Two of the Jays' top pitching prospects took the hill last evening. One pitched a complete-game shutout; the other was pulled in the second inning for reasons of which this correspondent is unaware.
Syracuse 6, Ottawa 0
David Bush turned in his second consecutive strong start and the Syracuse SkyChiefs got a good offensive performance from the bottom two-thirds of their order en route to defeating the Ottawa Lynx 6-0. Bush pitched a seven-inning shutout (called early because of rain), surrendering only three singles, two walks, and a hit batsman while fanning six. While Syracuse's top three hitters (Jorge Sequea, Noah Hall, and Alex Rios) contributed just one single and one walk in thirteen plate appearances, each of the bottom six hitters (Simon Pond, Shawn Fagan, Glenn Williams, Gregg Zaun, Guillermo Quiroz, and Russ Adams) reached base at least twice. Pond, Zaun, and Quiroz each hit a double; Fagan and Williams hit home runs; Adams singled once and walked three times. Eric Bedard started for Ottawa and allowed four runs in as many innings. SkyChiefs alumni Chad Mottola and Pedro Swann earned two of Ottawa's three hits.
Bush earned his second win against one loss and improved his pitching line for the year to 18 IP, 18 H, 1 HR, 4 BB, 14 K, 4.00 ERA. Syracuse's top four starters (Baker, Bush, Matos, and Miller) have a nifty composite line of 50 IP, 40 H, 1 HR, 11 BB, 54 K, 2.70 ERA. Whether these pitchers will be pressed into service on the parent club remains to be seen, but it certainly seems that Syracuse fans will see better starting pitching this year than last.
New Hampshire 8, Norwich 2
Cam Reimers dug himself a pretty quick hole in this game, as Norwich's first four batters went single-walk-single-HBP to start the first inning. With one run in and the bases loaded with none out, Reimers induced a 5-2-3 double-play ball from Tyler Von Schell and then got Doug Clark to ground out to Dominic Rich to retire the side. The Navigators would strike again in the third inning on Daniel Ortmeier's one-out run-scoring triple, but Reimers once more worked out of a jam by getting Michael Cervenak to line out to Rich and then retiring Von Schell on a grounder to Danny Solano at third. The Fisher Cats struck back with three runs on five consecutive hits in the bottom of the frame. Matt Logan singled and moved to third on Solano's double down the left field line; both runners scored when Tyrell Godwin tripled to right. Dominic Rich's single up the middle cashed in Godwin with the go-ahead run, and Aaron Hill's double to right put runners on second and third with novody out. At this point, Norwich starter Chris Begg stole a page out of Reimers' playbook, retiring John-Ford Griffin (on a comebacker), Maikel Jova (on a foulout), and Mike Snyder without allowing a run to score. (Snyder's out was scored 1-6-3;if anyone was there, maybe you can fill us in on the play-by-play.)
Reimers wasn't perfect the rest of the way, but he held the line at two runs. A leadoff walk in the fourth was erased on a Hill-Rich-Snyder double play; in the fifth, Norwich again put a runner on third base with one out but failed to score. New Hampshire added an insurance run in the bottom of that inning on Griffin's double-play ball, and took the game to the bank in the sixth on Matt Logan's two-run double and Rich's two-run, two-out homer. Jordan DeJong loaded the bases with two out in the seventh but escaped the threat when Ortmeier flied out to Jova in right field. DeJong pitched an uneventful eighth and Kevin Frederick did likewise in the ninth.
Reimers got the win for his six innings of work, improving to 2-0 on the season. Rich was the offensive star for the Fisher Cats, coming only a home run short of the cycle while scoring two runs and driving in three. Matt Logan chipped in a single, a double, a walk, and a pair each of runs scored and RBIs. Aaron Hill also had two hits for New Hampshire.
Tampa 5, Dunedin 3
Francisco Rosario started for Dunedin but left with two out and the bases loaded in the second inning. He was replaced by Tracy Thorpe, who struck out Gabe Lopez to end the threat; at press time, I did not have any information on the reason for Rosario's early departure. The D-Jays drew first blood in the bottom of the third inning when Jayce Tingler brought Jose Yepez in from second with a two-out single. Thorpe gave the run back in the top of the fourth and put runners on first and third with two out before being lifted for Vince Perkins. Perhaps Thorpe had accumulated some good karma by stranding Rosario's runners, as Perkins fanned Bronson Sardinha to preserve the tie. Perkins was in his 2003 Charleston form for the next two innings, fanning four hitters, three on called strikes. Ron Davenport's double in the bottom of the sixth drove in Tingler (who had reached on an error) to give Dunedin another lead. However, Perkins lost his command in the seventh, coughing up two runs on a single, an HBP, a wild pitch, and another single. Dunedin knotted the score at three in the bottom of the inning on Carlo Cota's bases-loaded, one-out sacrifice fly, but Davenport grounded to first to strand the remaining runners. Perkins surrendered the lead once more in the eighth on three singles and a walk (intentional) before being replaced by Andy Torres. Just as Thorpe's good turn to Rosario was repaid by Perkins, so was Perkins' good turn to Thorpe repaid by Torres, who induced a 5-4 double-play ball to retire the side. However, Dunedin went in order in the eighth, and the Yankees added an insurance run in the top of the ninth. Manny Mayorson's two-out single in the home half of the ninth brought the tying run to the plate in the imposing 5'8", 155-pound figure of Jayce Tingler, and Tingler would line out to second to end it.
Rosario pitched 1.2 innings, allowing one hit and three walks against two strikeouts. Perkins had a pretty good game by DIPS: 3.2 IP, 1 BB, 5 K, but in real life he also gave up six hits. His line for the season is now an absurd 9.1 IP, 17 H, 0 HR, 4 BB, 10 K. Count me firmly in the camp that thinks that his hits allowed will normalize over the long term. Tingler and Yepez were the only Jays with two hits. Vito Chiaravalloti went 0-for-4.
Links Of The Day
1. Syracuse: boxscore, game log, wrap-up.
2. New Hampshire: boxscore, game log, wrap-up.
3. Dunedin: boxscore, game log.
4. Vito Chiaravalloti was named FSL Player Of The Week for the "week" of April 8-18.
5. The Union Leader speculates that Dustin McGowan is not long for New Hampshire.
Syracuse vs. Ottawa (BAL), 6:00 PM
New Hampshire vs. Norwich (SFG), 6:05 PM
Dunedin vs. Lakeland (DET), 7:00 PM
Charleston vs. Greensboro (FLA), 6:05 PM
This was a tough one. The first two stars are obvious (although the order is debatable), but no one else really stood out from the crowd. In the end, I decided to give it to the guy who didn't make an out in four trips to the plate.
Our Third Star: Russ Adams, Syracuse. Three walks and a single in four plate appearances. Drove in two runs, and would have scored a few times if Syracuse's top of the order had done anything with the bat.
Our Second Star: Dominic Rich, New Hampshire. Single, double, triple, two runs scored, three runs batted in. Rich is now hitting .333, and he's doing his best to claw his way back into the Jays' middle infield plans. Jorge Sequea should be listening for footsteps.
Our First Star:David Bush, Syracuse. Seven innings of efficient shutout ball. Other than a rough first outing, Bush seems to be adapting just fine to AAA ball, thank you very much.