Mets Daily Farm Report, July 9, 2014: I didn't know St. Lucie and Savannah were allowed to lose

Marcos Molina - Bryan Green

Catch up on all of yesterday’s minor league action from around the Mets farm system!

*All results from games played on Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

Triple-A - Las Vegas 51's (54-39)_______________________________________

LAS VEGAS 6, RENO 2 (Box)

Here we go, giving at-bats to AAA filler over Cesar Puello again. I'll give Wally Backman a pass here, given that Cesar just came off the DL the other day and maybe needs a little extra time off to recoup. Once again, something to monitor. But, I digress.

Reno took an early lead, scoring a run off of Logan Verrett in the 1st and the 4th, but the 51s caught back up, getting on the board on an Anthony Seratelli RBI single in the 5th, and tied it up in the 6th when Matt Reynolds drove in Matt den Dekker. The 51s took the lead in the 7th, when a pinch-hitting Kevin Plawecki hit a groundball up the middle that got through the infield, scoring a motoring Josh Satin from second. Cory Vaughn got a crack at some pinch hitting duties immediately after, and he made the most of the experience, cracking a three-run homer over the left field wall, giving Las Vegas a solid 6-2 lead. John Church was solid in his two innings of work, giving up two hits- a single to former Met Ronny Cedeno in the 7th and a double to former Met Mike Jacobs in the 8th- and Ryan Reid successfully navigated out of the 9th to put another notch in Las Vegas' win column.

Double-A - Binghamton Mets (52-37)_____________________________________

POSTPONED (RAIN)

Advanced-A - St. Lucie Mets (12-4 / 52-33)_____________________________________

ST. LUCIE 5, BRADENTON 11 (Box)

The St. Lucie winning streak isn't going to reach epic proportions like Savannah's, as the Bradenton Marauders did what few teams have been able to do in the second half so far- beat the St. Lucie Mets. Jared King made his return to the lineup and immediately made an impact, knocking in a run in the 1st to give St. Lucie the lead, but Michael Fulmer wasn't able to hold it. The right-hander allowed three runs in the bottom of the 2nd, but all three were unearned, as Gavin Cecchini committed a throwing error to start the inning off. Fulmer gave up three runs in the 6th, and this time, all three were earned. Julian Hilario relieved Fulmer in the 7th, and he did what he seems to always do when appearing in games I am recapping- either ruin everything, or make bad situations even worse. Given that Fulmer dug the team into a pretty deep hole to begin with, the latter applied here. He quickly got the first two outs in the inning, but walked the next two batters, uncorked a wild pitch, and then gave up a groundball to Jin-De Jhang, scoring two runs- possibly more if the Taiwanese catcher hadn't run his team out of the inning, getting caught in a run down. As bad as he was in the 7th, Hillario was worse in the 8th. He started the inning giving up three straight hits before finally retiring the next two batter. He wasn't able to finish what he started, as he gave up a third double in the inning, prompting manager Ryan Ellis to come in with the hook. St. Lucie showed some fight in the bottom of the inning, scoring three runs, but in the end, the 11-2 hole they were in was too much to for any team to reasonably be expected to overcome.

Low-A - Savannah Sand Gnats (15-5 / 59-27)__________________________________

AUGUSTA 6, SAVANNAH 4 (Box)

We're Mets fans, so two game winning streaks are things to get excited about. What would we do if the Mets won, say, four in a row? Eight in a row? Eleven in a row? Over the past two weeks or so, the Sand Gnats have been doing just that. Coming into the game, they were winners of their last eleven games. Since 1993, Savannah teams have had eleven game winning streaks four different times. No team had ever been able to get over the hump and make it twelve. Unfortunately, this Savannah team was unable to break the streak. They did come the closest, though, locked in a 4-4 tie going into the 9th inning. Augusta scored three runs in the 2nd inning, making things look bleak early. Alex Panteliodis stumbled, but he didn't fall completely. He fired off three scoreless, hitless innings, and the Sand Gnats took the opportunity to come surging back. In the bottom of the 4th, Nelfi Zapata and Stefan Sabol hit back-to-back doubles to put Savannah on the board, and in the bottom of the 5th, they took the lead thanks to a two run double off the bat of Victor Cruzado and a second Zapata RBI double. Unfortunately, Panteliodis gave up one more run- his last of the ballgame- in the top of the 6th, tying the game back up. Dawrin Frias relieved Panteliodis in the 8th, recording the final out of the inning. While he ran into no problems then, the same cannot be said about the 9th. After walking the first batter of the inning and having him moved up on a sac bunt, Frias surrendered a home run to the light-hitting Ryan Jones. Just like that, Savannah's winning streak was down to its last three runs. Patrick Biondi flied out to center and Jorge Rivero and Dom Smith both struck out to end the game, and the streak. Still, it was fun while it lasted, and the loss only gives the Sand Gnats the ability to do it all over again. They'll look to get the ball rolling tonight, when they take on Augusta in the series finale.

Short-A - Brooklyn Cyclones (14-11)__________________________________

GAME ONE

HUDSON VALLEY 0, BROOKLYN 3 / 7 (Box)

I got to my seat maybe five minutes after the scheduled start time, and the Cyclones were already at bat- as Jeff Paternostro later advised me, Marcos Molina working quickly is nothing new. It's a good thing I didn't miss that, though, because plenty of excitement went down in the bottom half of the inning. Tucker Tharp led off the inning with a walk against Renegades starter Enderson Franco. Amed Rosario laced a frozen rope into center that Tharp went first to third on, putting runners on the corners with no outs. With Jhoan Urena at the plate, Rosario broke for second. As Wilmer Dominguez was making his transfer to throw down to second, Tharp broke for home. Rosario slid in to second safely, as did Tharp- not only the first double steal I can ever remember seeing, but the first time I've ever seen someone attempt and succeed stealing home. The game flew by, owing to Molina and Franco putting up zero after zero. Their dance was periodically broken up by a few scattered Cyclones hits- most notably, a Michael Bernal home run pulled over the left field wall- and Hudson Valley's one, a dunker off the bat of Dominguez in the 5th that landed in left. Molina was removed in the 5th for Josh Prevost, who made quick work of the Renegades in his two innings of work; I think he probably could have pitched at least one more inning, but better safe than sorry- because his last start was skipped over, he was pitching on eleven days rest (6/27), and there was no reason too aggressive in his first start since then.

Molina looked good. His fastball really overpowered Hudson Valley's hitters, inducing a lot of foul balls straight back or away (meaning the hitters were late) and weak grounders- everyone in the infield got plenty of work, including Molina himself, who fielded a difficult looking play to start the 4th inning. He got three strikeouts with the fastball, all of them swinging and missing. The curveball had good movement, but his command was spotty, coming and going. In the 2nd inning, for example, he struck out Casey Gillaspie- 20th pick overall in the 2014 Draft- on a curve that was masterfully located, right on the black. The next two batters got mostly off-speed stuff, but he was unable to put either away and walked both. He ended the inning striking out Dominguez on another breaking ball that would freeze even MLB hitters. All in all, he got three strikeouts using it, two looking and one swinging in the dirt.

All in all, Molina looked good, but having seen him in person now, I can't get past the mechanics of his delivery. I've seen videos, but seeing things on a computer screen is one thing, and seeing them in person is another. The amount of effort he puts on his arm, well, I can't envision him not being a walking checklist of arm/elbow/shoulder injuries in the future. It's odd, too, because his stride is actually not that bad. He just doesn't do much with the momentum. It's like he gets set, kicks, lunges forward, puts his foot down, and stops before jerking his arm forward and launching the ball, getting it into low-to-mid 90s based on arm strength alone. To my inexperienced and completely unqualified eye, Molina is relying too much on that explosive arm action and not enough on his trunk. Some combination of lengthening his stride, pushing off the mound harder to produce more forward momentum and bending at the hips could help. He's making it work for him now, obviously, but I really can't imagine him progressing as a starting pitcher the way he is now- and its probably an unpopular opinion given that Molina seems the "shiny new toy" of 2014, but that hurts his prospect standing in my eyes.

GAME TWO

HUDSON VALLEY 3, BROOKLYN 0 / 7 (Box)

In an irony familiar to all men and women who follow baseball, the Cyclones lost Game Two of the doubleheader 3-0, a few hours after winning the first game 3-0 themselves. This game was much less exciting. Hudson Valley scored two in the 2nd, giving them a lead they'd hold for the entire game. Renegades starter Edgar Gomez allowed only two hits in his four plus innings of work, but he also walked three, so Brooklyn had enough men on base to, at the very least, score, if not tie the game up or even take the lead. Isaac Gil, who replaced Gomez, was much more stingy, allowing only a single base runner in his time on the mound, a walk to Tucker Tharp that was immediately negated when the center fielder was gunned down trying to steal second.

With the conclusion of the game, the Cyclones have now played four games in roughly twenty-four hours. They return to a more normal schedule today, when they kick off a series against the State College Spikes.

Rookie - Kingsport Mets (9-10)__________________________________

PULASKI 4, KINGSPORT 6 (Box)

Rookie - GCL Mets (9-5)__________________________________

GCL CARDINALS 0, GCL METS 7 / 7 (Box)

Star of the Night

There weren't really many outstanding performances, so since it's kind of slim pickings. I'll go with Dom Smith, who, after an atrocious start to the season, is flirting with .300.

Goat of the Night

Julian Hillario deserves it- am I too hard on him?- but I have to give it to Dawrin Frias tonight. He only made one mistake, but it was a big mistake, and came at the worst possible moment.

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