The Jays’ minor league teams had a mixed day on Sunday, seeing an extra-innings win from the Bisons, a big loss by the Fisher Cats, a solid win by the Dunedin Blue Jays and another loss by the Lugnuts. Here’s a link to Jays Journal’s Minor League Report.
Kyle Drabek got hit around in his start for the Bisons. He was picked up by Chad Jenkins (two scoreless innings) but Ryan Tepera gave up a couple of runs in his inning, blowing the save. Bobby Korecky threw four scoreless innings in relief and Neil Wagner nailed down the save. The offensive hero was Juan Francisco, playing in his first game of the season for the Herd, who went 3/6 with two home runs including the game winner in the 13th inning for an 8-6 win.
Blue Jays from Away Player of the Game: Juan Francisco
Scott Copeland started out strong for the Fisher Cats with three scoreless innings against the Trenton Thunder but the wheels fell off in the fourth. When the dust settled, Copeland had given up eight runs (six were earned) and John Anderson was charged with another three (giving up a grand slam to Yankees’ top prospect Gary Sanchez) but settled in in the fifth inning, retiring the side in order.
Blue Jays from Away Player of the Game: Ryan Schimpf
The Dunedin Blue Jays had a heck of a game or, at least, a couple of players did. Daniel Norris made his first start of the season and looked very good, giving up just one run in five innings, giving up five hits and no walks while striking out five. The lack of walks should be the biggest takeaway from this outing for Norris who, previously in his career, has struggled with his mechanics and command.
The biggest story of the day, however, is Dwight Smith, Jr. The young, left-handed hitting left fielder cranked two solo home runs off of rehabbing Phillies’ lefty Cole Hamels. Check out the article I wrote about his game at Grading on the Curve. All of the hitters in the lineup got at least one hit except for Gustavo Pierre (no, he hasn’t taken a walk yet) and Matt Newman had two hits and K.C. Hobson drove in a pair of runs.
Blue Jays from Away Player of the Game: Dwight Smith, Jr.
Finally, the Lansing Lugnuts dropped their third straight to the Lake County Captains 2-1. The offense managed to fire a little better yesterday, with eight hits overall but couldn’t turn them into runs. Dickie Thon continues to hit at his new level, continuing what he was doing in Vancouver before his injury last year while Mitch Nay and Matthew Dean contributed with a pair of hits each. D.J. Davis walked three times and struck out twice.
Kendall Graveman made the start and threw five scoreless (5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K) before Griffin Murphy came on for 1 2/3 innings. He left the bases loaded for Brady Dragmire who shut the door but allowed a run of his own in the eighth inning before Jimmy Cordero allowed Dragmire’s inherited runner to score the winning run.
Blue Jays from Away Player of the Game: Kendall Graveman
April 7 Preview
Buffalo Bisons (2-0)
The Bisons send lefty Sean Nolin to the mound for his first start of the year on Monday evening (5:05 start). They’re on the road to face the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (Philadelphia Phillies) who send 30-year-old lefty Greg Smith to the mound. Nolin looks to start 2014 on the right track after a strong 2013 that saw him put up some excellent numbers in New Hampshire and some decent ones in three starts with the Bisons. This game can be seen on MiLB TV or heard on the radio.
New Hampshire Fisher Cats (2-2)
The Fisher Cats take on another Phillies’ affiliate, the Reading Fightin’ Phils, in Monday evening action (6:35 start) and send Casey Lawrence to the hill for his first start of the year. Lawrence saw two innings of action in the season opener, primarily just to keep him fresh for his start today (much like what the Bisons did with Liam Hendriks, their fifth starter, in the season opener). Lawrence has already pitched in New Hampshire in 2012 and 2013 so he has experience at the Double-A level. The Fightin’ Phils send 24-year-old Luis Paulino to the mound. He’ll be making his Double-A debut on Monday. You can watch on MiLB TV or listen to Tom Gauthier and Bob Lipman on the radio.
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