Buffalo 3 Gwinnett 4
Sean Nolin has been fantastic of late. He has pitched shutouts in his last three starts and was looking for another tonight. It was looking good for Nolin and the Bisons until the sixth where the Braves’ affiliate put together a nice little inning to chase Nolin from the game.
A quick comment on Nolin: I look at that line in the sixth and see a pitcher that needs more innings in the Minors and has some serious red flags. As many here at Batter’s Box have reported, Nolin lacks a true put away pitch. Worse, he has a habit of losing the strike zone/scared of contact (IMO his one ill-fated start for the big club was more Nolin not trusting his stuff and being scared of big league hitters than wildness). Something needs to click here for Nolin if he wants to have a career in the Big Leagues. His repertoire is what it is, so it’s not about finding a put away pitch. He walks batters, which he’ll need to cut down on as he progresses, but these big innings seem to happen a bit for Nolin and he has yet to really demonstrate that he’s able to bare down and get an out. Again, IMO it’s a mental thing and something that separates people who have a cup of coffee and guys who have 10-15 year careers—the ability to refocus and know that one pitch—well-placed and thought out gets you out of the inning. I don’t know if the Jays employ a sports psychologist, but all the rage right now in England is this sports psychologist named Dr. Steve Peters who is taking a lot of credit for the success of a number of athletes and teams including the GREATEST FOOTBALL CLUB IN THE WORLD LIVERPOOL FC. I gather part of the success has been the constant presence of Peters around the team and not treating sessions as one-offs. I’m unaware of any professional baseball team having a psychologist around a team throughout a season. Obviously the minor leagues are a different ballgame, but I’m curious given the significance of the “mental” side of the game why a team has not looked into carrying a sports psychologist with the team throughout a season.
After Gwinnett put its four-spot up the Buffalo offence could not must a rally. Darin Mastroianni, however, homered and had three hits and Kevin Pillar continued his return to prominence with two hits.
New Hampshire 2 Portland 8
Aaron Sanchez was bloodied a wee bit by the Red Sox affiliate in Portland tonight. Sanchez pitched only three innings and was tagged for three earned runs. He was outshone on the night by the Red Sox’s latest “superstar” prospect Henry Owens—owner of one no-hitter already this year. Andy Burns made sure that didn’t happen again as the Fisher Cats as a team only mustered two hits on the night.
Dunedin 4 Clearwater 0
Record-wise Dunedin is the Jays’ best affiliate. The win tonight pushed the High-A club to a 25-8 record. On the mound Ben White was excellent over seven and two-thirds innings of work. Three hits, three walks, and no runs is pretty good. Of all the prep hitters the Jays took in the 2011 draft, Dwight Smith Jr. is just about the only one who looks like he might be a big leaguer. I don’t think that’s entirely on the drafting as I think the Jays really need to look at their development side, but it’s nice to see the Jays might have a hitting prospect developing here from scratch. I mention Smith Jr. of course as he homered tonight. Homers by Emilio Guerrero and Matt Newman also paced the D-Jays as they were able to combine excellent pitching with just enough offence to win their fifth straight.
Lansing 6 West Michigan 7
West Michigan walked off in the ninth in a seesaw affair as Lansing had scored three runs in the eighth to tie the game. DJ Davis is really struggling at the plate right now. He struck out four times tonight. The Jays are getting closer to decision time with some of these guys. Lugnut Fan might have more for us on Davis, but we might see Davis end up with an short season team at one point this summer. Several Lugnut hitters though put in multi-hit nights. Leblebijian, Lugo, Dean, Nessy, Loveless, and Thon had multiple hits. Leblebijian homered and doubled. Jeremy Gabryszwski was solid over six allowing just two runs and throwing a substantial number of strikes.
3. Darin Mastroianni
2. Jason Leblebijian
1. Ben White