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White Sox Minor League Update: June 22, 2019

Runs wild: Knights sweep, Barons slug, Voyagers say eight is enough, DSL’s half-dozen are wild

Box score bingo: Tumble the balls in the hopper each game, sure, but they almost always pour out into a scintillating line for Luis Robert.
Michael Wade/@BhamBarons

Game 1: Charlotte Knights 11, Louisville Bats 4

Justin Nicolino: 8 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 2 HR (W, 5-3)
Jimmy Cordero: 1 IP, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
Adam Engel (CF): 3-for-5, 1 R , 1 RBI, 0 BB, 0 K
Danny Mendick (2B): 2-for-5, 1 R, 0 RBI, 1 K
Ryan Goins (SS): 2-for-5, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 K **MVP**
Yermin Mercedes (C): 2-for-4, 2 2B, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 K
Ivan De Jesus Jr. (3B): 3-for-4, 1 R, 0 K

The opener of the Knights doubleheader started early this afternoon, at 1 p.m. Stellar pitching for eight innings by starter Justin Nicolino was the difference, as he tied the longest outing by a Knight this season. He allowed only four runs and collected seven strikeouts for the afternoon.

Shortstop Ryan Goins got the scoring party going in the fourth with a three-run bomb. Adam Engel would bring home Yermin Mercedes in the bottom of the fifth with an RBI single. Mercedes added had a two-run double in the sixth. In the bottom of the eighth, Charlotte poured on the insurance tallies, as Matt Skole walked in a run, Daniel Palka had a sac fly, and Alcides Escobar capped it off with two-run double to make the final score 11-4 Knights! Great pitching was backed by an exploding offense — 17 hits for Charlotte.

Game 2: Charlotte Knights 7, Louisville Bats 6

Kyle Kubat: 5 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 6 K (W, 1-0)
Zach Thompson: 2 IP, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K (H, 2)
Thyago Vieira: 1 IP, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (S,5)
Danny Mendick (2B): 1-for-3, HR, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K
Paulo Orlando (CF): 2-for-4, 2 2B, 2 R, 0 K
Matt Skole (DH): 2-for-3, HR, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 0 K **MVP**
Daniel Palka (1B): 1-for-4, HR, 1 R, 2 RBI, 0 K
Seby Zavala (C): 1-for-4, HR, 1 R, 1 RBI, 0 K

Charlotte was going to earn the doubleheader sweep tonight, as Louisville made it a much closer contest in the nightcap. Baseballs were flying out of the stadium tonight, with lots of power hitting from Charlotte. Starter Kyle Kubat continues his improbable march to the majors, doing very well in his Triple-A debut: five strong innings, three runs and six strikeouts.

First baseman Daniel Palka got the Knights on the board in the bottom of the second with two-run homer. Center fielder Paulo Orlando would score on an Alcides Escobar single in the third. Danny Mendick blasted his 10th homer of the season in the fourth. Matt Skole hit his 19th bomb and Catcher Seby Zavala crushed one out as well in the fifth. Charlotte’s last run of the night would be in the bottom of the seventh on an Escobar RBI single. Pitcher Matt Foster came on in the eighth and allowed three runs off of two home runs in the inning. Thyago Vieira bailed out Foster in the ninth, shutting it down for the Knights, and throwing back to Napoleon Dynamite in the process!

Birmingham Barons 11, Chattanooga Lookouts 2

Lincoln Henzman: 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (W, 1-2)
Luis Robert (CF): 3-for-6, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, 1 K **MVP**
Nick Madrigal (2B): 2-for-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 BB, 0 K
Luis Gonzalez (RF): 2-for-5, 2B, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K
Blake Rutherford (DH): 2-for-5, 2B, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 K
Joel Booker (LF): 2-for-5, 2 R, 1 K
Laz Rivera (SS): 2-for-5, 3B, 2 R, 3 RBI, 0 K

Bats were on fire for the Barons, and the pitching was solid against the Lookouts tonight. The game ended up getting delayed in the bottom of the second due to rain, but it didn’t cool off the Birmingham offense. Starter Lincoln Henzman pitched a good game, only allowing one run (an RBI single in third) in his five innings. Right fielder Luis Gonzalez would put the Barons on the board with a two-run double in the top of the first.

Birmingham scored four runs in the fourth off of a Alfredo Gonzalez double, Laz Rivera single, and a Luis Robert two-run homer. Gavin Sheets came home in the fifth on a Blake Rutherford double and Robert sent home Trey Michalczewski in the inning as well on a ground ball single to right field. Pitcher Kodi Medeiros replaced Henzman in the bottom of the sixth and gave up a solo homer. Rivera hit his first triple of the season to score Rutherford and Joel Booker in the ninth, and Nick Madrigal had an RBI single to end the ballgame 11-2 Barons! Henzman notched his first Double-A victory with the runaway win.

Lynchburg Hillcats 8, Winston-Salem Dash 6 (10 innings)

Zach Lewis: 3 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 1 K
Will Kincanon: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
Bennett Sousa: 1 23 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K (L, 0-1)
Steele Walker (CF): 1-for-5, 2B, 1 R, 1 K
Jameson Fisher (1B): 2-for-3, HR, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 0 K **MVP**
Zach Remillard (3B): 2-for-5, 1 R, 2 K
Craig Dedelow (LF): 1-for-5, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 K
Carlos Perez (C): 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 0 K

Even though Winston-Salem had some nice at-bats and solid pitching from Will Kincanon, the Dash boys fell short in extras against the Hillcats again. Starter Zach Lewis didn’t have his best outing, allowing four earned runs in three innings.

The Dash were down early, but would get it rolling in the bottom of the fourth with a Craig Dedelow RBI single, Carlos Perez single, and a two-run single by Travis Moniot to cut the deficit to 5-4. Pitcher Kevin Escorcia took over for Lewis and allowed an RBI single in the top of the fifth. Jameson Fisher was on fire tonight, with a RBI double in the fifth and solo homer in the eighth to tie the ballgame, 6-6. The two teams ended up going into extras, where Bennett Sousa gave up a two-run homer in the 10th, sending the Dash to a hard, 8-6 loss.

Augusta GreenJackets 8, Kannapolis Intimidators 1

Jason Bilous: 4 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 5 BB, 3 K (L, 2-5)
Ian Dawkins (CF): 1-for-4, 0 BB, 1 K, 2 SB
Alex Destino (LF): 0-for-3, 1 BB, 1 K
Bryce Bush (RF): 1-for-4, 0 BB, 3 K
Johan Cruz (2B): 0-for-3, 1 BB, 1 K
Amado Nuñez (DH): 1-for-3, 1 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 SB **MVP**

Not much to say about the Kannapolis game tonight, other than it was just a disappointing loss after win two straight strong ballgames to start the second half. The pitching was off tonight, and the offense wasn’t doing anything. Starter Jason Bilous wasn’t that bad on the mound, going four innings and allowing only two runs, but he would unfortunately get the loss, without run support. Bilous gave up his runs early in the first, on a two-run single to center field.

Amado Nuñez came sprinting home to score the only Intimidators run, in the bottom of the fifth, on a wild pitch. Pitcher Wilber Perez allowed a two-run shot in the sixth to make the score 4-1, GreenJackets. Kevin Folman replaced Perez in the sixth and was doing all right until the bottom of the ninth, when he gave up three runs on a single and two-run double, sadly ending the ballgame at 8-1.

Great Falls Voyagers 8, Missoula Osprey 6

Caberea Weaver (CF): 2-for-4, R, RBI (2), BB, K, CS (2) (.300 BA, .800 OPS)
Kelvin Maldonado (2B): 2-for-4, R, BB, K, CS (2) (.345 BA, .820 OPS)
Luis Mieses (RF): 2-for-5, R, RBI (6), K (.345 BA, .766 OPS)
Harvin Mendoza (1B): 1-for-3, R, 2 RBI (7), 2B (1), 2 BB, K (.280 BA, 1.015 OPS)
Lency Delgado (SS): 1-for-5, R, 2 RBI (4), 2 K (.148 BA, .392 OPS)
Cameron Simmons (LF): 2-for-4, R, RBI (1), 2 2B (2), K, (.375 BA, 1.125 OPS)
Rigo Fernandez (RP): 2 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, BB, 2 K, HR, W (1-0) (7.50 ERA)
Karan Patel (RP): 1 23 IP, 2 K, Sv (1) (1.93 ERA) 21 pitches/16 strikes **MVP**

When you score eight runs in an inning, you’re not going to lose.

Great Falls kept it exciting to the finish, but prevailed to pull back even on the season at 4-4.

The sixth inning was the magic frame for the Voyagers, sending 12 to the plate and giving Caberea Weaver a chance to get on base twice (walk, single). The gut punches that turned a 1-1 tie into a 5-1 runaway were back-to-back, two-run doubles from Harvin Mendoza and Lency Delgado. Mendoza now has seven RBIs in just eight games.

It’s hard to call any game in the Pioneer League a bullpen game, given that half the staffs at any given time can be on some form of pitch restriction, so the six-pitcher mix for the Voyagers was relatively routine. What wasn’t routine? Rigo Fernandez getting his kiester kicked — and, because baseball, his 3 ER misadventure tonight translated into a win, solely due to him being pitcher of record during that magical sixth for the offense. Karan Patel has fully shook off a shaky first pro appearance by whittling his season ERA down to 1.93 with his first career save and 1 23 mighty fine innings.

AZL Indians Blue 7, AZL White Sox 3

Samil Polanco (2B) 1-for-4, 2 RBI (5), 3B (1), K, (.385 BA, 1.154 OPS)
DJ Gladney (DH) 1-for-3, RBI (4), BB (.273 BA, .883 OPS)
Bryan Ramos (3B) 0-for-4, 2 K (.000 BA, .067 OPS)
Hector Acosta (SP) 2 23 IP, 7 H, 7 R/6 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 2 HR, L (0-1) (11.73 ERA) 33 pitches/24 strikes
Yoelvin Silven (RP) 3 13 IP, 2 H, 4 K (0.00 ERA) 20 pitches/20 strikes **MVP**
Justin Friedman (RP) 2 IP, BB, 4 K (9.00 ERA)

When you fall behind 7-0, you’re not going to win.

Yep, this one was over early, thanks to AZL Sox Hector Acosta’s juicy strikes served up to something called “AZL Indians Blue.” Bummer. You never want to lose to a team with such an ugly name.

How about some good news? Oh my, was the relief pitching good for the AZL South Siders, with Yoelvin Silven and Justin Friedman pure butter tonight. In fact, MiLB’s box score reports that Silven did not throw a single ball outside the strike zone, and took just 20 pitches to cut through 3 13 innings. Someone close to South Side Sox took issue:

So, because hell, it’s only 3:20 a.m. and there’s still a DSL game to write, let’s break down the math here. Let’s assume Silven’s four strikeouts were serious business, that’s just 12 pitches, all strikes. Still six outs to record. Guess what, buddy, Silven has eight pitches to spare. Oops, wait, two hits. OK, still mathematically possible, just that every out or hit needed to be on a first pitch. TOTALLY PLAUSIBLE, and I don’t doubt the veracity of MiLB’s record-keeping in the least. Sorry, Kim, gotta go with the once-ever-happening-in-baseball-history event down in the Fire League tonight.

The hitters were bad for AZL tonight. Three hits, blech. On the plus side, Samil Polanco, who has a fan in yours truly, enough to land him like at No. 105 or something on our Top 100 list from this idiot’s support alone. Polanco is making a monkey genius outta me with a fast start this season. Two-out, two-run triple, baby! Move over, Nick Madrigal: Samil Polanco is guaranteed to crack the Top 100 in 2020.

Oh, and leave it to the @GFVoyagers account for all the Dick Van Patten, Adam Rich and Willie Ames references that can possibly be packed into one headline:

DSL White Sox 7, DSL D-backs1 6

Johnabiell Laureano (CF) 3-for-4, R, 2 RBI (10), 2B (2), 3B (1) (.339 BA, .949 OPS) **co-MVP**
Anthony Espinoza (3B) 2-for-4, R, RBI (14), 2B (6) (.284 BA, .823 OPS)
Lazaro Leal (DH) 2-for-3, R, K, 2B (4), RBI (8) (.229 BA, .742 OPS)
Ronaldo Guzman (SP) 3 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 4 K (4.40 ERA)
Carlos Mola (RP) 5 IP, H, ER, BB, 4 K, W (1-1) (5.27 ERA) **co-MVP**
Edgar Navarro (RP) IP, 3 H, ER, Sv (3) (6.17 ERA)

Hey, what’s the deal with the White Sox having, like, no extra minor league teams. Cleveland’s got a rainbow coalition in the Fire League, D-backs got squad 1, 2, etc. Don’t we want more players, so that there’s a better chance of good players making their way up the ladder to the White Sox?

Well, all right, that said, a pretty sweet game from the singular DSL entry today, as starter Ronaldo Guzman put the Good Guys in an early hole, but like good teammates, his offense and bullpen got him off the hook: four earned in three innings for RG, with nary even a flesh wound of a box-score loss today. Instead, it was Carlos Mola who came on for a, by DSL standards, heroic fireman outing of five-inning, one-run, on-hit ball. Mola stopped the bleeding long enough for the DSL Sox to put up a six-spot in the fourth and basically salt the game away from there.

I know not of a Johnabiell Laureano, but every box score I see has him scarring all the right columns. And Anthony Espinoza had “only” two hits today, but now has tallied 14 ribbies in 19 games.

Don’t look now, but unlike the 2018 edition, the 2019 DSL White Sox are decidedly not awful.