Yesterday was the day of the strikeout; today the long ball ruled the roost among the affiliates. Every team had at least one player hit a home run, with a grand total of nine bombs across the four affiliates.
West Virginia Power (1-1) fall to Greenville Drive (1-1), 3-2
Standouts: The Power’s only two runs came on a two-run blast off the bat of Bobby Honeyman, as once again West Virginia struggled to string hits together. Julio Rodriguez had two strikeouts but also a sharply-hit single (and showed off his speed and arm in the outfield), and Jarred Kelenic checked in with a walk, his first Class-A hit, and his first Sally League stolen base. Ben Onyshko made his Class-A debut and twirled three scoreless innings, collecting three Ks, and showed off this pretty devastating curve:
Modesto Nuts (2-0) defeat Lancaster JetHawks (0-2), 11-8 (11 innings)
Games at the Hanger are always an adventure, and this one was no different. Modesto is a squad of guys with something to prove, and so far Joe Rizzo (2-for-4 today with a double, two walks, and no strikeouts), Anthony Jimenez (two hits including a double, a walk, and a stolen base), Jack Larsen (home run, double, walk) and Luis Liberato (three hits including a homer, a walk, and a stolen base) are all out to prove they’re healthy/ready to put their disappointing 2018s behind them. Lancaster is famously homer-happy, but Liberato’s was cranked:
Luis Liberato is in a prove-it year at High-A Modesto, trying to reclaim his top prospect status. In two games he has two home runs, including this absolute moonshot. pic.twitter.com/qKiZi1VebV— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) April 6, 2019
The wheels fell off on the pitching side some, but Reggie McClain, working out of a bullpen role now, showed off some increased velocity, hitting the mid-90s regularly over a three-inning relief stint, which made his bowling-ball curveball play up even more. Cal Raleigh had a quieter day at the plate after homering in his first-ever Cal League AB, with just one hit, but he shone behind the plate, working well with Modesto’s often-erratic pitching staff and showing much more spryness than one would expect out of a larger lad, like on this nice play where he blocks a ball in the dirt, recovers, and throws out a runner trying to swipe second:
Arkansas Travelers (2-0) defeat Tulsa Drillers (0-2), 9-4
The Travelers hammered the Drillers before a sold-out crowd on their Texas League Championship Ring Ceremony Night. This one was a laugher, to the point where the Drillers had a position player pitch the ninth; the Drillers scored their four runs off Wyatt Mills in the 9th, who was a combination of ineffective and unlucky. Mills had a brief stint with the Travelers last year, but is clearly still adjusting to the level and had to be bailed out by Matt Walker to close out the game. Ricardo Sánchez, acquired from Atlanta this off-season, made his organizational debut and went a strong 5.2 innings, striking out five and walking none while allowing no runs. Meanwhile, the Travelers continued to make their case for “most fun team in the system” by blasting four home runs, two off the bat of Dom Thompson-Williams, including this towering blast that rendered staff writer Tim Cantu incapable of speech:
And this one, Nick Zammarelli’s first Double-A home run:
The 4-7 hitters today were the heavy lifters in the lineup, with a combined nine hits between them, including three from hitting machine Chris Mariscal alone. They also accounted for all of the team’s home runs, and therefore, all of their runs, because DINGERZ BBY.
Tacoma Rainiers (1-1) defeat to the Sacramento River Cats (1-1), 6-5
Like the Mariners, the Rainiers fell into an early deficit, down by five runs; unlike the Mariners, the Rainiers were able to climb out of that hole and have their bullpen hold it. Braden Bishop continued his comfortable transition into Triple-A, going 2-for-three with two walks, a double, and an RBI single. Joey Curletta provided the go-ahead run by clubbing his first Triple-A homer:
The bullpen was able to hold on thanks to a stellar relief outing from R.J. (Ruben) Alaniz, who went two hitless innings and struck out five, and who I hope is on a plane to Chicago as we speak.
West Virginia at Greenville, 4:05 PT
Arkansas at Tulsa, 5:05 PT
Modesto at Lancaster, 6:05 PT
Tacoma at Sacramento, 7:05 PT