Bradenton played its last game today. The remaining four teams finish their regular seasons tomorrow.
— Indianapolis (72-67) was eliminated from the playoffs with a 10-2 shellacking by Louisville, combined with a win by Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The best the Indians can do now is to finish in a virtual tie for the wild card with S/WB (and possibly also Columbus), but S/WB has played two fewer games and would be a fraction of a percentage point ahead. Indy appeared close to a shoo-in a few weeks ago, but lost 17 of their last 24 games. J.T. Brubaker had a mediocre outing in this one, giving up six runs, four of them earned, on eight hits in six innings. Clay Holmes and A.J. Schugel each threw an inning and gave up two runs. Kevin Kramer went 2-4 with a double and Jordan Luplow 1-4 with a double. Jason Martin was 1-3 with a walk and Max Moroff 0-4.
— Altoona (78-59) clinched its division with a 10-8 win over Bowie. The Curve took an early 10-1 lead and hung on through some ineffective bullpen work.
Logan Sendelbach started the game. He relies very heavily on a low-90s sinker and, like many of the team’s pitching prospects, tries to throw every pitch at the knees. He doesn’t throw up in the zone at all. One problem with this approach is that there are days when everything comes in too low, like today. Sendelbach got through the first two innings easily because the hitters kept chasing pitches in or near the dirt. That stopped in the third inning and Sendelbach walked the first two hitters. He got out of it with only one run allowed, but had a long inning that ended his day. Bret Helton followed and eventually gave up six runs in the sixth on two home runs.
The most effective Altoona pitcher on the day was lefty Blake Weiman. He sat at 90-92, touching 93, and relied heavily on a curve that has late break. He also threw a change. Unlike Sendelbach, Weiman was effective pitching up in the zone occasionally. He took about half a dozen pitches to settle in and walked the first batter, but that was the only runner in two innings. He struck out two.
Ke’Bryan Hayes (pictured) led the offense, going 4-5 with a double. That gave him two straight four-hit games and ten hits in his last 14 at-bats. He actually only hit one ball hard in this game. Cole Tucker and Stephen Alemais hit the ball harder but didn’t end up with as much to show for it. Tucker went 2-5 with a triple. He and Hayes each drove in three. Bryan Reynolds and Will Craig also each went 2-5. Craig had a double and his 101st RBI, but also fanned three times.
— Bradenton (56-74) finished a rough season with a 3-1 win over Tampa that ended after seven innings due to rain. Pedro Vasquez gave up just one run, but left after four and a third innings having given up five hits and four walks. He fanned six. Raul Siri was 2-3 with a double and Albert Baur 2-4 with a double. Jared Oliva was in and out of the lineup throughout the season’s final month and didn’t play in this game. I don’t know what the issue has been.
— West Virginia (71-61) dropped a 3-2 decision to Charleston. The Power’s playoff situation is similar to Indy’s, except the percentages favor them because they’ve played four fewer games than their wild card competitor, Kannapolis. The two are now tied, so a West Virginia win or a Kannapolis loss tomorrow would give the Power a playoff spot. Oddy Nunez went seven and a third innings, giving up eight hits and three runs, one of them unearned. He walked one and struck out four. Rodolfo Castro was 2-3 with a double. Connor Kaiser and Lolo Sanchez each went 1-3, and Cal Mitchell 1-4 with a double. Travis Swaggerty continued to be overmatched against low A pitching, going 0-4 with two strikeouts.
— Morgantown (32-43) lost to Mahoning Valley, 7-1. The Black Bears went with a bullpen game and the first three pitchers all fared poorly. Cody Smith finished with two perfect innings, including three strikeouts. Seven different players had one hit apiece. Zack Kone was 1-3 with a walk and has 15 hits in his last 35 at-bats.