It was nearly a five-game sweep on the farm on Thursday, with Double-A Mobile winning a pair but Triple-A Reno falling one run short of taking their contest against Las Vegas into extra innings, largely due to some rough defense. Still, it was a solid day on the farm overall featuring several of Arizona's top arms on the hill, and also included the second trade made by the D-backs thus far in the year.
Snakelet of the Day:
David Holmberg (Hi-A): 6.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R (2 ER), 6:1 K:BB, 6:6 GO:FO
Triple-A: Reno 4, Las Vegas 5. (11-17) Right-hander Charles Brewer was on the hill for the Aces, and had trouble getting the fourth out in the first inning after a throwing error by Taylor Harbin gave the 51s extra life. Brewer allowed four runs in the first on four singles and a walk, although just one of the runs was earned. Another unearned run crossed the plate in the third off of Brewer, but that would be it for the 51s. Brewer finished just four innings, striking out six and walking two while allowing seven hits and five runs (one earned), but the bullpen proceeded to throw five scoreless innings to give the Aces a chance to get back into this one. Unfortunately, the Aces bats fell just one run short, tallying 11 hits but just two of them going for extra bases - a double from Ryan Wheeler and a double from Rusty Ryal, who was making his season debut for Reno. Ryal went 2-4 with the aforementioned two-bagger, but also hit into a double play.
As a random side note, the Aces traded left-hander Tom Layne to San Diego yesterday, with Layne heading to Triple-A San Antonio. There was an extra starter at Reno, with Brewer having replaced Joe Martinez in the Aces rotation when Martinez was called up to the majors, and Martinez now being optioned to Reno meant that someone had to go. Best of luck to Tom in San Diego!
Double-A (game one, nine innings): Mobile 7, Mississippi 4. This was a continuation of Wednesday's suspended contest, with lefty Tyler Skaggs officially registering as having worked two innings and allowing a hit, a walk, and no runs while striking out two. Derek Eitel "started" the picked-up contest and worked five innings, striking out three with one walk but allowing eight hits - including a home run - and four runs, two of which were earned. However, the BayBears bats picked up where they had left off the day before, tacking three more runs off of the Braves bullpen to secure the victory. Mobile received doubles from Yazy Arbelo, Marc Krauss, and Archie Gilbert, while Arbelo had a three-hit game and Daniel Kaczrowski went 0-0 with four walks.
Double-A (game two, seven innings): Mobile 2, Mississippi 0. (16-12) The BayBears finished off the two-win day against Mississippi behind stellar work from a quartet of Mobile relievers. Taylor Sinclair worked three scoreless as the game's starter, and was followed by Bryan Henry, who worked two more innings before handing it over to Eury De La Rosa and Evan Marshall for scoreless one-inning appearances. Meanwhile, the bats tacked two runs on opposing starter Sean Gilmartin, with the help of a 2-3 game that included a double and a run scored from Kaczrowski, a hit and an RBI from Matt Davidson, and a solo home run from Alfredo Marte. The home run was Marte's seventh of the season.
Hi-A: Visalia 5, Modesto 2. (12-16) The Rawhide bats made good use of their eight hits in this contest despite just two of them going for extra-bases (both doubles, one apiece from Jon Griffin and Raywilly Gomez), stealing four bases (three by Michael Freeman) and drawing nine walks (needless to say, Tyler Matzek was a bit wild) to provide plenty of runs. That offense was in support of left-hander David Holmberg, who struck out six and walked one while giving up just six hits and two runs in 6.2 innings on the bump. Holmberg left a pair of runners on in the seventh, but Michael Belfiore stranded both of them, setting the table for Belfiore and Bo Schultz to finish off the eighth and ninth innings, respectively.
Low-A: South Bend 5, Bowling Green 3. (16-11) It was a warm evening in South Bend, featuring perhaps the two best starting pitching prospects I've had the chance to see this semester (having not gotten a look at any of Lansing's staff) - Archie Bradley and (Tampa affiliate) Bowling Green's Felipe Rivero. Bradley was as impressive as I've seen him - he had some control wobbles at points in the game, but hit 96 mph on the radar gun and showed a better changeup than I had seen from him all year. Rivero was impressive himself, showing a fastball in the low-90s with life from the left side from an easy, clean delivery, and a plus changeup with good arm speed and velocity separation which he commanded well in the lower part of the zone.
Rivero left the game after just 4.1 innings due to what seemed to be a leg injury sustained, likely attributable to what I've heard is a terrible mound at Coveleski Stadium. I've seen several pitchers struggle with the mound throughout the year - including Archie last night - and it's a shame to see Rivero get hurt by the park, especially considering the lengths that the Rays go to to keep their young pitchers healthy. Archie was solid once again, striking out four and allowing just one hit and one earned run in five innings of work, although he did walk five. On the offensive end, Gerson Montilla's double was the only extra-base hit on the night, with small-ball helping South Bend score most of their runs. The Hawks notched eight hits, four walks, and three stolen bases on the night to help take down the Hot Rods.