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Orioles minor league recap 7/11: Another good day for prospect starting pitching

Kevin Smith, Grayson Rodriguez, Garrett Stallings and Noah Denoyer all put together nice starts on Saturday.

Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Triple-A: Norfolk Tides 2, Durham Bulls 5

Norfolk bats were mostly quiet against a slate of six Durham pitchers of whom five have seen big-league action: Luis Patiño, Ryan Sherriff, Brian Moran (BJ Surhoff’s nephew), Louis Head, and Brent Honeywell Jr. Against this outfit, Norfolk scratched out just three hits, a Seth Mejias-Brean double and a pair of singles by J.C. Escarra and Stevie Wilkerson, whose Triple-A OPS of .969 should make us appreciate how good MLB pitching is. Escarrra plated both of Norfolk’s runs with a sac fly and a bases-loaded walk.

On the pitching side, Kevin Smith (1-2, 3.63 ERA) allowed just one run over 3.1 innings, a solo home run to longtime Yankee infielder Mike Ford. Smith walked two and struck out six. Conner Greene took the loss with one unfortunate inning where he walked three and allowed a three-run homer—also to Mike Ford, whose presence on Durham’s roster rounds out a picture of a lineup that is really more like a bad MLB team than a true minor-league one.

In relief of Greene, the 32-year-old Manny Barreda pitched a perfect 1.2 innings with 2 Ks. Meanwhile, familiar faces Isaac Mattson, Evan Phillips and Cody Carroll each tossed a scoreless inning, Phillips and Carroll striking out two each with no hits allowed.

Double-A: Bowie Baysox 5, Richmond Flying Squirrels 7

Grayson Rodriguez pitched to a five-inning, three-run no-decision, but there were good signs. The three runs came on just three hits: a single and a pair of home runs, and Rodriguez struck out six and walked none. In fact, of Rodriguez’s 66 pitches, 51 were strikes.

Down 3-0, the Baysox tied the game in the fifth inning, thanks to an RBI double by recent-arrival Greg Cullen and a two-run throwing error by the Flying Squirrels. Bowie would add a run in the seventh on a bases-loaded walk to Kyle Stowers (.281 BA/.958 OPS), and another in the ninth on a bases-loaded wild pitch. But it wasn’t enough to overcome a rough outing by Cameron Bishop, who surrendered a three-run home run in the eighth.

The Baysox had five hits all together but also walked nine times. Robert Neustrom went 1-for-3 with two walks, Toby Welk singled and walked, Stowers also went 1-for-3 with two walks, and Patrick Dorrian walked twice. Adley Rutschman had the night off while traveling to Colorado for today’s Futures Game.

High-A: Aberdeen IronBirds 11, Greenville Drive 3

Another Orioles affiliate starter, another strong performance. Former Angels farmhand Garrett Stallings threw five innings in which he allowed just one run (unearned) to lower his ERA to 4.42. Stallings had a few rough starts in early June but seems to have settled down since then. Jonathan Pendergast allowed two runs in two innings of relief. Morgan McSweeney closed out the game with two scoreless, hitless innings.

Three players each had three RBIs for Aberdeen on Saturday: Zach Watson hit a three-run dinger in the first inning. Maverick Handley hit two RBI singles. And Jordan Westburg homered, doubled, and walked in a run on a 2-for-4 day. Andrew Daschbach hit a solo home run, too, while Adam Hall also singled in a run. The IronBirds could have done even more but for an 0-for-5 day at the plate for Gunnar Henderson, still taking his lumps in High-A ball.

Low-A: Delmarva Shorebirds 7, Salem Red Sox 2

Anyone who’s keeping an eye on Delmarva starting pitcher Noah Denoyer, a 2019 signing, should be over the moon with Saturday’s start. Denoyer threw a full six innings of one-run baseball (zero earned) on 76 pitches. He struck out six Red Sox, walked none, and allowed just four hits. Hard to do much better. He’s now 5-2 with a 3.19 ERA on the season.

The Shorebirds offense was powered mostly by a six-run third inning, brought to you by the bats of TT Bowens (RBI single), Jean Carmona (RBI single), Cristopher Cespedes (two-run double) and Andrew Martinez (RBI groundout). DH Hudson Haskin went 1-for-3 and scored a run. Mason Janvrin was 2-for-4 on the day. Delmarva’s leading hitters right now are TT Bowens (.881 OPS) followed by Hudson Haskin (.808) and Andrew Martinez (.817 OPS). Yorkislandy Alvarez is hitting .317 in 12 games and Jean Carmona is hitting .308 in 19 games.

Complete box scores from Saturday’s games can be found here.

Sunday’s scheduled games:

  • Norfolk vs. Durham, 4:05. Starter: Alex Wells (5-3, 4.86 ERA)
  • Bowie vs. Richmond, 1:35 PM. Starter: Ofelky Peralta (5-0, 3.34 ERA)
  • Aberdeen at Greenville, 3:05. Starter: Kevin Magee (0-1, 6.23 ERA)
  • Delmarva vs. Salem, 5:05 PM. Starter: Zach Peek (2-2, 4.30 ERA)