Robert Brender, @robertbrender on TwitterSalt Lake Bees (LAA) 4, @ Las Vegas 51s 3
The Salt lake Bees defeated the Las Vegas 51s 4-3 Saturday afternoon at Cashman Field, winning the best-of-five playoff series three games to one. The 51s season comes to and end in the 1st round of the postseason after an 81-63 record during the regular year and a PCL Pacific Southern Division Championship.
Recently acquired right-hander Aaron Harang got his first start for the 51s and was okay: 6IP, 6H, 3R, 3ER, 2BB, 6K, 1HR. He appeared in a relief role five days ago (one day after signing as a Minor League free agent), allowing a pair of runs on seven hits in four innings of work. Sounds like Harang’s next start could be for the Mets as part of their doubleheader against the Marlins September 14.
For the second time in the series the 51s got a 1st inning leadoff homerun from Kirk Nieuwenhuis to grab the early lead. Interestingly, the 51s scored first in three of the four games in the series and lost all three. Their only win was Game 3, in which they trailed 1-0 until the 5th.
Salt Lake scored twice off Harang in the 4th to take a 2-1 lead. After Vegas tied the game in the bottom of that inning, the Bees came back with single runs in the 5th and 7th to grab a 4-2 advantage.
In the bottom of the 8th, Vegas got back-to-back doubles from Ruben Tejada and Mike Baxter to open the frame and draw to within one run. Baxter moved to third base on a subsequent groundout but was stranded 90 feet from the plate when Jamie Hoffmann grounded out and Rylan Sandoval struck out to end the rally.
Again in the 9th inning, the 51s got the potential tying run to third but Nieuwenhuis struck out swinging to end the game and the 51s season.
Notes: 2013 was just the 4th time in 51s franchise history they’ve won 80 + games….Wally Backman did a tremendous job with this group, especially considering how shaky the bullpen most of the season….It was a ton of fun for me to write the game recap most of the season. I hope everyone enjoyed them. See you in 2014.
AAA: Salt Lake Bees (2-1) @ Las Vegas 51s (1-2) Listen
Game Four 3:05 ET – Unnamed vs. RHP Aaron Harang (0-0, 4.50)
The remaining starters for Salt Lake include RHP Billy Buckner (7-4, 4.87) who allowed 21 runs in his final 14.1 IP and LHP Dontrelle Willis (2-1, 6.43) who allowed 14 runs over his last 9 IP.
Aaron Harang made 22 starts at the big league level this year pitching for Seattle (5-11, 5.76) allowing 133 hits and 28 walks over 120.1 IP, striking out 87. On September 1st he was released by the Mariners and signed a minor league deal with the Mets the next day. In his lone PCL appearance he pitched long relief the seasons final day 4 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 K. He threw 73 pitches, 49 for strikes in that appearance five days ago. Before that he threw 101 pitches on Aug 25th in his final game for the Mariners, so he should have no problem working deep into the game.
A: Savannah Sand Gnats off
Hagarstown hosts West Virginia to see who advances to the SAL championship. The winner of this game will host game one against the Gnats on Sept 9th. Game two will be played the next night, and after a travel day the final three games (as needed) will by played in Savannah.
AA: Trenton Thunder 3, @ Binghamton Mets 0
The BMets’ offense scored just once in the final 18 innings and the last two games of this series. So, yeah, they missed the suspended Cesar Puello.
There was a big mess in the seventh inning that began with Xorge Carillo at second and Danny Muno at first. Muno was called out at second on a Wilfredo Tovar ground ball, and got into it with the Trenton middle infielders, which prompted both benches and bullpens to clear.
2B Jose Pirela
Manager Pedro Lopez
SS Wilfredo Tovar
2B Daniel Muno
Logan Verrett was ok: 6 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K.
Frank Francisco struck out two batters in the ninth, which is nice.
@ Savannah Sand Gnats 5, Augusta GreenJackets 0
The Sand Gnats picked a great time, the best time, to play two of their most complete games of the year to finish off a two game sweep of the Augusta GreenJackets.
Savannah outscored Augusta 15-2 in the series in which Gnats’ pitching struck out 19 batters and walked only one.
Steven Matz started Friday; I’ve never seen him better. He faced one over the minimum in his seven innings with eight strikeouts, one single and no walks. He threw first pitch strikes to 18 of his 22 batters and needed just 78 pitches to get through seven innings. For a guy who has struggled to locate at times this year, his command, and simple ability to pitch ahead, made him better.
He attacked inside with his fastball especially to right handers. He threw changeups that induced silly-looking swings. He used his curveball both to finish off hitters and steal first pitch strikes.
As Matz told MiLB.com about his curveball and his pitching plan:
“Usually, the first time around, I try to establish the fastball. The second time around, I’ll try mixing in some first-pitch breaking balls, and that’s been huge for me. Since that [curveball] has developed, and it’s really come along the past four outings, I’ve been throwing that first-pitch breaking ball for a strike.
“It’s really showed its benefits, like today. I threw a couple of them and the changeup, too, the second and third time around. I’ve been using everything lately.”
For the second game in a row, the big swing was a bases-loaded extra base hit. This time, CF Brandon Nimmo ripped a triple to right field over the outstretched glove of Augusta RF Chuckie Jones. Notably, Nimmo, patient by nature attacked the first pitch of the at bat, and hit it on the screws. He finished 2-3 with a bunt single in the first inning, and a walk in the third. He finished the two games against Augusta 4-7, with two walks, a run and four RBI.
2B Dilson Herrera was 1-4 with a single through the left side in the first inning.
The Gnats await the winner of the Northern Division Championship Series in which West Virginia and Hagerstown are tied 1-1 heading to game three Saturday.
Robert Brender, @robertbrender on TwitterSalt Lake Bees (LAA) 2, @ Las Vegas 51s 3
The 51s received outstanding pitching throughout the night and won a tight 3-2 decision over the Salt Lake Bees in Game 3 of the PCL Playoffs.
Giancarlo Alvarado got the start for Vegas and found a way to limit the Bees to only one run in 5 2/3 innings despite walking a season-high five batters. Issuing free passes is nothing new to the 35-year-old righty, who managed to pitch around self-inflicted trouble on a regular basis in his 13 starts for the Mets 3A affiliate this season. To be precise, he’s walked 35 in 55 innings, while giving up 72 hits. Despite that, his 3.49 era reflects his ability to get through the rough patches.
Trailing 1-0 in the 5th inning, the 51s tied the game on a sac fly off the bat of Eric Campbell. It was his second RBI in the series after compiling 66 during the regular campaign (3rd most on the team).
Vegas took the lead one inning later on a solo homerun (1) from Dustin Lawley, who continues to hit well in AAA. For the night, the third baseman was 3-4 and now has four extra base hits in nine games with the 51s. Later in the inning, Ruben Tejada singled home Brandon Hicks to make it a 3-1 Vegas lead. Tejada is having a solid postseason so far, going 4 for 10.
Chris Schwinden, who was pitching in relief for the second time this season, ran into trouble in the top of the 7th, surrendering one run before departing with two men aboard and only one out. However, he was bailed out by recently acquired righty Cory Wade who retired the next two batters in succession to get the 51s through the inning with a one run advantage. Wade remained on the hill to pitch the 9th and survived mild trouble to preserve the win.
Notes: Game 4 in the best-of-five series is scheduled for Saturday afternoon at Cashman Field.
AA: Trenton Thunder @ Binghamton Mets Listen Alternate Audio
Game Three 7:05 ET – RHP Shane Greene (8-4, 3.18) vs. RHP Logan Verrett (12-6, 4.25)
Like most of the Trenton roster Shane Greene began his year in Tampa (4-6, 3.60) making 13 starts (75 IP, 69K, 10BB, .279 BAA) before being promoted. Unlike his teammates Greene does not walk a lot, allowing just 20 free passes in 79.1 IP at the AA level. He picked up a win in Binghamton on June 29th (6 IP, 7 H, 2 BB, 5 K) in which Danny Muno and Josh Rodriguez took him deep. Travis Taijron has gone 3-for-6 with a double and a walk against him over two contests, one of which was in the FSL in April.
Logan Verrett is another Mets farm hand up against a work limit. As he is already 40 IP over last year he has not been allowed to finish a 6th inning in his last six starts of the regular season. Logan has been inconsistent all year, from allowing 3 hits or less five times to allowing 9 hits or more four times, from striking out 8 or more seven times to striking out 3 or less eight times, on his way to leading the team in wins. He was consistent at being a strike thrower, walking just 31 (5.3%) on the year, and often working deep into games on low pitch counts.
Against Trenton, he had an early season gem 8.2 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 9 K on May 8th in Trenton, lost to them at home on June 29th (6.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 0 BB, 5 K) and picked up his final loss of the year against them on July 28th (5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 7 K) In all he has totaled 20.1 IP, 14 H, 1 BB, 21 K, and a 2.66 ERA against the Thunder.
The B-Mets have stranded 21 runners in losing the first two games by 1 run. Hansel Robles was added to the Binghamton roster, Hamilton Bennett is going to LasVegas.
A: Augusta GreenJackets @ Savannah Sand Gnats Listen
Game Two 7:05 ET – RHP Kendry Flores (10-6, 2.73) vs. LHP Steven Matz (5-6, 2.62)
Kendry Flores finished his first year of full season ball 5th in the SAL in ERA, 3rd in strikeouts, and 2nd in IP. The Gnats have faced him twice and it has not gone well for them either time. On May 16th Flores (and Rainy Lara) took a shutout into the 9th (8.1 IP, 3 H, 3 BB, 7 K) and on July 10th he allowed just an unearned run (7 IP, 4 H, 0 BB, 6 K) Pitching deep into games was something Flores made a habit of this year, averaging more than 6 and a third IP, and completing the 8th four times. This is due in part to nullifying the free passes, as he walked just 17 and hit 4 batters while striking out 137 over 141.2 IP.
We’ve seen Ynoa and Cessa have magical years in the K:BB department, and Flores topped them both. Four times this year he has struck out 10 or more, and walked 1 total in those starts, including a 15K/0BB gem on August 21st.
Steven Matz faced Augusta just once as part of a double header on August 18th. In 4 IP he allowed 5 R (3 ER) on 1 hit and 4 walks while striking out 8. Striking out 2 an inning should work out a bit better than that. On the year Matz struck out 121 and walked 38 over 106.1 IP. After making just 6 starts last year for Kingsport and having his year end early due to injury, its fair to question how many quality innings Matz could have left in his arm this year this deep in the year.
AAA: Salt Lake Bees @ Las Vegas 51s Listen
Game Three 10:05 ET – RHP Jarrett Grube (7-5, 4.47) vs. HP Name (0-0, 0.00)
Jarrett Grube made two starts in Las Vegas in the first half of the year. On May 24th he allowed 10 hits (1BB/1K) over 4 IP, and on June 24th he allowed 5 hits and 2 walks while striking out 7 over 5.1 IP. He would make a home start against the 51s on July 9th allowing 3 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks over 4 IP, and then make a 2.1 IP hittless relief appearance against them in mid August in which he struck out 4 and walked 2. Against the 51s he’s totaled 15.2 IP, 19 H, 7 BB, 17 K and a 5.17 ERA.
Giancarlo Alvarado seemingly came out of nowhere (he was pitching in the Mexican League) to help the 51s, starting out with 4 wins in his first five starts. The start he did not win took place in Salt Lake, a game in which he hurt himself in the 2nd inning on a fielding play and had to leave after allowing the next two batters to reach. In his last seven starts he would only record one more win, four times he would allow 4 runs or more. This included a 2 IP 4 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 1 K start in Salt Lake against the Bees. In total he has allowed the Bees 8 hits and 5 walks over 3.2 IP, while striking out just 1.
Roster management: the Mets called up Sean Henn (who pitched the last two nights) to replace Scott Rice. Henn had faced 6 batters in the postseason and retired just 2 of them. Hamilton Bennett, who hasn’t pitched since Labor day, is joining the 51s. Another move will be needed to active Alvarado from the DL. Jake deGrom is likely done for the year.
At Baseball Prospectus, head prospect man Jason Parks did did his thing and talked a little Mets’ baseball.
redguy12588 (Pittsburgh): What did the Pirates give up in Herrera, a utility infielder or an occasional all-star 2nd baseman?
Jason Parks: I don’t see an all-star future; rather, I think Herrera has the potential to play as a regular at the highest level. That’s a pretty high ceiling given the fact that he plays an up the middle position.
kbrown22 (NY): I’m scared that Matt Harvey might already have hit his peak and will never be this good again, can you make me feel better?
Jason Parks: Syndergaard is a very good prospect with a very impressive #rig. He’s not Harvey and he’s not ready, but he’s a reason to be excited about the future.
Later in the chat, Parks clarified on #rig, a running gag of his.
Aaron (stupidville): what does rig mean?
Jason Parks: My definition of #rig has traditionally been: “swagger, only more penis specific.” But it can be nebulous depending on context.
AA: @ Trenton Thunder (NYY) 2, Binghamton Mets 1
One night after their extra-inning heartbreak, the B-Mets lost game two in which Darin Gorksi pitched well, but the offense managed just two singles. The B-Mets did draw six walks in the game.
Gorski’s line: 7 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB 5 K. After flubbing his first shot at AAA this year (17 H, 11 R, 9 BB in 13.2 IP), Gorski has pitched well enough in the second half in AA (46 H, 1.83 ERA in 78.2 IP) in AA to earn another shot in AAA to begin next year.
The B-Mets’ only hits belonged to SS Wilfredo Tovar (who was 1-for-3 with a walk) and 3B Josh Rodriguez (who homered in the fifth to tie the game at 1-1).
The B-Mets try to avoid elimination Friday night when the series shifts to Binghamton.
By the way, both C Kevin Plawecki and SS Matt Reynolds are traveling with Binghamton, but neither is on the team’s active playoff roster. Both players will only be activated if there is an injury or emergency need at their positions.
Robert Brender, @robertbrender on TwitterLas Vegas 51s 4, @ Salt Lake Bees (LAA) 5
The Salt Lake Bees took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series against the Las Vegas 51s, beating them 5-4 Thursday night in Utah. The series will shift to Sin City for Game 3 Friday, with Games 4 and 5 also scheduled to be in Nevada if necessary.
For the second straight night it was Vegas reliever Robert Carson who gave up the winning run in the bottom of the 9th inning. This time, a bases loaded sac fly from Scott Cousins drove home the game winner.
Rafael Montero got the start for Vegas and had his worst outing in almost six weeks, lasting just 4 1/3 innings while allowing three earned runs on five hits with three walks and two punch-outs. It’s his shortest performance since he was intentionally limited to two innings July 11 so he would be able to pitch in the MLB Futures Game a few days later. The three base on balls match his highest total this season and break a streak of six consecutive starts where he walked two or fewer.
For the second straight game, Vegas got on the board in the opening inning, this time thanks to a leadoff homer from Kirk Nieuwenhuis. It was his first of the postseason while he smacked 14 in 282 AAA at-bats during the regular year.
After falling behind 2-1, the 51s scored twice in the 4th to recapture the lead. Rylan Sandoval driving in both runs with a one-out single. Salt Lake tied the game 3-3 in the 5th and took a one run lead in the bottom of the 8th. However, Vegas found a way to tie it back up in 9th on an RBI double from Francisco Pena. It was just the second extra base hit in the game for the 51s and came in Pena’s first at-bat in the series.
The Mets top two affiliates look to bounce back from game one losses that included blowing late leads. They each have their best pitcher going to the mound to help turn things around.
AAA: Las Vegas 51s @ Salt Lake Bees Listen
Game Two 8:35 ET – RHP Rafael Montero (5-4, 3.05) vs. RHP Tommy Hanson (0-2, 5.49)
Rafael Montero made his 4th AAA start against Salt Lake at home and had one of his worst games that day. He allowed 5 hits and 3 walks while striking out just 1 over 3 IP. On August 20th he had a solid effort in Salt Lake allowing 8 hits and walking 2 over 5 IP, striking out 3. With 4 K in 8 IP against the Bees they are certainly an aberration to his typical K rate of 21% or 8K/9IP.
Montero has backed up his Sterling award winning 2012 with 27 starts split between AA and AAA. He ended up with a 2.78 ERA over 155.1 IP for 2013 with 150 K and 35 BB.
Tommy Hanson‘s difficult and disappointing 2013 continues in AAA. He has struck out 15 and walked 6 over four starts for Salt Lake, but has allowed at least one home run per start. After holding the 51s to 5 hits and 1 walk over 5 IP he has been less successful in his last three starts. (15.2 IP, 18 H, 12 R)
In the big leagues this year Hanson was pitching to a 33% ground ball rate, down from a norm of 40%. As you can guess he’s set a career worst 44% fly ball rate. As a pitcher who has had a tough recovery from a rotator cuff tear that did not require surgery, he seems like a bargain/project in the coming offseason. But for now he gets to test that fly ball rate against one of the best hitting teams in the PCL in one of the best environments for hitters.
AA: Binghamton Mets @ Trenton Thunder Listen-Alternate Audio
Game Two 7:05 ET – LHP Darin Gorski (6-1, 1.83) vs. RHP Mikey O’Brien (7-8, 4.12)
After struggles in the PCL (6.59 ERA, 1.95 whip) and six weeks on the DL with shoulder difficulties Darin Gorski joined Binghamton and had the best stretch of his career. After going 9-8 with a 4.00 ERA with Binghamton in 2012 I don’t think anyone saw this level of dominance coming. Over 14 ‘starts’ Gorski held EL batters to a .178 BA and walked 22, for a 0.86 whip, while striking out 67 in 78.2 IP.
He faced Trenton twice, allowing 1 run on 4 hits, striking out 5 over 4 IP in his return from the DL. On July 25th he went the distance, allowing 2 runs on 3 hits and 1 walk while striking out 6. He would take the loss that day as Nik Turley and the Trenton pen would throw a 1 hit shutout.
Gorski has already participated in post season for Brooklyn, and Savannah and St. Lucie. Adam Rubin talked with Darin about his year, and updates us on few injuries in his Farm Report.
Mikey O’Brien made 19 starts and 2 relief appearances for Trenton after 6 starts for Tampa to begin the year. At the AA level he has struck out 90 and walked 44 over 107 IP. He has faced Binghamton 4 times this year. In 17.2 IP he allowed 22 hits, walked 10 and struck out 19, while going 1-3 with a 8.66 ERA.
A: Augusta GreenJackets @ Savannah Sand Gnats off
These two teams travel to Savannah for game two and a potential game three the next two nights.
Savannah took Game one behind Gabriel Ynoa. Box Toby’s recap