Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tuesday's Trip through the Minors

The Twins seemed to be sitting good on Tuesday evening after a couple of long balls from Josh Willingham and a very solid start from Cole DeVries. The bullpen took over in the seventh inning and the White Sox decided to put on a slugfest for the rest of the game. During the explosion by the bullpen in the final two innings, the Twins offense failed to score any more runs and the game ended with a final score of 11-4, an ugly blowout loss at the hands of the White Sox.

Tomorrow afternoon, the Twins will try and salvage one game out of the series before heading home for six-games against Central Division foes. Nick Blackburn will take the mound to face off against Jake Peavy. But before we turn our heads to tomorrow, let's look at what happened today across the farm system for the Twins.

ROCHESTER 1, SYRACUSE 6

After scoring a run in the first inning, the Red Wings were shutout the rest of the way by the Chiefs pitching staff. It was the third loss in a row for Rochester after going 14-5 to start the month of July. Syracuse seems to have Rochester's number in recent games by beating the Red Wings in eight consecutive games, their longest current losing streak against any opponent in the International League.

Brian Dinkelman, the lead-off hitter, started the game with a bang by knocking out his third home run of the season. He was also the only member of the Red Wings to manage more than one hit in the game with his double later in the game. In his last four games, Dinkelman is 8-for-14 (.571) with three doubles, a triple, and a home run. Danny Valencia hit his 16th double of the season but was left on base. After a brief trip back to the big leagues, Chris Parmelee returned to Rochester and went 1-for-3 with a walk. 

Shairon Martis made his second start since being called up from New Britain and it was his first quality start even though he got the loss. Over the course of six innings, he gave up three earned runs on five hits with four strikeouts. Bobby Lanigan gave up multiple runs for the first time in his last ten games with the Red Wings. All of the runs off of Lanigan came on a three-run home run in the seventh inning to turn a two run lead into a five run lead. 

NEW BRITAIN 3, BINGHAMTON 4

New Britain did their best to claw their way back against Binghamton but the Mets proved to be too much for the Rock Cats. There wasn't a single hitter in the Rock Cats line-up with more than one hit and New Britain still out hit Binghamton in the game. There were plenty of extra-base hits with Oswaldo Arcia, Aaron Hicks, Joe Benson and Deibinson Romero all hitting doubles in the game with Benson driving in two runs during an eighth inning rally. In the end, there was not enough offense to get the victory for the Rock Cats.

Blake Martin started the game and he was saddled with his fourth loss of the season after giving up three runs on three hits. It was his first loss since joining the rotation for the Rock Cats at the end of June. Marty Popham pitched over an inning of scoreless baseball by striking out two of the four batters that he faced. Jose Gonzalez gave up a run for the first time in his last three outings. It came on a home run off of the bat of Eric Campbell in the eighth inning. It was the second loss in a row for the Rock Cats but New Britain is 7-4 since July 16th. 

FORT MYERS 5, CHARLOTTE 6

The Miracle took a two-run lead into the bottom of the ninth inning but the Stone Crabs would not go away quietly. Michael Tonkin surrendered a single with two outs that pushed two runs across the plate to tie the game and send the contest to extra innings. An error by Levi Michael in the bottom of the 11th allowed a runner to reach base and the next batter smacked a double to make Charlotte the victors on this evening. From reports out of Fort Myers, it was a weird play in which the runner fell down twice on his way around third and he still managed to score. 

There were some positives for the Miracle with Angel Morales hitting a two-run home run that stretched the Miracle lead to 5-2 at the time. Kyle Knudson, Lance Ray, and Anderson Hidalgo all had two hits in the game with Knudson hitting his eighth double of the season. The top of the order had a rough night with the first two batters, Jonathan Goncalves and Levi Michael, combining to go 0-for-10 with two strikeouts. 

Matt Summers was solid for the Miracle even though he was given a no decision. He pitched five innings and gave up two runs on five hits. Michael Tonkin gets the blown save for giving up the lead in the bottom of the ninth inning. The loss was charged to Ricky Bowen even though the lone run that he gave up was unearned. 

BELOIT (OFF DAY)

A night after three Snappers pitchers combined to throw a seven hit shutout on Monday night, the team enjoyed an off day on Tuesday. The Snappers are playing .500 baseball in their last six games and now they hit the road for a stretch of six games away from home. Miguel Sano has gone hitless in his last four games to see his batting average drop to .240 for the season. This came on the heels of six games where he went 7-for-18 with two home runs, six RBI and six runs scored. At the beginning of the season, it looked like Sano was destined for Fort Myers by the middle of the season but he continues to need to work on his consistency. 

ELIZABETHTON 12, KINGSPORT 5

Two three-run home runs helped to separate the E-Twins from the Mets. DJ Hicks hit one three-run shot in the first inning to put the Twins on top and Max Kepler hit his own three-run homer in the next frame. Jorge Polanco had a couple of hits and two RBI out of the nine spot in the batting order. By the end of the third inning, the Twins were up 10-0 and it seemed like the game was all wrapped up at that point.

Even with the blowout loss, the E-Twins had to use seven different pitchers during the course of the game. Kaleb Merck got his second victory of the year by throwing two innings and allowing one run on a single hit. Travis Huber got hit hard in the final inning by allowing three runs on four hits. The team had to bring in Tyler Herr to get the last out of the game after Huber struggled during his time on the mound. 

GCL TWINS 6, GCL ORIOLES 1 (7 innings)

In his second game since returning from the DL, Byron Buxton hit his second extra-base hit in as many days. He went 1-for-3 in the game with his second double of the season to raise his batting average to .258 in his last ten games. It is good to see Buxton finding his swing after missing almost two weeks with a hamstring injury. Joel Licon and Zach Larson each had two hits to pace the GCL Twins. Jose Ramirez managed to get two RBI without recording a hit. 

Kyle Gibson made his fifth start since coming back from Tommy John surgery and he didn't give up a run for the second start in a row. His two innings on the mound were perfect and he struck out two of the six batters that he faced. Gonzalo Sanudo picked up his first professional win by throwing three innings and giving up one run on four hits. He pitched last season in the GCL but never earned a victory so congratulations are in order for Mr. Sanudo. 

GCL TWINS 5, GCL ORIOLES 4 (7 innings)

While the other game on this day was a little one sided, this game was much more of a nail biter with the GCL Twins squeaking out the win. Luke Bard, the 2012 Draft pick, made his first start as a professional and he lasted two innings by giving up one run on one hit with two strikeouts. The back and forth contest meant that Markus Solbach was the pitcher of record when the Twins took the lead for good. It was his second victory of the season for the native of Germany. Trent Higginbotham earned his first save for the 2012 year by throwing the last two innings and only giving up a single run. 

The offense of the GCL Twins was lead by a pair of 2-run home runs from Bryan Haar and Javier Pimentel. For both players, it was their first home run of the season. Kelvin Ortiz had a perfect day at the plate by going 3-for-3 with three singles spread out across the game. Byron Buxton didn't play in this game as the team tries to slowly bring him back from his injury. 

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Players of the Day for July 24, 2012

Pitcher of the Day- Matthew Summers (5 IP, 4 H, 2 ER)

Hitter of the Day- DJ Hicks (3-for-5, 2B, HR, 3 R, 3 RBI)

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A Look Ahead- Wednesday, July 25th Schedule

Rochester vs Syracuse- RHP Esmerling Vasquez
New Britain vs Binghamton- RHP BJ Hermsen
Fort Myers @ Charlotte- RHP Matthew Hauser
Beloit @ Burlington- LHP David Hurlbut
GCL Twins @ GCL Rays- TBA
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If you have any questions or comments on the minor league system, leave them in the comments section and someone will certainly answer them.

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