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White Sox Minor League Update: April 17, 2019

After a tough loss on the South Side, the minors split their games — highlighted by three phenomenal starting pitching performances

MLB: Spring Training-Chicago White Sox at San Diego Padres
Ruthless efficiency: Bernardo Flores went a Buerhle-esque eight innings, taking only 81 pitches, in the Barons 5-0 win.
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Charlotte Knights 5, Gwinnett Stripers 4

Danny Mendick: 2-for-2, 1 R, 2 BB, 0 K
Nicky Delmonico: 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K
Zack Collins: 3-for-4, 1 R, 2 RBI, 0 BB, 0 K **MVP**
Jordan Stephens: 6 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 K
Juan Minaya: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K
Ian Hamilton: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K

Well, using context clues, it looks like Ryan Cordell will be up tomorrow since he wasn’t in today’s Charlotte lineup. He should replace Daniel Palka, who was optioned after the White Sox loss today. But no worries, the Knights functioned just fine down a man tonight.

Charlotte scored five runs in the first, as they almost batted around. Zack Collins opened up the scoring with a two-RBI single. Then, home runs were launched by the next two batters: D.J. Peterson was first, with a two-run shot, and Matt Skole closed the first inning scoring with a one-run bomb.

The O gave Jordan Stephens quite the lead to work with. Stephens did give two back pretty quickly, though, with lack of command. He walked two batters in the second, as two runs came in to score, including an RBI from friendly-foe, Ryan LaMarre. Later, as the Knights bats fell silent, Stephens would allow two more runs in the fifth to bring the game to 5-4. On a day where Lucas Giolito got hurt, Stephens did not do anything to help his case if the White Sox need another starter.

As the Knights bats continued their ineptness, Juan Minaya came in for Stephens after his six-inning outing. Minaya’s line looked more like his 2018 regular season than his 2019 spring training: Two strong innings, only walking one batter, and all but one of his outs were Ks. Ian Hamilton took over for Minaya for the save, and was just as good. Hamilton went a perfect ninth with two Ks. Hopefully he will be up soon in Chicago, to help with some of the bullpen woes.

Birmingham Barons 5, Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp 0

Joel Booker: 3-for-4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 0 BB, 0 K
Laz Rivera: 0-for-4, 0 BB, 0 K
Luis Gonzalez: 1-for-4, 1 HR, 0 BB, 0 K
Gavin Sheets: 0-for-4, 0 BB, 0 K
Micker Adolfo: 0-for-2, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K
Blake Rutherford: 0-for-4, 0 BB, 1 K
Bernardo Flores: 8 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K **MVP**

Well, well, well, some offense for the Barons here in this game! All season, the Barons only had three home runs. So what did they do today? In the first five innings, they scored four runs, off of two home runs. The first homer was by Luis Gonzalez, who came into the game hitting .178 with only two extra-base hits. His solo shot gave Bernardo Flores and the Barons a 1-0 lead after one. In the fifth inning, after Mitch Roman and Ti’Quan Forbes reached base, Joel Booker hit a three-run bomb (his first home run of the year) for a 4-0 lead.

The offense was good, but Flores, Mr. Quality Start, cruised through this outing. His command was on point, as he was getting soft contact the entire game. This is just an outstanding line, just through six innings: Flores only threw 65 pitches, and 46 of them were strikes, only allowing three hits in that time span, all singles. Dare I say, Buerhle-esque? Probably not, but Flores is a guy to keep an eye on. The crafty lefty would leave the game after eight innings and only 81 pitches — in other words, an outstanding game. The Barons would settle on the final score of 5-0 after Alfredo Gonzalez added an RBI double in the ninth inning.

Wilmington Blue Rocks 2, Winston-Salem Dash 1

Luis Robert: 1-for-4, 0 BB, 0 K, 1 SB
Nick Madrigal: 0-for-3, 0 BB, 0 K
Blake Battenfield: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K **MVP**

This game was a bit of a stinker as well, as the two lowest-scoring games today came in the two lowest levels of the minors. For the Dash, their offense never got going. They only collected four hits from three separate hitters. Tyler Frost was the lone Dash batter to reach base twice and score a run, and he had the team’s lone RBI with his solo home run in the seventh. Other than that, no runner made it to scoring position.

Meanwhile, the pitching was very good for Winston-Salem. Blake Battenfield got the start and was tabbed with zero earned runs as he lowered his ERA to 3.71. He did see two unearned runs score, but he was lights-out otherwise. In seven innings, Battenfield only allowed three hits and no walks while striking out five. As an aside, since Luis Robert went 1-for-4 with a single, he now has “only” a 1.420 OPS.

Delmarva Shorebirds 2, Kannapolis Intimidators 1 (11)

Ramon Beltre: 1-for-4, 0 BB, 0 K, 1 SB
Steele Walker: 0-for-3, 1 BB, 1 K
Bryce Bush: 0-for-3, 2 BB, 1 K
Luis Curbelo: 0-for-5, 0 BB, 3 K
Lenyn Sosa: 1 R (came in as a pinch-runner)
Taylor Varnell: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 K **MVP**
Andrew Perez: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K
Bennett Sousa: 23 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K

Our Man Dan telling some truths about offseason favorite prospect Bryce Bush regarding his early-season struggles that perked up today. It is good to note though, Bush probably will be fine as the season goes on, he is 2.4 years younger than the average A-ball hitter. But let’s get to the game and why Bush was brought up.

This game, also a bit stinky, was in the early afternoon. The first run came from the Shorebirds in the sixth inning, unearned; Bush was responsible for the run after his throwing error. Before that, Taylor Varnell was dealing. After his six innings with no earned runs allowed, his ERA fell to 1.59 ERA, a good start for an overlooked prospect. The Kanny offense, and its lone run, came in the top of the ninth inning for the Intimidators. Michael Hickman (starting at catcher today) drove in Lenyn Sosa to tie the game late.

Unfortunately, the Shorebirds would take the final lead with a walk-off single in the 11th. The I’s squandered terrific pitching that featured a 16:4 K:B ratio and just one earned run.