AAA: Round Rock 8, Sugar Land (HOU) 3
Round Rock: 9 hits, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts
Opponent: 4 hits, 1 walk, 10 strikeouts
Record: 34-32, 6 GB
SP Spencer Howard: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 9 SO, 72 P / 49 S, 4.46 ERA
RP Jonathan Hernandez: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO, 7.50 ERA
3B Josh Smith: 1-4, BB, .266/.370/.401
CF Bubba Thompson: 2-3, HBP, .295/.323/.438
C Meibrys Viloria: 2-3, HR (3), BB, .344/.471/.512
Spencer Howard appeared to put everything together on Sunday, avoiding both the control lapses that marred his two recent scoreless outings and the multi-run inning that marred his otherwise solid start from last Tuesday. Howard threw eight changes, a far cry from the 15 total in his previous seven outings, and six of them registered strikes including one swinging. The curve was also more prominent and effective. Howard induced 11 swinging strikes, one each on the aforementioned pitches plus four on heat and five on sliders.
AA: Frisco 5, Midland (OAK) 3
Frisco: 14 hits, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts
Opponent: 4 hits, 3 walks, 10 strikeouts
Record: 32-31, 3 GB, elimination number 3
SP Tim Brennan: 4 IP, 2 H (1 HR), 1 R, 2 BB, 1 HBP, 0 SO, 61 P / 37 S, 1.42 ERA
RP Justin Slaten: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 SO, 6.40 ERA
RP Fernery Ozuna: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 1.98 ERA
SS Jonathan Ornelas: 2-4, SB (5), .347/.388/.487
2B Justin Foscue: 2-3, 2 2B, BB, .266/.376/.475
DH Mitch Garver: 2-4, 2B
1B Blaine Crim: 2-4, 2B, .282/.351/.517
Professional walk-avoider Tim Brennan helped Frisco salvage a split against Midland. Aside from last year, much of which he missed to injury, Brennan’s control has been impeccable. Texas drafted him in 2018’s seventh round. Justin Slaten followed with his best outing of the year.
Jonathan Ornelas has 26 multi-hit games, same as last year in 38 fewer games.
Six games remain in the first half, and Frisco’s dim division hopes are worse than I realized. Division-leading San Antonio lost two games to weather and covid, so the teams can’t finish tied. This not only dismisses Frisco’s tiebreaking 9-3 head-to-head advantage, it forces Frisco to win two more games than San Antonio to have a better winning percentage. So, the Riders need to win four more games than the Missions this week.
High-A: Hickory 1, Greenville (BOS) 3
Hickory: 5 hits, 3 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 6 hits, 1 walk, 12 strikeouts
Record: 36-27, 2.5 GB, elimination number 1
SP Mason Englert: 6 IP, 5 H (2 HR), 3 R, 0 BB, 8 SO, 92 P / 62 S, 3.58 ERA
RP Spencer Mraz: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO, 4.44 ERA
RP Yohanse Morel: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO, 8.44 ERA
RP Destin Dotson: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 2.57 ERA
SS Luisangel Acuna: 2-4, SB (15), .316/.409/.561
DH Chris Seise: 1-3, BB, .269/.315/.433
Mason Englert displayed his requisite control and reached eight more strikeouts for the third time, but he also suffered his first multi-homer game.
Both Spencer Mraz and Eudrys Manon pitched three times in a five-day span this week, the first such instances in Hickory this season as best as I can tell. My guess is the division run permitted some leeway in bullpen usage last week. In any case, both are experienced and 24.
Hickory’s first-half title hopes require three straight wins at Rome and three straight losses by Bowling Green at these same Greenville Drive.
Low-A: Down East 3, at Lynchburg (CLE) 4
Down East: 9 hits, 6 walks, 7 strikeouts
Opponent: 5 hits, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts
Record: 30-33, 4 GB, eliminated
SP Winston Santos: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 1 HBP, 3 SO, 85 P / 57 S, 4.02 ERA
CF Daniel Mateo: 2-4, BB, 5 SB (17), .262/.324/.364
2B Xavier Valentin: 2-2, SB (3), .111/.219/.111
Unfortunately, this game concluded as disappointingly as Hickory’s loss from Saturday. Up 3-1 in the 8th, Jackson Leath hit a batter high with his first pitch, hit the backstop with his third, watched 2B Xavier Valentin heel a grounder, and then hit the next batter on the helmet. Lynchburg was calling for an ejection because of an earlier warning (to no avail), but Leath was summarily pulled regardless. Theo McDowell struck out his first opponent, but a double would clear the bases.
Combined with Carolina’s fourth straight win, Down East was eliminated from first-half title contention.
Winston Santos was strong, if walk-prone by his standards. In eight of ten previous starts, he’s walked one or none. Daniel Mateo stole five (5) bases yesterday, which might be some sort of record. It certainly is for him, personally. Jayce Easley, swiper of 70 bags last year, never stole five in a game. Alejandro Osuna, Marcus Smith and Valentin also stole bases. Like last year, the Woodies lead the league in this category with 136. During 2021-2022, Down East has stolen an absurd 426 bases in 183 games. Fayetteville is second with 313.
Five Years Ago Yesterday
In a matchup against Cards prospect Jack Flaherty, Round Rock 1B Ronald Guzman walked, homered, and nearly homered again. In 2022, Guzman is having a srong June (.290/.421/.452) after a weak April and May.