It was a good day to be a Tribe fan with victories across the board for the organization. The minor league games featured some nice performances by a few young guys who haven't gotten much mention as of yet.
The crew from The Office went up against what was essentailly a major league pitching staff put forth by the Bisons in Cliff Lee, Ed Mujica, and Matt Miller. Lee did what he's been doing in Buffalo, striking out a lot of guys (11.0/9IP - 8 in 6 innings yesterday), walking a lot of guys (5.5/9IP - 3 yesterday), and overall pitcing effectively. He's only allowed a single homerun while in Buffalo and batters have only put up a .200 BAA, meaning all those walks haven't been costing him much. I'm increasingly intrigued by seeing what he could do as a 2-inning guy out of the pen in September. Mujica, fresh off his exile in the Tribe pen, pitched well, as did Matt Miller, who has pitched well but also shown some control problems in Buffalo. Offensively, Andy Marte weilded the big stick, 2-4 with a 2B and a HR. Marte's picked the right time to get hot if he wants to warrant a September callup. Over the past 10 he's had 5 multi-hit games batting .371 over the stretch. In August he's got a .300/.357/.478 line. Ben Francisco added his 10th Buffalo homer of the season (13th overall) and Big League Choo had a single and double.
If you've been following Stephanie Storm's coverage of the Aeros, you know their lineup is currently something of a patchwork of utility players and middle relievers. Yesterday that patchwork shutout Reading led by 5 innings of 1-hit ball from Bobby Brown(lie). Three other relievers (Rundles, Newsom, Stevens) finished off the shutout. Shortstop Brandon Pickney led the way going 3-5 with a HR and 4 RBIs. Stephen Head added two hits, including his 1st homerun in an Aeros uniform. He's now had hits in 5 of his last 6 games at Akron, including 4 2Bs and a HR.
Frederick 3 (11 innings)
The Kinston Indians tied the game in the 8th and won it in the 11th on the back of 4.2 innings of shutout relief work from the trio of TJ Burton, Scott Roehl, and Chris Niesel, all of whom have been effective this year. John Drennen led the offense (2-4, 2B, 2RBIs). Drennen turned 21 today (somebody send him a drink on Facebook), so considering his age, his disappointing season at Kinston looks a little less disappointing(.254/.326/.385, 38 XBH, 100K, 44BB). Matt Whitney's dream season continues as had two hits and a walk to raise his Kinston line to .302/.355/.578. In his two months at Kinston now he's basically matched his line from Lake County (a little more power, less discipline), which, if you're a former prospect looking to make your way back into the prospect world is what you have to do. The Indians might have to make an interesting 40-man choice with Whitney this offseason.
The Captains pounded out 18 hits led by lumberjack/first baseman Nick Weglarz (4-6, 2B) and Roman Pena (2-6, 2B, 5 RBIs). Brian Juhl, a catcher drafted out of Stanford (shocker) in 35th round this year, had two hits and has gotten off to a good start in pro-ball (.277/.429/.383 in 16 games). 21-year old Cirilo Cumberpatch also continues to hit, despite having a funny name (.297/.392/.420). On the pitching side, starting pitcher Paolo Espino pitched a very solid 6 innings (3 hits, 2 runs, no walks, 9 Ks). Espino, who won't turn 21 till next January, has a rather pedestrian line on the season (4-4, 3.78 ERA). Looking more closely though, Espino is definitely a name to look out for, with 112Ks and only 28BBs in 102 innings. He's smallish (listed as 5'10") and he's given up a huge number of homeruns (20, 13 in the second half), but he seems to have good stuff.
Mahoning Valley 6
Even the kids won...