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Mets Daily Farm Report - 8/5/13: MonterOH YEAH!

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

R-Mon? Raf-Mo?
R-Mon? Raf-Mo?
Gordon Donovan

*All results from games played on Sunday, August 4th, 2013*

AAA - Las Vegas 51s (61-53)__________________________________


We had ourselves a real marquee pitching match-up down at AutoZone Park in Memphis, last night. Rafael Montero took the hill for the Las Vegas 51s, and opposing him was the Cardinals' 2012 1st round draft pick, Michael Wacha. The game was competitive, and neither pitcher did particularly poorly. The first third of the game was scoreless on both sides of the ledger, with Wacha racking up the strikeouts (five, all looking) and Montero getting groundball after groundball (also five). Let's call that part of the ballgame a push. The next third saw the emergence of the Las Vegas offense. In the 4th inning, Wilmer Flores made contact and rocketed the ball over the left field wall to score the game's first run. Two batters later, Zach Lutz doubled to score Jordany Valdespin. Matt den Dekker then added to the hit parade, knocking an RBI double into left. By the time the 6th inning rolled around, Wacha was at 99 pitches and Redbirds manager Ron Warner decided to pull his ace. Innings 4 through 6 went well for Montero- his strong groundball rate for the game tailed off a bit in favor of groundballs, but you can't argue with the results. Score that third for Montero in the battle of the two budding stars. Your winner in this made-up duel between pitching prospects? Rafarl Montero! In the 7th, Montero was still out there, and he gave up his first run. Cardinals top prospect Kolten Wong hit a double, and third baseman Greg Garcia drove him in, spoiling Montero's shutout bid. In the 9th, Redbird reliever Victor Marte walked Flores to start the inning, allowed a single to Valdespin, and after Zack Lutz sacrifice bunted to move the runners over, intentionally walked Matt den Dekker. With bases loaded, Eric Campbell was hit by a pitch, forcing in a run. After Juan Centeno struck out, Rafael Montero was replaced by Jamie Hoffmann- yes, at 100 pitches, it seemed as if Wally Backman was going to let Montero finish the game, but decided not to after Las Vegas loaded the bases and presented the opportunity to break the game open. Listening to Russ Langer say that Montero was taking his helmet off and returning to the dugout, and Hoffman picking up some lumber from the dugout, I will admit I was very disappointed. In the bottom of the 9th, Greg Burke got two outs, before giving way to Rob Carson. With Kolten Wong on second, Carson promptly gave up a flyball to Greg Garcia that got over Matt den Dekker's head. The centerfielder threw the ball in with urgency, and Wong slid in to score, with Centeno's swipe tag only a fraction of a second too late. Carson didn't let the run rattle him, as he struck out the game's final batter to save Montero's 3rd win with the 51s, and to stop their losing streak.


Byrdak has been inching closer and closer to the MLB action since torn capsule surgery about a year ago, and his return is fairly imminent at this point, with September only a few weeks away, assuming nothing goes wrong. The left-hander started his ‘Rehab 2013' tour in mid-June, pitching a game with the GCL Mets before being promoted to the St. Lucie Mets, where he spent the better part of the summer. With his rehab going well, and Las Vegas' need for a(nother) lefty specialist with the promotion of Pedro Feliciano, Tim Byrdak was the man. To his credit, he has been pitching well- in 13.1 innings (15 games), the lefty has a 2.02 ERA with 8 walks, 14 strikeouts, and only six hits allowed.

AA - Binghamton Mets (70-43)_____________________________________


Noah Syndergaard toed the rubber for Binghamton, and pitched a shutout. Well, he was part of a shutout, anyway, as he only threw five innings- Armando Rodriguez handled the middle innings, and Ryan Fraser finished the 9th. By the time Syndergaard pitched five innings, and qualified for the win, the team was already up five runs, so manager Pedro Lopez seemingly decided to save some of those precious innings Syndergaard has left for the 2013 season for some other game. Danny Muno got things started for Binghamton, hitting a triple in his very first at-bat. Josh Rodriguez drove him in with a sac fly, and Syndergaard was staked to a 1-0 lead before he even took the mound. The big Texan did his part, of course. In the 6th inning, Muno was once was the spark plug, launching a lead-off home run to drive in the first of four runs that would score that inning. Rhyne Hughes drove in a pair with an RBI-triple, and Travis Taijeron hit a double into left that scored another. In the 9th, Richard Lucas hit a single, got to second on a wild pitch, and was driving in by pinch-hitter Xorge Carrillo to put a nice little bow on the coming shutout.

With the win, the B-Mets swept the Senators, and won their 70th game of the year, making this year's team the fastest to reach that mark in Binghamton history.

Hi-A - St. Lucie Mets (23-17 / 60-47)________________________________________


Rainy Lara continued his trend of posting sub-optimal strikeout rates. That's six starts in a row where Lara has struck out five or fewer batters- fortunately, for the most part, his walk rate has remained static. On the surface, Lara's start yesterday afternoon leaves something to be desired. But, looking at things using rosy-colored glasses, he did last seven innings, allow only five hits, walk one batter, and the runs that he allowed came in two bunches, rather than one really bad inning. St. Lucie scored first, pounding out a run in the bottom of the 1st- Lucas Duda grounded into a double play, but there were men on the corners with no outs, so Kyle Johnson was able to score. That would be all that the offense would do until the bottom of the 9th, when Kevin Plawecki in a runners-on-the-corners situation of his own, and knocked a single to drive in another run. The Threshers would have a bit more ease scoring runs. In the top of the 3rd, Clearwater catcher Bob Stumpo hit a two-run homer, in the top of the 7th, two doubles and a single plated another pair, and in the 8th, a line drive to center plated one more runner.

The win snapped Clearwater's four-game losing streak, and was also their second win against the Mets all year.

Lo-A - Savannah Sand Gnats (21-18 / 64-44)__________________________________


Seth Lugo, making his first start for Savannah, didn't get the win, but he sure deserved it. The Louisianan righty pitched six strong innings, allowing only one run. That blip came in the bottom of the 3rd, when he hit Greenville catcher Jayson Hernandez to start off the inning and then gave up a double that scored him. Other than that, Lugo was excellent. He allowed only one other hit, and struck out ten. Until the last few innings of the game, it looked as if nothing was going to spoil Lugo's debut. Cole Frenzel plated a run in the 1st inning with a groundball force out, and the Sand Gnats scored four in the 2nd inning on a bunch of Greeneville miscues- none of the runs allowed by Drive starter Luis Diaz were earned, that's how bad they looked in the outfield. Lugo was lifted for Hunter Carnevale in the 7th, and that's when the trouble began. Carnevale allowed three consecutive hits, scoring one runner, and was lifted in favor of Shawn Teufel despite recording just one out. A Jorge Rivero fielding error allowed another run to score, but Teufel was able to induce the double play and get out of the inning relatively unscathed. Savannah even scored another run in the 8th inning, so it looked like it was smooth sailing from there- all the bullpen needed to do was preserve the three-run lead. Unfortunately, it was unable to. Teufel started the 8th inning, and put two men on base before Sand Gnat closer Beck Wheeler was brought in. After giving up a groundball single that scored a batter, Wheeler got the second out in the inning. Only one more batter, and that jam is done and over with. Unfortunately, Kendrick Perkins, that next batter, launched a home run over the centerfield wall that drove in three and put Greenville up by one. Adding insult to injury, the very next batter launched a solo homer of his own. The Sand Gnats could get nothing going in the 9th, and lost a heartbreaker- and, Nelfi Zapata's ejection in the 9th with two outs shows that the players were understandably demoralized and angry about how everything went down as well.

Short-A - Brooklyn Cyclones (23-23)


Carlos Valdez was limited to three-plus innings yesterday afternoon. He wasn't exactly effective- three hits, four walks- but he wasn't terrible, either. Valdez limited the damage to an unearned run that scored in the 2nd as a result of a Gavin Cecchini throwing error, and an earned run in the 3rd. In the 4th, L.J. Mazzilli erased that deficit with one swing. After Cecchini hit his fifth double of the year to start off the inning, Little Maz hit his first professional home run. The Cyclones even took the lead, scoring three runs in the top of the 5th. Cecchini walked with the bases loaded to score one, Mazzilli hit a ground ball past the shortstop to score another, and Jared King hit a sac fly to score the third run. The three-run pillow would be rendered moot in the bottom of the inning, when the bullpen melted down. Juan Urbina would be first. The young lefty struck out his first batter, but then allowed a walk and back-to-back hits to score one run. He got the next batter to strike out, but then allowed another single, loading the bases. After forcing in the Jammer's second run of the inning, Urbina was removed in favor of Akeel Morris. Morris promptly allowed a single to deep right field that cleared the bases, and tacked on two more earned runs and an unearned run (right fielder Jonathan Clark bobbled the ball) to Uribina's line. Morris got out of the inning, and ran into a little trouble of his own. After pitching a clean 6th, getting all three outs via strikeout, he came apart in the 7th. With a man on first via walk, he got a lucky out when Jamestown right fielder Elvis Escobar hit a weak pop-up in foul territory behind the bag. He wouldn't nearly as lucky with the next few batters, as they hit three back-to-back singles, scoring two runs. Morris was able to get out of further trouble, striking two more batters out- both looking- to end the inning, but the Cyclones were unable to get much of anything going in the game's final two innings.

Rk - Kingsport Mets (25-18)_____________________________


Kingsport lost 17-1. That's really all there is to be said about that game. Kingsport's lone run came in the 6th inning, when DH Michael Bernal hit his second homer of the year.

Rk - GCL Mets (11-27)_______________________________


Star of the Night

Rafael Montero pitched one hell of a game last night, but Seth Lugo deserves the recognition here, so we're going to go with a pair of Stars of the Night. Montero pitched the best game of his AAA career, and perhaps one of the best games pitched by a Las Vegas 51 in 2013, according to Russ Langer. Looking at Seth Lugo, "Little Louisiana Lightning" made the most of his Low-A debut yesterday. He did everything right- he kept hits to a minimum, he kept runs to a minimum, he didn't walk anyone, and he struck out bunch of batters- and deserved to get the win- getting Amazin' Avenue's Star of the Night honors isn't much of a consolation, but it'll have to do.

Goat of the Night

Juan Urbina, I've been rooting for you to succeed for a long time now. I really have. I want you to do good, I want you to succeed, I want to one day say, "Wow, that Juan Urbina is a nice story". You're killing me, here, you know that? You really gotta step it up- lefties with a bit of gas and Major League pedigrees don't exactly grow on trees. You're lucky that Beck Wheeler is our Goat of the Night, with role in the Savannah bullpen meltdown. That's the only thing keeping you from that ignominious title, young man.

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