Josh Vitters hit his first home run of the year. (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)
I was right when I said today's vote would be closer. By a razor-thin margin over Chris Rusin, you have selected Peoria Chiefs right-hander Patrick "PJ" Francescon as the BCB Minor League Pitcher of the Month for April! Congratulations to PJ. I'm sure he'll treasure this award in his old age as he looks back at his long and illustrious career.
I got this e-mail from MLBAM in response to my support question:
Dear MLB.com Mobile Customer: Thank you for your inquiry. We are currently aware that there is an issue with (fill in the issue). We are working as quickly as we can to correct this.
Good to get that personalized service. However, the problem was fixed by the end of the day.
Be sure to check out the nice pitching performance in Daytona.
The Iowa Cubs fell to the Memphis Redbirds (Cardinals), 7-6.
Maybe today's game had an effect on the final voting, because Iowa Cubs starting pitcher Chris Rusin had his worst outing of the year today. He actually was fairly solid through six innings, allowing three runs, but he took the mound for the seventh and was charged with another three runs. Rusin pitched 6.1 innings and allowed six runs on five hits. He walked four and struck out three.
Rusin left the game with one out and the bases-loaded, but Frank Batista allowed all three inherited runs to score, tying the game at six apiece. He only allowed one hit over 1.2 innings, but that was a bases-clearing two-out double in the seventh. Batista struck out two.
Esmailin Caridad allowed a two-out double in the ninth followed by a walk-off single by Eugenio Velez. It was Caridad's first loss of the season. Caridad did not have a walk or a strikeout in his two-thirds of an inning.
Catcher Blake Lalli put the I-Cubs on the board in the second inning with a solo home run. It was Lalli's second home run this season. He went 2 for 4 today.
Third baseman Josh Vitters hit his first home run of the year in the third inning with a man on. Vitters was 1 for 4.
Right fielder Dave Sappelt went 2 for 3 with an RBI double. Sappelt walked twice.
Alfredo Amezaga was 2 for 3 with a triple and a walk. He scored once and also stole a base.
The Tennessee Smokies choked on the Montgomery Biscuits (Rays), 7-4.
Trey McNutt retired the first six batters he faced, but a leadoff error by third baseman Matthew Cerda in the third opened the floodgates to a six-run inning. McNutt himself made another error that led to more damage after he exited the game. McNutt's final line was 2.2 innings, allowing five runs on two hits, one of which was a home run. Only two of the five runs were earned. McNutt walked two and struck out one.
The Smokies made a game out of it with a four-run seventh inning, punctuated by a three-run home run by first baseman Justin Bour. Bour was 1 for 4 with a walk.
Left fielder Jae-Hoon Ha was 2 for 5 with a double. He had an RBI single in the seventh inning and scored on Bour's home run.
The Daytona Cubs harpooned the Clearwater Threshers (Phillies) 7-6.
Matt Loosen started tonight and exited after allowing three runs over three innings. He gave up four hits, one of which was a two-run home run in the third. Loosen walked one and struck out two.
Loosen was relieved by Hayden Simpson, who pitched four shutout innings for his first win of the year. Simpson allowed only one hit. He struck out four Threshers and didn't walk anyone. Three of the four strikeouts were the final three batters he faced. Easily Simpson's best performance of the year.
Tony Zych pitched the final two innings and surrendered two runs on three hits, but that was good enough for his third save of the season. Zych did not walk anyone and struck out three.
The D-Cubs hit three home runs tonight. The first one by right fielder Rubi Silva led off the fifth inning. It was Silva's first home run of the season. Silva was 2 for 4 with a walk. He also had his first stolen base of the year.
DH Nelson Perez hit the Cubs second home run an inning later. The solo home run was his fourth this season. Perez went 2 for 4 with two runs batted in.
Shortstop Arismendy Alcantara hit the final Cubs home run with a man on later in the sixth. Alcantara was 2 for 4 with three RBI. He has three home runs so far this year,
Jose Rosario started and allowed a lot of base runners and stranded a lot of base runners. Rosario pitched 5.1 innings and allowed three runs on ten hits and two walks. Two of the three runs were unearned. Rosario struck out six.
Austin Reed relieved Rosario in the sixth and stranded two more Cougars on the bases. Reed was unscored upon over 2.1 innings as he collected his first win of the season. Reed didn't walk anyone and fanned three.
Jeff Lorick entered the game in the ninth inning and gave up a single to the first batter he faced. After a sacrifice bunt, he allowed an infield single to put runners on the corners with one out. But a strikeout and a ground out kept the Cougars from scoring the tying run and got Lorick his third save this season.
The Cougars left 11 runners on base today.