Three affiliates started their seasons last night, all of the them on the road, and they all won. It was a fine night on the farm. It is easy to overreact to one game at the start of the season so we will try not to do that but there were some performances that caught the eye.
The Fisher Cats had a nice 6-0 win. Five pitchers combined on the shutout and racked up 12 strikeouts in the process. Francisco Rios started and went four innings. He was not perfect but had five K's in his four innings. Rios is likely targeted for a bullpen spot in the major leagues but even bullpen guys start in the minors to get as many consistent innings as possible.
Three Cats had two hits each, Lourdes Gurriel, Cavan Biggio and Connor Panas. Gurriel had the best night, as noted in yesterdays thread. Even his two outs were loud. He had two doubles and two RBI. Vlad was 1-4 with one loud out, Bo Bichette had a quiet debut, 0-4 with a walk. Neither Vlad or Bo struck our, in fact the Cats had only three K's as a team.
Dunedin played the tightest game, needing a run in the seventh to win 5-4. TJ Zeuch pitched well except for two pitches. Both left the yard and accounted for all four Philly runs. Zeuch went six innings and had five K's.
It was nice to see Josh Palacios and John La Prise get off to good starts. Palacios had injury troubles that had a negative impact on his 2017 season, while La Prise missed the entire year. Ivan Castillo, signed as a free agent, had a double and a triple. Castillo has more than 300 at-bats at the AA level between 2016 and 2017 so he should be able to handle A ball.
Yennsy Diaz was the star of opening day, with ten K's in 5.2 innings. We know Diaz can throw hard but he has had an issue with command. He didn't have that issue yesterday, he didn't walk anyone and threw 63 strikes out of 89 pitches.
The Lugnuts had their hitting shoes on. The boxscore says that Samad Taylor went 4-6, and that Ridge Smith and Reggie Pruitt had three hits each. Note, there is some dispute over the actual box score. Jesse Goldberg-Strassler says milb screwed up.
Here is what Jesse is reporting. This fits better with what I remember as I was tracking the game last night. Kevin Vicuña, Reggie Pruitt and Chavez Young each notched three hits to lead the offense, with Vicuña and Pruitt knocking two-run singles in a six-run ninth to blow the game open. The Lugnuts’ offense, meanwhile, manufactured an early lead with two runs in the first inning and a solo tally in the second off Loons starter Max Gamboa (Loss, 0-1). Kevin Smith’s two-run single made it 5-0 in the fifth against reliever Andre Scrubb. Pruitt (3-for-5, 2 runs, 3 RBIs) singled home Christian Williams for a 6-0 lead in the eighth. After the Loons ended Lansing’s shutout bid on Brayan Morales’s eighth-inning RBI single off reliever Donnie Sellers, the Lugnuts put the game away with an 11-batter, five-hit, two-walk, six-run rally against Great Lakes relievers Devin Hemmerich and James Carter in the top of the ninth. Shortstop Vicuña and first baseman Kacy Clemens each scored three runs while third baseman Smith and center fielder Pruitt drove in three runs apiece.
3rd star: Ridge Smith
2nd star: Lourdes Gurriel
1st star: Yennsy Diaz