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May 12-14 minors report: Alford and Urena back on track

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It was a bit of quiet weekend in the farm system, especially with limited action on Mother's Day. The biggest positive might have been the New Hampshire bats coming back to life. Anthony Alford broke out of his slump in Altoona, going 6/14 over the four game series with a double, home run and three walks against just two strikeouts. Richard Urena did likewise, knocking out two hits each game to go 8/18 with two doubles. Ryan McBroom wasn't quite up to that level, with a 4/15 series, but with a home run and three walks as well.  Lansing was largely shutdown by Kane County potching over the weekend, but Bo Bichette did pound out three hits Saturday.

Francisco Rios rebounded from getting torched last time out, with a more solid 4 inning start, giving up 2 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks with a strikeout. Not exactly clear why he only went four innings, as he only threw 56 pitches, but it was not obviously an injury situation. It wasn't his finest day managing contact, giving up a lot of balls in the air and a fair bit of hard hit contact in addition to missing just a couple of bats (92% contact).

Jon Harris had a pretty rough start, but actually rebounded impressively after digging himself a deep early hole. The first four batters of the game went back-to-back-to-back hard singles, followed by a home run and it was 4-0 four batters in. Harris rebounded to work 6 shutout inning from that point, though with no clean innings and constantly working around baserunners. In the end, he allowed 5 runs on 10 hits in 6+ innings, allowing two free passes and one strikeout.  The bad news is, he neither misses bats (5 whiffs on 45 swings), nor managed contact very well. By my count, he allowed 9 or 10 very well struck balls.

Ryan Borucki continued on a pitch count for unspecified reasons for the third straight start, though this time up to 60 pitches rather than 45. That got him through 4 shutout innings, with 4 hits and two walks against 5 strikeouts. He was more overpowering than very sharp, as he piled up 11 swinging strikes on just 25 swings (a ridiculous 56% contact rate) but was squared up more frequently than usual, with four well hit balls yielded (and just 30% ground balls). The stuff was top shelf, fastball 94-95 and touched a 97 with an effective changeup and slider for both called and swinging strikes.

Patrick Murphy had another mixed outing. He was really strong over the first three inning, allowing just a single and inducing a lot fo weak contact. He ran into trouble in his 4th inning, with a leadoff walk, a single after getting ahead 0-2, and an error. Things spiraled from there into 4 runs with another walk and hard contact. He rebounded to make it through six innings, though lost the zone for another couple walks in the 6th. Murphy's fastball was around 92-93, curveball in the high 70s.

Denis Diaz managed a feat I don't think I can ever recall seeing. Diaz typically struggles to throw strikes, and that was on display Saturday in a poor outing. Of the 15 batters he faced, he fell behind 13 of them (including the first 10 in row). The two he didn't were a first pitch put in play and a foul, n other words he didn't have a single first pitch called a strike. Seven batters got to 2-0 counts, and four to 3-0 count. Bad process, bad results (3 runs in 3 innings, three hard extra base hits allowed).

John Stilson had a couple relief outings. He took the loss on Sunday in giving up the only run of the game, and his previous outing Friday was quite mixed as well (3 walks, 3 strikeouts and a double). But he was working 94-96 with his fastball on the Lehigh Valley stadium gun, so after all the injuries it would appear the raw stuff is still there. The other relief outing to highlight was Tom Robson, who for once worked an efficient and dominating inning with 2 strikeouts (up to 94).