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Josh Banks and Jesse Litsch threw pitching gems as the farm affiliates went 2-1 on Saturday.

Syracuse 4  Rochester 1  Box score

Josh Banks, Brandon League and Lee Gronkiewicz threw a combined 3 hitter, as the Sky Chiefs clipped the Red Wings.  Banks threw 5 innings, allowing the 3 hits and no walks with 5 strikeouts.  League followed with 3 perfect innings and 2 Ks; his stint included inducing the first batter he faced to hit into a double play with runners on to get out of a jam. Gronk got the save with a perfect ninth.  John-ford Griffin's 2 run homer in the 4th provided the only runs the Sky Chiefs would need, but they put it away with 2 runs in the fifth on an error, 2 singles and a wild pitch. Griffin had 3 hits on the day, while Wayne Lydon reached base 3 times in 5 trips.

New Hampshire @ New Britain ppd., rain

Dunedin 3  Clearwater 1  Box score

Welcome to the Florida State League, Jesse Litsch.  After giving up a first inning homer, Litsch was unhittable for 6.2 innings.  He walked nobody, struck out 8, gave up a ground ball single and retired eight by groundball, two by pop-up and two by flyball.  Milton Tavarez earned the save by pitching a scoreless ninth.  The D'Jays scored all their runs in the sixth inning.  Aaron Mathews led off the inning with a walk, and Robinson Diaz followed with a single.  Ryan Patterson followed with a run-scoring double, and Dustin Majewski capped the inning with a 2-run double. Mathews reached base twice in four plate trips at the top of the lineup.

Lansing 1 @ Southwest Michigan 2, 12 innings  Box score , Lansing State Journal game story

The young Lugnuts had trouble making contact against tough Devil Ray pitching, whiffing 16 times over 12 innings. They could manage only 3 hits, with Sean Shoffit's ground out driving in their only run.  Russ Savickas started, and threw 5.2 innings of 3 hit ball, while walking 2 and striking out 4.  Lefty Jordan Timm and Edward Rodriguez held the Devil Rays for 5.1 innings, surrendering 2 hits each and walking nobody.  In the twelfth inning, Aaron Tressler surrendered the winning run on a walk, a single a Brian Pettway fielding error and a suicide squeeze bunt.

Your 3 star selection

3rd star-Dustin Majewski

2nd star-Josh Banks

1st star- Jesse Litsch


Banks, Litsch burn bright | 7 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Pistol - Sunday, April 09 2006 @ 09:42 AM EDT (#144740) #
Banks and Janssen both had solid debuts in their AAA debuts this week which is encouraging (each with no walks or HRs allowed).  And it's not like the Twins are weak competition.  We'll see if Purcey follows suit.
Mike Green - Sunday, April 09 2006 @ 09:48 AM EDT (#144742) #
Litsch spent most of last summer in Pulaski. If he can succeed in Dunedin this spring, that would qualify him as a very fast riser.
DepecheJay - Sunday, April 09 2006 @ 09:49 AM EDT (#144743) #
It's really nice to see Banks start off the season the way he did, but I think the most impressive thing we can take from yesterday is the performance of Brandon League.

Many, myself included, have either forgotten or completely written off League as a possible part of the future here in Toronto.  Some of us have gotten into that mindset that if the team needs something, they'll simply buy it in free agency rather than look down to the farm system for help.  If League can turn it around, he's a definite asset for the Jays and can even help the bullpen this season.  Although he's lost his opportunity to be the Closer of the Future with BJ here, he can still be a lockdown CONSISTENT setup man, rather than the setup man changing every other night between Frasor, Speier, and Chulk.  It would let those guys thrive as middle relievers and it would give the Jays some great bullpen depth.  I know I'm getting ahead of myself, and it is only one appearance out of the pen, but League was tremendous last night and he actually struck a few batters out!  Despite his great stuff, he's lacked the ability to strike batters out and hopefully that's something that he's figuring out.  Hopefully his fine play continues.

As for John Ford Griffin, I really think this organization owes it to him to either find a spot for him on the big league squad or to set out to trade him to a team that could use him at the very least coming off the bench.  The guy has nothing left to prove and has absolutely mashed AAA pitching and even faired decently with his stint with the Jays late last season.  If he's not in the cards with the Jays, at least package him in some sort of deal like you did with Gabe Gross to give him a shot.  He looks like he could be a valuable asset off the bench for the Jays, but with them carrying 5 outfielders already I doubt they have the room for him.

Dave Till - Sunday, April 09 2006 @ 10:54 AM EDT (#144745) #
I'm curious: can John-Ford Griffin help a major league team? I haven't seen enough of him to know, but my guess is that he is a mistake hitter. If you put the ball in his power zone, he'll drive it out of the park, but how can he cope with pitches outside his wheelhouse?

I wouldn't want to rely on him for anything until he could prove to me that he is not another Josh Phelps. Phelps, as we all recall, has fifth-deck power when challenged with fastballs down the middle. But three organizations have now discovered that Josh can't adjust to quality major-league pitching.

Anders - Sunday, April 09 2006 @ 12:41 PM EDT (#144750) #
For all the hoopla and whatnot surrounding Brandon League's troubles in AAA and with the Jays, it's hard to comprehend that he only just turned 23 a couple of weeks ago. I really hope he can pull things together and become a call up in the pen when someone inevitably struggles or gets injured. He does have great stuff, I just hpe he can harness and not become another Billy Koch.
Skills - Sunday, April 09 2006 @ 12:46 PM EDT (#144751) #

One indicator that JFG could help a major league team would be the improvement of his K/BB ratio or his being able to cut back on strikeouts in general while repeating AAA. I'm not saying this is likely to happen, but clearly someone who strikes out as much as JFG does warrants accusations of being a mistake-hitter. Guys who prove such a label untrue tend to gradually improve their patience at the plate (like Jim Edmonds or Richie Sexson for example), so if JFG was able to do so there would be more of a reason to believe in him. Either way, I can't help but be intrigued by someone with a good pedigree and good power in AAA, even if such thinking is unwarranted.

P.S. I am in no way suggesting that JFG is or ever will be on par with Edmonds or Sexson, those were just two examples of the statistical progression I made reference to.

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