The D-backs farm system fell one game shy of a sweep on Tuesday, with South Bend's ninth-inning defeat going down as the only loss on the day. The club received impressive pitching performances at both Hi-A Visalia and Double-A Mobile, with Raymond Hernandez and Derek Eitel certainly deserving mention and praise for their work. However, today's award for best-on-the-farm is handed out to the player who, frankly, needed a good day at the park more than perhaps anyone in the system, and got it on Tuesday. He's dug himself a bit of a hole to start the year, but there's certainly talent here and the ability to climb out of it.
Snakelet of the Day:
Bobby Borchering (Hi-A): 3-3, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB
Triple-A (13 innings): Reno 9, Memphis 8. (16-17) The PCL is bananas. After the teams combined to put together just six half-innings of scoreless work through seven innings of this game, they proceeded to trade zeroes for five straight innings with the score knotted at 8-8. PCL baseball, everybody.
This game started off with Charles Brewer on the mound, and the right-hander struggled to limit his hits allowed. Brewer was tagged with six earned runs in the first inning alone, but credit him for ending his day with five innings pitched and seven earned runs surrendered, not letting things snowball and giving the Aces a chance to catch up in the nuts hitting environment that is basically every park in this league. Brewer struck out four while walking one, allowing 11 hits and posting a 4:4 GO:FO ratio. From that point on, the bullpen took over and dominated, with only Joe Paterson allowing an earned run in his 0.2 innings on the mound. Relievers to post scoreless appearances were: Bryan Woodall (1.1 IP), Victor Capellan (2 IP), Mike DeMark (2 IP), and Jonathan Albaladejo (2 IP).
This dominant work from the 'pen allowed the Reno hitters time to come back in this one, and the Aces did so on the strength of 16 hits and three Memphis errors, one of which led to the deciding run being scored in the top of the 13th. Taylor Harbin had a three-hit day with a double, Adam Eaton went 2-6 with a double and a walk, David Winfree singled and doubled, Jake Elmore reached base four times on three hits and a walk, and Josh Bell had three hits.
Double-A: Mobile 6, Jacksonville 1. (20-13) The BayBears clinched a series win against Jacksonville by taking the first three games of a five-game set with this win, as right-hander Derek Eitel did his best impression of the previous two days' starters, Trevor Bauer and Tyler Skaggs. Eitel worked six impressive innings, allowing just five hits, a walk, two hit batters, and just one run, striking out two and collecting nine ground ball outs. Eitel has made the difficult jump from Hi-A to Double-A look easy this year, with a 3.44 ERA through seven appearances and 34 innings on the mound. The biggest reason for Eitel's success has been his ability to limit hits despite his ground-ball approach, surrendering a .281 opponent's batting average in 2012 after posting a .313 mark with Visalia last year.
Eitel's strong performance was finished off by a trio of scoreless innings of relief, one apiece from Bryan Henry, Taylor Sinclair, and Yonata Ortega. The offense took care of the rest, led by minor-league free agent signee Wladimir Sutil, who doubled twice and tripled to lead the charge. David Nick, Kyle Greene, and Marc Krauss each chipped in with two-hit games, as well.
Hi-A: Visalia 6, Stockton 1. (16-17) Starting for the Rawhide in this one was Raymond Hernandez, who was extremely effective once again. Hernandez worked seven innings of one-run ball, allowing just four hits and striking out seven with no walks and eight groundouts. The appearance dropped Hernandez's ERA to a mere 2.67 in 27 innings pitched this year, with his 3.2-inning, six-earned-run outing against Modesto as his only non-spectacular outing of the season. Reliever Jeremy Erben walked both batters he faced before giving way to Mike Belfiore, who cleaned things up with two scoreless innings, stranding both of Erben's baserunners and facing the minimum.
On offense, the day was led by Borchering, the former first-round pick who has had a heck of a time reproducing even 2011's underwhelming line in his repeat campaign at Hi-A Visalia. Borchering reached base in all four of his plate appearances, doubling once, singling twice, and walking once. Borchering certainly needed a game like this, as he entered yesterday's action with an underwhelming line of .208/.267/.342 with 38 strikeouts, two homers, a triple, eight doubles, and nine walks in 32 games. After last night's contest, Borchering's line was up to .228/.289/.366 - a definite step up, though there is certainly quite a ways to go for Bobby to make 2012 a successful repeat campaign. Also chipping in with multi-hit days were Chris Valencia, Michael Freeman, and Carter Bell.
Low-A: South Bend 5, Great Lakes 7. (18-14) Right-hander Archie Bradley had the first truly rough outing of his career, getting touched for five runs - though just three earned - in four innings on the mound. Archie struck out four and walked just two yet gave up a home run for the first time this year and surrendered four hits, just the second time he's allowed four hits in a start this year. The walks were just the surface of some of Bradley's wildness, though, as he also threw four wild pitches, which came back to haunt him. It would be interesting to have seen just how "wild" they were, but, alas, I spent my night studying for Security Analysis rather than at The Cove.
The offense crawled back to tie things in the eighth inning, with several hitters chipping in solid days at the plate. Tom Belza was perhaps the best of the bunch, doubling twice, while Ender Inciarte and Matt Helm had three-hit games, and Gerson Montilla and Marc Bourgeois each doubled, with Montilla also drawing a walk. Unfortunately, after two scoreless innings of relief apiece from Wily Paredes and Keith Hessler to help South Bend tie things up, right-hander D.J. Johnson came on in the ninth and allowed two unearned runs, giving the game back to the Loons.