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White Sox Minor League Update: June 21, 2019

Escobar slams it off, Robert goes deep, Walker picks up another four-hit game

Having a Grand Old Time: The Knights have a lot of laundry to do after Escobar’s walk-off grand slam
Laura Wolff/@KnightsBaseball

Charlotte Knights 9, Louisville Bats 6

Dylan Cease: 5 ⅔ IP, 9 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 7 K, 1 PO, 1 HBP, 1 WP
Adam Engel (CF): 1-for-5, 1 SB
Jon Jay (RF): 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 BB
Paulo Orlando (LF): 2-for-3, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 K
Daniel Palka (1B): 3-for-5, 2 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI
Alcides Escobar (3B): 3-for-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI **MVP**
Seby Zavala (C): 0-for-4
Ryan Goins (SS): 2-for-4, 1 2B

Dylan Cease struggled yet again, and the major-league promotion that just weeks ago seemed just weeks away now seems a little further. Eyewitness accounts allege that the line looks worse than Cease really was, but even so, it’s never great to see your top pitching prospect allow 13 baserunners in fewer than six innings. Connor Walsh and Jimmy Cordero were both very good out of the bullpen, neither giving up a run in their combined 3 ⅓ innings.

There was some excitement at the plate, if you consider a walk-off grand slam to be exciting. Before that, the Knights actually scored four in the first inning, one on a Jon Jay single and three on a Palka Smash. Jay, by the way, has now played 15 rehab games between two levels of the minors and is hitting .339/.361/.373/.734 in those games. Palka knocked in the last non-grand-slam run of the game as well, singling in Jay in the seventh.

The Knights entered the ninth trailing 6-5. Matt Skole walked to open the inning and was transmogrified into Jacob Scavuzzo, the recent pickup making his debut on the basepaths. Paulo Orlando singled him to second, and Palka singled everyone forward a station to load the bases. Then Alcides Escobar was up, and Alcides Escobar wanted to go home.

Chattanooga Lookouts 8, Birmingham Barons 3

Tanner Banks: 6 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 PO (L, 1-5)
Hunter Schryver: 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K
Alec Hansen: 0 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 WP
Luis Robert (CF): 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI **MVP**
Nick Madrigal (2B): 1-for-4, 1 R
Luis González (DH): 0-for-3, 1 BB, 1 SB
Gavin Sheets (1B): 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB
Laz Rivera (SS): 1-for-4, 1 K
Blake Rutherford (RF): 1-for-4, 2 K, 1 outfield assist
Joel Booker (LF): 1-for-4, 1 K

Things generally did not go well for the Barons on Friday night. Things especially did not go well for starter Tanner Banks and reliever Alec Hansen, who both gave up four runs. Banks, whose 1-5 record obfuscates the very dece season he’s having, gave up one in the first and three more in the sixth on an Ibandel Isabel home run, Isabel’s 15th of the season. Hansen, whose 1-1 record obfuscates the rough season he’s having, gave up all four in the eighth without recording a single out. His appearance went single, walk, wild pitch, single, single, and removed. Mauricio Cabrera then gave up a double, letting the rest of Hansen’s runners score.

In good news, Luis Robert hit a dong, his 14th of the season and first since yesterday. Nick Madrigal’s incredible stretch at AA continued with another hit. Gavin Sheets hit an RBI double, and Blake Rutherford both got a hit and threw a guy out at second base. Hunter Schryver’s rough patch seems to be behind him and he’s back to putting up zeroes in four straight outings.

Lynchburg Hillcats 6, Winston-Salem Dash 3

Konnor Pilkington: 4 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K (L, 1-2)
Andrew Perez: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K
Tyler Frost (RF): 0-for-3, 2 BB, 2 K
Mitch Roman (2B): 1-for-5, 1 2B, 1 K
Steele Walker (CF): 4-for-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K **MVP**
Jameson Fisher (1B): 0-for-4, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K
Zach Remillard (SS): 0-for-3, 1 R, 2 BB
JJ Muno (DH): 0-for-2, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
Evan Skoug (C): 1-for-4, 1 2B

The pitching wasn’t abysmally awful, but six runs were still twice as many as the Hillcats needed to down the Dash 6-3 on Friday night. Konnor Pilkington struggled to get through four innings in his sixth start in the Carolina League, and Jake Elliott’s two innings saw three Hillcats runs cross the plate, the first earned runs he’s given up since May 22.

The Dash came up with six total hits, and Steele Walker was personally responsible for four of them, bringing his Winston line up to .275/.368/.427/.795 over 37 games played. He’s batting .432 over his last 10, stretching back to early June. Evan Skoug drilled a double deep off the wall in center, and Mitch Roman unsuccessfully tried to stretch a double into a triple. The Dash did walk seven times as a team, Frost and Remillard twice each, and stranded 11 on base.

Kannapolis Intimidators 6, August GreenJackets 1

Taylor Varnell: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HBP
Wyatt Burns: 3 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K (W, 1-0)
Austin Conway: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K
Ian Dawkins (CF): 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 SB, 1 CS
Lenyn Sosa (SS): 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K
Alex Destino (DH): 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 K **MVP**
Bryce Bush (RF): 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K
Corey Zangari (1B): 3-for-3, 1 R, 3 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB
Ramón Beltre (2B): 1-for-4, 2 K

Kannapolis’s runs came in two bunches, a two-run second and a four-run fifth. In the second, the first three reached base — Bryce Bush single, Corey Zangari double, Romy González walk — but the only runs came on a wild pitch and a Jhoandro Alfaro groundout. The fifth was far more fruitful, as Ian Dawkins singled and stole his 17th base, followed by a Lenyn Sosa walk. A wild pitch that advanced them both would shortly prove to be meaningless, as Alex Destino powered his fifth home run out of the park, his first since May 27. Corey Zangari hit three doubles, which is quite a few doubles to hit.

Wyatt Burns pitched well for the Dash, spent a few weeks with Birmingham, and has resurfaced in Kannapolis. Austin Conway also had a cup of coffee at a higher level (instant, I would guess) with the Dash, and has been back with Kannapolis since May 13 and on the IL since May 16 (and off the IL since June 20!). Taylor Varnell had a quick hook today, but pitched well if inefficiently, throwing 67 pitches over his four innings.

Missoula Osprey 7, Great Falls Voyagers 4

Jason Morgan: 4 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 0 K
Nick Johnson: 2 ⅓ IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K (L, 0-1)
Caberea Weaver (CF): 2-for-5, 1 2B, 2 K
Kelvin Maldonado (2B): 3-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K
Luis Mieses (RF): 3-for-5, 1 K
Harvin Mendoza (1B): 1-for-5, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K
Sam Abbott (DH): 0-for-3, 1 R, 2 K, 1 HBP
Anderson Comas (LF): 2-for-4, 1 2B, 1 3B, 3 RBI, 1 K **MVP**
Camilo Quinteiro (SS): 1-for-4, 1 R, 2 K, 1 E

Great Falls dropped a tough one to the Missoula Ospreys, giving up three runs in the eighth inning to break a tie and not being able to answer in time. Jason Morgan, a late-round draft pick from 2018, made his second professional start after losing the rest of 2018 to injury. One of the four runs he gave up came on a triple and groundout in the first inning; the other three on a home run in the second. Nick Johnson, who had a 0.90 ERA last season over 30 innings at the same level, has some time to work his current bloated ERA back down after giving up the three runs in the eighth.

Anderson Comas was nigh unstoppable at the plate, hitting a bases-loaded triple in the first inning and doubling in the seventh. Caberea Weaver and Kelvin Maldonado also hit doubles. The team turned four double plays and were able to keep it a relatively low-scoring affair until late, but they didn’t help out their own cause by going 3-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

DSL Orioles 8, DSL White Sox 2

Homer Cruz: 4 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 2 WP (L, 1-2)
Cesar Jiménez (2B): 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 BB
Benyamin Bailey (LF): 3-for-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K **MVP**
Albert Bernal (DH): 0-for-3, 1 RBI, 2 K
Lazaro Leál (1B): 0-for-4, 1 BB
Richard García (PH-C): 1-for-1, 1 BB
Roberth Gutierrez (CF): 1-for-4, 2 K
Andres Rosario (RF): 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 K

It was a quiet day at the plate but a loud day out of the bullpen for the DSL Sox, who dropped the game 8-2 and dropped their record to 7-11. Homer Cruz continues to walk a bunch of guys but only give up around two runs per appearance. Oriel Castro also walked four over his 1 ⅓ innings, and Erick Perez added four more over his three. In total, the DSL Sox walked 13, struck out 12, and gave up just six hits. The bullpen gave up six runs, walked nine, threw three wild pitches, hit one batter, and balked once over their five innings. The team also made three errors — two of them passed balls by 17-year-old starting catcher Ruben Benavides — and the DSL Orioles took full advantage, despite being caught stealing once and picked off once.

Things also didn’t go well offensively. Benyamin Bailey, the massive teenager who does nothing but hit, added three more, in addition to a sacrifice fly accounting for the first Sox run. Cesar Jiménez, who until very recently was known as Enoy Jiménez, played second and reached twice, once via walk and once via a rare non-Benyamin-Bailey hit.

In short, with seven errors, 16 walks, 23 strikeouts, five wild pitches, two HBPs, one caught stealing, one pickoff, two passed balls, and a balk, this was a very DSL game.