This weekend on the farm, Easter and rain took its toll on the system as only four games were played throughout the system, but in them Jenrry Mejia proved human, Jeurys Familia stayed hot, and St. Lucie was the only affiliate to post a “W”.
Saturday April 23
Lehigh Valley 7, Buffalo 5
Pat Misch, having cleared waivers once again after a cruelly short stint with the big league club, returned to starting duty and threw 5.2 innings, allowing three earned runs on three walks and five hits. Misch only struck out one, which is probably the least encouraging statistic to come from the start. While I’ve been a fan of Misch’s for a while, I’m beginning to feel resigned to his status as a “AAAA” player at best.
The Bisons offense was solid, as Ruben Tejada’s hot hitting continued to the tune of a two-hit, two-RBI day. The ghost of Nick Evans had an RBI as well, but the real big news was Fernando Martinez, who returned from the DL to hit a pinch-hit home run. The quick return for F-Mart is encouraging, but he simply has to stay healthy this time. Nonetheless it wasn’t enough for the Bisons to put together a win, as the rest of the lineup struggled, as did the bullpen.
St. Lucie 5, Jupiter 0
The St. Lucie Mets are gradually cementing themselves as the Mets’ most exciting affiliate, with the combination of their young burgeoning power hitters and an absolutely nasty rotation creating something really fun to monitor on a night-in, night-out basis. Naturally Saturday’s shut-out win embodied that essence.
The story starts with Jeurys Familia, who was absolutely stellar tossing seven shutout innings of three-hit baseball. Familia was something of a question mark coming into the season, with the main issue being whether his command could develop to the point where he can work deep into games. I don’t have a pitch-count from Saturday’s game, but Familia’s eight strikeouts compared to three walks (admittedly the walks are still a little high, but you can live with it) show some great promise. Familia also got four ground balls, compared to five pop-ups, flashing potential outside the strikeout realm.
Meanwhile the run-scoring was well spread across the lineup, with five players recording multi-hit games. Cesar Puello had two hits with a double, Wilmer Flores a pair of hits of his own, and Pedro Zapata drove in three runs on his two hits. Juan Lagares also added a double amongst his three hits. On the first really encouraging weekend from the big league season so far, it was a perfect game to have going on down on the farm out in Jupiter as well.
Lexington 8, Savannah 7
The Sand Gnats ended their home stand Saturday with a loss to the Legends, although there were certainly glimpses of promise in the effort put forth in Savannah. Aderlin Rodriguez, who has struggled early for the Gnats despite exhibiting enormous raw potential, hit a two-run homer in the third inning as part of his two-hit day; even at the end of Rodriguez’s solid day, his batting average still sat at .180. Wilfredo Tovar had a nice day getting on base, driving in one run and reaching base three times. Once on the base paths, Tovar had a nice day scoring two runs.
The Sand Gnats normally reliable pitching staff had an off-day, with Gregory Peavey giving up five runs in his six innings of work. The bullpen allowed another two, and the Gnats’ bats just weren’t up to the task of pulling out the win for the hometown crowd.
Sunday April 24
Lehigh Valley 7, Buffalo 5
The story, as it is every fifth day in Buffalo, was Jenrry Mejia, who put up his first sub-par performance of the season Sunday against the Iron Pigs. Mejia gave up five runs (all earned) in six innings, while striking out just three and walking two. While the result was obviously not what Mejia wanted (and he did take the loss for the Herd), the peripherals remain encouraging for the young fireballer. Mejia threw 56 of his 89 pitches for strikes; that ratio is pretty solid for a young man still refining his control, and 89 pitches through six innings on a clearly off day is very economical. Mejia got seven ground balls from batters compared to five pop-ups, a ratio he would like to improve, but it was not an entirely uninspiring mark. Three of the five runs he allowed were on a Jeff Larish home run–so having not seen the tape it could very well be the case of one bad pitch tanking the numbers for an otherwise okay day.
The Bisons bats did keep them in this game despite Mejia’s struggles, but it was not enough. Kirk Nieuwenhuis had two doubles and a walk on the day, all but ensuring the shouts for a Captain Kirk sighting in Flushing while Angel Pagan recovers will grow louder. Fernando Martinez played the whole game in right, going 1-5 and staying healthy, to the best of my knowledge. Val Pascucci, you might have been wondering, went 1-5 with a double, two RBIs and two strikeouts.