No doubleheader Thursday or any other day. The game won’t be rescheduled because both teams are eliminated from first-half contention. This is a new and surprising policy. In ye olden days (the 2010s), the PCL schedule was sacrosanct, and games would be played, come what may. In both 2013 and 2015, when teams played 144 games in a ridiculous 152 days, the entire 16-team league had only one cancelled game. The old schedule format also included only one day off after the All-Star break. In 2015, the Express had two makeup doubleheaders, so they concluded the season with 55 games in 54 days. With three fewer players on the roster than are allowed now!
AA: Frisco 2, Springfield (STL) 6
Frisco: 6 hits, 1 walk, 12 strikeouts
Opponent: 11 hits, 9 walks, 10 strikeouts
Record: 28-36, tied for first
SP Seth Nordlin: 2.1 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 2 BB, 3 SO, 70 P / 48 S, 6.44 ERA
RP Eudrys Manon: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 SO, 3.52 ERA
CF Evan Carter: 3-4, 3B, HR (5), .287/.411/.425
In his first game back with the Riders, Evan Carter tripled, homered, and singled. Needing a double for the cycle, Carter grounded to first and reached on an error. Unfortunately, his teammates reached safely only four times all night, and Carter himself was nabbed trying to steal a base, so he would not get another chance. In any case, what matters is he’s back and seemingly in fine form. The official record of Carter’s previous three weeks consists only of four games with the rookies.
Something I neglected to mention from Tuesday: Luisangel Acuna made his pro debut in CF. Usually in such cases, I follow that sentence with “[Player X] handled [Y] balls without incident,” but in the 9th inning, Acuna nabbed a single in the RCF gap and threw wildly and out of play in an attempt to keep the batter from advancing to second. The batter had in fact already slowed down in anticipation of returning to first, but the errant throw would give him not one but two extra bases. Frisco was down a run with two outs, so the error could have been meaningful, but a homer by the next batter mooted that runner’s advance.
Hi-A: Hickory 7, at Asheville (HOU) 4
Hickory: 12 hits, 4 walks, 10 strikeouts
Opponent: 8 hits, 6 walks, 12 strikeouts
Record: 27-34, tied for first
SP Josh Stephan: 5 IP, 6 H (2 HR), 3 R, 4 BB, 4 SO, 75 P / 45 S, 2.35 ERA
RP Seth Clark: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 SO, 3.94 ERA
3B Keyber Rodriguez: 2-5, 2 2B, .261/.330/.362
DH Geisel Cepeda: 3-4, 2B, HR (2), .294/.384/.363
1B Abi Ortiz: 3-4, BB, .311/.365/.608
C Tucker Mitchell: 2-5, HR (2), .254/.392/.397
Josh Stephan gave up two homers, two doubles, two singles, and four walks, but somehow only three scored. Actually, “somehow” included Hickory’s first-ever triple play, an around-the-horn groundout involving 3B Keyber Rodriguez, 2B Frainyer Chavez and 1B Abimelec Ortiz. Asheville doesn’t have a video feed, but I found highlights. Stephan has been one of Texas’s least walk-prone pitchers in 2023 and had never issued four passes in a game.
Same as AAA. At most, Down East will play 62 of the 66 scheduled first-half games.
IF Sebastian Walcott hasn’t debuted stateside yet. The rookies were off yesterday. Catcher Sandy Leon elected free agency. Texas released RHP Evan Elliott, picked in 2021’s 15th round. “Mid-90s fastball, mid-80s slider, 80ish curve, hard to hit but extremely walk-prone in this summer’s Northwoods League,” I wrote in July 2021, and in 15.1 pro innings he would proceed to allow only nine hits but walk 16.
Five Years Ago Yesterday
In his belated 2018 debut, a few days after missing his scheduled Opening Day start due to a cut finger during warmups, Hans Crouse was probably amped and definitely wild. He missed 16 of his first 22 pitches but settled down to throw two innings with one run allowed. Crouse is currently on Philadelphia’s minor league 60-day IL. I don’t know why in this case, but he missed a large portion of 2022 with biceps tendinitis and had bone spur trouble as a Ranger. His fastball velocity was around 91-94, and control was poor.