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Diamondbacks Minor League Recap 7/1/21 - What’s a bullpen?

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The Diamondbacks Minor League affiliates combined for a 1-3 record with Reno taking the only win. Bad bullpen doomed two teams to losses late in games. Pitching prospects that took the mound last night included Humberto Mejia for Reno, Luis Frias for Amarillo, and Brandon Pfaadt for Hillsboro.

Top Pitching Performance: Hillsboro RHP Brandon Pfaadt - 7 IP, 5 H, 3 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 7 K, L (1-1)
Top Hitting Performance: Visalia 2B Ronny Simon - 3 for 5, 2 2B, solo HR, 3 R

AAA: Reno Aces 8, Tacoma Rainiers (SEA) 5

Reno quickly took control of this game with a pair of 4-run innings. After nearly stranding a leadoff double by Jamie Ritchie in the first, Drew Ellis would hit a double on an 0-2 pitch to drive in the first run. Jake McCarthy would draw a walk after running the count full, which preceded a Stuart Fairchild home run. Fairchild’s 3rd homer in 2 games would give Reno a quick 4-0 lead before Humberto Mejia threw a single pitch. For Tacoma that doubly stunk as they let two hitters get away after jumping ahead 0-2 and 1-2 with 2 outs and a runner in scoring position.

Reno would again plate 4 in the 3rd, this time on one swing of the bat. Seth Beer would single with 1 out on a flare to left. Ellis and Fairchild would walk to load the bases for Juniel Querecuto and you probably already know what happens next based on what you read above. Querecuto would crush a grand slam to left, which gave Reno a 8-0 lead at the time. They would need those runs to hold up for the rest of the game.

Mejia did a pretty good job of getting Reno back in the dugout early on, putting up zeros in the first 4 innings while the offense built up that big cushion. Unfortunately things fell off a bit in his final two innings. Mejia would allow 4 runs in those innings, but ultimately completed six innings. Cameron Gann would be the first man out of the bullpen and was rudely greeted by a home run off the bat of Jake Hager to make it 8-5. Gann would retire one of the next two hitters before getting lifted for Sam Moll, who pitched out of trouble despite walking one hitter. Chester Pimentel and Miguel Aguilar would pitch scoreless innings to put this game to bed.

1B Seth Beer: 1 for 4, R, K
LF Jake McCarthy: 0 for 3, BB, R, 3 K
RF Stuart Fairchild: 1 for 3, BB, 3-R HR (4), 2 R, K
RHP Humberto Mejia: 6 IP, 5 H, 4 R (4 ER), 2 BB, K, W (2-3)

AA: Amarillo Sod Poodles 3, Wichita Wind Surge (MIN) 4

Luis Frias was a bit erratic, but effectively wild as the only damage against him was a 3rd inning solo homer by Spencer Steer. Amarillo would answer in the bottom of the inning with an RBI groundout by Dominic Fletcher to tie it at 1-1. In the bottom of the 4th, Mikey Reynolds would give his team the lead with a 2-run homer. They had chances to add more to the lead, but collectively the team went 0 for 8 w/ RISP. Despite the lack of clutch hits, that lead would hold up through the 8th, thanks to scoreless outings by Jeff Bain and Mack Lemieux, who would record the next 11 outs. Matt Brill would come on to get the final out of the 8th. The 9th inning was a different matter, as Brill would allow Wichita to score 3 runs to steal the game away despite getting the winnings runs in scoring position with 2 outs.

CF Alek Thomas: 1 for 5, 3B, R, K
RF Dominic Fletcher: 0 for 5, RBI, K
SS Geraldo Perdomo: 0 for 4, 2 K
RHP Luis Frias: 4 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 3 BB, 3 K

High A: Hillsboro Hops 1, Eugene Emeralds (SFG) 3

Brandon Pfaadt would get hit for 3 early runs, but settled in to prove 7 solid innings with 1 walk and 7 strikeouts. His overall season numbers have been spectacular, putting up a 3.38 ERA, 70/9 K/BB ratio, .206 opponent batting average, and a 0.96 WHIP over 53 13 innings between Low and High A so far. His two starts in High A have not shaken him either, which is an encouraging sign for a farm system that could use a pick-me-up right now.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Hops could not buy a hit when it mattered, going 2 for 9 w/ RISP with neither hit producing a run. Their only run came in the 3rd when Reece Hampton led off the inning with a triple and scored on Spencer Brickhouse’s sacrifice fly one batter later.

SS Blaze Alexander: 1 for 2, 2 BB
RHP Brandon Pfaadt: 7 IP, 5 H, 3 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 7 K, L (1-1)

Low A: Visalia Rawhide 10, Modesto Nuts (SEA) 19

Once again, Visalia pitching failed to answer the call and a bullpen meltdown wasted an epic come-from-behind bid from the hitters. Despite Avery Short giving up 5 runs in the first, Visalia would score 8 of the next 9 runs to take an 8-6 lead in the 4th. Ronny Simon, A.J. Vukovich, and Neyfy Castillo would pace the lineup in the 2-4 spots, collecting 6 hits, 3 walks, 7 RBI, and 8 runs scored.

After taking the 8-6 lead, the bullpen completely imploded. Modesto would score 3 runs in consecutive innings off Jose Santamaria and Liu Fuenmayor. Santamaria would leave the bases loaded with 2 outs in the 5th up by a run before giving way to Fuenmayor. What happened was a massive meltdown as Modesto would score 5 runs before Fuenmayor was pulled. Visalia would claw back in this game, with Ronny Simon’s home run and Dairon Cuevas literally making a run out of nothing after a walk to cut it down to 12-10. Hunter Haworth would allow 2 runs and David Sanchez would get crushed for 5 runs in the 9th inning.

DH A.J. Vukovich: 1 for 3, BB, HR (8), 3 R
RF Jeferson Espinal: 0 for 5,, 3 K