Twins Minor League Report (9/5): Playoff Rain and a Comeback Attempt
Image courtesy of Linwood Ferguson (photo of Brent Rooker)In the actual game that was played on Tuesday, a late season addition to their roster and standout did all he could for Fort Myers, but was it enough?
With the Rochester Red Wings missing out on the International League wild card due to the tiebreaker, a few familiar reinforcements were brought up for the major league club.
In 40-man moves, JT Chargois was recalled and placed on 60-day DL to clear a spot for reliever Michael Tonkin, who has been inconsistent with the Twins but nothing short of extraordinary with the Red Wings (2.41 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 180 K’s in 160.1 career Triple-A innings; 1.73 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 61 K’s in 41.2 IP this year). Robbie Grossman was also brought back up with Dietrich Enns being optioned to AA Chattanooga.
For the Lookouts Nelson Molina, Keaton Steele and Joe Cronin were assigned to Fort Myers, with reliever Alex Muren moving up from the Miracle for their playoff series starting tomorrow.
In the Florida State League, Eduardo Del Rosario was placed on the 7-day disabled list with a left oblique strain and infielder Ariel Montesino was sent down to Cedar Rapids.
In a somewhat surprising move given he was a big-bonus-baby, infielder Amaurys Minier was released from the Kernels.
Palm Beach 3, Fort Myers 2
In interesting, and maybe somewhat surprising (or unsurprising given all the weather havoc lately) news before their game was started, it was announced that the Florida State League would not play their Championship Series due to the impending risk of Hurricane Irma bearing down on the panhandle.
What that means for the Fort Myers Miracle, is that if they can win their Division Series with Palm Beach, they will be crowned as co-FSL Champions. Tonight’s opening game was also delayed by some rain at the start time, but they were able to get it in.
With that, onto game one of their playoff series!
The Fort Myers offense took an early lead in the bottom of the first inning when Brandon Lopez delivered a one-out triple for their first hit of the game. Brent Rooker was up next and drove him in with a single and the early 1-0 lead.
Left-hander Lewis Thorpe got the nod for the Miracle and held the Cardinals scoreless for the first two innings, striking out two along the way. In the third inning Thorpe wasn’t able to work around a one-out triple, and the Cardinals got on the board to tie it at one. Thorpe worked two more scoreless innings to finish his day with the game tied. In five innings he allowed the one run on six hits and two walks while striking out five. Thorpe did run up his pitch count with 91 pitches (56 for strikes) in his five innings, perhaps making manager Doug Mientkiewicz quicker to go to his bullpen, but a solid start kept his team in it.
Regular season stud Andrew Vasquez came on for the sixth inning and walked the first man he faced, putting the go-ahead run on. A fielder’s choice grounder, single, and strikeout led to runners on first and second and Mientkiewicz went to Tyler Jay to try to get the final out of the inning.
On a 3-1 count, the Cardinals Thomas Spitz sent a deep fly ball to center field that Tanner English couldn’t quite catch up to, and it ended up driving in two for a 3-1 Palm Beach lead. Miracle play-by-play guy Spencer Siegel remarked on the broadcast that it would have been a long fly out on several other nights, but the lack of wind in Fort Myers was a curse on this one. Spitz finished the game 3-4 to lead the Palm Beach attack.
Jay got the final out of the inning with a K, and remained in the game for the next two innings. He kept the score at 3-1 in that time, allowing two hits and a walk and racking up three K’s.
In the bottom of the eighth the Miracle started a rally with singles from Sean Miller and Lopez to start the inning. This brought up Rooker with a chance to take the lead with a single swing of the bat, as he’s been known to do in his short time with Fort Myers. He didn’t quite do that, but did deliver a sac fly to close the lead to one run. Zander Wiel then drew a walk to put the tying runner in scoring position, but Mitchell Kranson and Jermaine Palacios both went down on strikes to end the threat.
Sam Clay came on for the ninth and delivered a one-two-three inning to bring the Miracle up to bat down just one in the opening game of the series.
Chris Paul was the leadoff man in the bottom of the ninth but grounded out for the first out, and a Jaylin Davis fly ball was run down by the center fielder for out number two and brought up number nine hitter English as their last hope. He delivered with a two-out double to make it interesting for leadoff man Miller, but his looping line drive to left didn’t loop quite enough and found the glove of the defender to end the game.
The Miracle go down 1-0 in the three-game series, which will be condensed with a do-or-die double-header starting at 4:00PM CST Wednesday afternoon.
Of note in the game, is all three runs for the Cardinals were scored with two outs and the Miracle were unable to take advantage of their opportunities. They were just 1-8 with runners in scoring position and left eight men on base. Lopez (2-4, R, 3B) and English (2-4, 2 2B’s) each had two hits for the Miracle, and Rooker had both RBI.
Greeneville @ Elizabethton – Postponed (Rain)
Unfortunately for the E-Twins, rains on the East coast again played havoc with their scheduled game on Tuesday.
They lost game one 3-2 on Sunday afternoon after Saturday’s postponement, then evened the best of three series with a 14-7 win on Monday.
They’ll look to advance to the Appalachian League Championship Series with a victory Wednesday night. Right-hander Edward Colina gets the starting nod for Elizabethton in the deciding game.
Both the Chattanooga Lookouts and Cedar Rapids Kernels will start their playoff series on Wednesday in what will be a fun day in the system. Stay tuned here at Twins Daily for all the action!
WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
Montgomery @ Chattanooga (6:15PM CST), Game 1 of 5 game series – RHP Zack Littell (19-1, 2.12 ERA on season)
Fort Myers @ Palm Beach (4:00PM CST), Game 2 of 3 game series – RHP Sean Poppen (9-4, 3.17 ERA on season)
Fort Myers @ Palm Beach, Game 3 (if necessary) – TBD
Kane County @ Cedar Rapids (6:35PM CST), Game 1 of 3 game series – RHP Tyler Wells (5-5, 3.03 ERA on season)
Greeneville @ Elizabethton (6:00PM CST), Game 3 of 3 game series – RHP Edwar Colina (3-5, 3.34 ERA on season)
Please feel free to ask questions and discuss the Miracle’s loss on Tuesday as they look to take the doubleheader tomorrow for all the Florida State League marbles!