Surprise, Surprise! The Dogs win their second straight over the prickly Saguaros

No messing around: Blake Rutherford walloped his first homer in the Arizona Fall League to help propel the Desert Dogs to victory. (Sean Williams/South Side Hit Pen)

Glendale Desert Dogs 2, Surprise Saguaros 0

Blake Rutherford (CF) 1-for-3, R, HR (1), RBI (3), BB, K (.207 BA, .826 OPS)
Gavin Sheets (1B) 1-for-3, 2B (3), BB (.200 BA, .529 OPS)

The White Sox prospects didn’t mess around in this game. With one out and nobody on base in the top of the first, Blake Rutherford pulled a bomb to right field — igniting the Desert Dogs with a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Saguaro starter Glenn Otto, fearful of anything White Sox, subsequently walked Gavin Sheets with two outs and nobody on.

Reds prospect Jonathan India clubbed a solo homer in the top of the third, which gave the Dogs a 2-0 lead. The score would remain that way for the remainder of the game.

The two White Sox prospects tried to add an insurance run in the top half of the eighth frame, as Rutherford led off the inning with a base-on-balls. Alas, he was thrown out trying to steal second base on a call that could easily have gone the other way. After India popped out to second, Sheets walloped a near-homer to right, ultimately settling for a double. Unfortunately, he was left stranded thanks to a Stuart Fairchild strikeout.

Aside from the White Sox prospects and India, there wasn’t much to write about either team offensively. The Dogs’ dominant pitching was spearheaded by Victor Castaneda, Mitchell White and three other pitchers. Glendale had just six hits on the day, but that works when you can hold your opponents to four.

Glendale is now on the rise, creeping to a 5-9 record and now within four games of the prickly AFL West-leading Saguaros. The Desert Dogs next play at home Sunday afternoon, as they hope to sting the 7-6 Scottsdale Scorpions in their quest for a three-game winning streak.

Glendale, gone south again

Uh-oh: Vince Arobio wasn’t great today, and that still qualified him as the best of the AFL White Sox. (Tiffany Wintz/South Side Hit Pen)


Mesa Solar Sox 4, Glendale Desert Dogs 0

Vince Arobio (RP, 5th) IP, 2 H, ER, WP, 18 pitches/13 strikes (8.44 ERA)
Gavin Sheets (1B) 0-for-4, 2 K (.148 BA, .364 OPS)
Micker Adolfo (DH) 0-for-3, 2 K (.136 BA, .542 OPS)

It’s a quick n’ easy summary when it comes to the AFL these days, because the Desert Dogs, and their White Sox participants, have been yug-ly in these first two weeks.

Glendale lost its eighth in 11 games, with just four hits, and none from White Sox. To be fair, the Desert Dogs ain’t good — but the South Side contingent is not helping.

Gavin Sheets and Micker Adolfo contributed zero of the team’s four hits, but let’s not ding them for failing to be team players — the pair combined for four of Glendale’s 10 strikeouts.

Micker Adolfo homers in AFL opener

Big bop: Micker makes the most of his Fall debut. (@whitesox)


Gavin Sheets: 0-for-4, 0 BB, 2 K (.000 BA, .000 OPS)
Blake Rutherford: 0-for-3, 1 BB, 2 K (.000 BA, .000 OPS)
Micker Adolfo: 1-for-3, 1 HR, 0 BB, 2 K (.333 BA, 1.666 OPS)
Vince Arobio: 1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 0 K (18.00 ERA, 4.00 WHIP)
Bennett Sousa: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (0.00 ERA, 0.00 WHIP)

It was a White Sox day for the opening of the AFL season for the Desert Dogs. It was not a winning effort, nor were the Sox players that good, but quite a few of them received game action.

Glendale lost the game, 4-2, so obviously the bats didn’t do much. Gavin Sheets, Blake Rutherford, and Micker Adolfo all got in the game tonight. Sheets and Rutherford both went hitless and combined for four strikeouts. Rutherford at least got on base with a walk. Micker Adolfo was responsible for Glendale’s first run of the game in the eighth inning, already down 4-0. He launched a solo homer to left center field. Adolfo was the DH today, so he still is not playing the field.

Two Sox pitchers got game action, one was much better than the other. Vince Arobio went in first, in the seventh inning. He got hit, and hit hard, as he allowed two runs in the inning, including a home run. Bennett Sousa came into the eighth and worked a perfect inning. He struck out one over that span, but it was a good start to his AFL campaign. Minor league baseball is back!

Voyagers stagger to the finish in 7-0 embarrassment

Well, it’s over: Great Falls exits with a whimper. (@GFVoyagers)


The less said about this one, the better.

A four-game series that started with a flickering hope of another postseason for the 2018 Pioneer League champs ended with whatever it is that’s meeker than a whimper.

The Voyagers mustered just three hits (Joshua Rivera, Lency Delgado and Sam Abbott, take a bow!) in a 7-0 shellacking by Idaho Falls. The Chukars took three of four in this season finale, ending 2019 just one-half game behind Great Falls. Yep, the 2018 champs finished just a half-game out of the basement, in a precipitous fall.

Great Falls hitters whiffed 11 times, with no walks, as offseason’s dawn was calling loudly all game. Unfortunately for Voyagers pitching, matching their Idaho counterparts’ 11-to-0 Ks-per-BB did not yield similar run production results; the Chukars offense did not heed the siren song of home cooking and offseason jobs, slugging 13 hits and seven runs in spite of 11 Ks.

Avery Weems (starter, one inning, three hits, two earned) and Yoelvin Silven (first reliever, three innings, six hits, four earned, five Ks) took the brunt of the damage, as this contest was effectively over in the second inning with the Chukars ahead, 6-0.

One positive note, 2019 draftee Trey Jeans ended on a strong note, with one hit and four Ks in two innings of work. With all the affiliates’ seasons now over, Jeans is our last MVP of this minor league season.

And with the minor league season over, we’ll be taking a 10-day hiatus from minor league game reporting, until the Glendale Desert Dogs kick off their season on September 18.

Connell, reliable pitching help Voyagers cruise, 4-1

Setting the table: Harvin Mendoza got on base in two out of his four plate appearances, as he went 2-for-4 with a double. (Kim Contreras/South Side Hit Pen)

Dan Metzdorf (SP): 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 1 K (3.60 ERA)
Harvin Mendoza (1B): 2-for-4, 2B, E (.283 BA, .832 OPS)
Caberea Weaver (CF): 2-for-3, BB (.254 BA, .694 OPS)
Kelvin Maldonado (2B): 0-for-5, (.253 BA, .598 OPS)
Bryan Connell (RF): 3-for-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI (.169 BA, .638 OPS) *MVP*
Luis Curbelo (3B): 1-for-4, (.267 BA, .774 OPS)
Lency Delgado (SS): 1-for-4, 2 E (.275 BA, .705 OPS)

Looking to avoid losing their third straight, the Voyagers faced the Chukars in Idaho Falls on Friday night. Things got off to a rough start tonight, as the Chukars struck first.

In the bottom of the first, Voyagers starter Dan Metzdorf retired the first two batters he faced, but he issued a two-out walk. Metzdorf gave up an infield single to the next batter, and the lead runner advanced to third on the first of two Lency Delgado errors. Then, Idaho Falls outfielder Isaiah Henry drove in the first run of the game with a single.

However, the Chukars’ lead did not last long, as the Voyagers rallied in the second. Lency Delgado and Ivan Gonzalez hit back-to-back singles to open the inning, and Bryan Connell hit an RBI double to tie it. With two outs, the Voyagers used some #WildPitchOffense, as Gonzalez raced home to give the Voyagers a 2-1 lead. As it turned out, the Voyagers’ early lead would not relinquish.

In the seventh, Bryan Connell had another big hit, this time a solo home run. Connell’s homer was his fifth of the season, and it gave the Voyagers a big insurance run, as it expanded their lead to 3-1. The Voyagers added another insurance run in the ninth on a solo home run. Can you guess who hit it? Yep, Connell, who had a huge night, hit his second of the game and his sixth of the year.

One of the only downsides from tonight is that the Voyagers had a rough night defensively, as they made three errors. Even though errors are often misleading, it is normally troubling when a team has three in a game, and tonight was no exception. Fortunately, none of them came back to bite the Voyagers. The pitching was fantastic all-around, which certainly helped. The relievers combined to pitch seven scoreless innings, which is an excellent way to win a game.

The Voyagers improved to 34-39, while the Chukars fell to 33-41. The Voyagers will conclude the regular season tomorrow against the Chukars, and that game will start at 8:15 CST.

Great Falls blown out in shutout loss

Letdown: After a tight loss to snuff their playoff hopes on Wednesday, the Voyagers played like a team that had its heart cut out on Thursday. (Great Falls Voyagers)


Caberea Weaver: 0-for-2, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 SB, .249 BA, .679 OPS)
Harvin Mendoza: 0-for-4, 0 BB, 1 K (.279 BA, .824 OPS)
Sam Abbott: 2-for-3, 1 BB, 1 K (.236 BA, .816 OPS) **MVP**
Jason Morgan: 4 1/3 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K (4.68 ERA, 1.37 WHIP)

In this brutal defeat — there was something in the air all around Chicago this evening — the Voyagers failed to score one run. Great Falls was only able to collect four hits. Two of those were from Sam Abbott, both doubles. But Great Falls went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position, and obviously that one hit did not lead to one run.

The pitching was not that much better and neither was the defense. Jason Morgan and Allan Beer combined to allow five runs. The other four were courtesy of the defense. Great Falls combined for four errors in this game, leading to four unearned runs.

This was Great Falls’ first game after being eliminated in the playoffs, and it truly showed. There were a couple highlights, though. Abbott had his two doubles, though no run production. The last two bullpen arms (Nate Pawelczyk and Karan Patel) combined for two perfect innings and five strikeouts. Other than that, it was a mostly forgettable, 9-0 loss.

White Sox Minor League Update: September 2, 2019

A heroic effort falls short: Yermin Mercedes accounted for seven total bases, but it was not enough in the Knights’ 7-6 loss. (Laura Wolff/Charlotte Knights)

Norfolk Tides 7, Charlotte Knights 6 (10)

Dylan Covey (SP): 6 2/3 IP, 8 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 3 K (2.82 ERA)
Danny Mendick (3B): 0-for-5, 2 E (.279 BA, .812 OPS)
Luis Robert (CF): 1-for-6, 3B, 3 K (.297 BA, .975 OPS)
Nick Madrigal (2B): 5-for-5, 2 RBI (.331 BA, .822 OPS) *MVP*
Zack Collins (1B): 0-for-3, 2 BB, 3 K (.282 BA, .951 OPS)
Daniel Palka (RF): 2-for-5 (.263 BA, .901 OPS)
Yermin Mercedes (DH): 3-for-4, HR, 2B, 4 RBI (.310 BA, 1.033 OPS) *MVP*

Due to this heartbreaking defeat, the Knights fell just short of a postseason appearance. Heading into today, the Knights needed to win, and they needed a loss by the Durham Bulls to make the playoffs. The Bulls lost by a score of 8-5, but the Knights could not get it done.

One Knight who was on top of his game was second baseman Nick Madrigal, who singled in all five of his plate appearances. Madrigal drove in two runs, including the first one of the game. That two-out single drove in Seby Zavala to give the Knights a 1-0 lead. In the following inning, Yermin Mercedes hit a solo homer to double the Knights’ lead. That home run was the 23th of the season for Mercedes and his 17th with the Knights.

Thanks to another RBI single by Madrigal and a two-run double by Mercedes, the Knights led 5-2 after seven innings, but the bullpen could not close the deal. Starter Dylan Covey pitched well, but all three relievers who appeared in this game for the Knights allowed noteworthy damage. Matt Foster and José Ruiz combined to allow four runs (all earned) in a disastrous eighth inning. Foster was charged for three of those runs, and Ruiz got a blown save as the Knights fell behind, 6-5.

The Knights stuck their noses back into this game, as they rallied to tie it in the top of the ninth. Mercedes drove in the tying run with a sacrifice fly to score Madrigal. After a scoreless bottom half, this game headed to extras. In the bottom of the 10th, the Tides started the inning with old friend José Rondon on second base, and he scored the winning run on a single by Tides second baseman Jack Reinheimer. With that base hit, the Knights’ season came to a close, and they finished with a 75-64 record. Since the Knights will not be heading to the postseason, one might wonder what Hahn’s excuse will be for not promoting Luis Robert and Nick Madrigal. Stay tuned.


Biloxi Shuckers 6, Birmingham Barons 1

John Parke (SP) 3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K (2.59 ERA)
Zach Remillard (1B): 1-for-4 (.232 BA, .647 OPS)
Blake Rutherford (RF): 1-for-4 (.265 BA, .684 OPS)
Luis Valenzuela (3B): 1-for-2, HR, BB (.202 BA, .526 OPS) *MVP*
Luis Basabe (CF): 0-for-4 (.246 BA, .660 OPS)
Joel Booker (DH): 1-for-4 (.257 BA, .645 OPS)

The Barons’ season ended with a disappointing performance against a talented Biloxi (82-57) squad. Barons starter John Parke carried his weight, as his three scoreless innings put the Barons in a good position to pull off an upset. However, the upset was not in the cards this afternoon.

Reliever Vince Arobio had a rough outing, as although he missed a lot of bats (five strikeouts in two and two-thirds innings), he also allowed quite a bit of sharp contact. Arobio issued two walks, and he allowed four runs (all earned). As a result, he picked up the loss.

One of the few highlights came from third baseman Luis Valenzuela. His solo home run in the sixth inning put the Barons on the board. The home run also broke up a no-hitter.

As it turned out, Valenzuela’s home run would be the only run that the Barons would score. Due to today’s loss, the Barons fell to 64-72 on the season.


Winston-Salem Dash 3, Lynchburg Hillcats 0

Konnor Pilkington (SP): 3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K (4.99 ERA)
Andrew Vaughn (DH): 2-for-4, 2B (.252 BA, .760 OPS)
Craig Dedelow (RF): 1-for-3, BB (.246 BA, .752 OPS)
Steele Walker (CF): 0-for-3, 2 BB (.280 BA, .792 OPS)
Jonathan Allen (LF): 2-for-4, RBI (.556 BA, 1.778 OPS)
Jameson Fisher (1B): 3-for-3, BB, 2 RBI (.242 BA, .718 OPS) *MVP*

Excellent pitching throughout this matchup highlighted the Dash’s victory this afternoon. The Dash got on the board in the top of the first, and the one run they scored that inning was enough. Today’s MVP, Jameson Fisher, drove in the first run of the game with a single. Fisher reached base safely in all four of his plate appearances, as he singled three times and walked once.

The score remained 1-0 until the eighth, when the Dash got a pair of insurance runs to extend the lead to three. The first of those runs scored on another single by Fisher, and a single on a great bunt by Jonathan Allen scored the final run.

Meanwhile, starter Konnor Pilkington pitched three excellent, scoreless innings, and the relievers picked up where he left off. Six more pitchers appeared in this game for the Dash, and all of them pitched exactly one scoreless inning. Thanks to this victory, the Dash finished the season with a 72-61 record.


Delmarva Shorebirds 9, Kannapolis Intimidators 5

Kevin Folman (SP): 4 2/3 IP, 6 H, 3 R (2 ER), 4 BB, 4 K (5.04 ERA)
Tyler Osik (LF): 2-for-5, HR (.278 BA, .909 OPS)
Ian Dawkins (CF): 1-for-4, 2B (.298 BA, .757 OPS)
Alex Destino (RF): 3-for-5, HR, 2 RBI (.298 BA, .852 OPS) *MVP*
Lenyn Sosa (SS): 1-for-4, HR, 2 RBI (.251 BA, .663 OPS)

The Intimidators came up short in a high-scoring matchup this afternoon. Starter Kevin Folman had a decent performance, allowing three runs (two earned) in four and two-thirds. When Folman left the game, the Intimidators trailed by a score of 3-1, but they did not go down easy.

After a three-run top of the seventh, the game was tied at four. That three-run rally was capped off by a solo home run by outfielder Tyler Osik to tie the game. The Intimidators also got solo home runs by Lenyn Sosa and MVP Alex Destino, who had three hits. However, due to an implosion in the bottom of the seventh, the power-hitting went to waste. The Shorebirds’ five-run rally that inning was too much to overcome. As a result, the Intimidators fell to 64-74.


Great Falls Voyagers 4, Billings Mustangs 1

Sean Thompson (SP): 8 1/3 IP, 7 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 6 K (6.08 ERA) *MVP*
Harvin Mendoza (1B): 3-for-4, 2B, BB, RBI (.290 BA, .854 OPS) *MVP*
Luis Mieses (LF): 2-for-3, BB, RBI, E (.249 BA, .637 OPS)
Kelvin Maldonado (SS): 2-for-4, BB, E (.259 BA, .612 OPS)
Luis Curbelo (3B): 2-for-4 (.273 BA, .793 OPS)

The Voyagers ended their season on a high note, as seven players in their starting lineup had multi-hit games. I cannot remember the last time I saw that. If a team manages to combine that kind of contact hitting with reliable pitching, that team normally does well, and today was no exception.

Starter Sean Thompson was terrific from start to finish. Thompson did not issue any walks, and he limited sharp contact to a minimum. Largely thanks to Thompson’s strong control, he fell only two outs shy of a complete game. Pauly Milto was the only other Voyagers pitcher to make an appearance. Milto inherited runners on first and second with one out in the ninth in a save situation. On his first and only pitch, Milto forced a ground ball that resulted in a game-ending double play.

On the offensive side, despite 17 total hits, Harvin Mendoza was surprisingly the only Voyager with three hits. Mendoza’s double was also the only extra-base hit by the Voyagers. So, even though quite a few Voyagers had good days offensively, Mendoza separated himself from the pack to earn MVP. With this victory, the Voyagers improved to 33-37.

White Sox Minor League Update: September 1, 2019

High-quality performance: Starter Tanner Banks pitched six and one-third scoreless innings to propel the Barons to victory. (Hannah Stone/Birmingham Barons)


Norfolk Tides 11, Charlotte Knights 2

Kyle Kubat (SP): 3 1/3 IP, 6 H, 4 R (4 ER), 1 BB, 3 K (5.63 ERA)
Danny Mendick (SS): 1-for-3, 2B (.282 BA, .820 OPS)
Luis Robert (CF): 1-for-4, HR, 2 RBI, (.301 BA, .984 OPS) *MVP*
Nick Madrigal (2B): 1-for-4 (.301 BA, .773 OPS)
Zack Collins (DH): 0-for-4, 3 K (.285 BA, .956 OPS)
Daniel Palka (RF): 0-for-4 (.262 BA, .901 OPS)

In a game with playoff implications, this one was born under a bad star. It got off to a rocky beginning, as Knights starter Kyle Kubat ran into trouble in the first. After a dreaded leadoff walk, Tides second baseman Christopher Bostick hit a triple to drive in the first run of the game. An RBI ground out scored Bostick, so the Tides led 2-0 after one inning. The Tides added to their lead in the third and fourth innings on an RBI single and an RBI double, respectively. Those hits put them up, 4-0.

Things were looking hopeless, but in the top of the fifth, White Sox outfielder Knights outfielder Luis Robert hit a two-run shot to cut the deficit in half. Why Luis Robert is not in the majors right now is beyond me. The extra service time factor should not be taken nearly as seriously as the front office is taking it, but I’m at peace with it. It will be exciting to watch Robert in Chicago next season.

Unfortunately, the Knights would never get any closer than they were after Robert’s home run. The Tides had a monster fifth inning, as they scored six runs to go up by a score of 10-2. Thanks to the Tides rally that inning, in which eight hitters reached base safely, this game got ugly. Onward.


Birmingham Barons 3, Biloxi Shuckers 0

Tanner Banks (SP) 6 1/3 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K (4.23 ERA) *MVP*
Zach Remillard (3B): 1-for-3, 2B, BB (.231 BA, .654 OPS)
Blake Rutherford (DH): 1-for-3, 2B, 2 RBI (.245 BA, .685 OPS)
Luis Basabe (RF): 2-for-5, RBI (.250 BA, .670 OPS)
Gavin Sheets (1B): 0-for-2, 2 BB, (.267 BA, .759 OPS)
Joel Booker (LF): 2-for-4 (.257 BA, .647 OPS)

After a scoreless first inning, a two-out rally by the Barons put them on the board and gave them an early lead. With a runner on first and two outs, Luis González got hit by a pitch, which set up Luis Basabe for a single that drove in the first run of the game for either team. The next hitter, Blake Rutherford, crushed a two-run double to give the Barons a pair of insurance runs. The inning finally ended one batter later, but not before the Barons had scored three.

Meanwhile, starter Tanner Banks had an excellent game. Banks’ control was terrific, and the Shuckers struggled to make sharp contact against him. Banks made very few mistakes and earned a well-deserved victory. Also on the defensive side, Basabe had an outfield assist, as he threw out a runner trying to score. Overall, despite three strikeouts, Basabe provided a ton of value for the Barons in this one.


Winston-Salem Dash 10, Lynchburg Hillcats 3

Jorge Cavanerio (SP): 7 IP, 6 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 5 K (3.13 ERA)
Andrew Vaughn (DH): 1-for-3, 2 BB, 2 RBI (.243 BA, .742 OPS)
Tate Blackman (2B): 2-for-5, RBI (.195 BA, .581 OPS)
Steele Walker (CF): 2-for-5, 2 2B (.271 BA, .774 OPS)
Jonathan Allen (CF): 3-for-5, 2 HR, 4 RBI (.600 BA, 2.400 OPS) *MVP*

This was an outstanding game all-around for the Dash, as they jumped out to a lead in the top of the first and never looked back. Jonathan Allen made his debut in High-A ball, and mercy, it went well for him. In 38 games with the Great Falls Voyagers and the AZL White Sox, Allen’s combined slash line was .241/.296/.369, but he was terrific today. Allen had three hits, two of which were home runs, and he set the tone for the offense.

On the other side of the ball, Jorge Cavanerio displayed excellent control, issuing zero walks in seven quality innings. Cavanerio had plenty of run support, but he barely needed any, as his quality start was more than enough for him to earn the victory.


Kannapolis Intimidators 5, Delmarva Shorebirds 2

Johan Dominguez (SP): 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K (2.98 ERA) *co-MVP*
Corey Zangari (1B): 2-for-3, HR, 3 RBI (.204 BA, .748 OPS) *co-MVP*
Michael Hickman (C): 1-for-3, RBI (.209 BA, .619 OPS)
Ian Dawkins (CF): 1-for-4, BB (.299 BA, .755 OPS)
Alex Destino (RF): 1-for-4, 2B, BB, RBI (.294 BA, .841 OPS)

The Intimidators’ bats got off to a fast start in this one, and strong pitching throughout allowed the offense to coast in the latter innings in this victory. Michael Hickman hit a sacrifice fly in the second, and the Intimidators led from that point onward. A Corey Zangari two-run blast in the fourth put the Intimidators up by a score of 3-0. In the fifth, Alex Destino added an insurance run, as he hit an RBI double.

The pitchers were excellent, especially starter Johan Dominguez, who got the victory. Delmarva’s only runs crossed the plate on a two-run homer by Adley Rutschman, who was the first overall pick in the draft this year. Despite that homer, this was a great team effort all-around against a strong Delmarva squad.


Great Falls Voyagers 4, Billings Mustangs 3

Avery Weems (SP): 5 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 4 K (2.14 ERA)
Harvin Mendoza (1B): 0-for-4 (.281 BA, .835 OPS)
Sam Abbott (DH): 2-for-5, 2B, 3B, RBI (.227 BA, .793 OPS)
Kelvin Maldonado (2B): 1-for-4, 2B (.255 BA, .603 OPS)
Luis Curbelo (3B): 3-for-4, 2B, 2 HR (.268 BA, .789 OPS) *MVP*
Lency Delgado (SS): 1-for-4, RBI (.200 BA, .607 OPS)

The Voyagers jumped out to an early lead in the first. Luis Curbelo set the table with a one-out double, and Lency Delgado drove him in with a two-out base knock. The Mustangs got that run back in the second, and the teams traded solo home runs in the third, as the score was 2-2 after three. The Voyagers’ second run of the game crossed the plate on a Curbelo home run.

The score remained 2-2 until the bottom of the sixth, when Curbelo (who else?) hit a two-run homer to break the tie. Curbelo’s two homers increased his home run total to eight with the Voyagers and 13 overall on the season. Though the Mustangs got one of those runs back in the seventh, Yoelvin Silven closed the door by pitching two scoreless innings to protect a one-run lead.

White Sox Minor League Update: August 31, 2019

Much-needed win: Odrisamer Despaigne pitched seven quality innings for the Knights, who now take a one-game lead over the Durham Bulls with two games remaining. (Laura Wolff/Charlotte Knights)

Charlotte Knights 5, Norfolk Tides 2

Odrisamer Despaigne (SP) W (8-6), QS, 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 9 K, HR (3.47 ERA, 1.34 WHIP)
Jose Ruiz (RP) SV (7), 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K (0.69 ERA, 1.00 WHIP)
Luis Robert (CF) 2-for-5, R, CS (3) (.302 BA, .977 OPS)
Nick Madrigal (2B) 2-for-3, 2 R, BB (.303 BA, .783 OPS)
Yermin Mercedes (DH) 2-for-4, R, 2B (10), HR (16), 3 RBI (58) (.300 BA, 1.001 OPS) **MVP**
Zack Collins (C) 0-for-2, RBI (74), BB, E (7) (.289 BA, .969 OPS)
Danny Mendick (SS) 2-for-4, 2B (25), RBI (64), K (.281 BA, .819 OPS)
Seby Zavala (1B) 0-for-4, K (.222 BA, .774 OPS)
Charlie Tilson (RF) 1-for-4 (.289 BA, .752 OPS)
Trey Michalczewski (3B) 0-for-2, BB, K (.232 BA, .715 OPS)
Ramon Torres (PR-SS) 0-for-1, R (.355 BA, 1.009 OPS)

After a one-out single by future White Sox second sacker Nick Madrigal, Yermín Mercedes ripped a double down the left-field line, giving the Knights a 1-0 lead in the first inning of this pivotal International League contest. Austin Hays of the Tides tied the game with a solo shot off Odrisamer Despaigne in the second. The game wouldn’t stay tied for long, however, as Mercedes hit a clothesline just over the left-field fence with Madrigal aboard to give the Knights a much-needed 3-1 cushion.

After a Jack Reinhemer sac fly tightened the score to 3-2, both starters knuckled down as the Knights maintained their slim, one-run margin until the top of the seventh. With Trey Michalczewski and Luis Robert leading off the inning with a walk and single respectively, Madrigal did the Sox-ish thing by sacrificing them over to scoring position. After the Tides walked the scalding-hot Mercedes to load the bases, Zack Collins grounded into an run-scoring fielder’s choice at second to give the Knights an important insurance run. Danny Mendick supplied yet another insurance run to give the Knights a 6-3 cushion, although Collins was gunned down at the plate trying to add a seventh run. Despaigne left the game after this seventh frame, but not without providing the Knights with a much-needed quality start and three-run lead.

José Ruiz pitched a scoreless eighth inning, and began the final frame by getting the first two hitters out — including former White Sox José Rondón. However, Ruiz loaded the bases by allowing the next three hitters to get on via two singles and a walk. Ruiz was able to induce Mason Williams to fly out to Robert, securing his seventh Knight save, and a tense one at that!

With a Knights victory and an extra-inning loss by the Durham Bulls, the Knights take a one-game lead in the International League standings with two games remaining. Several players came up huge in this game: Despaigne with his seven clutch innings, Madrigal getting on base three times via two singles and a walk (not to mention a pivotal sac bunt), Robert with two hits and a run scored and Ruiz. Mercedes merits the MVP for this game, however, thanks to his two extra-base hits and three RBIs which set the tone for this game. As an interesting side note, Mercedes now has 58 RBIs in just 51 games for Charlotte this season. The Knights stemmed the Tides by snapping their six-game losing streak, improving to 75-62. Norfolk dipped to 58-79 with their defeat.


Birmingham Barons 6, Biloxi Shuckers 5 (12 innings)

Blake Battenfield (SP) 5 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 HR (4.52 ERA, 1.37 WHIP)
Alec Hansen (RP) 2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K (5.45 ERA, 2.02 WHIP)
Mauricio Cabrera (RP) 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K (4.60 ERA, 2.04 WHIP)
Codi Heuer (RP) 2 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (1.84 ERA, 1.09 WHIP)
Luis Martinez (RP) W (5-2) 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (4.26 ERA, 1.29 WHIP)
Luis Gonzalez (CF) 0-for-3 (.251 BA, .682 OPS)
Luis Basabe (LF) 2-for-5, R, RBI (29), BB, 2 K (.247 BA, .667 OPS)
Blake Rutherford (DH) 2-for-4, R, 2 BB, 2 K (.265 BA, .682 OPS)
Gavin Sheets (1B) 0-for-4, RBI (83), BB, K (.268 BA, .760 OPS)
Joel Booker (RF) 1-for-5, R (.254 BA, .642 OPS)
Laz Rivera (2B) 3-for-5, 2B (22), 2 RBI (39), K (.252 BA, .615 OPS) **MVP**
Zach Remillard (3B) 1-for-5, R, 2B (2), 2 K (.227 BA, .635 OPS)
Alfredo Gonzalez (C) 1-for-5, R, K (.238 BA, .636 OPS)
Luis Valenzuela (SS) 1-for-5, R (.199 BA, .511 OPS)

This game started out as a pitching duel between Blake Battenfield and Brewer prospect Dylan File. That is until the third, when Luis Basabe pulled a single to right, scoring Alfredo Gonzalez with the first run of the game.

After the teams swapped runs in the fourth inning and went scoreless in the fifth, the Shuckers ended Battenfield’s evening with a triple and double to initiate the sixth frame. Control-challenged Alec Hansen entered the game tied 2-2 and promptly loaded the bases with a couple of walks. With the bases loaded and nobody out, things certainly didn’t look good for the home team. Hansen looked like he’d pull a Houdini act by fanning the next two batters, but his inability to find the plate cost him on a bases-loaded walk. An Alfredo Gonzalez passed ball proceeded to give Biloxi a 4-2 lead.

The game remained 4-2 until the bottom of the eighth, when Basabe scored on a wild pitch to slice the deficit in half. Then, in the bottom of the ninth, Zach Remillard (who opened the inning with a leadoff double) eventually scored a run thanks to a botched grounder hit by Luis Valenzuela. Thanks to those two gifts by the Shuckers (along with solid bullpen work by Hansen and Mauricio Cabrera in the seventh and eighth), the game went into extras.

After a scoreless 10th frame, Codi Heuer allowed a run without courtesy of a hit in the 11th.: The opening runner on second advanced to third on a ground out, and subsequently scored on a meek RBI ground out to Ti’Quan Forbes, giving Biloxi the 5-4 advantage.

Would this be the end for the Barons on this night? Not if Omar Vizquel’s squad had anything to say about it! Laz Rivera promptly scored designated runner Joel Booker with a double to begin the inning, tying the game 5-5. The Barons were unable to tack on the winning run that inning, however, so the game remained 5-5 after 11.

After a stellar 1-2-3 12th inning by Luis Martinez to keep the game deadlocked, Gavin Sheets came up with the bases loaded and one out, and came through with a clutch, game-winning sac fly to finally conclude this marathon with a 6-5 victory!

As is typical for a comeback win, this was certainly a team effort. The bullpen pitched a whopping seven innings allowing nary an earned run, but their work was so evenly split it was difficult to come up with a decisive winner. Thus the winner would have to come from the offensive side in the name of Rivera, who collected three hits and knocked in two runs —including the game-tying double in the 11th. The Barons improved to 63-71, while the Shuckers slipped to an impressive 81-56.


Lynchburg Hillcats 6, Winston-Salem Dash 1

Zach Lewis (SP) L (6-8) 6 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 0 BB, 4 K (5.83 ERA, 1.52 WHIP)
Jake Elliott (RP) 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (4.83 ERA, 1.33 WHIP)
Steele Walker (CF) 0-for-4, R (.269 BA, .768 OPS)
Mitch Roman (SS) 0-for-4, E (11) (.275 BA, .670 OPS)
Andrew Vaughn (1B) 0-for-3, BB, K (.240 BA, .733 OPS)
Craig Dedelow (RF) 1-for-3, 3B (10), RBI (63), BB, K (.246 BA, .755 OPS) **MVP**
Carlos Perez (DH) 1-for-4, K (.260 BA, .633 OPS)
Jameson Fisher (LF) 0-for-4, E (.238 BA, .711 OPS)

The Dash drew first blood in this game, as extra-base machine Craig Dedelow slugged an RBI triple, plating Steele Walker in the top of the first. Not only does Dedelow lead the Carolina League in triples this year with 10, he’s also clubbed 21 doubles and 18 homers. The Dash retained their tenuous 1-0 lead until the bottom of the third, when the Cleveland affiliate mounted a two-out run rally to give them a 2-1 lead off Dash starter Zach Lewis.

The bottom of the fourth started ominously for Lewis, as the first three hitters got on base via a single, double and hit-by-pitch. It didn’t finish well for Lewis, either, as the Hillcats tacked on three runs that inning which extended the Dash deficit to 5-1. Aside from an unearned run allowed by Jake Elliott in the eighth, there was very little offense in the last five frames. This was especially true of the Dash, as a Carlos Perez single was the only hit aside from Dedelow’s first-inning triple in this game. It’s never a good thing to have as many errors as hits.

Nobody really stood out in this game for the Dash, so Dedelow wins the MVP of this game for the Dash with his RBI triple and walk. The Dash fell to 70-61 with the defeat, while the Hillcats improved their record to 62-71.


Delmarva Shorebirds 4, Kannapolis Intimidators 3

Jason Bilous (SP) L (6-10) 2.2 IP, 1 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 6 BB, 4 K (3.70 ERA, 1.39 WHIP)
Declan Cronin (RP) 3.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (3.70 ERA, 1.03 WHIP)
J.B. Olson (RP) 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K (5.83 ERA, 1.58 WHIP)
Ian Dawkins (CF) 2-for-5, R, K (.299 BA, .756 OPS)
Lenyn Sosa (SS) 2-for-4, 2 R, HR (6), RBI (49), 2 K (.252 BA, .662 OPS) **MVP**
Alex Destino (RF) 1-for-4, RBI (61), 2 K (.294 BA, .840 OPS)
Tyler Osik (DH) 1-for-3, 2B (10), RBI (18), BB, K (.273 BA, .899 OPS)
Amado Nuñez (2B) 0-for-3, BB, K (.205 BA, .579 OPS)
Gunnar Troutwine (C) 1-for-3, BB, K (.244 BA, .692 OPS)

With one out and nobody on in the first, Lenyn Sosa hammered his sixth homer of the season, giving the Intimidators an early 1-0 lead. Sosa’s enjoyed an above-average ending to his 2019 season, as his slash line was .307/.357/.421 prior to this game since the calendar flipped to August. Jason Bilous’ control evaporated in the bottom of the third, as four walks and a single among the first six batters is always a foreboding sign. Alas, a fifth walk in the inning plated the third Shorebirds run of the frame and presented the opportunity for Bilous to take an early shower. Somehow, throwing just 24-of-59 pitches for strikes doesn’t often get the job done. Fortunately, 36th-round pick Declan Cronin extinguished the fire and kept the score at a manageable 3-1.

Aside from a run in the fourth, Cronin did a yeoman’s job in keeping the Intimidators in the game. Unfortunately, his offense was nonexistent, as it couldn’t even tally a run in the seventh when the Shorebirds graciously handed them three free passes.

After a scoreless eighth inning thrown by J.B. Olson, the Intimidators went to work in the bottom half. Three singles and a double to begin the inning reduced the deficit to 4-3, with runners on scoring position and nobody out. However, strikeouts to Corey Zangari, Cameron Simmons and Amado Nuñez ignominiously ended the inning without any further damage.

Olson returned for the eighth, and held Delmarva scoreless with another solid inning of work. Each of the three hitters fanned in the ninth, however, as the Intimidators lost a tough one at 4-3, their hitters finishing the game with six strikeouts. Bilous’ wildness in the third inning, along with the inability to get the clutch hits in the seventh and eighth frames, provided the demise of Kannapolis in this contest. Cronin and Olson were excellent out of the bullpen this evening, but Sosa was the MVP of this one with his two hits (including his sixth homer of the year). The Shorebirds soared to an incredible 89-47 record, while the Intimidators fell to 10 games under at 63-73.


Great Falls Voyagers 8, Billings Mustangs 7

Dan Metzdorf (SP) 2 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (3.55 ERA, 1.29 WHIP)
Kaleb Roper (RP) 3 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K (2.81 ERA, 1.00 WHIP)
Nate Pawelczyk (RP) 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (3.96 ERA, 1.52 WHIP)
Karan Patel (RP) 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K (4.02 ERA, 1.31 WHIP)
Sammy Peralta (RP) 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K (2.63 ERA, 1.10 WHIP)
Caberea Weaver (CF) 0-for-4, R, K (.248 BA, .680 OPS)
Luis Curbelo (DH) 4-for-5, 4 R (.259 BA, .741 OPS) **MVP**
Luis Mieses (RF) 0-for-5, 2 R, K (.238 BA, .617 OPS)
Lency Delgado (3B) 2-for-4, R, 3 RBI (31), K, E (15) (.282 BA, .731 OPS)
Sam Abbott (1B) 1-for-4, 2 RBI (27), BB, K, E (6) (.231 BA, .806 OPS)
Ivan Gonzalez (C) 1-for-3, 2 RBI (3), K, E (3) (.233 BA, .559 OPS)
Anderson Comas (LF) 2-for-4, RBI (33), 2 K (.240 BA, .651 OPS)

The normally reliable Dan Metzdorf got off to a rocky start in this one, as he relinquished three runs in the opening frame thanks to a single, three doubles and a walk. The Voyagers, however, got back two of those runs courtesy of a two-run single by Lency Delgado. Metdorf was unable to stifle the Mustangs in the second, however, as a two-out single increased the Billings lead to 4-2. Billings added an insurance in the fourth off Kaleb Roper, increasing their lead to three runs. The Voyagers narrowed the deficit to 5-4, however, as Ivan Gonzalez clubbed a two-run single in the bottom of that frame.

Kaleb Roper relinquished a run in the fourth, but it wasn’t entirely his fault as Gonzalez committed a throwing error trying to gun down a runner at third on a stolen base attempt. Aside from that minor blemish, Roper did a terrific job keeping the Voyagers within fighting distance. In the meantime, Great Falls evened the score at 6-6 during the bottom half of the fifth thanks to an RBI ground out and an RBI single by Anderson Comas.

Billings, seemingly offended by Great Falls tying the game up, immediately scored a run in the sixth off Nate Pawelczyk to regain the advantage. Thanks to some solid bullpen work by both teams, the game remained that way until two outs in the ninth inning, when Lency Delgado blooped a clutch RBI single to plate Caberea Weaver with the game-tying run. Not to be outdone, Sam Abbott pulled a single to right, which scored Luis Curbelo with the game-winner!

What an exciting win for a team that’s had more ups than downs this season. As mentioned in the Birmingham game, it’s usually a team effort when a team achieves a come-from-behind victory like this one. The bullpen (all selected in this year’s MLB draft) certainly deserves kudos for keeping the team in the game, while Delgado and Abbott contributed clutch hits in the final frame. The true MVP of this game is Curbelo, however, with four hits and an equal number of runs scored, including the game-winner. He’s certainly had a difficult 2019, but here’s hoping that a great finish this year could lead to a resurgent 2020 for the young man. Honorable mention goes to Delgado with two hits and 3 RBI., including the game-tying run in the ninth.

White Sox Minor League Update: August 30, 2019

Timely hitting: Luis Basabe got three hits and drove in a pair to help the Barons squeeze out a tight victory. (Michael Wade/Birmingham Barons)


Norfolk Tides 2, Charlotte Knights 0

Matt Tomshaw (SP): 4 IP, 5 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 2 K (3.93 ERA) *MVP*
Danny Mendick (3B): 0-for-3 (.280 BA, .815 OPS)
Luis Robert (CF): 1-for-4 (.299 BA, .982 OPS)
Nick Madrigal (2B): 0-for-4, (.292 BA, .763 OPS)
Zack Collins (C): 0-for-2, 2 BB (.291 BA, .972 OPS)
Daniel Palka (DH): 0-for-3, BB (.265 BA, .912 OPS)

There was very little offense to be found in this game. Only Luis Robert, Damek Tomscha, and Ramon Torres got hits for the Knights, and all of them were singles. The Knights reached base a few more times via walk (one by Daniel Palka, one by Yermín Mercedes, and two by Zack Collins). But, the Knights finished 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position, as they failed to cash in on any of the few scoring opportunities they had.

Knights starter Matt Tomshaw was the losing pitcher, but he pitched well enough to earn MVP. Tomshaw put the Knights in a good position to win, as he induced a lot of weak contact in his four innings of work, and he only issued one walk. However, his start went to waste, as the bats could not provide run support. One of the few highlights was this great catch by Danny Mendick in short left field.

Charlotte’s four-game lead in the wild-card race just … four days ago … has evaporated, and with three games left in the season the Knights have fallen back into a tie with the Durham Bulls.


Birmingham Barons 6, Biloxi Shuckers 5

John Parke (SP): 1 IP, 5 H, 5 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 1 K (2.70 ERA)
Luis Basabe (CF): 3-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI, 1 SB, 0 CS (.244 BA, .663 OPS) *MVP*
Blake Rutherford (RF): 1-for-3, 2 BB, RBI, (.262 BA, .676 OPS)
Luis González (DH): 2-for-3, 2B, 2 BB, 2 SB, 0 CS (.253 BA, .686 OPS)
Gavin Sheets (1B): 0-for-4, HBP (.271 BA, .765 OPS)
Joel Booker (LF): 2-for-3, BB, RBI, 1 SB, 0 CS (.255 BA, .646 OPS)

The first inning was quite chaotic, with both teams putting up a big, crooked number. In the top half, after the Shuckers had a runner on first (due to a fielding error by Laz Rivera) and two outs, the floodgates opened. The next six Shuckers reached base safely, as they scored five runs to take a big lead early on. However, the Barons answered in the bottom half. The Barons got three runs after two hits, a hit by pitch, and three walks. Two of those walks occurred with the bases loaded and two outs, and Joel Booker and Alfredo González drew those walks.

After his RBI double put the Barons on the board in the first, Luis Basabe had an RBI single in the fourth to reduce the Barons’ deficit to one. The following inning, Alfredo González tied it with a sacrifice fly to drive in Zach Remillard. In the sixth, an RBI groundout by Gavin Sheets put the Barons in front, 6-5. Despite finishing the night 2-for-16 with runners in scoring position, the Barons escaped with a close victory. The bullpen allowed zero hits and issued only one walk in eight innings of work. Hats off to relievers Kodi Medeiros, Tyler Johnson, and Danny Dopico, who did their jobs and then some.


Winston-Salem Dash 5, Lynchburg Hillcats 1

Taylor Varnell (SP): 5 2/3 IP, 5 H, 1 R (1 ER), 3 BB, 5 K (3.38 ERA)
Craig Dedelow (LF): 1-for-4, HR (.246 BA, .749 OPS)
Steele Walker (CF): 1-for-4, (.272 BA, .777 OPS)
Jameson Fisher (1B): 1-for-4, HR (.241 BA, .716 OPS)
Johan Cruz (SS): 2-for-4, 2B, 3 RBI (.242 BA, .632 OPS) *MVP*
Mitch Roman (LF): 2-for-4, 2 SB, 0 CS (.280 BA, .681 OPS)

This game got off to a fast start, as Craig Dedelow hit an inside-the-park home run in the top of the first to give the Dash a 1-0 lead. The home run was Dedelow’s 18th of the year, all with the Dash. It also gave the Dash a lead that would remain until the bottom of the sixth.

In the sixth, the Hillcats got back-to-back hits to open their half of the inning, and a sacrifice fly by designated hitter Gavin Collins drove in the tying run. Fortunately, that was the only run the Hillcats scored against starter Taylor Varnell, or any Dash pitcher, for that matter.

The Dash took the lead for good in the top of the eighth. With the bases loaded, shortstop Johan Cruz sliced a double to right field that cleared the bases and put the Dash up, 4-1. The Dash would tack on one more in the ninth on a solo home run by Jameson Fisher. That was Fisher’s ninth home run of the season, all with the Dash.


Kannapolis Intimidators 4, Delmarva Shorebirds 3

Davis Martin (SP): 6 IP, 7 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 6 K (5.04 ERA)
Michael Hickman (C): 2-for-4, 2B (.208 BA, .620 OPS)
Ian Dawkins (CF): 0-for-4, BB (.298 BA, .756 OPS)
Alex Destino (RF): 1-for-5, (.295 BA, .843 OPS)
Cameron Simmons (LF): 2-for-4, HR, 4 RBI (.253 BA, .726 OPS) *MVP*
Tyler Osik (DH): 1-for-4, 2B (.271 BA, .888 OPS)

The Shorebirds put a big, crooked number on the board in the fourth to break a scoreless tie. In that innings, Intimidators starter gave up four hits (three singles and a triple), as the Shorebirds took a 3-0 lead. During the earlier part of this game, the Intimidators squandered a few scoring opportunities, and it appeared to be one of those games. However, things changed in a big way in the sixth inning.

After hits by Lenyn Sosa and Tyler Osik, Corey Zangari drew a walk to load the bases with two outs. That brought Cameron Simmons to the plate in a high-leverage situation, and Simmons delivered in a huge way. He launched a grand slam to put the Intimidators in front by a score of 4-3, and the score remained that way for the rest of the game. Relievers Lane Ramsey and Austin Conway pitched very well to shut things down in the latter part of this game.


Great Falls Voyagers 6, Billings Mustangs 4

Jason Morgan (SP): 8 1/3 IP, 4 H, 4 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 3 K (4.58 ERA)
Lency Delgado (3B): 1-for-5, RBI (.277 BA, .723 OPS)
Caberea Weaver (CF): 0-for-3, BB (.252 BA, .689 OPS)
Kelvin Maldonado (SS): 0-for-4, 3 K, 2 E (.260 BA, .611 OPS)
Sam Abbott (1B): 1-for-4, HR, 2 RBI (.230 BA, .809 OPS) *MVP*

Both teams’ starting pitchers got off to very strong starts, as there was a scoreless tie entering the bottom of the fourth. That ended when Sam Abbott launched a two-run homer to break the ice. The home run was Abbott’s ninth of the season, and all nine have been with the Voyagers. Abbott had the only multi-RBI performance for the Voyagers in this close victory. This is also Abbott’s second straight MVP award from SSHP.

With the game tied at two in the sixth, the Voyagers put together a huge, four-run inning to take the lead for good. They used three hits, a hit by pitch, and an error to put themselves up, 6-2.

After an excellent performance through eight innings, Voyagers starter Jason Morgan ran into some trouble in the ninth, though his defense did him no favors. Two unearned runs crossed the plate, and Morgan missed out on a complete game, but he got the victory. Reliever Allan Beer came on in relief and shut the door, as he struck out Mustangs second baseman Jonathan Willems to end the game.