Thursday night saw the Jays minor league clubs play 5 games, going 2-3 as an organization. The biggest story of the night was Alek Manoah and his AAA debut. There was a lot of concern about having him jump from Short Season A-ball (remember that?) directly to AAA, but on this night Manoah put all those concerns to rest.
Buffalo (3-0) - Beat Worcester 10-1
As alluded to above, Alek Manoah was a man among boys in this one. Manoah threw 6 innings, allowing 2 hits and striking out 12 Red Sox (I could get used to saying that every 5 days for the next decade) on 81 pitches. Manoah did also hit 3 batters, but I am a big fan of effective wildness. It worked well for Juan Guzman. The two hits were an infield single and a fly ball to CF. In the first, Manoah hit Jeter Downs, and promptly picked him off first.
Offensively the Bisons (I can’t call them any different) had 17 hits and 7 walks, as every hitter was on base at least twice. Forrest Wall, Cullen Large & Christian Colon each had 3 hits, with Colon finishing a triple short of the cycle. Rowdy Tellez had 2 hits and 2 walks, including his first AAA HR of the year. Logan Warmoth had his 2nd HR of the series and Colon homered in the 7th as well.
New Hampshire (1-2) - Lost both ends of the double header to Portland 9-6 & 4-3
Simeon Woods Richardson started game 1 and was looking pretty strong through 3 innings, before running into some trouble in the 4th, though was hurt by the defense in that 4th inning. Final line is 4 innings pitched, 3 runs with 1 earned. SWR gave up 3 singles & a double, walking 1 and striking out 8. Curtis Taylor followed and got hurt by the defense as well, allowing 5 runs, with only one earned, but that was the ball game.
The Cats came out hot, putting up 5 runs in the first inning, with the big knock being a 3-run triple by Nick Podkul, as NH batted around. There wasn’t much after that, as NH ended with 4 hits and 6 walks. Austin Martin reached on a walk and was hit by pitch. Jordan Groshans had a hit and a walk. Gabriel Moreno doubled in Martin in the first, but that was about all the offense had
Game 2 was a see-saw battle, ultimately seeing Portland score 1 in the bottom of 6 to win 4-3. Elvis Luciano started this one against old friend Josh Winckowski. Elvis was a little wild in this one. Luciano started roughly, giving up a double & a single to start the game, but he did get a strikeout and a double play to limit the damage. In the third, Luciano showcased himself perfectly at this point in his career. Gave up a walk and a double, then struck out two straight batters, though 2 runs scored on wild pitches. All told, he went 4 innings, allowing 3 earned on 3 hits, 3 walks and striking out 6. Jon Harris followed and gave up a HR in the 6th to take the loss. Harris only gave up the one hit and struck out 4, so perhaps the bullpen is his calling.
On offense, the Cats picked up 4 hits and 4 walks. Jordan Groshans, Kevin Vicuna & Samad Taylor all reached base twice. Austin Martin doubled. Vicuna walked in a run in the second with a bases loaded walk, then singled in a run in the 4th. The other Cats run scored on a wild pitch.
Vancouver (1-2) - Beat Tri-City 5-2
Vancouver picked up their first win of the year, with a late rally in the 8th. Troy Miller (an UDFA who spent most of 2019 in Lansing’s rotation) started and was solid. Miller went 4.2 innings, allowing 2 runs on 3 hits and a walk. Miller struck out 7. The runs came in the 5th inning, on a solo HR and then a strike out who reached base. That strike out victim moved to 2nd on a walk and scored on a single. The C’s bullpen then was dominant for the final 4.1 innings as Parker Caracci & Hagen Danner shut the door in almost perfect fashion. Caracci allowed only a walk in his 2.1, striking out 4. Danner followed with 2 innings, hitting a batter and striking out 4 to pick up a save in his pitching debut. Shout out to my former Adopted Jay for that effort.
Offensively the C’s got one in the 5th on a Tanner Kirwer HR (CanCon) and then strung together some hits (and an error) in the 8th to score 4 more runs, with LJ Talley’s 2-run double being the big hit. Most of the damage came with 2 outs. Spencer Horwitz had 2 hits and 2 walks, Kirwer & Talley each had 2 hits and Tanner Morris reached base 3 times on 3 walks.
Dunedin (0-3) - Lost to Tampa 10-6
Dunedin continued their rough start to the season, falling 10-6. Naswell Paulino started and had a rough go of it. Paulino pitched into the 4th, allowing runs in each inning. His final line was 3 innings pitched, 6 earned on 9 hits, 2 walks and struck out 5. Paulino got hit hard, as he gave up 4 doubles & a HR. Dunedin seems to have struggled keeping Trevor Hauver in the yard, as he had 8 hits in the series, including 4 HR’s. Rafael Monsion came in and went 2.2 innings, allowing a run and striking out 6. Lazaro Estrada (The Cuban Estrada) followed and struggled with the zone, allowing 3 earned on 1 hit and 3 walks in 2.1. The hit he did allow was a 3-run HR
Offensively Orelvis Martinez homered in the 4th for his 1st of the year. Zach Britton doubled in the 7th and scored on a wild pitch and a passed ball. In the 8th, the D-Jays put together a few runners, starting walk, single, walk, 2-run single and a ground out. Britton had 2 hits on the day, while Justin Ammons & Davis Schneider reached twice on a hit and a walk, while Ryan Sloniger had 2 walks.
Baby Jay MVP for the day was Alek Manoah for his dominance and firing up the Blue Jays fandom into thinking he should be in the rotation next time around. Personally I would like to see him have a few starts to see how he reacts when it isn’t a debut or a big moment, but he put on one heck of a show.
Edit, completely forgot this this morning.
Friday’s Probables (All times Eastern Daylight):
Buffalo takes on Worcester again in Trenton, 7PM first pitch. TJ Zeuch takes the mound
New Hampshire tries to get back to .500 against Portland at 6PM. Kyle Johnston takes the ball
Vancouver looks to even its record against Tri-City at 9:30PM. Starter is TBD
Dunedin will look for their first win of the season, taking on Tampa. 6:30PM start time. Jol Concepcion starts