The Brandon Larson Honorary Star of the Weekend
Tyler Stephenson continued his torrid start to the season with a weekend worth of mashing at the plate. All told, the 2015 1st round pick went 5 for 10 with a double, a triple, 3 walks, 3 ribbies, and 4 runs scored for the Class A+ Daytona Tortugas in 3 games, which is exactly the kind of offensive upside that had him routinely on Top 100 overall prospect lists before he ran into a litany of injuries.
Now healthy, he’s showing why he was so highly regarded, and at this rate I’d be surprised if he doesn’t earn a promotion up to AA Pensacola at some point this summer - especially when Chris Okey and his now-injured wrist get activated.
Friday, April 13th
Lehigh Valley 9, Louisville 5
Jose “Skee” Lopez got rocked in his second AAA start, allowing a pair of dingers and 7 ER in 4.1 IP to take the loss. Tyler “Roger” Goeddel bonked a solo homer to start the game as his lone hit in a 1 for 5 outing, Nick Senzel went 2 for 5, and Rosell “Seashell” Herrera went 2 for 5 with a dinger while playing 3B - already the fourth position he’s played so far this year.
Chattanooga 3, Pensacola 2
The Fighting ARFs felled the Blue Wahoos on Friday, and did so despite a decent-ish start from Vlad Gutierrez. He allowed 3 ER in 6 IP, scattering 9 hits to go along with 4 Ks (and no walks). Shed Long went 2 for 4 with a run scored from the leadoff spot, Gavin “Scully” LaValley went 3 for 4 with a ribbie, run scored, and double (the lone extra-base hit of the evening), and Aristides Aquino also had a 2 for 4 night with a run batted in.
Daytona 9, Jupiter 3
The Tortugas rode a 5 run 3rd inning to a big lead and cruised to a win over Jupiter on Friday, and it came against rehabbing former Red Dan Straily. Straily was shelled - get it? - for 7 runs (6 ER) in just 2.2 IP, while Daytona starter Ryan Olson yielded just a lone ER in his 6 K, BB effort over 6 IP. Dilson Herrera proved to be the more effective former-big-leaguer-on-rehab, going 3 for 5 with a dinger and 2 runs scored, while Taylor “Jackson Hole Aerial” Trammell backed him with an equally impressive 2 for 5 night that featured a double, triple, 2 ribbies, and 2 runs scored. T.J. Friedl chipped in with a double, walk, and a pair of runs scored, to boot.
Dayton had their game against Great Lakes banged due to rain.
Saturday, April 14th
Lehigh Valley 7, Louisville 6
Nick Senzel bashed a 9th inning dinger - his first at AAA - but it wasn’t enough to bring the Bats back to a W. Rosell “Hit Kingll” Herrera had another big night by going 3 for 5 with a double, triple, and run scored, Steve “I’m Too” Selsky put a solo dinger on his ledger, and Blake “1950’s TV Dinner” Trahan walked thrice. Unfortunately, the pitching. Domingo “Sunday” Tapia was touched up for 4 ER in just 3.1 IP, leaving the bullpen on the hook for a lot more out-getting than they should’ve been tasked with. That sentence ends in a preposition, which I’m sure still pisses off my 8th grade Language Arts teacher.
Chattanooga 3, Pensacola 2
The Fightin’ ARFs got the better of the ‘hoos on Saturday, too, and it again came in a 3-2 contest. Kevin “‘Love,’ but like ‘Love Shack’ not like ‘Kevin Love’” Shackelford got the start on a rehab assignment, with the big reliever throwing an effective yet nondescript scoreless inning (1 hit) to begin things, with Jesus “Tampa Beye” Reyes taking over to allow all 3 ER in 4 IP after that. Josh “Crashed My Skateboard and Lost A Shoe, So Now I Only Have One” VanMeter had a 2 for 3 night, Gabby “Sabatini” Guerrero doubled, while Alfredo Rodriguez went 0 for 1 before exiting the game for some reason. (He didn’t play on Sunday, either.)
Jupiter 18, Daytona 13
Nope, that’s not a typo. And since there were only 2 total errors in this one, only 3 of those 31 runs scored were unearned.
Nick “The Duck” Howard is alive after spending the last few seasons in shoulder purgatory, but the former 1st round draftee’s 2018 ERA will never look good after his outing Saturday. He got an out, which was a good thing, but allowed 9 runs - 8 earned - with 2 dingers yielded while walking 2 and allowing 7 hits. Brutal, man. That made Wennington “George A.” Romero’s 5 ER in 4 IP look quite rosy.
Offensively, though, there were bright spots. Dilson “Pickle” Herrera dingered again, Mitch “Whip” Nay dingered twice (and drove in 5 runs), and Tyler “Taylor” Stephenson went 3 for 3 with a double, a triple, 3 runs scored, and 3 ribbies. Oh, and Taylor “Tyler” Trammell dingered and walked as part of his 2 for 4, 3 run day.
Once again, Dayton’s game against Great Lakes was rained out.
Sunday, April 15th
Louisville 5, Lehigh Valley 4 (F/10)
The Bats needed extras to beat the IronPigs, and even needed to overcome some 10th inning drama, at that. Louisville scored twice in the Top of the 10th, and while “Egg” Zack Weiss was able to lock down the save, Lehigh Valley plated an unearned run to add some goosebumps before falling.
Scott “ScheBron” Schebler struck out in all 3 PAs while on rehab assignment, Nick Senzel went 1 for 4 with a walk and a run scored, and both Steve “Ro” Selsky and Patrick Kivlehan had hits and 2 ribbies each.
Robert “Bob” Stephenson gets the start on Monday for the Bats in Buffalo, assuming it doesn’t snow eleventy feet up there. First pitch is set for 6:05 PM ET.
Chattanooga 5, Pensacola 4
Wyatt Strahan got doinked around for 2 dingers and 4 ER in his 4 IP, and the Blue Wahoos fell to the Lookouts for the third straight day. Shed “Don” Long had 2 hits and scored twice from the leadoff spot, Aristides Aquino doubled twice, and Nick “Don” Longhi dingered and drove in a pair as part of his 2 hit day.
Gavin LaValley, who’s back to trying 3B a bit these days, had 2 fielding errors.
The Blue Wahoos will travel to play the Mississippi Braves on Monday, with first pitch set for 8:00 PM ET. They’ve not yet named a starting pitcher, however.
Jupiter 9, Daytona 3 (Game called due to rain in the 9th inning)
T.J. Friedl doubled and drove in a pair, and Tyler “Taylor” Stephenson had another 2 hit night, but the Dragonas simply couldn’t match the Hammerheads on Sunday. Ty “Frank” Boyles got lit up for 4 ER on 7 H in 3.1 IP, while Alex “Cobb” Webb later allowed 4 ER while recording just a lone out. Taylor “Taylor...wait, Tyler” Trammell walked and added his first stolen base of the season.
Daytona has a scheduled off-day on Monday, but will return to action at 6:30 PM ET on Tuesday in Tampa. They’ve not yet announced a starter.
Dayton, once again, had their game banged on Sunday.
Who knows if the Dragons will ever play another game, at this point. They’ve got a scheduled off-day on Monday after having their entire weekend slate postponed. Wendolyn “Steal My Sunshine” Bautista is scheduled to pitch for them on Tuesday, but that may well get shuffled due to the 3-game shutdown over the weekend.