Brandon Larson Honorary Star of the Night
Chris Okey has struggled mightily since being a 2nd round pick of the Cincinnati Reds back in 2016. In fact, a quick glimpse at the numbers he’s posted in that time makes you want to close your eyes and count backwards until you pass out.
Of course, Okey was also attempting to play through a borked hamate bone for most of last season, and after getting that corrected, he’s finally, finally starting to hit the ball for AA Pensacola, and Wednesday saw that trend continue.
Over his last 21 G - 79 PA - Okey has hit .292/.354/.486 with a trio of dingers, one of which came on Wednesday in a 2 for 4 outing. For as much as he has struggled, he’s still viewed as a solid defensive catching prospect, and he’s still just a 23 year old in AA. If this offensive surge is a hopeful return to healthy form for him, the Reds might just have another decent prospect in him after all.
Lucas Sims allowed just 3 H and a lone walk in his outing against his former club - and wouldn’t ya know it, he still managed to get tagged for 4 ER. He hit a batter and allowed a single after getting through 5.1 IP having allowed just 2 ER, but Domingo “33 Beers on” Tapia took over and immediately allowed both runners to score, thanks at least in part to a Josh “Down by the River” VanMeter error. Well, at least that’s the kind of thing that’ll prep Sims for the Cincinnati rotation.
At the plate, the Bats got a 2-hit night from Blake Trahan, and...man, this Louisville lineup at the moment is thoroughly uninspiring.
Vlad Gutierrez got the start for the Blue Wahoos in this one, and while he was far from his absolute best, he pitched a heckuva lot better than this final score would let on. He fired 6.0 IP of 4 ER ball, striking out 7 while not allowing a single walk, but 7 H and a pair of dingers largely doomed him. Nick “The Duck” Howard, though, tossed another scoreless inning of relief, which is something, I suppose.
At the plate, TJ Friedl singled and walked (because that’s just what he does), and Chris Okey blasted a dinger as part of his aforementioned 2 for 4 night.
Lakeland plated a run in the Bottom of the 10th off Joel “Slyde” Kuhnel to walk-off with a win. That spoiled what otherwise was a stellar outing from starter Scott “Austin” Moss, who fired 6.0 IP of 4 H, ER, 2 BB, 5 K ball.
The offense was led completely by Courtney “Cliff” Hawkins, who belted a solo dinger in the Top of the 1st that would plate the Tortugas lone run - and their lone hit on the night.
At least the Dragons did some winning on Wednesday. Patrick “Crime Dog” McGuff was brilliant in his start, allowing just 2 H and a BB against 7 K in his 7.0 scoreless IP.
Offensively, Jose Garcia went 3 for 5 with a double, a ribbie, and a run scored, Leandro Santana belted a solo homer, Jonathan India walked and scored, and each of Andy Sugilio, Raul “Ball Don’t Lie” Wallace, and Alejo Lopez had 2-hit nights.
The Mustangs laid a big ol’ stinker in this one, notching just 3 hits on the night against the baker’s dozen pounded out by the Chukars. James “Yo No Soy” Marinan was at least relatively competent in the start in that he allowed no runs to score in his 2.2 IP, but he did have to scatter 4 H and 3 BB in that time.
Bren “Jagged Little” Spillane had a double - the Mustangs lone XBH hit of the night - but he also struck out another 2 times, meaning the powerful 3rd round pick out of the University of Illinois now has fanned 65 times in just 129 PA in rookie ball - and that’s just not going to work long term.