MMN Recap: Wheeler Sharp on Mound, At the Plate

By Daniel Muras

April 7, 2018 No comments

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Las Vegas 51s (1-1) 5, El Paso Chihuahuas (1-1) 2  Box Score

Smith put the 51s up early with an RBI double in the first, then Wheeler helped himself out with an RBI single of his own in the fourth. The leadoff man den Dekker then doubled him in. In the eighth inning, with the 51s up 3-2, Guillorme hit an RBI double scoring Ty Kelly, and Lobaton immediately singled him in to put them up 5-2. Smith, still trying to get back into a rhythm after missing most of Spring Training, struck out in his final three at-bats but showed some good swings and a good job of fouling off pitches. His double last night was his first hit of the season.

Wheeler made his first start in the minors since 2013 after having a rough spring, and looked very good against minor league batters. His fastball was consistently touching 94 and 95, and he mixed his pitches well to strike out six in five innings. He hit a bit of a blip in the fifth when he gave up a solo home run to Raffy Lopez and walked Diego Goris, but he struck out the final batter of the inning to finish off a very encouraging outing.

Important to note that he threw 15 of 18 first pitch strikes and retired 10 in a row at one point.

The bullpen collectively turned in another solid effort, with the only Chihuahuas hit being a solo home run off Purke, which brought them within a run at the time. Purke got through it though, and Callahan worked around a Kelly error and a hit by pitch to close it out.

Binghamton Rumble Ponies (1-0) vs. Portland Sea Dogs (0-1)

After an impressive 6-0 victory for the Rumble Ponies on Opening Day, the second game of the season was postponed due to inclement weather. The game has been rescheduled as part of a doubleheader on July 17th.

Bradenton Marauders (1-1) 7, St. Lucie Mets (1-1) 3  Box Score

The Mets struggled to get much going offensively in this game, as they were limited to just three runs (all of which came in the fifth inning) on seven hits. Dimino, who is repeating St. Lucie after hitting .317/.395/.360 there in 54 games last year, had an excellent game in his first appearance of 2018. He reached base three times and stole two bases, including a successful steal of home in the fifth inning. Dimino’s steal of home was followed by back to back RBI doubles by Gene Cone and Zanon, which drove in St. Lucie’s other two runs.

Prevost, who spent all of last season rehabbing from Tommy John Surgery, made his first start since 2016. While the ultimate line was not particularly pretty, he did get off to a solid start by tossing three scoreless innings to open the game and a 6:0 K:BB ratio over 5 innings is a promising sign. After a dominant 2017 season with Columbia, Blackham’s St. Lucie debut was a bit shaky, as he walked two batters and hit another in one inning of work.

Columbia Fireflies (2-0) 7, Augusta GreenJackets (0-2) 2  Box Score

With the aid of eight walks, the Fireflies’ offense was able to score seven runs on just five hits as they won their second straight game to open up the season. The team put up six of their seven runs in the sixth inning by drawing five walks and producing two timely hits by Terrazas and Brodey. Every player in the Columbia lineup reached base at least once in the game.

After being drafted in the 24th round of the 2017 draft and pitching very well with Kingsport in his first professional season, Cavallaro was given an aggressive assignment by being placed in the Columbia rotation. After a rough first inning in which he allowed two runs, Cavallaro proved that he was up to the challenge by firing five more innings without allowing another run. Both Payne and Ramos pitched very well out of the bullpen to close out the Fireflies’ victory.