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  • Twins Minor League Report (9/20): Wind Surge Topple Drillers in Game 1

    Steve Lein

    The Wichita Wind Surge got their playoff push started with a bang, blowing out the Tulsa Drillers in Game one of their Texas League Division Series. Multiple players delivered big blasts in the decisive victory, while a top pitching prospect continued to make a good impression in Triple-A.

    Image courtesy of of Ed Bailey, Wichita Wind Surge


    • Ahead of St. Paul’s game with Indianapolis, RHP Melvi Acosta was promoted from Wichita, and RHP Matt Mullenbach was also called up from Cedar Rapids. In addition to those moves, RHP Dereck Rodriguez was also outrighted to Triple-A.

    St. Paul 3, Indianapolis 7
    Box Score

    On Tuesday the St. Paul Saints kicked off their penultimate series of the season, against the Tulsa Drillers with right-hander Simeon Woods Richardson on the bump.

    His lineup gave him some run support before he even took the mound when Michael Helman led off the game with a single. He advanced to third after a fielder’s choice (no out recorded) and double-play ball, before a passed ball allowed him to scamper home.

    With the early lead, Woods Richardson came out ready to go. He delivered a one-two-three first inning, before striking out five hitters over his next two innings. Through five innings he had scattered four hits and kept Indianapolis off the scoreboard. 

    Back out for the sixth, he finally ran into his first real trouble. A leadoff single was followed by a walk to put multiple runners on base, then three stolen bases allowed two consecutive sac flies to put the home team out front 2-1. Woods Richardson delivered a quality outing, allowing two earned runs on five hits and one walk while striking out five. He threw 85 pitches, with 61 going for strikes (72%), including 16 swinging.

    The Saints lineup picked him up in the top of the seventh, with a leadoff walk from Andrew Bechtold that was followed by a Dalton Shuffield home run, of the inside-the-park variety, to retake the lead.

    Just as quickly, however, the bullpen let their starter down. Devin Smeltzer gave up the game-tying home run in the seventh, then wasn’t able to record an out in the eighth before being replaced by Mario Sanchez. Smeltzer was charged with a blown save and loss, allowing three runs (two earned) in one-plus innings on two hits. He struck out one. Sanchez was then hit for two earned runs of his own, allowing four hits in his inning.

    St. Paul’s lineup was led by multiple hits from Bechtold (2-for-3, R, BB, K) and Shuffield (2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI. Trevor Larnach was 0-for-3 with a walk and strikeout, while Ryan Jeffers was 0-for-4 in their rehabs. Wander Javier was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. As a team, the Saints were just 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left seven men on base.

    Catcher Jose Godoy got some revenge on his former team and organization, going 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI to lead Indianapolis. Number six Pirates prospect (per MLB.com) Endy Rodriguez, was 2-for-3 with an RBI double, batting fifth as the DH.

    WIND SURGE WISDOM - Texas League Division Series (Game 1 of Best of 3 Series)
    Tulsa 1, Wichita 17
    Box Score

    The Wind Surge never died down in this one, as they battered the Drillers from start to finish to take game one of their Division Series.

    A five-run second inning got the damage started, and before it was over they scored at least four runs in two other innings. They took advantage of nine walks by crushing three separate three-run homers among seven extra-base hits in the game. Those home runs came off the bats of DaShawn Keirsey Jr., Edouard Julien, and Anthony Prato. Austin Martin added a solo shot of his own, and Keirsey Jr. also added an RBI triple.

    Left-hander Brent Headrick got the start for Wichita and was fantastic for the first five innings, never letting the Drillers build any momentum in the blowout. He scattered six hits and allowed just an unearned run. He punched out eight hitters, including multiple in each of the first, third, and fourth innings.

    The recently fast-tracked Brooks Lee, got the party started with an RBI single in the second inning, and two batters later Keirsey Jr. delivered the first three-run blast of the game.

    After an RBI single from Prato in the third, a Jair Camargo RBI double and Alex Isola sac fly in the fourth, Wichita was already rolling 8-0. A four-run fifth included an RBI triple from Keirsey Jr., and then the Julien blast to make it 12-1.

    Martin led off the seventh with his home run, and later Prato slugged the Wind Surge’s third big blast of the night, giving them the final score of 17-1.

    After Headrick’s exit, relievers Osiris German, Jordan Gore, Blayne Enlow, and Casey Legumina combined to keep the Drillers stuck at one run to finish the final four innings, pitching one frame apiece. German struck out the side in the sixth, Gore two in the seventh, Enlow one in the eighth, and Legumina two in the ninth. As a staff, they combined for 16 K’s to just one walk.

    Martin (2-for-5, 3 R, HR, RBI, BB, 2 SB), Julien (2-for-3, 3 R, HR, 3 RBI, 3 BB), Camargo (2-for-5, 2B, 2 RBI, BB), Lee (3-for-5, 3 R, 2B, 2 RBI), Prato (2-for-3, 2 R, HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB), and Keirsey Jr. (2-for-5, 2 R, 3B, HR, 4 RBI) all had multiple hits in the blowout victory.

    Game 2 of the Texas League Division series will be on Thursday in Tulsa, with right-hander (and no-hitter throwing) Daniel Gossett getting the starting nod for Wichita. 

    Pitcher of the Day - Brent Headrick, Wichita Wind Surge (W, 5 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 8 K)
    Hitter of the Day - Edouard Julien, Wichita Wind Surge (2-for-3, 3 R, HR, 3 RBI, 3 BB)

    #2 - Brooks Lee (Wichita) - 3-for-5, 3 R, 2B, 2 RBI
    #4 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 2-for-5, 3 R, HR, RBI, BB, 2 SB
    #6 - Simeon Woods Richardson (St. Paul) - 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, BB, 5 K
    #9 - Matt Wallner (Minnesota) - 1-for-4, R, 2B, RBI, K
    #14 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 2-for-3, 3 R, HR, 3 RBI, 3 BB
    #15 - Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - 1 IP, BB, K

    St. Paul @ Indianapolis (12:35 PM CDT) - RHP Jordan Balazovic (0-6, 7.47 ERA)

    Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games!



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    Listened to the first half of the Wind Surge game. Kiersey with a 3B and HR before the game was out of hand (Baseball America named him the fastest runner (or was it player) in the Texas League). Martin stole second when the catcher got lazy on a throw back to the pitcher. Need some of those base running smarts on the Twins. Lee fouled off a couple 0-2 pitches and lined an RBI single to right (of course, the 2B in his next AB was a pop up in the infield). Headrick was very good. Win one more Wind Surge!

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    Once again, Julien delivered.  He now has a .441 OBP this year, together with 17 home runs and a .300 average.  The question is:  does he have a defensive position?  It will be fun to see how he and Martin do in the AFL.  Headrick did well again.  He is getting strikeouts and has limited walks this year, but still gives up a lot of contact.  I wonder if they might switch him to the bullpen to see if his stuff plays up a little more.  

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    Wow, I hope they didn't use up all their runs in the first game.  The Twins need one of these teams to get a championship and Wichita is the only one left.

    Gotta comment on Julien for what seems like the umpteenth time.  Two for three with three walks in a playoff game, when it really counts, is just crazy.  Also great seeing Martin with 2 hits and Lee with 3.  This organization may be a lot better than the experts think it is.

    Also nice night from SW-R.  Like how this kid has been throwing the ball down the stretch.

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    One of two things needs to happen for Julien….

    Either he needs to be serviceable at a defensive position (hopefully other than 1B)…or he needs to improve his splits against lefties. No position and big splits are a tough combo…nobody wants a platoon situation at DH given how pitchers dominate active rosters these days. To be a fair, he has been getting on base against lefties, but with zero power.

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