Get Randy LeBlanc's thoughts on his complete game shutout.Continue to read all of the transactions, some potential next moves, and the highlights from all four Twins affiliates.
There were also a couple of minor league transactions:
- In some very good news, Nick Gordon came off of the concussion list and played on Wednesday night.
- Sean Miller was sent back down to Cedar Rapids with RHP Zach Tillery placed on the disabled list.
Rochester 7 Gwinnett 1
Andrew Albers was signed by the Twins just a couple of weeks ago when three members of the Red Wings Opening Day starting rotation were up in the big leagues. Alex Meyer has been sent down, but now Pat Dean is up with the Twins.
On Wednesday night, Andrew Albers had an incredible night helping the Red Wings to their fifth consecutive win. The left-hander needed just 91 pitches to complete nine innings. He gave up just one run on three hits. He walked one and struck out six. He was working his cutter and his curveball to keep batters off balance.
The Red Wings had a balanced offense. The top eight batters each had at least one hit. Byron Buxton went 2-4 with a walk and his fifth double. Max Kepler went 2-4 with a walk and his IL-leading fourth triple. Buck Britton went 2-3 with a walk. Wilfredo Tovar went 1-2 with a walk. He stole his 10th base, and he turned in a couple of great defensive plays behind Albers.
Chattanooga 4, Pensacola 6
David Hurlbut had a rough start to this game. He gave up three runs in the first inning. In all, he gave up four runs on eight hits. He walked two and struck out two. Mason Melotakis came on and was charged with one run on two hits and a walk in the seventh inning. Omar Bencomo pitched the final two innings. He gave up one run on one hit and two walks. He struck out two.
Dalton Hicks led the offense. He went 2-4 with a two-run double in the game. It was his sixth double of the season. Leonardo Reginnato went 1-3 with a walk and was also hit by a pitch. Daniel Palka was 1-5, but his one hit was his fifth home run.
Ft. Myers 5, Bradenton 2
Tyler Jay had arguably his best start of the season. The southpaw threw seven shutout innings, extending his consecutive scoreless inning streak to 13.1. Jay gave up three hits, walked one and struck out six batters. The performance reduced his ERA to 3.03 on the year. Luke Bard came on in relief and threw a scoreless eighth inning. John Curtiss came in for the ninth and had his first rough outing. He gave up two runs on four hits and a walk and recorded just two outs. Brandon Peterson came in and got the final out to record his first save of the season.
Chris Paul went 2-4. Nick Gordon returned to the lineup. In his first plate appearance, he was hit by a pitch. He went 1-3 and scored two runs. Max Murphy’s hit was his second Florida State League home run. Trey Vavra went 1-3 with a walk and an RBI. Alex Real was 1-4, but he drove in three runs.
Cedar Rapids 9, Kane County 0
The Kernels had six batters with multiple hits and scored nine runs but the story in this game was the performance of Randy LeBlanc. The right-hander threw a complete game (nine inning) shutout. He gave up just four hits, walked two, hit one and struck out six. He needed just 94 pitches. He now has a string of 22 consecutive scoreless innings and hasn’t given up a run in three straight starts.
Following the game, I had an opportunity to chat with LeBlanc for his thoughts on the performance. What helped LeBlanc to such success today? He said, “I had good command with my fastball today, especially early in the game. That was definitely the key, but I was able to bury some sliders when I needed to early on for some strikeouts. Getting early contact and letting the defense make plays in the field was the biggest factor. They made almost every play behind me, and AJ (Murray) worked hard (behind the plate) and called a great game. We were on the same page from the first pitch.”
The performance gives LeBlanc a 4-2 record with a 0.90 ERA and a 0.83 WHIP. Having spent the entire 2015 season with the Kernels (just five starts), he is definitely in line for a promotion to Ft. Myers. (Side Note - I have to believe that when Stephen Gonsalves is promoted to Chattanooga, LeBlanc will find his way to Ft. Myers.) So, what does LeBlanc think of the idea of a promotion?
“I’d be lying if I said promotions are not something me, or any other player, thinks about. The goal is to move up in the organization. I’m just trying to give my team a chance to win in each outing. Hopefully we can keep it rolling.”
A year ago, LeBlanc pitched well out of the Kernels bullpen. In fact, he had a streak of 26 consecutive scoreless innings. He worked out of the bullpen, and did so happily, but he has always wanted an opportunity to start.
“Starting was something we’ve talked about since I first got drafted. I think I’m better suited as a starting, and I have a good idea of what I’m doing since I was a starter for four years in college. But, I’ve told them I’m comfortable starting or relieving. Whatever they need me to do, I’ll do.”
Part of that willingness to fill a role comes from the calming influence of manager Jake Mauer. “Jake’s a great manager and has been steady throughout. He’s definitely cool, calm and collected in the dugout and clubhouse. I think that’s why so many guys like playing for him. I’ve definitely enjoyed playing for him this season and last.”
The first five hitters each had two hits. Number nine hitter Nelson Molina went 2-4 with his first stolen base. Luis Arraez went 2-4 with a walk and scored three runs. Rafael Valera went 3-4 with a walk and his ninth double. LaMonte Wade went 2-4 and drove in three runs. AJ Murray went 2-4 with a walk. Zander Wiel went 2-5 with his fourth triple.
TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY
Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day –Randy LeBlanc, Cedar Rapids Kernels
Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Rafael Valera, Cedar Rapids Kernels
SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
Gwinnett @ Rochester (1:35 CST) - RHP David Martinez
Pensacola @ Chattanooga (6:15 CST) - RHP Aaron Slegers
Bradenton @ Ft. Myers (6:05 CST) – RHP Keaton Steele
Cedar Rapids @ Wisconsin (6:35 CST) – RHP Andro Cutura
Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the Wednesday games.
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