A tough day for the offense. Texas’s four full-season teams combined for a season-low 17 hits, six fewer than any other day, and a meager combined line of .140/.207/.198. Frisco was limited to four hits, Round Rock three, and Down East just one.
But don’t stop reading now. All three teams won, as did Hickory. The starters combined for 17.1 scoreless innings and 22 strikeouts.
AAA: Round Rock 1, at Oklahoma City (LAD) 0
Round Rock: 4 hits, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 3 hits, 3 walks, 10 strikeouts
Record: 35-33, 6 GB
SP Cole Ragans: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 HBP, 7 SO, 78 P / 48 S, 1.38 ERA
RP Jonathan Hernandez: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO, 6.43 ERA
RP Josh Sborz: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO, 0.00 ERA
Facing the league’s best offense, Cole Ragans was just as strong in his second AAA start. I’ll reiterate that pitchers like him should be on their own timetable, not called up just because the parent club is a starter short in a few days or whenever. That said, Ragans’ timetable and the needs of the parent club have significant overlap, yes? I don’t mean anything imminent, but more than just a late-September look-see.
Ragans threw nine swinging strikes, three on fastballs, six on cutters/sliders, and one on a change, by my interpretation. I add that qualifier because Statcast was drunk last night, categorizing some seemingly straightforward four-seam fastballs as sinkers and upper-80s cutters as four-seamers. Ragans upped his slider and cutter usage at the expense of the change, probably because OKC has more lefty hitters than last week’s Sugar Land. He will still throw changes to same-handed batters, but not to the extent of Cole Winn.
Spencer Patton produced a scoreless 8th between Hernandez and Sborz.
CF Bubba Thompson was 0-4 but reached on an error, stole second and third and scored on a Nick Solak sac fly for the game’s only run.
AA: Frisco 3, at Arkansas (SEA) 2
Frisco: 3 hits, 1 walk, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 11 hits, 5 walks, 12 strikeouts
Record: 34-31, 1.5 GB, elimination number 3
SP Avery Weems: 3 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 SO, 67 P / 41 S, 6.95 ERA
RP Kevin Gowdy: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO, 9.82 ERA
RP Grant Wolfram: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 SO, 5.68 ERA
DH Sandro Fabian: 1-4, HR (9), .234/.329/.483
Avery Weems threw a lot of pitches in a short span, many with runners in scoring position, but he managed to escape unharmed.
Sandro Fabian’s two-run homer opened the scoring in the 7th, and Justin Foscue brought home Dustin Harris on a sac fly in the 9th.
Having used six relievers the night before, Frisco kept Grant Anderson on the mound in the 9th despite a 25-pitch, two-run 8th. Anderson allowed a one-out single followed by a surefire double-play grounder, but an errant throw from Foscue resulted in just one out. Arkansas then singled twice, but CF JP Martinez threw out Jack Larsen at the plate to end the game. Foscue owes Martinez a cold lemonade or whatever players drink after games nowadays.
Division-leading San Antonio’s game at Wichita was suspended with the Missions down a run in the 4th.
High-A: Hickory 9, at Rome (ATL) 3
Hickory: 9 hits, 4 walks, 12 strikeouts
Opponent: 8 hits, 5 walks, 12 strikeouts
Record: 38-27, 2.5 GB, eliminated
SP Ricky Vanasco: 3.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 SO, 82 P / 54 S, 5.18 ERA
RP Luis Tejeda: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 5.06 ERA
LF Trevor Hauver: 1-3, 2 BB, .235/.405/.434
SS Luisangel Acuna: 2-5, SB (18), .320/.411/.549
DH Evan Carter: 1-4, BB, SB (11), .264/.363/.438
RF Angel Aponte: 2-5, SB (4), .299/.373/.423
Statistically, Ricky Vanasco’s night mimicked Weems, with a surfeit of pitches and baserunners but no permanent damage. Vanasco stranded a leadoff double and two walks in the 1st, and another two runners were stranded by March Church in the 4th.
Church later allowed two solo homers and later took a comebacker off his ankle in the fashion of Cole Winn two months ago. Church was limping and immediately removed, but hopefully it’s not a serious injury.
Bowling Green won again, its fifth straight. Hickory now can’t finish better than 1.5 back, so that gutting late-inning loss last Saturday won’t be what decided Hickory’s fate. Not by itself, at least.
Low-A: Down East 1, Carolina (MIL) 0
Down East: 1 hit, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts
Opponent: 3 hits, 2 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 32-33, 2 GB, eliminated
SP Emiliano Teodo: 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 SO, 77 P / 44 S, 3.05 ERA
RP Jose Corniell: 4 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 SO, 6.75 ERA
CF Daniel Mateo: 1-3, HR (5), .273/.332/.402
Daniel Mateo’s 4th-inning homer held up. The Woodies never batted with a runner in scoring position, and two of three walks were erased on the bases (Alejandro Osuna, twice caught stealing).
The Mudcats managed only six runners and five trips to the plate with a runner in scoring position, recording four outs and a walk. Jose Corneill hit a batter but was otherwise perfect in four innings. Since a 2.1-inning, nine-run debacle as June opened, Emiliano Teodo has permitted one run and fanned 20 in 14 innings.
Carolina fell into a tie with Salem and is one-half game ahead of rained-out Lynchburg. I have no idea who holds what tiebreakers. The powers that be kept the league’s geographically flawless three-division format for scheduling purposes but switched to a two-division format for playoff purposes, creating some stupefying outcomes such as division rivals Carolina and Salem not meeting a single time during the regular season. Tough to have a head-to-head tiebreaker if the teams don’t play, right?
Game time: one hour, forty-eight minutes.
Five Years Ago Yesterday
Cole Ragans threw five scoreless innings and struck out nine for short-season Spokane.