The minor league playoffs continued on Thursday, with the Double-A Midland RockHounds and High-A Stockton Ports each playing Game 2 of their respective Division Series. Unfortunately, both clubs lost, dropping Midland into a series tie and placing Stockton on the brink of elimination.
Here’s a look at each series.
Midland RockHounds vs. San Antonio Missions
League: Double-A Texas League
Best-of-5 Division Series
Series tied 1-1
In Game 1, a big night from Viosergy Rosa masked the fact that the rest of the lineup didn’t do much. This time around, his big hits weren’t quite enough to push them over the top.
The chance here came in the 5th. The Hounds were down 4-1 but had put together a two-out rally — Jorge Mateo’s RBI single cut the deficit, and Max Schrock walked to load the bases. However, Jermaine Curtis was unable to keep the parade moving, and Midland was left with just one run to show for their troubles. Rosa led off the next inning with a solo homer, just to show how close we got to completing the comeback.
Viosergy Rosa, 1B: 2-for-4, HR, 2B, RBI, 2 runs
J.P. Sportman, OF: 2-for-4, 2B, RBI, run
Max Schrock, 2B: 1-for-3, BB
Jorge Mateo, SS: 1-for-4, RBI
Neuse, Murphy, & Ramirez: 0-for-12, 5 Ks
The pitching side was even more disappointing. James Naile, one of the standouts of last year’s playoff rotation, had absolutely no answer for the Missions. He allowed multiple baserunners in every single inning he pitched, and even after an admirable job of limiting the scoring he had still put his team in a hole they never recovered from. The bullpen (Brandon Mann, Tyler Sturdevant, and Sam Bragg) put up 4⅓ sparking, scoreless innings in relief, but the damage had been done.
James Naile: 3⅔ ip, 4 runs, 0 Ks, 1 BB, 10 hits, 70 pitches (47 strikes)
Game 3 tonight will feature Grant Holmes on the mound for Midland. In his final start of the year he tossed eight shutout innings, though in the appearance before that he showed some wildness against this San Antonio team (5 ip, 8 Ks, 6 BB).
Stockton Ports vs. Modesto Nuts
League: High-A California League
Best-of-5 Division Series
Ports trail series 0-2
This game was never really in question. The Ports’ pitchers got shelled, one after the other, and the lineup couldn’t keep up. A homer by Seth Brown in the 3rd cut an early deficit to 5-3, but Modesto kept piling on the runs after that and never looked back.
Seth Brown, OF: 2-for-4, HR, 2B, 3 RBI, BB
Skye Bolt, OF: 4-for-5, HR, RBI, 3 runs
Sandber Pimentel, 1B: 3-for-4
Rest of lineup: 1 hit (Mikey White), 1 walk (Eli White)
Stockton’s starter, Brandon Bailey, only made it two innings before giving way to the pen. His defense let him down, including putting the Nuts’ first batter of the game on base via E-4, but Bailey also gave up a bunch of line drives and hard contact. We can give him a bit of a break since most of his runs were unearned, but he still was not good on Thursday. Neither was most of the bullpen, with lefties Brandon Marsonek and Andrew Tomasovich each giving up three runs.
Brandon Bailey: 2 ip, 5 runs (1 earned), 3 Ks, 0 BB, 0 HR, 7 hits, 54 pitches (40 strikes)
Game 3 tonight will feature Evan Manarino starting for Stockton. The left-hander is in the mold of Tommy Milone, but isn’t cruising up the minors like Milone did. (Manarino flamed out of Double-A this year at age 24, the same age Milone debuted in MLB.) The soft-tosser is still striking out more than eight batters per walk in High-A, though, so hopefully he can spin a gem and save the Ports’ season.