Joe Wieland had a rough introduction to the high Class A California League. After moving up from low Class A Hickory, where he was 7-4, 3.34, Wieland was touched up for seven runs on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings in his debut with Bakersfield. He went out again five days later and was hit even harder, surrendering six runs on 11 hits in only three innings.
Wieland's gotten things pointed back in the right direction over his last two starts though. He beat Modesto last Wednesday after allowing just three hits and three runs (two earned) over seven innings. His outing last night was even better, as Wieland struck out a career-high 14 Visalia hitters over seven shutout innings, giving up just four hits and walking none. He picked up his 10th win of the year between the two levels and his composite record stands at 10-6, 4.33 in 129 innings.
McGee Ends Drought
Rays lefthander Jake McGee hadn't won a start since June 13 with Double-A Montgomery, but don't let that stat fool you. McGee had held opponents to two runs or less in five of his last seven outings while boasting a fine strikeout rate at 97 in 82 2/3 innings. McGee didn't rely on the punchout as much last night, but he still shut down Tennessee over 5 1/3 innings, allowing no runs on three hits with three strikeouts. McGee gave up a leadoff single to start the game, then retired 15 of the next 16 hitters he faced before running out of steam in the sixth and getting pulled. He improved to 3-7, 3.57 in 88 1/3 innings.
"I know they swing at the first pitch a lot, so I try not to throw pitches over the plate," McGee told the Montgomery Advertiser. "I try to work off the plate. My fastball control on both sides of the plate (was working well). I just was throwing it where I wanted to and my changeup was working well tonight, more than usual."
Villar Getting Comfortable
The Astros had a decision to make when they landed shortstop Jonathan Villar from the Phillies as part of their package of players for Roy Oswalt. With 2009 first-round pick Jiovanni Mier occupying shortstop at low Class A Lexington, the level Villar had been playing at with the Phillies, the Astros decided to move Villar up to high Class A, where he can play in the wind tunnel that is Lancaster.
Villar hadn't exactly been tearing it up offensively over his last few weeks in the Phillies organization, as he'd been hitting just .245/.301/.349 in 192 at-bats with Lakewood since the start of June, but the move to the Cal League has ignited him so far. Villar, who hadn't had a three-hit game with Lakewood since the end of May, went 4-for-4 with two doubles and 4 RBIs on Sunday, then added three more hits and another double last night against Inland Empire.
Gibson Grounds Erie
Twins righty Kyle Gibson put up a clinically efficient outing for Double-A New Britain, beating Erie for his sixth win since coming up in May. The 22-year-old needed just 86 pitches to finish seven innings, during which he gave up one run on five hits and struck out seven. Gibson induced 10 groundballs to go with the strikeouts and didn't issue a single walk. Pounding the zone in typical Twins fashion, Gibson has handed out only one walk over his last four starts, a span of 22 1/3 innings. He improved to 6-5, 3.61 in 87 1/3 innings with New Britain.
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