Terry Collins ranted about needing immediate bullpen help, even before September, so before we take a look at the day guys like Zach Wheeler and Michael Fulmer had, let’s look at some possible bullpen reinforcements.
Josh Stinson mentioned by Collins specifically, and he would know better than me, but I don’t see him being a big help. He has experience as a starter, but has done his best work out of the bullpen. Still, his strikeout rate is not what you would like to see, and his WHIP isn’t anything special either. He is already on the 40-man roster, so he is pretty much guaranteed to get his shot at some point. John Lujan is a guy I’d be interested to see. I saw him in person back in May 2010 and while he was a little wild, he threw heat. There was no radar gun, but to me sitting behind the plate he was probably throwing 93-95. This year his walk rate has been better and his strikeout rate is still around 1 per inning, so he definitely deserves consideration for a big league promotion. Dylan Owen is a fringy prospect, but he’s had a nice year in Buffalo, and may be a long shot for a promotion, but he could be worth a look. Robert Carson has been mentioned as a September call-up, even after an awful season. The big lefty has gotten shelled time and time again, even struggling against lefties. His ERA of 5 and WHIP of 1.67 might be more acceptable if he was also striking a lot of guys out, but he’s not. He still might have decent stuff and good potential, but he could really get hit hard in the majors. Collin McHugh is a low ceiling guy, but he has exceeded expectations this year after a promotion to Binghamton. He has a 3.33 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP while also averaging over a strike out per inning. He may not be on the major league radar yet, but the results in AA have been good, and while he’s been mostly a starter, it’s doubtful he’d ever become more than a bullpen piece anyway. Dale Thayer and Mike O’Connor are also options to be recalled, as we saw them earlier this year. Now onto Sunday’s slate of games:
Buffalo 10, Columbus 2
Dylan Owen (as mentioned above) gave up 1 run on 4 hits through 7 innings, striking out 6. Mike O’Connor pitched the final 2 innings. Zach Lutz, Val Pascucci, and Jesus Feliciano all homered. For Lutz, it was his 10th of the season; if not for injuries, Lutz would have well over 20 homeruns by season’s end. Josh Satin and Jordany Valdespin were both 0-5.
Binghamton 7, Portland 6
Tobi Stoner struggled through 4.2 innings, but Brad Holt got him out of trouble in the 5th and then pitched 3 strong innings, giving up just 1 run, getting the win and getting his ERA below 5. Rhiner Cruz shut the door in the 9th for the save. Matt Den Dekker and Brahaim Maldonado both had 2 hits; Dusty Ryan and Jean Luc Blaquiere had 2 hits including a homerun.
Bradenton 3, St. Lucie 1 (game 1) (8 innings)
Zach Wheeler was strong for 5 innings, giving up 1 run on 4 hits and 2 walks while striking out 9. Cory Mazzoni is now allowed to pitch 2 innings and was perfect in those 2 innings, striking out 2. Eric Niesen let up 2 unearned runs in the 9th thanks to 2 errors and took the loss. Wilmer Flores had 1 of those critical 8th inning errors, but he also had 2 hits, including a double. Gilbert Gomez had a triple and an RBI, and also threw out a guy at the plate from left field, not bad for a guy playing in the GCL just a couple weeks ago.
St. Lucie 4, Bradenton 3 (game 2)
Armando Rodriguez started and gave up 2 run in 5 innings. Jeffrey Kaplan pitched a scoreless inning in relief and Josh Edgin gave up a run, but got the win after the Lucies scored 3 runs in the bottom of the 7th. Juan Centeno was 3-3. Cory Vaugn was 2-3 with a double. Rylan Sandoval also had 2 hits.
Greenville 7, Savannah 3
Angel Cuan got beaten up bad; in 5 innings he gave up 7 runs on 14 hits. Chase Huchingson pitched 2 scoreless frames, striking out 3. Just 4 total hits for the Gnats, including a double and a triple by Rafael Fernandez and homers by Wilfredo Tovar and Joe Bonfe. Darrell Ceciliani was not in the lineup after leaving the previous day’s game early; have not heard anything yet about the injury, but Ceciliani did have a hamstring issue back in April.
Brooklyn was trailing Tri-City 6-2 in the 4th when the game was suspended. Chris Hilliard pitched 2 shutout innings, his first appearance since the second week of July. Randy Fontanez came in and immediately ran into problems.
Burlington 6, Kingsport 2
The K-Mets didn’t get the pitching they’ve been getting, and they also managed just 5 hits, 2 of those coming from Dustin Lawley, including a solo homer, his 8th of the year. Camden Maron and Julio Concepcion also had a hit, both are hitting over .300.
GCL Astros 5, GCL Mets 4
Michael Fulmer gave up 2 runs on 3 hits in 2.1 innings, but he walked nobody and struck out 5. John Gant let up 3 runs on 5 hits in 2.2 innings to follow Fulmer. Luis Cessa pitched 3 shutout innings, striking out 3 after that. Brandon Nimmo was 2-5 with a run scored while batting second and playing centerfield. Ryan Hutson and Jeyckol De Leon both had 2 hits as well.