Twins Minor League Report (4/12): Smeltzer Pitches Into the 9th Inning
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily (photo of Devin Smeltzer)TRANSACTIONS
Yunior Severino was placed on the injured list with a left thumb fracture. Taking his spot on the Cedar Rapids roster is infielder Yeltsin Encarnacion.
Also, Tanner English was activated from the Pensacola Injured List and RHP Jeff Ames was placed on the IL.
RED WINGS REPORT
Lehigh Valley 3, Rochester 0
Zack Littell: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 8 K, 61.6% strikes (53 of 86 pitches)
Multi-hit games: None
I put Littell’s line above, but it was actually Mike Morin who was the opener tonight. He pitched a clean inning before Littell took over. Tyler Duffey struck out five batters in his two innings of relief and Jake Reed also pitched a shutout inning, but none of that matters much when you can’t score any runs.
The Red Wings mustered just two hits, a John Andreoli double and a single from LaMonte Wade. Their best scoring chance came in the seventh inning. After Wade’s single, Luke Raley drew a walk, putting a runner in scoring position with one out. Unfortunately, Wynston Sawyer grounded into an inning-ending double play.
BLUE WAHOO BITES
Pensacola 2, Jacksonville 0
Devin Smeltzer: 8.1 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 76.5% strikes (65 of 85 pitches)
Multi-hit games: None
Wow. Devin Smeltzer carried a shutout into the ninth inning tonight in an outing that followed an impressive 2019 season debut for Smeltzer. He’s now pitched 14 scoreless innings, has 17 strikeouts and has allowed just five hits and two walks.
Smeltzer was absolutely pounding the strike zone tonight, and needed just 85 pitches to complete 8 1/3 innings. Tanner English put a fun finish on Smeltzer’s night, making an outstanding diving catch to open the eighth inning.
It would have been fun to see Smeltzer try for the complete game shutout, but it is still very early in the season. He only threw 95 2/3 innings last season, as he was moved into the bullpen prior to being traded to the Twins in the deal that sent Brian Dozier to the Dodgers, so it makes sense that there would be a limit on how far he’d be allowed to go in just his second start.
Cody Stashak came out of the bullpen for Pensacola and retired the only two batters he faced to secure the shutout.
The Blue Wahoos scratched across runs in the first and second innings. Taylor Grzelakoski drove in a run on a groundout and English plated another on a single. There were a grand total of just seven hits in this game, all of them singles, and it took just under two hours to complete.
Fort Myers 5, Clearwater 4 (12 innings)
Tyler Watson: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER 1 BB, 5 K, 65.5% strikes (57 of 87 pitches)
Multi-hit games: Aaron Whitefield (2-for-5, 2B)
Fort Myers trailed 1-0 heading into the top of the ninth inning, but Aaron Whitefield got things going with a lead off single, which was just Fort Myers’ second hit of the game. He advanced all the way to third base on a ground out to the second baseman, then scored on a Royce Lewis sacrifice fly.
These two teams went blow-for-blow in extras. Fort Myers scratched across a run in the top of the 10th but Clearwater answered in the bottom of the inning. The Miracle took advantage of some sloppy play by the Threshers in the top of the 11th, scoring a pair of runs without the benefit of a hit.
With the bonus runner on second base, the Miracle leadoff man struck out, but reached safely due to a wild pitch on strike 3. The next two batters also struck out, but then Lewis walked to load the bases and both Travis Blankenhorn and Jose Miranda walked to force in runs. At that point, Fort Myers had four runs on just two hits.
So that’s gotta be it, right? Nope. Clearwater hit a leadoff two-run homer (yes, that’s right, minor league extra innings are weird) to tie the game. The Miracle managed to score another run in the top of the 12th, as Whitefield drove in Ryan Costello from third on a single. They stranded another runner at third base after two consecutive strikeouts ended the inning, setting up what seemed destined to be another answer inning.
Alex Phillips took over on the mound for the Miracle and slammed the door. He snagged a comebacker and turned it into a leadoff double play (again, minor league extra innings are really weird). Phillips then induced a game-ended pop out.
Tyler Watson gave up just one run over six innings and Tom Hackimer threw two more scoreless innings tonight, bringing him up to 4 2/3 clean innings so far. Hackimer has given up just one hit and has nine strikeouts. Great to see after 2018 was essentially a lost season for him.
Cedar Rapids 8, Burlington 3
Cole Sands: 4.0 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 53.2% strikes (48 of 74 pitches)
HR: Jean Carlos Arias (1), Andrew Bechtold (1), Gabe Snyder (1)
Multi-hit games: None
Cole Sands followed up an impressive professional debut with a rough outing in which he struggled with his command. Austin Schulfer came in and did an excellent job at stabilizing this game. He gave up just one hit over four scoreless innings and struck out five batters.
Cedar Rapids took the lead in the sixth inning by drawing four (!) bases-loaded walks. They scored another run in the eighth on a three-base error followed by a sac fly. At that point, the Kernels had seven runs on just three hits. What a weird day of offense across the system.
Gilberto Celestino reached base safely three times and stole a pair of bases. Jean Carlos Arias and Andrew Bechtold hit their first home runs of the season while Gabe Snyder tallied his first Midwest League home run. Arias also drove in a run on a walk and hit a sacrifice fly.
DaShawn Keirsey was removed from this game after the second inning.
STARS OF THE DAY
Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day: Devin Smeltzer, Pensacola
Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day: Jean Carlos Arias, Cedar Rapids
TOP PROSPECT SUMMARY
Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed
1. Royce Lewis (FM): 0-for-3, 2 BB, RBI, SB (5), 2 K
6. Brent Rooker (ROC): 0-for-4, 2 K
10. Akil Baddoo (FM):0-for-6, 4 K
14. Ben Rortvedt (FM): 1-for-5, 2B, R
16. Gilberto Celestino (CR): 1-for-3, 2 BB, R, 2 SB (3), 2 K
17. Zack Littell (ROC): 5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 8 K, 61.6% strikes (53 of 86 pitches)
18. LaMonte Wade (ROC): 1-for-3, BB
20. Jose Miranda (FM): 0-for-4, BB, RBI, K
SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
Rochester vs. Lehigh Valley, 12:05 pm CT (Chase De Jong)
Pensacola vs. Jacksonville, 6:05 pm CT (Griffin Jax)
Fort Myers at Clearwater, 5:30 pm CT (Bailey Ober)
Cedar Rapids vs. Burlington, 5:05 pm CT (Josh Winder)
Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the games.
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