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White Sox Minor League Update: May 6, 2019

The affiliates go 2-1 in three pitchers’ duels

Breaking the ice: Laz Rivera drove in the first of two runs in the Barons 2-0 victory.
Birmingham Barons

The Charlotte Knights (16-14) had the day off, and they will travel to Columbus to face the Clippers for a three-game series. The first game will start tomorrow at 5:35 CST.

In case you missed it, the Knights game on Sunday was suspended, and it is scheduled to be completed on June 28. Before the game was suspended, the Knights had a 5-3 lead over the Norfolk Tides, and starter Dylan Cease pitched four innings and allowed just one run. He walked three and struck out five.

Birmingham Barons 2, Jackson Generals 0

Kyle Kubat (SP): 7 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 0 BB, 5 K, 0.00 ERA *MVP*
Luis Robert (RF): 0-for-4, .292 AVG, .804 OPS
Gavin Sheets (1B): 2-for-3, BB, SB (1), .212 AVG, .575 OPS
Blake Rutherford (LF): 0-for-3, BB, .159 AVG, .463 OPS
Luis Gonzalez (CF): 1-for-4, .205 AVG, .599 OPS
Laz Rivera (SS): 1-for-4, RBI, .211 AVG, .532 OPS
Trey Michalczewski (3B): 1-for-4, RBI, .228 AVG, .625 OPS

With this brilliant performance, Kyle Kubat earned an MVP award from South Side Sox for his second consecutive start. It was one of those days where everything went right for the lefty. His pitches were effective all evening, and his control was solid, as he threw 66% of his pitches for strikes. The Generals (15-15) did not draw any walks against him, and they only got three hits. That is a WHIP of 0.429 for the game, which will get the job done and then some. It’s probably time to place Kubat alongside fellow southpaw Bernardo Flores as the frontrunners for “next wave” starters coming to the White Sox after Dylan Cease.

As for the offense, it was a much quieter night, but they get a multi-hit game from Gavin Sheets, as well as a walk and his first stolen base of the season. Sheets scored the first of two runs this game when Laz Rivera drove him in with a single in the second. Trey Michalczewski added an insurance run in the ninth, with a single of his own to drive in Ti’Quan Forbes.

The Barons improved to 12-19. They will play the second game of this five-game series tomorrow at 6:05 CST, and righthander Jimmy Lambert is the probable starter.

(And in some off-the-field news, catcher Brett Nichols, who played in the majors as recently as 2017 with the Texas Rangers, announced his retirement.)

The Winston-Salem Dash (16-13) had the day off, but this time, it was not due to the weather. After the rain prevented the Dash from playing their weekend games against the Potomac Nationals, Winston-Salem will come back home for a three-game series against the Lynchburg Hillcats. Right-hander Lincoln Henzman, who has a 3.75 ERA this season, will get the start in the first game, which will be at 6:00 CST.

Game 1: Hickory Crawdads 2, Kannapolis Intimidators 1 (7)

Davis Martin (SP): 5 IP, 2 R (2 ER), 6 H, 1 BB, 9 K, 6.89 ERA
Bryce Bush (DH): 1-for-3, 2B, .228 AVG, .675 OPS *MVP*
Ian Dawkins (CF): 1-for-3, .267 AVG, .676 OPS
Romy González (LF): 0-for-3, .333 AVG, .843 OPS
Ramon Beltré (2B): 0-for-2, .250 AVG, .733 OPS

The Intimidators only managed two hits against the Crawdads (21-9) in the first of two shortened games, and to make matters worse, they did not draw any walks. Interestingly, all three of their players to reach base did so in the first inning.

The Intimidators had a chance for a big first inning after a single and an error put runners on the corners with no outs. Then, Romy González drove in the only run for the Intimidators, but it took a double play ground ball to do so. With the bases empty, Bryce Bush doubled, but he was stranded there. No Intimidators reached base again, as Crawdads starter Tim Brennan set down the last 19 batters he faced.

Intimidators starting pitcher Davis Martin had a decent performance, as he lasted five innings and allowed two runs. The most impressive part of his line is the nine strikeouts, as he was able to miss a lot of bats. Martin ran into trouble in the first inning, when he allowed back-to-back doubles as the Crawdads pushed the first run of the game across. In the third, Hickory got the run that turned out to be the game-winner, as they managed a leadoff single, two stolen bases, and an RBI single. Control was not an issue for Martin, as he only walked one and threw 64 of 94 pitches (68%) for strikes.

Game 2: Kannapolis Intimidators 2, Hickory Crawdads 1 (8)

Konnor Pilkington (SP): 6 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 3 BB, 8 K, 1.62 ERA *MVP*
Bryce Bush (RF): 0-for-3, .228 AVG, .675 OPS
Ian Dawkins (CF): 1-for-3, BB, RBI, .267 AVG, .676 OPS
Romy González (LF): 0-for-2, BB, .333 AVG, .843 OPS
Ramon Beltré (3B): 1-for-4, .250 AVG, .733 OPS

This was yet another pitchers’ duel, as both starters were nearly untouchable. Konnor Pilkington had another outstanding performance, as he has allowed just two runs in his past three starts, covering 17 innings (1.06 ERA in that span). Hickory struggled to make solid contact against him, and more of their hitters reached on walks than hits.

Neither team scored until extras, when they started each inning with a free runner on second base. The Crawdads pushed their run across when shortstop Jonathan Ornelas singled home the free runner. However, the Intimidators answered in the bottom half. Amado Nuñez led off by reaching on an error, which put runners on the corners with no outs. Then, Ian Dawkins singled, the second of two hits for the Intimidators in this game, to tie it. Ramon Beltré reached on yet another costly Hickory error, and this one allowed the winning run to score.

After today’s games, the Intimidators are 12-17 on the season. The Intimidators will have a day off tomorrow as they travel to Lexington for a three-game series against the Legends (15-15). The first game of that series will start on Wednesday at 11:05 a.m. CST.