Durham 5, Indianapolis 0. We had a couple of things going on so we were going to skip this feature today. Of course by a “couple of things” we mean we didn’t get to sleep til real late. But nooooooo. Jeff Niemann has to go and toss 6.1 innings of 1-hit ball with 8 strike outs for his best start of the year. It’s the Niemann performance that we have been waiting for. The only hit came with 1 out in the 4th on an infield single. Interestingly, Niemann was pulled with 1 out in the 7th with 1 runner on first and the Bulls leading 4-0. He struck out the last player he faced, which was his 100th pitch. It is interesting because it means that Niemann is still on a very strict pitch count. The idea of it is fine, but it also leads us to believe that even if Niemann was pitching like this every time out, the Rays don’t think his arm is ready for the major leagues…Chad Orvella pitched a perfect 9th and struck out 2. Ladies and Gentlemen…Chad Orvella, AAAA pitcher…Wes Bankston left the game with a wrist injury after a collision at first base.
Jacksonville 7, Montgomery 5. Chris Mason had his second straight less than stellar outing. This time he gave up 3 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks in 6 innings. Mason either is battling a bit of a tired arm or he got a little cocky after Peter Gammons mentioned his name during the MLB draft broadcast, which was just before this two game losing streak. On a brighter note, Reid Brignac was 3-5 and hit his 7th home run and 12th double. He also stole his 7th and 8th bases and did not commit an error. Baby steps. Evan Longoria had 2 singles in 5 at bats with an RBI. His single in the 3rd broke an 0-24 stretch.
Vero Beach 7, St. Lucie 2. Matt Walker gave up 1 run in 6 innings on 4 hits and 3 walks. He struck out 3. Garrett Groce was 2-4. He hit his 3rd home run and stole his 5th base. He has only played in 21 games because of time on the DL.
Greenville 11, Columbus 5. Wade Townsend did not have nearly the same success as his former Rice teammate. He was pounded for 8 runs in 5 innings. He gave up 9 hits and only struck out 2. Of the 23 batters that Townsend faced, 5 hit home runs. Nevin Ashley was 2-3 and hit his 6th home run.
NOTES FROM DOWN ON THE FARM…
- Reid Brignac almost hit a second home run last night. His ground rule double was ruled to have gone through the fence, instead of over it.
- Jeff Niemann based his performance on the return of his slider.
My slider was really working tonight…It’s finally back to where it was when it was my very best pitch.