, but never by consecutive hitters.
A little later in the game the third base umpire in a great position on a ball down the line signaled foul, watched a second longer, changed his mind and called it fair. Needless to say Birmingham wasn’t too happy about that, but Stephen Bruno never stopped running and got his extra bases.
You may have also seen the hot dog come from behind to pass what I think was the Italian sausage at the finish line in the ballpark food race, but that sort of thing happens in the minors all the time. For the record, I was cheering for the taco. If it hadn’t been for a terrible turn in the right field corner he would totally have had that one. Next time, taco. Next time.
Scores From The Weekend
Friday – Iowa once again got some good pitching, but they still lost 1-0.
Saturday – A blowout, but in a bad way. Iowa lost 12-2.
Sunday – Three errors did not help as Iowa lost their third straight 6-0.
Friday – The Smokies scored first, but ultimately lost 5-2.
Saturday – This game was close all the way, but it ended with a 5-4 Smokies loss.
Sunday – A big fifth inning propelled the Cubs to an 8-3 win.
Friday – Bad weather postponed this game…
Saturday – … and setup the doubleheader on Saturday. Daytona dropped the first one 10-4, but finally broke through in Game Two for a 9-1 win.
Sunday – Sunday was a scheduled day off.
Performances of Note
- [Iowa] Tsuyoshi Wada gave up a run on 3 hits while striking out 5 on Friday. The one run he allowed came on a solo homer.
- [Iowa] Not a lot else went right on the mound for Iowa this weekend. Alberto Cabrera and Neil Ramirez both struck out 2 in effective relief on Sunday, but that’s about it.
- [Iowa] There wasn’t much excitement at the plate, either. Arismendy Alcantara stole two more bases on Sunday and now has 5 for the year. Christian Villanueva doubled twice on Saturday. Other than that, there weren’t a lot of highlights.
- [Tennessee] C.J. Edwards pitched 6 strong innings on Sunday, allowing just 2 runs on 3 hits and 2 walks while striking out 4. He threw 91 pitches.
- [Tennessee] Kris Bryant had a 2 for 4 game on Sunday, but that was only part of his weekend. On Friday he went 2 for 4 with his 4th home run of the season, and on Saturday he doubled as part of a 1 for 5 effort.
- [Tennessee] On Friday Ivan Pineyro struck out 8 over 6.2 innings of 2 hit ball. Unfortunately Ryan Searle could not hold on to the lead, but Pineyro’s start was fantastic nonetheless.
- [Daytona] Felix Pena struck out 8 over 6 innings and allowed just the one run despite 3 hits and 4 walks in Daytona’s win. Michael Jensen finished off that game.
- [Daytona] Jeimer Candelario picked up his first double of the season in the loss.
- [Daytona] Albert Almora singled twice and raised his early season average to .291 in Game Two. Bijan Rademacher (who is off to an awesome start) hit his first home run as part of his two hit game.
- [Daytona] Dan Vogelbach reached twice on a walk and his first double of the season in Game Two.
- [Kane County] The big story out of Kane County this spring continues to be the pitching. On Saturday Duane Underwood (5 IP) and Zack Godley (2.1 IP) both turned in very strong outings.
- [Kane County] Daniel Lockhart was not much discussed coming into the season, but he is starting to change that. He has piled up 10 hits in his past 4 games now. Praise of Lockhart centers on that bat and his speed, something we have not seen as much of in the early going.
- [Kane County] A two hit game on Saturday extended Trey Martin‘s hitting streak to 5 games. He has also hit safely in 9 of his last 10 as well.
- Javier Baez returned to the lineup on Sunday, batting third as the DH, but he went hitless in 4 at bats and struck out 3 times. For the season he now has 13 strikeouts in 32 plate appearances. That’s about a 40% rate, if you’re concerned. But you really shouldn’t be. He’s played just nine games so far, and he has a history of starting slow at a new level. There is no need to panic about his strikeout rate yet, but there is also absolutely no plausible argument for rushing him to the majors either. Triple A is exactly where he needs to be.
- I do not think that Vogelbach and Candelario are going to continue to struggle, and I would not be surprised to see them break out soon. When they do, Daytona suddenly has the makings of a potent offense. Rademacher is already providing some muscle in the middle of the order; adding productive bats from Vogelbach and Candelario will be a big help. Add to that the top of the order speed from Tim Saunders and Marco Hernandez and some all around hit-ness from Almora and Gioskar Amaya (when he returns from a shoulder injury) and the Cubs could be in business. If Rock Shoulders gets his bat going as well, things look even better.
- There are a number of prospects in the lower levels of the system we were hoping to see significant strides from this season, and shortstop Carlos Penalver‘s name was on that list. He’s over 60 plate appearances now, and is hitting .281 with an OBP of .359. He hasn’t shown a great deal of power yet, but that doesn’t concern me right now. A high OBP along with 6 steals through 15 games is a pretty good start to the season.