Surprises and the Same

Saturday, June 23 2007 @ 03:46 AM EDT

Contributed by: Thomas

Last night was a night of several surprises on the farm. Lansing won due to production from an unexpected spot in the lineup. New Hampshire lost to a surprising degreee. The GCL Blue Jays were strangely already pinch-hitting for the teamís first-round draft choice.

And Victor Zambrano couldnít complete four innings, gave up a bunch of hits and several walks and turned a lead into a deficit. Oh well, some things never change.

Syracuse 4 @ Scranton 7 - Boxscore

Triple-A Victor Zambrano did his best impersonation of major league Victor Zambrano last night. He lasted 3.2 innings, gave up six hits and three walks, and turned a 2-0 Syracuse lead into a 7-2 lead for Scranton. Heís not turning anyoneís head in Toronto with these outings, although Iím not sure how many heads he was turning to begin with. Mike Venafro and Ryan Houston each pitched two scoreless innings in Zambranoís weekly depletion of fresh arms in the bullpen.

Chad Mottola picked up two homeruns for Syracuse today Scranton and Tyler Clippard for his seventh and eighth of the year. He had 3 RBIs to total 26 on the season. While Mottola provided much of the offence from the seventh spot, the 4-5-6 hitters went hitless for Syracuse, although the trio had the sense to draw four walks from Clippard. However, despite the patience they displayed, I doubt any of Mike Vento, John Ford-Griffin and Russ Adams are satisfied by tonightís game and wouldnít enjoy the opportunity for an extra hour a week at the batting cages.

Portland 17 @ New Hampshire 2 - Boxscore

Ugh. Kyle Yates had arguably his worst start of the season and certainly his worst since mid-May. He gave up six runs over 4.2 innings on nine hits and two homers, including one by former Blue Jay Eric Crozier, who had a team-high four runs for Portland. Jesse Carlson came in and managed to escape the fifth. However, Portlandís turn to bat in the sixth produced walk-walk-walk-single-double and Carlsonís night was over. Matt Roney allowed single-out-double-single and gave up both Carlsonís inherited runners and one of his own and the rout was on. The seventh started double-single-walk and Roney and New Hampshire pitching coach Dave LaRoche were ejected, presumably for arguing balls and strikes. Portland notched a pair of runs in both the seventh and eighth to add insult to injury. The only notable Lansing batters were Robinzon Diaz (3-5, 2B, R) and Rob Cosby (2-4, 2 2Bs).

Dunedin 9 @ Clearwater 4 (7.5) - Boxscore

Dunedin got out to a 9-0 lead in this rain-shortened game and held on to win comfortably. The D-Jays pounded out 14 hits and 2/3rd of the starting lineup had a multihit game. Anthony Hatch, Jacob Butler and Jesus Gonzalez all hit home runs and seven of the teamís 9 RBIs came from Butler and Gonzalez. Butler was the clear player of the night with a 3-4 line which included a double, a home run, 4 RBIs and 2 runs. He also had Dunedinís only 2-out RBIs of the night.

Clearwater scored 4 runs in the sixth and seventh inning to spoil Dunedinís 9-0 lead and shutout aspirations. However, any hope of a comeback by Clearwater was dashed when the skies opened and the game was called after seven and a half innings. Aaron Tressler pitched 6 full innings and the sole blemish was a Jason Donald home run in the sixth. Yesson Berroa came in to pitch the seventh and managed to retire two batters, but also allowed four hits and two walks. Berroa gave up three runs and left a runner on for Daryl Harang, who managed to escape the inning without any more runs scoring.

Fort Wayne 4 @ Lansing 6 - Boxscore

After 5 innings this game was tied 1-1. After 6 innings it was 4-3 Fort Wayne. Lansing tied it up in the bottom of the seventh and scored two in the bottom of eighth to win a rather exciting game. Kyle Ginley had a solid start and left after the aforementioned fifth inning. Benjamin Harrison came in and allowed two hits and one run. Ted Serro relieved Harrison and allowed the inherited runner to score, in addition to one of his own. However, Serro settled down and got through the seventh fine. Edward Rodriguez picked up the win with a hitless eighth inning and Paul Phillips notched his eleventh save with a hitless ninth.

Lansingís offence came not from the heart of its lineup, but rather from the Lugnuts 6-7-8 batters. They collectively went 6-10 with three runs and four RBIs. Sean Shoffit went 2-4 with a homer, 2 runs and 2 RBIs. In the seven hole centerfielder Chris Emanuele went 2-3 with a double, a run, an RBI and a walk, for good measure. Finally, Jonathan Baksh went 2-3 with an RBI. Up near the top of the lineup, in the third spot Travis Snider went 1-4 with a double and an RBI and his OPS now sits at .902.

Williamsport 6 @ Auburn 9 - Boxscore

It was a long time coming, but Brad Mills made his first start for the Blue Jays organization yesterday. He started for the Doubledays and went 2 innings, striking out three and, I believe, not allowing a baserunner. The third wasn't so pleasant as Mills left the bases loaded with none out for Adam Rogers. Rogers' appearance meant that Auburn was the fourth Toronto affiliate he has pitched for this year, joining New Hampshire, Dunedin and Lansing. Rogers allowed 2 of Mills' runners to score. Rogers left in the middle of the fifth having allowed four runs of his own. Javier Nieves went 2.2 hitless innings with two walks and four strikeouts. Ronald Lowe picked up a 2-inning save and added three strikeouts of his own, giving Auburn 13 on the night.

Six of Auburn's 11 hits came from their fifth and sixth hitters: Manuel Rodriguez and Barron Frost. Frost came into the game with the unusual line of .167/.167/.667. However, it's safe to say he improved upon that with a 3-5 night. Rodriguez was even better at 3-4 with a walk, two doubles and two RBIs. JP Arencibia went 1-3 with a run and a walk. Leance Soto was one of two Auburn starters not to register a hit. If nothing else, the Doubledays are equal opportunity offenders, scoring 3 runs off each of the three Williamsport pitchers. After falling behind 6-4 Auburn didn't look back and scored 5 runs to take a 9-4 victory.

GCL Blue Jays 1 @ GCL Braves 5 - Boxscore

The Blue Jays stranded two runners on base four times in this game and in three of those innings the team had the two runners on with one out and failed to cash any of the runners in. Marcus Walden started for the Blue Jays and gave up a pair of runs over two innings. He turned things over to Michael Lynch who had an unsatisfactory debut in the minors, surrendering three runs over four innings without striking out a batter. If youíre looking for a silver lining you can note that none of the teamís four pitchers walked a batter during the game.

The Blue Jays had four hits, including one apiece by Balbino Fuenmayor and Yohermyn Chavez. Fuenmayor drove in the only run on a single that scored catcher Roger Ebarb. Kevin Ahrens started at DH and went 0-3 with 2 strikeouts and then was pinch hit for in the eighth inning. Thatís not the most productive strategy for developing a young bat, especially your first-round pick, so I hope (and Iím confident) that this will not become a regular development. If you thought Ahrens had a bat night, John Tolisano went 0-4 with 3 strikeouts and a GIDP with two runners on base and one out.

3 star selection

3rd star Ė Manny Rodriguez, 3-4, R, 2 2B, 2 RBI, BB, 5 TB

2nd star Ė Chad Mottola, 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 8 TB

1st star Ė Jacob Butler, 3-4, 2 R, 2B, HR, 4 RBI, 7 TB