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Cannonballs coming: Offenses still struggling

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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

With the Aramis Ramirez Francisco Liriano trade in the books, the Pirates' organization still had minor league action taking place.  Well, not Altoona, because they had no players left were off, and the DSL Pirates were rained out.

-- Indianapolis' (55-55) offensive struggles continued in a 1-0 loss to Columbus.  Chad Kuhl returned to AAA, making room in the majors for Drew Hutch . . . , oh, wait, he's not good enough to supplant Jeff Locke or Ryan Vogelsong, either.  Anyway, Kuhl's strong efforts were wasted.  He allowed just an unearned run on four hits and no walks in six innings, striking out six.  The Indians had six hits, two by Jason Rogers.

Alen Hanson:  1-4
Josh Bell:  1-4
Dovydas Neverauskas:  IP, H, K

-- Bradenton (55-51) lost to Daytona, 2-1.  Yeudy Garcia allowed two runs, one earned, on five hits and three walks in five innings.  He fanned five.  The Marauders had six hits.

Kevin Kramer:  1-4, 2B
Connor Joe:  1-3
Tate Scioneaux:  3 IP, H, 3 K

-- I went to Hagerstown to see Mitch Keller and West Virginia (53-53).  I was already in a fine mood, looking forward to seeing Neal Huntington use his newfound financial flexibility this coming off-season to acquire next year's versions of Jon Niese and Ryan Vogelsong, when I saw the lineup board.  Not that there were any surprises, but the Power's batting didn't contain a single player I figure has better than a 5-10% chance of reaching the majors.  If you eliminate Mitchell Tolman, there wasn't anybody I'd give better than a 1% chance.  With Ke'Bryan Hayes out, this team has no prospect value to speak of apart from a few pitchers.  And things are no better at Morgantown or Bristol, or in the GCL or DSL.  The lower two-thirds of the Pirates' farm system isn't much better than it was in the darkest days of The GM Who Shall Not Be Named.

By the end of the fourth, the Power had no real prospects left in the game because Keller failed to last five innings -- this time just three and two-thirds -- for the third straight start.  He gave up seven hits and three runs, walked none and struck out three.  At no point, though, did Keller look especially bad.  He had two easy innings, then got into trouble in the third due to a bunt single and a hit batsman.  Two hard-hit singles, both off changeups, brought in two runs.  In the fourth, another hit batsman and three singles, the last one an infield hit, ended Keller's night.  His fastball was 94-97 and his curve showed good break, but he wasn't able to throw it for strikes.  His change was in the upper 80s and still needs work.  Keller's control was fine and he repeatedly got two strikes, only to have trouble putting hitters away.  This led to long innings in the third and fourth, and a pitch count of 85.

West Virginia had a 4-3 lead with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, but Seth McGarry gave up a long HR to tie the game.  Christian Kelley drove in a run in the top of the tenth, giving the Power a 5-4 win.  Logan Hill appeared to have recovered his stroke, as he went 2-5 with two long drives (left field in Hagerstown is a very bad place to hit the ball) that were caught.  Kelley was 2-4 with a walk.  Carlos Munoz was 2-5 with a double and Tolman 2-4 with a walk.

-- Morgantown (20-23) lost to State College, 2-1.  Danny Beddes gave up two runs, one earned, in five innings.  He allowed five hits, walked three and struck out two.  Austin Meadows continued his rehab, going 1-4.

Stephen Alemais:  0-3
Will Craig:  1-4

-- Bristol (16-22) got stomped by Johnson City, 10-2.  Nick Economos gave up five runs, four earned, in three innings.  Jhoan Herrera was 2-4 with two doubles.

Garrett Brown:  0-3
Adrian Valerio:  0-4

-- The GCL Pirates (15-18) beat the Tigers West, 3-1.  Starter Miguel Hernandez came out after three and a third innings, allowing three hits and two walks, and striking out five.  The Pirates had only five hits.

Raul Hernandez:  0-1, 3 BB
Edison Lantigua:  1-4