Minor League Wrap Up: May 22, 2014
By Mike Franz
With the Orioles losing to the Indians in extra innings by a score of 8-7, we now take a look at some of the Orioles’ Minor League Affiliates: The Norfolk Tides (AAA), the Bowie Baysox (AA), the Frederick Keys (Advanced Single A), and the Delmarva Shorebirds (A).
The Norfolk Tides dropped their series opener against the Gwinnett Braves with a 10-7 loss on Thursday night. It appeared as though Norfolk had this game in hand early. In the second inning, the Tides rallied and scored six runs off of a walk and four singles.
This abundance of scoring was highlighted by a two-run line drive single off the bat of Brent Wallace. In just the second inning alone, Wallace went 2-2 with a double as well as the two-RBI single. Along with batting in two runs, Wallace crossed the plate as Norfolk’s first run of the game.
This 6-0 lead would not last as the Braves had a even bigger rally of their own. In the fourth inning, the Braves recorded seven hits, walked twice and scored an unprecedented eight runs.
The Norfolk Tides starting pitcher, Mike Wright, only lasted 3.1 innings with five total earned runs. The right-hander, Brock Huntzinger, who came in for relief in the fourth inning picked up the loss giving up three earned runs off of five hits in less than two complete innings pitched.
The spotlight player tonight for Norfolk was Wallace. At the end of the night, he recorded three hits in five at-bats. In the month of May, Wallace has been performing extremely well. This month alone, he is batting .389 with five home runs and 16 RBI’s. He is also posting up a 1.116 OPS this month as well.
The loss lowers the Tides’ record on the year to 17-29. The Tides are currently 9.5 games out of first in the South Division of the International League.
The Bowie Baysox extended their winning streak to four games with another win over the Erie Seawolves. Thursday night, the Baysox won by a score of 6-3 and, with the win, Bowie swept Erie in a four game series.
This game was close despite what the box score may show. Going into the bottom of the seventh inning, the game was all tied up at three a piece.
Bowie’s starter and the Orioles’ #2 prospect, Eduardo Rodriguez, went a solid five innings on the mound. He threw 80 pitches and only allowed one earned run off of two hits. Rodriguez left the game with the score tied at one.
After Bowie retained the lead in the bottom of the sixth inning thanks to a Dariel Alvarez RBI double, Erie came right back in the top of the seventh and tied the score again with line drive RBI single to left field. The Seawolves proceeded to take the lead two batters later in the inning off of a throwing error made by Bowie second baseman, David Adams.
However, Adams was able to redeem himself in the bottom half of the inning by hustling down the line to avoid a double play which allowed the tying run to cross the plate from third base.
The bottom of the eighth inning was where Erie lost all hope of taking one of four games from Bowie with one “crack of the bat.” After the first two batters got on base from a single and a walk respectively, Garabez Rosa advanced both runners off a sacrifice bunt.
With one out, David Freitas stepped up to the plate. After looking at a ball high and away, the Seawolves reliever made a mistake and let a pitch hang right in Freitas’ “wheelhouse.” Freitas crushed the ball to dead away center field for a three-run homer.
This would prove to be the decider as Oliver Drake came in the ninth and earned the save without giving up a base hit.
The spotlight player for Bowie was Christian Walker again. I know he was my spotlight player for Bowie a couple of days ago, but his bat is not quieting down in the least. Tonight, he went 2-4 with a home run in the first inning to give the Baysox an early lead. Leading the team with 11 round-trippers, Walker is hitting with “Chris Davis-esque” power.
With the win, Bowie improved to 26-20 on the year and are still four games back from Akron in the Western Division of the Eastern League.
The Frederick Keys lost to Myrtle Beach in the series finale by a score of 4-3. Unfortunately, the Keys had the lead up until the eighth inning when the Pelicans hit a two-run home run in the top part of the inning.
The Keys could not convert with runners in scoring position enough times this game to come out with the win. They were only 1-6 in this category Thursday afternoon against Myrtle Beach.
The only time they did convert with runners in scoring position was in the bottom of the fifth inning and it was, in fact, when they scored all their runs. Once Adrian Marin singled to center field and advanced to second on a passed ball during the next at-bat, Glynn Davis walked with two outs and the Keys down 2-0.
Sammie Starr stepped up to the challenge of getting his team back in the game when he pulled one to left field that went clear over the fence for a three-run homer.
The comeback would be for nothing as left-handed reliever Lex Rutledge gave up a two-run shot in the top of the eighth inning with no outs.
The spotlight player for Frederick was Starr. Despite having a low batting average so far this year, Starr was able produce Frederick’s only runs of the night with his home run. Starr is proving to be a situational hitter and a reliable one when there are runners on base. With runners on, Starr’s average jumps up to an astounding .316 which is 79 points higher than his season average.
The loss drops the Keys’ record to a 20-24 on the year. With the loss, they now sit at the bottom of the Northern Division of the Carolina League. Nevertheless, winning the division is still an attainable goal being only 3.5 games out of first.
The Delmarva Shorebirds handled the Kannapolis Intimidators by a score of 5-1 on Thursday. Although the Shorebirds were only 3-11 with runners in scoring position, they were able to put runs on the scoreboard early and often.
In the first inning along, the Shorebirds scored four runs to jump out in front of Kannapolis quickly. This inning was highlighted by an RBI triple from third baseman, Drew Dosch.
It was evident Delmarva got to their opponent’s starting pitcher before he could settle down and pitch effectively. In the first, the Shorebirds recorded four hits and four runs. The other four innings the Intimidators starter threw, the Shorebirds only scored one other run.
Although the Shorebirds were hitting well and scoring a lot in the beginning, it was Delmarva’s starting pitcher that won the game for the team.
That is why the spotlight player is Sebastian Vader. The right-hander threw 95 pitches over seven innings. In that time, Vader only gave up one run and five hits in Thursday’s game. This win improves Vader’s record to 6-1 on the year and he is currently tied at second for the best record of a pitcher in the South Atlantic League.
The win improves Delmarva’s record to 24-21. The Shorebirds still sit in second place (8.0 games back) of the Northern Division in the South Atlantic League.