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Midshipman’s Log - May 10th, 2019: the Power double up, the Travelers shine, the Rainiers use the Force

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Your tri-weekly minor league highlights roundup

Tacoma Director of In-Game Entertainment Casey Catherwood wearing a child’s Yoda costume. As one does at Star Wars Night.

The Mariners farm is both more exciting and more functional than it’s been in a long time, which means it’s worth paying attention to how the prospects are performing down at the lower levels of the organization. In addition to our stalwart State of the Farm weekly roundup that takes a longer view on the farm, we’ll have minor league roundups thrice a week or so to share some highlights, gifs, and notes in our Midshipmen’s Log (it’s a baby sailor, get it? **waits patiently for ‘ba dum tiss’ on the drums** yeah yeah).

The big squad has been playing some bad baseball lately, making the minors officially Where the Party Is At. That party is due for a little shuffling, though, with Dee Gordon most likely hitting the IL, although I will be spending the evening lighting candles and beaming healing crystal vibrations eastward in hopes of a different outcome. J.P. Crawford didn’t appear in Tacoma’s game yesterday, although Shed Long did, and he did Shed Long things, helping the minors squads go three-for-four in the win column.

West Virginia Power (19-13) double their fun against the Augusta GreenJackets, win 11-1, 6-1

Link to full box score and Game 2

The Power ended a brief losing skid and also collected some much-needed offense, winning both games of the doubleheader by a combined 15 runs. Clay Chandler was very good again in Game 1, going the distance for the Power (in a minors doubleheader, the distance is seven innings) and allowing just one run on five hits while striking out seven. His ERA remains sub-1. Meanwhile, the offense read the mean things John said about them in the last installment of the MSL and went bonkers, with catcher Jake Anchía hitting two home runs, one to each side of the field, for a combined five runs all his own. Jarred Kelenic also chipped in with a two-run double, and Ryan Ramiz had two doubles. Hitting coach Eric Farris must have had a stern chat with his hitters about not striking out so much, as the Power struck out just three times in this game.

Those lessons may have gone a little by the wayside in Game 2, when the Power struck out six times against 2018 5th-rounder Keaton Winn, but on the bright side, they worked five walks. Jarred Kelenic had three hits, including a double, and continues to toy with Sally League pitching, and Joseph Rosa had multiple hits in both games. The Power were also gifted a strong pitching performance from 18-year-old Deivy Florido, who followed up his spot start in Tacoma with a strong Sally League debut, going 5.1 innings and only allowing one run on five hits while striking out five and issuing just one walk. Bryan Pall rescued Florido from a bases-loaded jam, striking out Wander Franco (not that Wander Franco, but his brother, Wander Franco) and held the door for the final 1.2 innings, striking out two and giving up just one hit.

Arkansas Travelers (20-10) unplug the Tulsa Drillers (18-13), 4-1

Link to full box score

Los Diamantes De Arkansas shone brightly as starter Nabil Crismatt dismantled Tulsa’s lineup, striking out 13 batters in six shutout innings. This isn’t a pushover lineup, either; Crismatt struck out Gavin Lux (#3 on MLB Pipeline’s list of top Dodgers prospects) three times and DJ Peters (#10), Omar Estevez (#19), and Cristian Santana (#26) twice each, in addition to striking out top Dodgers prospect Keibert Ruiz. Meanwhile, the Travs played some small ball, turning eight hits into four runs without hitting any homers, which is somewhat unusual for them. Kyle Lewis and Logan Taylor each had two-hit days, and Dom Thompson-Williams hit a triple in addition to a sac fly that scored the first run of the game, because he is scorching hot.

Dan Altavilla closed out the game for his second save in Arkansas as he continues to work towards recovering his command. He’s probably got a few more games to play there as he’s not even pitched ten innings yet, but from what I’ve seen, he absolutely overwhelms Double-A batters and should be headed to Tacoma soon.

Modesto Nuts (16-18) crunched up by the San Jose Giants (13-21), 2-0

Link to full box score

San Jose is an objectively bad team, and losing games to them is...not great. It’s some balm, though, that this game was supposed to be started by top prospect Logan Gilbert, and instead Penn Murfee—who just made an appearance two days ago—drew starting duties. Gilbert twisted his ankle slightly doing agility drills and so is having his turn through the rotation skipped this time, although per Nuts broadcaster Keaton Gillogly, it doesn’t sound too bad, as he was able to pitch in a sim game:

For being pressed into duty, Murfee was quite good, going four innings of scoreless, one-hit ball while striking out five. A rehabbing Sam Tuivailala gave up a HR, and Collin Kober gave up one run in two innings of relief, but it wasn’t a poor performance by the Nuts bullpen at all. This game also featured the season debut of Eric’s favorite Large Lad, J.T. Salter, who terrorized the teensy-looking San Jose batters over two innings, six up/six down, with three strikeouts. Command has been an issue for Salter, so even more than the Ks, it was great to see him not walk anyone. He spotted his fastball well for called strikes and showed off this nasty hook:

Unfortunately, the Nuts lineup couldn’t muster any kind of offense against Matt Frisbee and his 5.5 ERA. They struck out nine times and managed just one measly hit, a single from Luis Liberato. Modesto is without their hottest hitter, Jack Larsen, who missed his second straight game after being lifted from Tuesday’s game, but this is a lineup badly in need of some vitamin JK.

The force is with the Tacoma Rainiers (16-19) against the Reno Aces (14-20), 10-2

Link to box score

Despite losing hot-hitting J.P. Crawford to a plane headed for Boston, we surmise, the remaining Rainiers stepped up and gave fans a show on Star Wars Night. Every member of the lineup collected a hit except, surprisingly, Austin Nola (and Johnny Slater, up from extended spring to fill in, but he doesn’t really count, as he’s here to do one thing and that thing is play defense). Orlando Calixte led the way with three hits including a home run; Tim Lopes and Shed Long also had dingers. The Rainiers continued to terrorize opposing batteries on the bases, swiping four bases; Mallex Smith already has six bags since coming to the Rainiers, which for perspective, is how many perpetual speedster Ian Miller has collected this season. Newly-acquired Ryan Court continued to do good things, too, hitting a triple, taking two walks, and swiping a base of his own.

Ian Miller’s two-run single broke the game open in the third, putting the Rainiers up 5-1
Shed Long put the game out of reach in the sixth, both figuratively and literally

Meanwhile, Christian Bergman continued to be extremely Christian Bergman, with six solid innings where he struck out just four but allowed only one run on a solo dinger. David McKay contributed another scoreless inning, and newly-acquired Austin Adams offered an inning-plus of hitless, three-strikeout relief.

Today’s Games:

If you only have time for one minors game today, I suggest the Arkansas-Tulsa tilt, or the battle of Justin vs. Dustin, as Justin Dunn will square off against top Dodgers pitching prospect Dustin May. The game starts an hour earlier as it’s a doubleheader; the starter for the second game hasn’t been announced yet.

West Virginia vs Augusta: 4:05 pm PT (RHP Ryne Inman)

Arkansas vs. Tulsa, Game One: 3:10 PT (RHP Justin Dunn) (Doubleheader)

Modesto vs Lancaster, 7:05 pm PT (LHP Raymond Kerr)

Tacoma vs Reno, 7:05 pm PT (LHP Tommy Milone)

so jealous of the sweet haul won by the winner of tonight’s game of “This or That”