Monday, May 4, 2015

Twins Minor League Report (5/4): The Force is Strong With Buxton

Max Murphy drove in three runs (Photo: Seth Stohs)
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...

Actually these games happened in our galaxy and they took place tonight but it's still May 4th. The major league version of the Twins was hosting a Star Wars themed night including a Phil Hughes bobblehead with him dressed as a Jedi Knight.

Down on the farm, there was a trio of games with the Twins affiliates facing off against some of the best young players in the galaxy. Would the Rebels be able to come out victorious? Or would the evil Empire reign supreme?

Fire up your light sabers and let's find out.

Rochester- Scheduled Off Day

The Red Wings entered their off day on a high note after winning the final two games of their weekend series with Norfolk. Rochester has won seven of their last nine and they currently have a 14-9 record. Entering play on Monday, the team was tied with Pawtucket for second place in the International League North Division, a half game behind Buffalo for first.

Out of qualifying players, James Beresford leads the team with a .345 batting average. Aaron Hicks is off to a good offensive start as he leads the team in slugging percentage (.494), OPS (.869), triples (3), and RBI (13). Reynaldo Rodriguez has the most doubles with six and Brock Peterson has hit four home runs to lead the team.

On the pitching side, Taylor Rogers has pitched the most innings (34.0 IP) and he's tied with Alex Meyer for most strikeouts (28). Pat Dean has the lowest ERA (1.98) and WHIP (1.06) out of the Red Wings starters. Before being called up, Michael Tonkin collected five saves out of the bullpen. Lester Oliveros was also been very effective with a 1.50 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, and 22 strikeouts in only 12 innings.

Rochester starts a tough series on Tuesday in Indianapolis, the leaders of the International League West.

Chattanooga 2, Jacksonville 0
Box Score
Earlier in the day on Monday, Byron Buxton named Southern League Player of the Week. In the last week he raised his average from .190 to .287 and this was part of a seven-game hitting streak. In five of the seven games during the stretch, he recorded multiple hits including one game with two triples and a double. He also stole five bases and scored 11 runs last week which is the highest total in all of Minor League Baseball in that span.

Buxton played hero later in the day as well. After the Lookouts had been held to one hit through eight innings. Buxton stepped into the box with one runner on in the bottom of the ninth. He crushed his third home run of the season to left field for a walk-off home run. Miguel Sano had the only other hit of the night, his third straight game with a hit.

DJ Baxendale started the contest and pitched six shutout frames. He had to wiggle out of a few jams with five walks and three hits but he used five strikeouts to help his cause. In three of his five starts this season, he has pitched at least six innings and allowed no runs. DJ Johnson kept the shutout going with two innings of work. Zack Jones earned his first win with two strikeouts in the ninth inning.

Fort Myers 0, Bradenton 3 
Box Score
The Miracle offense struggled on this night as there were no extra base hits and the team went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position. Fifteen straight batters were sent down at one point. Zach Granite was the lone player with multiple hits. Alex Swim, Chad Christensen, and Bryan Haar all added one hit. Swim is in the midst of a nine game hit streak.

Luke Westphal was charged with his second loss even though he only allowed one earned run in just over four innings. He danced around eight hits and two walks but limited the runners crossing the plate. Alex Muren tossed 2.2 shutout frames and struck out three. Todd Van Steensel allowed two run on a home run in the eighth inning.

Cedar Rapids 9, Wisconsin 3
Box Score
The Kernels offense was popping on Monday evening as the team combined for nine runs on nine hits. TJ White reached base four times and knocked two doubles. Max Murphy drove in three runs as part of a two hit effort. Jorge Fernandez managed only one hit but it was his first triple. Zack Larson and Trey Vavra both scored a couple runs.

Jared Wilson was earned his third victory after going six innings and giving up three runs on six hits. He struck out seven and walked two. Zach Tillery threw two perfect frames with four strikeouts. He's allowed one hit or less in five of his six appearances and every outing has been multiple innings.

It was only the second win in the last six games for the Kernels. Cedar Rapids is tied with Burlington for second palce in the Midwest League Western division. Quad Cities sits five games up in the division with only six losses so far.

Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – DJ Baxendale, Chattanooga Lookouts
Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Byron Buxton, Chattanooga Lookouts


Rochester @ Indianapolis (6:05 CST) – LHP Jason Wheeler
Chattanooga- Scheduled Off Day
Ft. Myers @ Bradenton (5:30 CST) – RHP Aaron Slegers
Cedar Rapids @ Wisconsin (6:35 CST) - LHP Mat Batts

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

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