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Midshipmen’s Log 7/26/22: short week on the farm does not translate to better results

Dust yourselves off and try again this week, fellas

SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game
this guy was pretty good though
Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

With a group of fresh new draftees in the fold, we’re hoping to see some movement soon with promotions, which we’ll keep you up to date on in the next State of the Farm. For now, here’s what went down on the farm during the post-All-Star-Break three-game series:

Modesto (43-47) goes 1-2 against the San Jose Giants (52-38)

I don’t know what it is about the Giants, who the Nuts seemed to have a handle on at the beginning of the year and then have steadily dropped series after series to them. Initially it was that the Giants had a much-older roster, full of college pitchers, but this time out Modesto was solidly beaten by their own peer group. Although Modesto almost came away with a win on Friday, dropping Game 1 5-6 on a heavily-hyped Marvel-themed promotional night in front of a big crowd (by Low-A standards). Like parent club, like Low-A affiliate, I guess. Harry Ford didn’t play and Edwin Arroyo had a rare poor day, going 0-for-4, so catcher Freuddy Batista held down the offense today, showing Ford isn’t the only catcher on the roster with some speed as he hit a double and a triple. On the mound, Sam Carlson had a solid outing, working into the fifth inning while giving up three runs (two earned) and striking out seven, but the normally stalwart Jorge Benitez faltered at the back end of the bullpen, giving up the tying and go-ahead runs.

Modesto came roaring back in Game 2 with a 12-3 victory behind a strong start from big righty Jordan Jackson, who struck out eight over five innings; the offense pounded out 12 runs on 12 hits and took an astounding nine walks, with Robert Pérez Jr. collecting three of those. Again playing in place of Ford, Batista once again paced the lineup with three RBI on a clutch double. For all these runs, the Nuts didn’t exactly pound Giants pitching; they only had two doubles, Batista’s and one from Brett Ramirez, and no homers or triples. Instead they got on base, got ‘em over, and got ‘em in, and just did that multiple times per inning, small-balling the Giants into submission. Jonatan Clase stole another two bases, bringing his total to 32 for the season.

Alas, Modesto regressed to their mean against the Giants in Game 3, losing 8-2. Joseph Hernández was a little shaky as he continues to work his way back after missing the first two weeks of July. After their hit parade of Saturday, the Nuts could only squeak out three hits Sunday, and struck out an ungodly 16 times. On the bright side, Harry Ford was back in the lineup having missed a couple of games; he didn’t get a hit, but did work a walk.

Up next: A return to the six-game series with a home set against Fresno

Everett AquaSox (43-46) mounts tribute to sweeps, all the sweeps...both sides, get swept by Eugene Emeralds (52-35)

If you recall, last week, our wonderful Frog Bois had completed a six-game sweep (on the road, no less!) to get to .500, riding on the high of Noelvi Marte finding himself and some absolutely excellent pitching all around. Ever the fence-sitters, though, they found themselves on the wrong end of a sweep this week, facing the league-best Eugene Emeralds, of the San Francisco organization.

But before we get too far, let’s get another live look at the “Noelvi since being written off by national baseball writers”-meter. Since June 3, Noelvi has:
38 G, .291/.379/.556, 11 HR, 35 RBI, .411 wOBA, 160 wRC+

In fact, let’s start off this week’s sweep-cap right there - Noelvi kept it absolutely red-hot, starting with Game One. The guy had a career day, going 4-for-5 with three doubles and a home run, while nabbing seven RBIs and adding a walk for good measure.

Surprisingly, Noelvi was not the biggest name in the Everett lineup this weekend, that distinction belonged to the man, the myth, the ice-bath sitter, Mitch Haniger. Mitch, on a rehab assignment with Everett as he recovers from his nasty ankle sprain back in April (Oh god, it was April?), stepped it up in a big way over the weekend for the young AquaSox squad. In his two at-bats on Friday, he delivered an RBI single:

It sounds as though Mitch was able to pass on some wisdom from some eager Frogs, who I am sure were feeling #blessed to have an All-Star in their midst.

(side note: man, it’s wild watching major-league swings after a long time of watching High-A swings)

Berto also had a good day, knocking in a run on two singles.

Unfortunately, scoring runs is only part of the equation, and apparently no one told Eugene that nine runs is supposed to be enough for an Everett win - they scored 16 off a variety of Everett pitchers.

Game Two was a little bit less explosive - Noelvi, Haniger, and Berto each had a hit at the top of the lineup, but other than that, the offense didn’t provide much pop. Starter Jimmy Joyce struggled, giving five solid innings to a tired bullpen but giving up four of the six runs scored by Eugene.

The lone run scored by Everett came after David Sheaffer reached on an error. He moved to second on a walk by Justin Lavey before a single by the speedster Victor Labrada scored him from second base.

Game Three was another tale of “scoring a lot of runs isn’t enough if you give up a ton of runs” for Everett. Everett scored seven runs, including on this monster Mitch mash in the first inning:

Here’s hoping he keeps that going once we gets back to the major league club, so we can put an end to the “how many second basemen can we have in one lineup” experiment.

He was joined in the homer-club by Berto, who added a two-run shot of his own right after Mitch in the first inning, and a solo bomb by Andy Thomas in the seventh. Labrada also contributed in a big way with four hits of his own, including an RBI double to cap off a four-run first inning.

Unfortunately, it was not meant to last. June Farm Team of the Month-honoree Juan Mercedes struggled, lasting just 1.2 innings and giving up three runs on three hits and two walks, while his replacements didn’t fare much better: Peyton Alford took the loss, giving up four runs of his own. Michael Flynn gave up a run of his own, while Leon Hunter Jr. gave up three more to the absolutely firecracker Eugene offense. At the end of the day, Everett lost 12-7, and are likely hoping to turn things around this week. Speaking of...

Up Next: Everett hits the road to go face Vancouver this week, in Vancouver, which means we should expect a flurry of roster moves coming up. Vancouver is red-hot; the Canadiens have won 11 of their last 12.

Arkansas Travelers (44-46) lose series but snap losing streak to Frisco RoughRiders (47-43).

Well, at least the pitching staff wasn’t the problem during this abbreviated three-game set. The Travs really needed the All-Star Break as they went into it with a seven-game losing streak. It was evident that the bullpen was gassed heading into the break and the rotation, without Emerson Hancock, as he was off on his Futures Game rendezvous in LA, struggled mightily during the last series before the break. Unfortunately, things didn’t go much better this past weekend, but a couple of 3-1 losses look a lot better than what they were doing against Wichita before the break. The Travs salvaged the series with a vintage outing from Taylor Dollard to snap the losing streak before it reached double-digits.

Game One: Losing ways continue for Travs after break

Emerson Hancock was back from his LA excursion, and looked like he did not miss a beat. The former/soon-to-be Top 100 prospect continues to look exceptionally strong during his second stint with the Travs. Hancock gave up four hits over five innings and did not allow a single run. His ERA is down to 2.15, while his FIP is 4.47. The former Bulldog is making a strong push to either earn a trip to Seattle by the end of the season or be a co-headliner for a potential blockbuster deal next week.

The rest of the squad did not follow Hanock’s lead and maybe kinda forgot that they had a game following the break. The Arkansas offense scored in the second inning, but that was all they could get across. That lone run was enough for the first seven innings, but Braden Shipley gave up the tying run to score in the top of the eighth inning. Shipley hasn’t looked nearly as sharp over the last few outings. He’s allowed at least one earned run in three of his previous six outings, which might not sound awful, but it took him he allowed at least one earned run in just two of his first 20 outings to start the season. Shipley not being that level of dominant really hurts the Travs bullpen.

The RoughRIders took the lead in the top of the 11th off Travis Kuhn, in part because of a fielding error by Kaden Polcovich. The Travs couldn’t get anything going in the bottom of the frame.

Game Two: The line looks a little underwhelming at first glance, but Stephen Kolek had quite the impressive outing on Saturday. It would’ve been very easy for things to unravel after he walked in a run in the first inning, but he was able to calm down after a mound visit and impressed the rest of the way. He allowed one walk and two hits over his final 4.1 innings of work, with one unearned run; again, Kaden, please stop committing errors.

The offense wasted a solid pitching performance for the second time in as many games. The Travs could only muster one run. They had a few opportunities late with the go-ahead run on base in the seventh and eighth but came up empty both times. The RoughRiders added a crucial insurance run off Ben Onyshko in the top of the ninth to create a comfortable distance to close the door. Onyshko isn’t in the level of concern that Shipley is yet, but it would be neat if he wanted to return to his early season dominance too.

Game Three: Dollard beats Leiter to snap losing streak

In case of emergency break glass start Taylor Dollard. This was the vintage Travs game. And by vintage, I obviously mean April/early May. They got a brilliant start by Taylor Dollard as he retakes his place as the best pitcher in the Texas League after a little bit of a shaky run (by his standards) over the last few starts. Three hits scattered across six innings with four strikeouts and zero walks is a textbook Dollard start. I don’t want to see it at all because I have enjoyed watching each of his starts so closely over the last few months, but it sure isn’t awful timing for Dollard to regain his form in his penultimate start before the trade deadline.

The Travs made this one easy on the offense, and the fans’ heart rates. They scored all three of their runs on five straight singles (also the name of the latest dating show following Love Island) off of Jack Leiter in the fourth inning, more than enough run support for a locked-in Dollard.

The bullpen came in to close the door, with Michael Stryffeler notching his league-leading 14th save to put the Travs back in the win column for the first time in two weeks.

Up Next: The Travs visit Tulsa to take on the Drillers for a six-game set.

Tacoma Rainiers (39-53) gorge selves on Jell-0, drop short series to Salt Lake Bees (44-49)

Well, at least there’s one arena where the Angels can beat the Mariners. The Rainiers actually started this series strong, with a shutout victory over the Bees, 6-0. I know the Rainiers aren’t usually my (Kate’s) beat, but I simply do not recognize the names of Tacoma’s first two pitchers in this contest, apologies to Austin Warner (who’s been here since April!) and Brennan Bernardino (who in my defense has only been here since late June). I do recognize Taylor Williams, welcome back, TayTay, as well as Patrick Weigel and Kyle Bird, all of whom, plus the starters, combined for a modest eight strikeouts but just five hits and no runs. Tacoma’s offense also collected just five hits, but made them count; Scott Heinemen and Forrest Wall’s doubles in the ninth inning produced four of Tacoma’s total runs.

Unfortunately, things would go downhill from there. The Rainiers dropped Game 2, 3-5, as Chris Mazza did his (bad) Robbie Ray impression and had One Big Bad Inning where he surrendered all five of those runs. Meanwhile, the offense struggled to get anything going despite a home run from Brian O’Keefe and two hits from Jarred Kelenic, including a double. Colt McCoy also had a two-hit day with a double.

Game 3 was a squeaker that went to 12 innings, but ultimately the Rainiers couldn’t hold out against the home team, losing 4-5. The bullpen spoiled a nice start by Darren McCaughan, who gave them six whole innings of one-run ball, but a ninth-inning bullpen meltdown spoiled what should have been an easy breezy 3-1 win for the Rainiers. On the bright side, Jarred collected another two hits and did not strike out.

Up next: The Rainiers travel to El Paso and their tiny ballpark of horrors—for pitchers. Here’s hoping Jarred can send a few over the fence during this series.