AAA: Round Rock 9, at El Paso (SDP) 10
Round Rock: 12 hits, 4 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 13 hits, 7 walks, 6 strikeouts
Record: 14-10, 2 GB, 58-40 overall
SP Marc Church: 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 32 P / 15 S, 3.32 ERA
CF JP Martinez: 1-4, 3B, 2 BB, SB (27), .318/.433/.564
SS Jonathan Ornelas: 3-4, 3B, HBP, .263/.368/.367
C Matt Whatley: 2-5, HR (5), .231/.311/.322
Alex Speas’ first AAA appearance after being optioned was his worst of the season: two walks, a hit, batter, a single, four runs, one out. El Paso singled in the winner off Chase Lee in the 10th.
With Marc Church becoming Round Rock’s 26th starter in just 98 games, setting what I presume is the record for starters in a single season by a Texas AAA team, some folks have asked whether the Express are using openers frequently. They are not. I suppose whoever’s starting in front of Cole Winn on a given night could be considered an opener, but that’s about it. I don’t mean to make this sound like a crisis. With rosters expanded since 2021, a gutted rotation is much easier to handle than before. To some extent, a full rotation is a hindrance as it leave ten or more relievers fighting over a handful of available innings. But it is unusual and exacerbated by similar issues in Frisco. I don’t recall the Rangers embracing (or at least just rolling with) so many bullpen nights until now.
AA: Frisco 1, at Wichita (MIN) 4
Frisco: 5 hits, 2 walks, 12 strikeouts
Opponent: 8 hits, 7 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 13-11, 2 GB, 44-48 overall
SP Nick Krauth: 4.2 IP, 5 H (1 HR), 4 R, 6 BB, 5 SO, 84 P / 44 S, 7.11 ERA
C Liam Hicks: 1-3, 3B, BB, .259/.390/.397
Wichita avoided having to use more position players, front office members, and random fans as pitchers. Luisangel Acuna and Thomas Saggese doubled.
Hi-A: Hickory 6, Hudson Valley (NYY) 5
Hickory: 8 hits, 3 walks, 9 strikeouts
Opponent: 10 hits, 2 walks, 11 strikeouts
Record: 18-8, 3.5 G up, 45-42 overall
SP Jose Corniell: 5 IP, 4 H (2 HR), 3 R, 1 BB, 6 SO, 81 P / 56 S, 5.13 ERA
RP Andy Rodriguez: 2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 2.21 ERA
SS Cam Cauley: 2-4, HR (3), .300/.300/.633
1B Tucker Mitchell: 1-3, HR (6), BB, .277/.363/.438
Jose Corniell somewhat corrected the the struggles of the last two starts, allowing two homers in a span of three batters in the 1st but then avoiding any serious trouble through the 5th. Cam Cauley’s third homer in eight AAA games tied the score, Tucker Mitchell’s two-run homer erased another deficit, and Hickory walked off victorious on a… strikeout? Yes. Keyber Rodriguez struck out with one out and Jayce Easley on third, but the K required a throw to first, and Easley scampered home.
Lo-A: Down East 6, at Fayetteville (HOU) 4
Down East: 8 hits, 6 walks, 15 strikeouts
Opponent: 2 hits, 7 walks, 9 strikeouts
Record: 12-15, 4.5 GB, 49-39 overall
SP Wilian Bormie: 4.1 IP, 2 H (2 HR), 3 R, 3 BB, 5 SO, 67 P / 39 S, 6.23 ERA
RP Anthony Hoopii-Tuionetoa: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 15.00 ERA
3B Gleider Figuereo: 2-4, 2B, BB, .223/.316/.345
2B Griffin Cheney: 1-3, HR (4), BB, .186/.291/.373
RF Zion Bannister: 1-4, HR (1), .231/.336/.327
Manager Carlos Maldanado was ejected five pitches into the game when an errant pitch hit leadoff hitter Yenci Pena but the umpire ruled (I think) a foul ball off the knob of the bat. Maldanado took extreme umbrage, and Pena in fact would exit the game himself after a couple of practice swings during the argument. Erick Alvarez replaced him with a 2-2 count and struck out.
Not exactly a “get ejected to fire up the team” moment, but the dormant offense responded anyway. Anthony Gutierrez singled in two runs later that inning, and Down East would pins ones on the board the next three innings.
20-year-old Wilian Bormie made his full-season debut. Signed late in 2019, Bormie didn’t pitch in 2021 and posted a walk and strikeout-heavy 4.15 ERA with the rookies.
Five Years Ago Yesterday
Down in San Antonio, Jonathan Hernandez had a terrible outing on paper (5.2 IP, 10 H, 9 R, 4 SO), but I came away still reasonably impressed. Brett Martin made an unexpected relief appearance and fanned two with a mid-90s fastball and mid-80s slider.