Triple-A: Lehigh Valley (Phillies) 7, Norfolk Tides 6
The Tides took a 1-0 lead when Terrin Vavra hit a leadoff home run, his first Triple-A dinger of the season. Then they promptly fell behind 6-1 within two innings, eventually battled back to knot up the score at 6-6, and lost on a walkoff because Cole Uvila allowed a leadoff double and after a sacrifice bunt, the guy scored.
Vavra did not end up with an opportunity to follow up on his leadoff home run. His second plate appearance ended when he was hit in the head by a pitch. A pinch runner entered here. Hopefully everything checks out OK for Vavra.
Norfolk picked up their six runs despite being held to seven hits, and they were 0-7 with runners in scoring position besides. Weird things happen if you look at enough baseball box scores. GUNNAR HENDERSON had merely a 1-5 and stole his second Triple-A base.
Fellow infielder Jordan Westburg! (GUNNAR gets the caps, Westburg! gets the exclamation point) added a pair of hits, including his fifth Norfolk home run in 13 games. Westburg!’s 14 home runs between Bowie and Norfolk lead the Orioles organization. I can’t help but wonder, if some team with a better record happens to crave Rougned Odor’s veteran leadership next month, whether we might see a Westburg! arrival in Baltimore this year.
The Tides ended up in the early hole as Cody Sedlock was blasted for six runs, five earned, in only two innings. That one MLB game might be all he gets. Beau Sulser did yeoman’s work in long relief, pitching four scoreless innings in which he only allowed one hit and one walk. That, on the other hand, might get the 40-man pitcher back in an Orioles uniform - except not within the next few days because now he’s not fresh.
Busted #1 overall pick Mark Appel pitched the ninth inning for the IronPigs. He did not allow a baserunner. Now 30, Appel seems to have reinvented himself as a reliever - he’s got a 1.61 ERA for Lehigh Valley over 28 innings this year, holding batters to a .182 average against him. He has a 5-0 record, and five saves. The Phillies have three 5+ ERA relievers active on the big league club right now. I’m rooting for Appel to finally make it to the show.
Double-A: Erie (Tigers) 3, Bowie Baysox 2
As a general rule, it is difficult to win when you go 0-12 with runners in scoring position. That’s what happened to the Baysox on Thursday night. They had some chances and then just... couldn’t get the next hit to score somebody.
Outfielder Hudson Haskin and infielder César Prieto accounted for five of the eight Baysox hits. Prieto added a double to two singles. The Cuban is now hitting .292/.328/.372 through 26 Double-A games. The main difference is he had seven homers in 25 games for Aberdeen and has only hit one so far for Bowie. Fellow infielder Joey Ortiz took an 0-for, dropping his season OPS to .628. He may be on the Jorge Mateo all glove/no bat path.
Not much of interest to say about the pitchers in this one. 24-year-old righty Ryan Watson allowed three runs in a five inning start, pushing his season ERA to 4.07. Reliever Connor Loeprich finished the final three innings without allowing a run. He’s going to need some more outings like that to lower his 6.15 ERA.
High-A: Wilmington (Nationals) 1, Aberdeen IronBirds 0
It’s fun looking at Aberdeen box scores most nights because they’ve got Colton Cowser, Coby Mayo, Connor Norby, and for now, a rehabbing Yusniel Díaz. These fellows combined to go 0-12 in the game, so, that could have been more exciting. Aberdeen had three hits altogether. Here’s something more fun than the previous: Cowser racked up outfield assists from center field at both second and third base over the course of the game.
One other rehabber was involved in this game. Matt Harvey, though suspended, is allowed to start pitching at lower levels to build up innings before his suspension ends. He cruised through six scoreless innings in 82 pitches. It’s the kind of situation where success is worth little but failure would have been concerning. He did not fail. I assume we’ll see him in Bowie next week and perhaps Norfolk the week after.
Low-A: Lynchburg (Guardians) 3, Delmarva Shorebirds 2 - Game 1 / 7 innings
The two teams combined for nine hits over the first game of their doubleheader, and the Orioles affiliate actually out-hit the opposition, 5-4, on the way to the loss. Shortstop Noelberth Romero’s ninth inning error - you might remember the name from the Andrew Cashner trade three years ago - led to two unearned runs scoring, which sent the Shorebirds into the loss column.
Heston Kjerstad’s Finally Arrived Tour had another outing here, playing the full game as the designated hitter. He added another 1-3 to his batting stats, leaving him with a .394 batting average through nine games. Still not much power yet, but I had fears his eventual debut might go worse.
Delmarva starting pitcher Moises Chace had to leave the game after 3.2 hitless innings with an apparent leg injury. There were two men on base when Chace left, both on walks. He issued three in the game. One inherited runner crossed the plate and went on his ledger. Chace, who turned 19 earlier this month, has a 6.57 ERA after 12 Low-A games.
Lynchburg 5, Delmarva Shorebirds 1 - Game 2 / 7 innings
The Hillcats sweeping this doubleheader sealed their first half division title and a Low-A postseason spot. Delmarva being swept drops their record to 21-44. If it makes you feel any better, the end of the first half means that this team’s record will wind back to 0-0. Maybe the second half will go better.
These teams once again combined for nine hits, except this time the Shorebirds were out-hit, 6-3. Kjerstad did not play the second game.
Friday’s Scheduled Games
- Norfolk: at Lehigh Valley, 7:05. Starter: Mike Baumann
- Bowie: at Erie, 6:35. Starter: Drew Rom
- Aberdeen: vs. Wilmington, 7:05. Starter: TBD
- Delmarva: vs. Lynchburg, 7:05. Starter: Edgar Portes