There were three minor league games of particular interest interest last night in the time slot where the Blue Jays would normally be playing. Conner Greene was going for New Hampshire coming off one of his poorer starts of the year, 2015 5th rounder Jose Espada was going for Bluefield as they try to lock down a playoff spot, and Josh DeGraaf went for Lansing as they try to hold onto a playoff spot.
As it turned out, they were all very miserly about giving up hits in the early going. DeGraaf and Espada took no-hitters into the fifth inning before they were ended by an infield single and bouncer through the infield. For his part, Greene allowed just a ground ball single up the middle, so by about 8:30 PM last night there were three one-hitters going on. From there, things diverged quite a bit.
Greene allowed a couple more hits (one hard hit) in completing 7 shutout innings despite not having his stuff on the night. Espada ran up against his pitch count and exited after a two out single in the 6th inning (baseball is funny: he needed 11 pitches to get to the 3rd, but 25 pitches for that inning alone). DeGraaf's been a reliever most of the year, and it showed the wheels fell offf after two quick outs in the 6th inning, giving up three runs on four hard hits to narrow a 4-0 lead to 4-3. Lansing responded by plating six the next inning to go up 10-3, but a pair of relievers couldn't hold the lead and as they were walked off 11-10. And you thought the Jays weekend in Cleveland was bad....
On the injury front, Sean Reid-Foley remains out, along with Taylor Cole whose season was really rounding into form before hitting the disabled list. T.J. Zeuch likewise hasn't pitched, though apparently may be starting today but nothing was set in stone as of last night.
- Jeremy G. continues to struggle through the Eastern League. The bottom line was not bad, but he stranded two runners in each of his 5 innings, so was in trouble the while game. Good to see some missed bats.
- Shane Dawson did his usual things, keeping hitters mostly off balance with a mid/high 80s fastball, and curves from the high 60s to high 70s (nothing in the 50s on the stadium gun like his last time out).
- As referenced above, Conner Greene continued his cold and cold routine with a solid effort, albeit without his best command/control (two walks and two HBP with two strikes). And he didn't miss many bats either despite working at 93-96 on the stadium gun (Ben Badler reported 92-97 from the game)
- Chris Rowley made what was technically a relief outing in a resumed game, and was just flat out dominant with 20(!) swinging strikes to finish things out. And when the opposing hitters weren't missing, it was a lot of weak contact on the ground
- The D-Jays were in Lakeland on the weekend, where dreams of broadcasts go to die, so there's not much to add. Jon Harris got touched up for hits and his first FSL home run. Conor Fisk struck out a lot of batters and gave up a bunch of contact in the air. Justin Shafer was dominant out of the bullpen (I assume a tune up since his previous start was rain shortened)
- Justin Maese continues to impress and intrigue, as he worked 93-95 and touched 97 on the stadium gun last week, missing a lot of bats while maintaining a strong contact profile of ground balls. The difference in his profile between when he's using his two seamer and four seamer, continues to be pronounced.
- Another pitcher who took a one-hitter through 5 innings, Jordan Romano turned in another strong outing, touching as high as 93-95 while inducing a lot of weak contact. his shutout was broken in the 6th when he was finally touched up some some hard contact
- Angel Perdomo just didn't have it, struggling to find the strike zone, and grooving pitches, giving up a grand slam before recording an out in a 37 pitch inning. He's really gone backwards since the Futures Game. FB 92-94.
- Ryan Borucki was stellar the first time through, striking out the side in order in the 1st with 5 strikeouts overall while touching as high as 96. He piled up swings and misses on his offspeed pitches, though did get hit a bit the second time through.
- The aforementioned DeGraaf struck out 6 batters his first time through, including 5 in the first two innings. The strikeouts were replaced with mostly weak contact the second time through, and then he got pounded (4/4) the third time through.
- Tom Robson made two relief outings, again being the equivalent of basically a start. The two outings contrasted. In the first (fastball 91-95), he gave up three straight hits to start then settled in two retire the last 9 batters in order. The second started off with two quick outs, and then got and stayed pretty messy.
- Dan Lietz did the same, touching 95, but has some control issues and took the loss in that meltdown though was not by far the biggest culprit. The one out skunk delay probably didn't help things either.
- Denis Diaz turned in a strong effort, another pitcher who was stingey in the hit department, taking a no-hitter into the 6th. His control wobbled in the 5th with the two walks, but otherwise just rolled
- Patrick Murphy didn't have his best outing, not missing many bats and getting squared up too often, but battled through 5 innings. And he actually finished on a pretty strong note with a run of grounders.
- Another week, another boatload of free passes for our friends Luis and Dalton. The fact that they've remained the rotation the whole year says quite a bit about the weakened depth at the lower levels of the system.
- Zach Jackson was working on a decent outing Sunday, but it seems his velocity was down again (one reading at 90), and then he lost the strike zone completely at the end.
- 2016 9th rounder Nick Hartman has turned things around a bit, a couple of solid relief outings, touching 94-95 while throwing strikes and missing some bats.