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White Sox Minor League Update: April 18, 2019

The farm takes three of four, with standout play from top prospects like Luis Robert, Blake Rutherford, and Alec Hansen ... and a little bit of AAA news

Kyle Kubat threw six innings without an earned run, to help the Dash win, 5-3.

Before we get to the games, here is a graph on home runs in Triple-A vs Double-A from 2015 to the first few weeks this season. Triple-A started using the MLB ball for the first time in 2019. Meanwhile, Double-A and lower levels in the minors are not using those baseballs.

Charlotte Knights 2, Gwinnett Stripers 1

Danny Mendick: 0-for-4, 0 BB, 1 K
Nicky Delmonico: 0-for-3, 1 BB, 0 K
Zack Collins: 0-for-2, 2 BB, 2 K
Seby Zavala: 0-for-4, 0 BB, 1 K
Dylan Covey: 3 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K **co-MVP**
Spencer Adams: 4 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K **co-MVP**
Caleb Frare: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K **co-MVP**
Evan Marshall: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K **co-MVP**

In what was a half-bullpen game, half-getting Spencer Adams back on track game, the Knights were able to take a 2-1 win this morning. Dylan Covey got the start and allowed the lone run of the game, in what was his first action in more than a week. Covey’s Triple-A ERA is now at 1.13. Meanwhile Adams, who has just been awful so far this year, did do better. He (of course) allowed hits and did not strike many hitters out, but he did throw four shutout innings. He still has a long way to go to prove he should be an MLB pitcher.

On the offensive side for the Knights, well, they provided just enough to win. The club only collected three hits, but thanks to five walks, they were able to take advantage. The old guys, Alcides Escobar and Ryan Goins, both drove in runners to give the Knights their 2-1 win.

Defensive note: Seby Zavala threw out another runner stealing second. The Sox could use that.

Birmingham Barons 7, Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp 3

Joel Booker: 0-for-5, 0 BB, 1 K
Luis Gonzalez: 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K
Gavin Sheets: 2-for-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
Blake Rutherford: 1-for-4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 0 BB, 1 K **MVP**
Felix Paulino: 5 13 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K

The big bats in Birmingham may be heating up now. After a scoreless first inning on both sides, the Barons got to work in the second. Yermin Mercedes walked and then Gavin Sheets singled to open up the inning. The next batter, Blake Rutherford, hit his first home run of the year, giving the Barons a 3-0 lead. In fact, that homer was Rutherford’s first extra-base hit of 2019.

Unfortunately, that lead was given right back in the third. Felix Paulino, who started the game, allowed three runs, two off of a double and one on an error from Ti’Quan Forbes.

This time, fortunately, the Barons were able to battle right back. After Sheets and Mercedes reached base again, Mitch Roman drove both in on a double to take a 5-3 lead. In the very next inning, Sheets was tired of merely scoring runs and decided to drive in a couple of his own, with a two-run single. After Paulino left the game, Tanner Banks entered and got the rare, 3 23 -inning save for the Barons 7-3 win.

Winston-Salem Dash 5, Potomac Nationals 3

Luis Robert: 3-for-5, 1 HR, 0 BB, 2 K **MVP**
Kyle Kubat: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 2 K
Alec Hansen: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K

Welp, that was a quick slump for Luis Robert who again batted leadoff tonight. After a bad game for yesterday, Robert wasted no time in improving his numbers with a solo shot to start the game, his sixth homer of the year. And the Dash kept scoring through the first three innings. As Kyle Kubat was able to keep the Nationals off the board, the Dash expanded their lead to five. Tyler Frost drove in two with a double, Tate Blackman drove in one on his two-bagger, and Yeyson Yrizarri drove in the fifth run with a double of his own.

Meanwhile, the Dash pitching was just as good. Though Kubat had a bit of BABIP luck, including walking more batters than he struck out, he went six shutout innings. Kubat lowered his ERA to 1.59 as he gave way to Alec Hansen. Hansen did well in his two innings. as he set all six batters down. He threw 27 pitches, and only eight were balls. It seems that Hansen’s control woes of 2018 are fixed. Will a start come soon for him?

There was a bit of a scare for the Dash, who led the entire game, in the ninth. Kevin Escorica came in and was able to get two outs, but also allowed two runs to trim the W-S lead to three. Luis Ledo came in for the final out, allowing one run (charged to Escorica) before retiring the Nationals for the 5-3 win.

Hagerstown Suns 10, Kannapolis Intimidators 5

Steele Walker: 2-for-3, 0 BB, 0 K **MVP**
Lenyn Sosa: 1-for-5, 0 BB, 2 K
Bryce Bush: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K
Luis Curbelo: 1-for-4, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K
Davis Martin: 3 IP, 10 H, 7 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
Jason Bilous: 3 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K
Wilber Perez: 2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 K

Well, this did not go the way Davis Martin and the Intimidators wanted early on. Through three innings, the I’s were already out to an 8-0 deficit. Seven of the eight runs were tied to Davis, who was not wild, just very hittable. In total, Martin allowed 10 hits, and eight of them were for extra bases, including one home run. In fact, Davis allowed all but one of the Suns batters to reach base. It was not a particularly good way to start — and it did not get much better.

Jason Bilous and Wilber Perez were the next two pitchers up to face the Suns. Though they were better than Martin, both allowed a run to push Hagerstown’s lead to 10-0.

Runs did eventually come for the I’s. In the bottom of the eighth, Luis Curbelo drove in Amado Nuñez and Bryce Bush to trim the deficit to eight. But the last half-inning did bring some excitement back for the I’s, even if it was too little, too late, as the club worked with the bases loaded for much of their last bats and were able to add three more runs.