Let's look at it this way -- at this point, Josh Banks has nowhere to go but up for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.
New Britain 13 New Hamphsire 1
94.5 -- is it the radio station that broadcasts Fisher Cat games? No, it's Josh's ERA. Banks was just hammered in his Double-A debut last night. Failing to get out of the first inning, he gave up 7 runs on 5 hits and 2 walks, striking out only one batter; fellow Dunedin graduate Andy Torres rubbed salt in the wound by allowing Banks' inherited runners to score. A disappointed Banks said afterwards, “I was looking forward to this since I got up here,” underlining the likelihood that this was simply a case of Opening Night jitters run amok. It should go without saying that this is not like Banks at all, and that he'll rebound in his next effort. Dan Jackson later got ripped for 4 runs in 2/3 of an inning himself. The offence had no standout performers, so we'll just close the book on this ugly game.
Tampa 5 Dunedin 4
Banks' former teammates had a much closer match, but in the end, an L is an L. Jamie Vermilyea started and pitched decently, allowing 2 runs in 5 innings on 4 hits and 3 walks, striking out just 2; that's a textbook definition of an average start. Vermilyea left with a 3-2 lead, but Chad Pleiness couldn't hold it: he gave up 3 doubles, a single and 2 walks (1 intentional) in 1 1/3 innings, and the 3 runs that resulted gave Tampa the win.
Rehabbing Chris Woodward led off the game with a home run for the D-Jays, indicating that he's probably close to a return trip to Toronto. Carlo Cota and Vito Chiaravalotti each had 2 hits and a walk, while 2-hit nights were also recorded by Jayce Tingler (dropped to the 9th spot) and Miguel Negron. Raul Tablado, hot off the DL, cranked the 5th homer of his abbreviated season. But the D-Jays left 11 men stranded and hit into two double plays in a game they coulda-shoulda won.
Hickory 5 Charleston 4 (12 innings)
The scores keep getting closer as we dive deeper into the system, but the results are the same. Brad Esarey, the Alley-Cats' fourth pitcher of the game, allowed a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the 12th for the loss. But the goat horns hung heaviest on Felix Romero, who gave up a game-tying 2-run homer in the 8th inning to send the game into extras. Romero pitched well enough otherwise, whiffing 2 in 2 innings. Tom Mastny got the start and dodged bullets all evening, allowing just 2 runs in 6 innings, but giving up 7 hits and 3 walks in the process; he did strike out 5. Joaquin Canizal was the Cats' most effective hurler, posting 3 scoreless innings of 1-hit, 2-walk, 2-K ball.
On offence, DH Joey Reiman carried the big stick for Charleston, doubling twice and driving in a run in 4 trips. Ryan Roberts is just toying with the Sally League at this point, drawing four walks in 6 plate appearances and now sporting a nifty .449 on-base percentage. On the other side of the ledger, Clint Johnston, who really should've been in my May Farm Report, took the golden sombrero with 4 Ks. But Clint has been having a pretty remarkable season down in Charleston, posting a .263/.359/.484 line with 18 doubles, 7 homers and 28 walks in 186 AB; too bad about the 50 Ks.
Syracuse had the night off, so it's going to be hard to identify our Three-Star Selection:
The Third Star: Carlo Cota, with a single, double, walk and RBI in the D-Jays' loss.
The Second Star: Ryan Roberts, who walked 4 times and is now sending daily postcards to Skydome asking for a promotion.
The First Star: Joaquin Canizal, whose 3 scoreless innings kept the Alley-Cats close in a game they eventually lost. It's not much, but hey, when is Joaquin going to get another chance at the First Star?