April 20th Minors Recap

Triple-A Omaha won their second straight in Round Rock, winning 5-3. They had to piece together the pitching, as starter Kyle Zimmer went just one inning (no word as to why).

Corey Toups

Blue Rocks infielder Corey Toups at the plate on April 10, 2016 (Jen Nevius).

Thankfully, the Storm Chasers have too many starters, and Luke Farrell was next in line. He allowed two runs on eight hits and a walk over 4.2 innings. He struck out seven. Al Alburquerque may have been the savior, throwing 2.1 perfect innings of relief. He also only threw 19 pitches. Yender Caramo worked around a one out error to earn his second save, needing just nine pitches to do it.

The Storm Chasers collected 13 hits, with Corey Toups getting the scoring started in the 3rd inning with a solo home run (he went 2-for-3). Dean Anna, Ryan O’Hearn, and Cam Gallagher each went 2-for-4 in the win. Anna drove in one run, while O’Hearn drove in two. Jorge Bonifacio also had two hits.

 

Double-A NW Arkansas won their series opener against Tulsa, 2-1. The Naturals broke the tie in the seventh as Frank Schwindel led off with a double and scored on Mauricio Ramos‘ single.

Of the Naturals’ seven hits, three were doubles. Alfredo Escalera went 3-for-4, while Jack Lopez had two hits in the win.

Reid Redman earned the win in relief, as he allowed one hit in two scoreless innings. He struck out two. Miguel Almonte made the start and allowed a run on five hits over six innings. He struck out seven. Almonte was perfect until allowing three straight singles and a run with two outs in the fourth.

Jake Newberry got his second save, though it was dicey in the ninth. He allowed back-to-back singles to start the inning, but then induced a double play. After a walk put runners on the corners, Newberry got a ground out to end the game.

 

High-A Wilmington ended their three-game losing skid with a 1-0 victory in their series opener over Winston-Salem. The Blue Rocks have now had ten one-run games (out of 14).

The story of the night was pitching. “Games that are 1-0 are fun,” said manager Jamie Quirk. “Every pitch counts, every fielding play counts, and we were the better team tonight.”

The Blue Rocks jumped on the board in the first, as Nicky Lopez led off with a single, moved to second base on a pickoff error, went to third base on a ground out, and scored on an Elier Hernandez single. Until Hernandez doubled to lead off the seventh, their only other base runner was a two out walk in the fifth.

AJ Puckett

Blue Rocks starter AJ Puckett on April 20, 2017 (Jen Nevius).

Meanwhile, Blue Rocks starter AJ Puckett struck out a career-high eight in a career-high seven innings. He allowed just three hits and walked one (which he was not happy about). There was talk of Puckett going back out for the 8th inning, but Quirk and pitching coach Charlie Corbell decided with the score being 1-0, Puckett did have some stressful innings.

Puckett is the first Blue Rocks starter to complete seven innings this season. ” I wanted to go back out there, but it was a pretty good reason why I didn’t go out there. I didn’t go more than five innings in my last two starts. It was a good building block to go seven innings and I can build off that. I have a lot of faith in our bullpen and I knew when (Jacob) Bodner came out I knew he was going to get the save and we were going to win the ballgame.” ­­

Jacob Bodner came on in relief to start the eighth and allowed a leadoff single, followed by a sac bunt. However, Bodner struck out the final two batters of the inning. In the ninth, Bodner again allowed a leadoff single, but then picked off the pinch runner. After another single, he got a game ending double play (Lopez dove up the middle to snag the grounder, flipped to second baseman DJ Burt, who then threw a bullet to first). According to Puckett “it was a hell of a play to end the game.”

*In roster news, outfielder Cody Jones (he went 0-for-2 with a walk tonight) was added to the roster from extended spring training (Quirk said he was injured in ST), as Colton Frabasilio was placed on the DL. The Blue Rocks also added infielder Jecksson Flores, as Jonathan McCray was “sent” to rookie ball. Adding Flores gives the Blue Rocks some flexibility and the ability to give their infielders days off.

 

Low-A Lexington once again won a series opener, this time in Columbia by a 2-0 score. The Legends have just five wins this season, all coming in series openers.

This game was also about pitching, as it was scoreless until the top of the seventh when Chris DeVito doubled with one out and came around to score on Emmanuel Rivera‘s single. The Legends tacked on a run in the ninth when DeVito once again doubled and scored on a Rivera single (though this time it came with two outs).

Andre Davis picked up his second win with seven scoreless innings. He allowed just three hits and struck out eight.

*No need to worry about Khalil Lee. He was back in the leadoff spot for the Legends Thursday night.

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About Jen Nevius

I first became a KC Royals fan way back in 1995 when I attended my first Wilmington Blue Rocks game. I fell in love with minor league baseball then and began following the Royals as former Blue Rocks clawed their way to the big leagues. 3+ years ago I started covering the Royals for Aerys Sports, but since the site has been shut down, I am going out on my own.
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