The Tigers four minor league teams were all in action as Toledo joined the fray on Friday night. The Tigers affiliates split their games, going 2-2, with Toledo winning their opener.
Toledo 5 Indianapolis 1
The Mud Hens opened their season with Adam Wilk on the mound, and the crafty lefty didn’t disappoint. Wilk went 5 innings giving up only 1 hit and 1 walk, not allowing a run. Following Wilk was Brayan Villarreal, Chris Bootcheck, and Jose Ortega, who allowed the only run of the night to the Pirates affiliate. Villarreal went two innings, and struck out three, giving up just one hit.
Offensively the Mud Hens didn’t do much either, but made the most of their opportunities. The Hens only had 5 hits on the evening against Indianapolis’ pitching. They did get some help via the walk as starter Justin Wilson gave up 6 walks. Wilson does have quality stuff, so he was able to wiggle out of some tight spots, but with the Mud Hens pitchers shutting down the Indians offense, it didn’t matter.
Star of the night: Audy Ciriaco who went 1-4 with a home run.
Altoona 4 Erie 2
I promise I will let up on this Erie roster at some point, but this could get ugly. Erie started Zach Segovia who 4.2 innings, giving up 9 hits and allowed 3 runs. Once again, the Seawolves generated very little offense on the night, producing just 5 hits to score those 2 runs. Michael Rockett was a big part of the offense going 2 for 4 and producing the only extra base hit of night by tripling.
Star of the night: Kelvin De La Cruz. The recently acquired pitcher get in his first bit of action for the Tigers in relief. De La Cruz went only 1.1 innings in relief but he did strike out 3 of the 4 batters he did face. Most importantly, he didn’t walk anyone.
Lakeland 4 Tampa 2
The pride of the Tigers farm system is off to a quick start going 2-0 to start the season. Tonight it took the Flying Tigers 10 innings to finish off the Yankees. Kevin Eichhorn went six innings for Lakeland giving up just one unearned run while striking out 4. Matt Crouse followed him up going 2 scoreless innings before turning the game over 2-1 in the ninth to closer Bruce Rondon. Rondon didn’t hurt himself with walks, but gave up the game tying run to send the game into extras. In the top of the 10th the Lakeland offense got busy scoring twice on back to back doubles by Nick Castellanos and Tyler Collins. Collins went 3 for 5 on the night, and drove in two runs.
Star of the night: Nick Castellanos went 2 for 3 with two doubles, 2 walks, and an RBI. He also scored twice as well.
Dayton 3 West Michigan 2
Well, the ‘Caps like the Erie squad have dropped their first two games on the season. However, there was some strong pitching from the Whitecaps on the night, until the 9th inning anyway. In a game that was a pitching duel all night, the Whitecaps broke a 1-1 tie in the top of the 9th on a Curt Casali 2 out home run. In the bottom of the ninth, the Dragons put up 2 runs off of ‘Caps closer Daniel Bennett who gave up 3 hits and a walk, allowing the game winning 2 runs.
There were some strong performances on the night. A guy that I have been a big proponent of, Thomas Collier went 4 innings in his A ball full season debut, giving up 4 hits and one unearned run. He struck out 6 in those four innings though. Tim Kelley and Micheal Torrealba combined for four scoreless in relief, while striking out 5.
Star of the night: Danry Vasquez. The Whitecaps youngest guy went 3 for 3 on the night, plus drew a walk.
Notable minor league performances:
*Dylan Bundy of the Orioles, who is fresh out of high school and really highly touted, pitched 3 hitless innings in his first start, striking out 6.
*Ex-Tiger Charlie Furbush got caught in a roster crunch despite earning a spot on the Mariners to start the year, he got sent down. In 3 innings of relief tonight in Tacoma, Furbush went 3 scoreless, striking out 5.
*A guy I believe on the verge of blowing up, James Paxton, had a tremendous start in AA, going 5.2 scoreless and striking out 10. I even think I had him rated higher than Danny Hultzen.
*Royals prospect Jake Odorizzi went 5 scoreless tonight, giving up just 3 hits and striking out 8.
*Texas minor league pitching had a good night. Their 4 starters were all strong. Martin Perez gave up 1 run in 6 in AAA. Miguel De Los Santos struck out 8 in 5 innings, as did Luke Jackson. Cody Buckel struck out 7 in 4 innings.
*Noah Syndergaard of Toronto will soon be a household name. He started and went just 3 scoreless but struck out 6 for the Lansing Lugnuts.
*John Hicks of the Seattle organization went 3 for 3, and is now 5 for 6 in two games, with 4 doubles, 3 RBI, and 2 BB. Nice start young man.