Monday, May 25, 2015

Twins Minor League Report (5/25): Kernels Roll

Happy Memorial Day! There's nothing like baseball on Memorial Day.

For the second week in a row, left-handed pitcher Tommy Milone was honored with the International League Pitcher of the Week. He saw his scoreless streak stretch to 37.2 innings that dates back to his lone start with the Wings in August last season. This is the longest stretch in the International League since at least 2005.

Milone started two games this week and was masterful in both. On Monday, he pitched a complete game shutout while striking out 13 versus Durham. He capped his week on Sunday by throwing 8.1 innings scoreless innings before giving up a solo home run to end the streak.

Max Kepler was also honored on Monday for his stellar week at the plate. The outfielder and first baseman went 11-for-27 (.407 BA) with two home runs and five doubles. He drove in nine runs and scored seven runs to go along with a 1.263 OPS.

Kepler had a hit in every game this week and he's in the midst of a nine game hitting streak. It would be a 16 game hitting streak if not for him being held hitless by the Birmingham Barons on 5-15. He currently leads the team in batting average and slugging percentage.

Rochester 4, Durham 5
Rochester jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in this contest but they weren't able to overcome giving up five runs in the sixth inning. In the top of the first inning, the Red Wings used doubles from James Beresford and Danny Ortiz to plate a couple runs. Besides another Ortiz double, Rochester's offense went cold until the eighth inning.

Doug Bernier's double was followed by a couple ground outs to cut the lead to two. Kennys Vargas hit a solo home run in the ninth, his third since being demoted. He's batting .409 with six RBI across 22 at-bats with the club.

Jason Wheeler was cruising through five innings before giving up five earned in the sixth without recording an out. Mark Hamburger pitched two scoreless innings with four strikeouts. Alex Meyer made his first relief appearance since college and pitched a perfect frame with two strikeouts.

Chattanooga --, Mobile --
Chattanooga and Mobile started playing their game before the rain and lightning filled the sky. The game was postponed and no make-up date was announced at this time. The Lookouts have won five of their last six game and have scored 10 run or more in four of those contests.

After a scheduled off day on Tuesday, the Lookouts begin a four-game series at home against Biloxi. Chattanooga is leading the Southern League North Division with a 28-16 record while Biloxi is leading the South Division with a 27-18 record. Needless to say, it will be an important series for both clubs.

Fort Myers (Scheduled Off Day)
The Miracle enjoyed an off day on Monday like many other employees across the country. Fort Myers is tied for second place in the Florida State League South Division with a 22-22 record. However, they are a distant eight games behind the Charlotte Stone Crabs. The club has gone 15-11 at home and struggled to a 7-11 record on the road.

Fort Myers starts a four-game road series with Clearwater on Tuesday night. The Threshers sit in second place in the Florida State League North with an identical record as the Miracle. Mat Batts starts the series opener for Fort Myers. 

Cedar Rapids 12, Peoria 3 
The Kernels pounded out a season high 12 runs with 19 hits. With the win, Cedar Rapids reached a season-best 11 games above .500 (28-17 record) after finishing their road trip with a 5-3 record. The Kernels have scored at least 11 runs three times this season with all three games coming against the Snappers.

Every hitter in the Kernels line-up collected a hit and seven of the nine hitters collected an extra-base hit. Pat Kelly was a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate with a double, a home run, and five RBI. Jorge Fernandez drove in four runs, including a three-run home run, in his first game since May 15. Max Murphy and Tyler Kuresa each had three hits including a triple and a double from Murphy.

John Curtiss started the game but didn't figure into the decision as he was pulled from the game with an undisclosed injury. He allowed three runs over 4.1 innings, his second shortest outing of the year, while striking out three. Michael Theofanopoulos earned his first win by pitching 2.2 scoreless innings and striking out four. Over the last two innings, Randy LeBlanc struck out three and didn't allow a run.

Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Michael Theofanopoulos, Cedar Rapids Kernels.
Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Pat Kelly, Cedar Rapids Kernels

Rochester @ Durham (6:05 am) – RHP Lester Oliveros
Chattanooga- Scheduled Off Day
Ft. Myers @ Clearwater (6:00 CST) – LHP Mat Batts
Cedar Rapids vs. Wisconsin (6:35 CST) - LHP Stephen Gonsalves

Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the Monday games.

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