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Midshipman’s Log, May 26th, 2019: Kelenic and Navarez power a walk-off win, rest of the system wins too

Your tri-weekly minor league highlights roundup

Jeff Halstead

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).

It’s an organizational SWEEP, baby

[is informed the Mariners count as part of the organization]

It’s a minor-league SWEEP, baby

West Virginia Power (24-25) erase the Lexington Legends (23-26), 10-9

Link to full box score

It was a thrilla in West Virginia with the Power coming out as late-inning winners thanks to some big offensive performances. The Power fell behind early as youngster Damon Casetta-Stubbs struggled again over his five innings, allowing five runs on seven hits. There’s no TV feed in West Virginia so it’s difficult to diagnose what was going wrong for DCS today; chalk it up to the struggles of a very young pitcher who’s working on an aggressive assignment in his first full year in pro ball, and trust in pitching coach Alon Leichman. The normally surehanded Devin Sweet struggled in relief, allowing four hits on four runs, and the Power were in a 9-4 hole coming into the 8th inning. Luckily that’s when Dean Nevarez, who seems to have a penchant for big-time hits, cranked a grand slam to bring the Power within a run, and Jarred Kelenic—who is showing signs of breaking out of his mini-slump—added a game-tying solo shot in the 9th. The Power won on a bases-loaded walk drawn in extras by—who else?—Dean Nevarez. Dayeison Arias continues to morph into a mini-Edwin Díaz with another scoreless, two-K inning of relief, and then new-ish Mariner Sal Biasi (whose brother Dante is also a draft prospect out of Penn State this year!) closed the door with two scoreless innings.

Arkansas Travelers (32-16) defrock the Springfield Cardinals (19-31), 6-3

The Travelers are the best kinds of monsters and I love it. I’m not going to link it here, but after every win the Travs turn on the fog machine in the clubhouse and a lot of behavior ensues; today it was injured reliever Art Warren in a cowboy hat line dancing on a table to “Old Town Road.” Justin Dunn didn’t have his best command, but went six innings and walked just two while striking out four and allowing three earned runs. Arkansas was down 3-1 going into the fifth but both the offense and defense rallied. The bullpen, composed of Jack Anderson, Wyatt Mills, and Darrin Gillies (earning his fourth save and continuing to look much improved at the level) held the Cardinals scoreless over three innings (Mills is also continuing to look better after some early-season struggles!). Meanwhile, the offense rallied, with the Travs putting up a three spot in the fifth to make Dunn a winner on the day; Joe DeCarlo, who has been epically unlucky with batted balls this season, doubled in a run, and then Jake Fraley—who had already hit a solo HR on the day—singled in a high-stepping DeCarlo. Kyle Lewis also got in on the action with a ground ball single. From there on out, the hero was Joe Odom, a strong defensive catcher who doesn’t get enough credit for his bat, who knocked in two separate insurance runs on singles in the 6th and 8th.

Tacoma Rainiers (25-26) gradually eliminate the habitat of the Salt Lake Bees (22-27), 7-4

Link to box score

Tacoma starter Erik Swanson again found his outing curtailed at just three innings, when he departed with Salt Lake holding a 2-1 lead. Swanson wasn’t totally effective, throwing 57 pitches over those three innings, although 34 of them were strikes. He did strike out four batters (yay!) but walked two (boo-ish). Recently-DFA’d Mike Wright followed Swanson and pitched one 1-2-3 inning and then a meltdown inning where he didn’t record an out and had to be relieved by team dad Christian Bergman, who promptly retired the side 1-2-3. Tacoma took advantage of converted position player and former Mariner Kaleb Cowart next inning to scrape a 6-4 lead, then added a little insurance on a David Sheaffer home run in the seventh. Basically big leaguers Gerson Bautista and Chasen Bradford combined to keep the Bees from mounting any kind of a comeback, unlike ACTUAL BEES WHO I HOPE ARE OKAY.

Modesto Nuts (22-28) calm the Lake Elsinore Storm (24-23), 2-1

Link to full box score

The Mariners are experimenting with “piggyback” starts, and today they did that with 2018 draftee Penn Murfee and rotation stalwart Ray Kerr. The experiment...seemed to work? with the two giving up a combined five hits, one run, and one walk, while each striking out six, like one of those weird mirroring acting exercises. On the offensive side, Jack Larsen had two doubles, one scoring a run, and Joe Rizzo—who just keeps hitting—provided the walk-off win in the 9th, and got very doused in cold water on a cold and rainy day in Modesto for his trouble.

Tomorrow Arkansas is out of action, but this is a strong slate of pitchers. I suggest watching Justus on MiLB TV if you have it or dialing into Ljay’s start (no TV, sadly, because the A’s remain cheap) called by the very excellent Keaton Gillogly as you man the grill and drink rosé and do whatever people do on a long weekend when the draft isn’t a week away.

West Virginia vs. Lexington, 11 AM PT (RHP Steven Moyers)

Arkansas: OFF and they DESERVE IT

Tacoma at Salt Lake, 5:35 PT (RHP Justus Sheffield)

Modesto at Stockton, 6:10 PT (RHP Ljay Newsome)