Twins AFL Report - Week 3: The Lewis and Chalmers Show
Image courtesy of Pensacola Blue Wahoos (photo of Dakota Chalmers)(links to each players overall AFL stats provided by clicking their name)
Royce Lewis: 4 games, 7-for-18, 5 R, 2 2B, RBI, 4 K; .364/.396/.682 (overall)
It doesn’t look like Lewis has any intention of slowing down during the AFL season, as for the third straight week he put up strong numbers. While his contact wasn’t as loud this week as his two extra-base hits were only of the double variety, he collected at least one hit and scored at least one run in every game.
In Tuesday’s 5-2 win over Scottsdale he was back out playing center field and finished 1-for-5. He reached base on a fielder’s choice in his first at-bat of the game and later led off the sixth inning with a single on a ground ball to third where he forced the throw to be rushed with his speed, and the resulting throwing error allowed him to advance to second base. He scored on a single two batters later for the first run of the game.
He finished the game 3-for-5 in Friday’s 10-9 comeback win over the Javelinas, and he played a good part in that effort. His single in the third inning moved a runner to third who later scored, and followed that with an RBI single in the fourth that closed the gap to 8-5. In the sixth inning with Peoria now up 9-6, his double put runners on second and third before a single from teammate Seth Beer scored them both and set the stage for Lewis’ organizational teammate to complete the comeback.
While the Javelinas got the Rafters back on Saturday in a 9-7 loss, it wasn’t for a lack of effort from Lewis who again collected multiple hits while batting cleanup. While he struck out in his first two at-bats, he helped kickstart the Rafters attempt at another comeback with a single to load the bases in the sixth inning, that was followed by a grand slam to cut the Peoria lead to four. Leading off the eighth inning, Lewis doubled to center and later scored on a single that made it the final of 9-7.
Playing his third game in a row on Sunday, Lewis finished 1-for-4 in the Rafters 6-4 win over Surprise. He singled in the bottom of the third inning and the threat of his speed played some havoc as a pickoff throw got away allowing him to advance an extra base. He then scored on a single to put Salt River up 2-0 early.
With hits in each of his games on the week, Lewis extended his hitting streak in the AFL to eight games.
This also seems appropriate throw in here even though this game will be recapped next week:
Dakota Chalmers: 1 start, 4.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K; 4.32 ERA, 1.44 WHIP (overall)
After a rough second turn in the rotation for the Rafters following a strong debut, Chalmers was looking to rebound as he took the mound on Wednesday against Scottsdale.
He started the game by striking out the first two hitters he faced on seven pitches and if not for an error by his third baseman to the next hitter would have had a very quick inning. After that gaffe he allowed a single and a walk to load the bases, before getting himself back to the dugout with his third strikeout of the inning on a 97 MPH fastball. In the second frame he allowed a one-out walk but worked around that runner by bookending the inning with two more K’s, the first looking on a curveball and the last on another high 90’s heater. After a single led off the third, he got a doubleplay ball on the first pitch to the next hitter, and a ground out on a 1-0 count for a quick eight pitch inning, and he followed that up with a one-two-three fourth where he needed just five pitches to end his day.
In all, Chalmers threw 54 pitches with 33 of them going for strikes (61%). Without the error in the first inning, the outing would have been even more impressive than it already was as it forced him to throw ten more pitches than he needed to early. His fastball was clocked at 95+ all game, topping out at 97.7 MPH in a stellar outing for Salt River.
Ben Rortvedt: Did not play; .111/.200/.111 (overall)
Rortvedt did not see any action on the week but this writer has been unable to determine if it is because of injury or if the schedule with an extra day off during the week played a role. In his last at-bat of his last game played he was hit by a pitch, but still finished that game behind the dish. Hopefully he was just given some extra time off to rest a minor ailment and will be back in action this week. If I'm able to find anything out I will be sure to let our readers know.
Luke Raley: 4 games, 3-for-14, R, 4 K; .175/.222/.275 (overall)
While Raley’s overall line for the week may not look all that impressive, he did come through went it counted in a couple games on the week to finish strong after a slow start. He combined to go 0-for-7 in the games on Tuesday and Wednesday but hit a few balls hard as a couple of those were hard line drive outs.
Finally, on Friday he got to play the role of hero in Salt Rivers big win against Peoria. After a triple had tied the game at nine in the sixth inning, Raley stepped into the batter’s box and delivered a sac fly to complete the improbable comeback from an eight-run deficit and put his team in front for good 10-9. Earlier in the game Raley had collected his first hit on the week with a two-out single in the second inning.
In the final game of the week on Sunday, Raley went 2-for-3 batting seventh in the lineup for the Rafters. His RBI double in the second inning got the scoring started for the home team and he wasn’t done. With Surprise leading by two runs in the bottom of the seventh, Raley represented the tying run after reaching base with a single, and one batter later was brought home to knot the game at four. A home run from the next batter put them out front for good to close the Rafters week with a win.
Moises Gomez: 1 appearance, 1.0 IP, H, 3 K; 4.50 ERA, 2.33 WHIP (overall)
The right-handed reliever appeared in just one game on the week, coming on to start the eighth inning with the score 10-9 in favor of Salt River over Peoria on Friday.
He allowed a leadoff single but shut it down from there to pick up his second hold in the AFL by striking out the next three hitters. The first of those came on a swing-and-miss 96.9 MPH fastball at the top of the zone, the second on a called 96.1 MPH heater in the same area, and the third on a slider on the outside corner for another swing-and-miss. He threw 22 pitches in the inning, with 15 going for strikes (68%). Even more notable for his outing in this game, Rafters pitchers collected only one other K as a staff against Javelinas hitters on the game.
Jovani Moran: 2 appearances 1.2 IP, 2 H, 3 R (0 earned), 2 BB, 2 K; 3.60 ERA, 2.20 WHIP (overall)
Moran saw time on the mound in two games on the week, with the first of those coming in Wednesday’s 4-2 win over Scottsdale. With the Rafters up 2-0 in Moran was summoned to start the sixth inning and got a groundout with his first pitch before giving up a five-pitch walk. That was as far as that runner would get however, as he got a fly out from the next batter before picking up a swinging strikeout on a fastball on the inside corner. Moran was credited with his second hold in the AFL for his efforts.
His second outing came on Sunday in Salt River’s 6-4 win over Surprise. Summoned for the top of the seventh inning he wouldn’t have as good of luck in this one, though he could blame his infield for the blown save instead of himself, as all three runs he allowed were unearned. This is because after striking out his first hitter and then allowing a walk, he induced a tailor-made 4-6-3 double play ball but the throw from the second baseman was off target for an error. Another walk to load the bases was then followed by an RBI single, a sac fly, and another RBI single before he was pulled with his team now behind 4-2.
Zach Neff: 2 appearances, 3.0 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, K; 2.35 ERA, 0.65 WHIP (overall)
Like Moran, Neff also made two appearances on the week and they were of similar results, though Neff would be charged with his first earned runs of the AFL season.
In Friday’s slug fest with Peoria, Neff was the first man up after Salt River’s starter floundered in the second inning. With two runs already on the board in the frame, Neff came on with one out and the bases loaded. He did as good a job as you could expect, retiring the next two hitters and allowing just one of those runners to score on a sac fly. Back out for the third Neff was finally hit with some hard contact in the AFL, as after getting an out on a liner to center field, the next three hitters went triple, triple, double to score two runs and give the Javelinas an early 8-0 lead. He limited the damage as best he could be getting the next two hitters to line out to the shortstop and Luke Raley in right field.
It was a quick turnaround between appearances for Neff, as he was back out for the Rafters on Sunday in their win over the Saguaros. He came on in relief of Moran with two outs in the seventh and stopped the bleeding by getting a fly out for the third out. Salt River’s offense then put up four runs of their own to take back the lead at 6-4 and put Neff in line for the win when he came back out for the eighth. He ended up being awarded that win as he delivered a one-two-three inning on fourteen pitches, striking out one.
Other AFL and Minor League Links:
-Perfect Game caught up with Royce Lewis, discussing how their showcases helped get him on the radar of scouts in high school and how playing new positions in the AFL is helping him (We can all try to ignore that he also mentions Derek Jeter as his role model growing up).
-Lewis and Zach Neff will represent the Minnesota Twins organization in the Fall Stars game being played on Saturday:
Please feel free to ask questions about the AFL and the players who are there!
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