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Cannonballs coming: Bell still hitting

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

There are extended comments on Bradenton at the bottom.

-- Indianapolis (40-33) beat Gwinnett, 9-5.  Josh Bell (pictured) went 3-5 with a double and a triple.  He's now hitting 321/408/537.  Trevor Williams got hit around, giving up four runs and ten hits in five and two-thirds innings.  He walked none and struck out three.  Others:

Austin Meadows:  0-4, BB (hitless in last 23 ABs)
Max Moroff:  0-3, 2 BB
Adam Frazier:  1-3, BB
Cole Figueroa:  2-4
Willy Garcia:  1-4, 2B, BB

-- Altoona (40-31) beat Binghamton, 9-6.  Kevin Newman and Jose Osuna each went 2-4 with a double and a walk.  Cody Dickson got the win despite allowing four runs on seven hits and four walks in six innings.  He struck out four.  Others:

Erich Weiss:  1-4, 2B
Harold Ramirez:  2-5
Stetson Allie:  2-3, 2 BB
Jared Lakind:  IP, 3 H, 2 ER

-- West Virginia (35-35) couldn't hold a late lead and lost to Asheville, 3-2.  Logan Sendelbach had a strong start, allowing just one run on six hits and a walk over seven innings.  He fanned seven.  Tanner Anderson gave up two runs to blow a 2-1 lead.  Others:

Mitchell Tolman, Ke'Bryan Hayes, Carlos Munoz:  all 1-4
Daniel Arribas:  0-2, 2 BB

-- Morgantown (6-1) suffered its first loss, 10-4, to Staten Island.  James Marvel's second pro start didn't go as well as his first.  He gave up four runs on four hits and two walks in three and two-thirds innings.  He didn't strike out anybody.  Adrian Grullon and Billy Roth got roughed up in relief.  Will Craig was 2-4 with a double, as was Ty Moore.  Moore came in the game early to replace Sandy Santos, who was removed for failing to hustle on a play in the outfield.  Others:

Albert Baur:  2-3, 2B, 2 BB
Jordan George:  2-5, 2B

-- Bristol's opener with Bluefield was suspended with no score after three innings.

-- The DSL Pirates (5-11) lost to the Mets1, 5-3.  Starter Roger Santana was charged with four runs, one of them earned, over four innings.  He gave up seven hits and two walks, while striking out four.  Christopher Perez had half of the Pirates' hits.  Others:

Kevin Sanchez:  1-4
Gabriel Brito:  0-1
Rodolfo Castro:  0-2
Samuel Inoa:  0-4
Larry Alcime:  0-3

-- Bradenton (38-31) lost to Charlotte, 5-4, mainly due to five errors, four of them by pitchers, and a string of TOOTBLANs.  J.T. Brubaker, in his second start in high A, gave up two runs on four hits in six innings.  He walked two, struck out five, and threw 55 of 86 pitches for strikes.  Junior Lopez and Luis Heredia combined to give up three runs, all unearned due to their own errors.  Some comments about individual players:

Brubaker was reasonably effective but not overwhelming.  His fastball was 92-94 mph in the first inning, mostly 90-92 after that.  His control faltered at times, although he generally didn't miss by a lot.  He almost always missed outside, as he threw nearly everything toward the outer part of the plate, which isn't what the Pirates generally seem to want.  He threw a change a lot against a lefty-heavy lineup.  The pitch was effective without being a big swing-and-miss pitch.  He doesn't seem to have a useful breaking ball, which made it hard for him to put away right-handed hitters.

Heredia continued to show a much-improved fastball but shaky control.  At 6'7" and with an over-the-top motion, Heredia can drive pitches down around the knees very effectively, consistently at 94-95 mph.  He's allowed only two extra base hits -- a double and a HR -- in 119 opponent plate appearances all year, so it's clearly very hard for hitters to drive his pitches.  Every ball in play against him I saw in two outings this week was on the ground, including the three hits he allowed in this game (one due to a drawn-in infield).  When he doesn't get on top of his pitches, though, nearly everything rides high.  This seems to happen on a high percentage of his pitches.  I saw little in the way of secondary pitches, but if his control improves a little, the fastball by itself could make him an improved version of Jared Hughes.  The control issues extend to his pickoff move, as he threw away two of them in the ninth inning, both times allowing the runner to go to third.

Cole Tucker looked very good defensively in the two games I saw him play.  Today he had a sliding stop on a grounder deep in the hole and got the out at first.  At the plate, he hasn't looked good.  Mostly weak grounders, although today he struck out three times, going 0-5 overall.  All three strikeouts came on very bad swings where he halfheartedly waved at the ball without coming anywhere close to hitting it.  The last whiff was costly as it came with the tying run on third and one out in the ninth.

Tito Polo! made his high A debut today.  He flied out to shallow right twice, reached when the shortstop fumbled a hard grounder, reached on an infield hit, and flied to the track in right to end the game.  He also stole two bases.  Polo had an alert play in the field with a runner on third.  A grounder into a drawn-in infield produced a rundown.  When the runner was tagged out, Bradenton nearly got a double play when Polo sneaked in behind the hitter, who'd rounded second too far.  Polo wasn't able to hold the throw, though, due to a minor collision with the runner.

Kevin Kramer was 2-4 today.  He's consistently tried to work the count in the three games I saw him in, and appears to have solid gap power.  His patience sometimes gets him in difficult counts, though.  Today he had some troubles away from the plate.  He fumbled an easy chopper for an error and had a baserunning blunder.  He hesitated rounding second while trying to go from first to third on a single to right.  Due to the hesitation, he was thrown out.

I saw Connor Joe in two games and he hit the ball hard nearly every time up.  Today he had a single and a double -- although he got thrown out trying to stretch the single to a double -- and he had a drive to the fence in center on which the center fielder made a very nice running catch.  I talked to Tim Williams about that during the game and he said Joe has been hitting the ball hard all year without getting a lot of results from it.  Joe's play at third wasn't good.  In the first today, he air-mailed a throw on a routine grounder, although Jerrick Suiter at first made a nice leaping grab-and-tag for the out.  Later, Joe failed to cover third on a steal attempt and failed to react at all when a batter bunted toward third trying to get a hit.