AA Dish: Pitchers Take Control

As we did last year, we’ll look around the minors every weekday with the Daily Dish, a supplement to the Baseball America Prospect Report, which is available by e-mail every weekday.

The pitchers are in command around Double-A. Justin Masterson, Jon Niese, Darryl Thompson, Carlos Rosa and Steven Jackson were among the pitching prospects who pitched well on Tuesday night.


Erie (Tigers) 3, Harrisburg (Nationals) 2

Will Rhymes three-run home run gave Erie all the runs it needed to beat Harrisburg. Luis Antonio Jimenez hit a pair of solo home runs for Harrisburg.

Akron (Indians) 3, Binghamton (Mets) 2

Matt Whitney, Wes Hodges and Chris Jimenez all hit solo home runs as Akron rallied to beat Binghamton. Mike Carp hit his second home run of the season for Binghamton, but those are the only two home runs Binghamton has hit all season. Binghamton starter Jon Niese allowed only one run in six innings.

New Britain (Twins) 3, New Hampshire (Blue Jays) 2

In a battle of winless teams, someone had to win. David Winfree kept the Fisher Cats winless with a ninth-inning double that drove in Matt Moses. Winfree’s clutch hit backed up a strong start by Oswaldo Sosa. The righthander allowed only two hits in five scoreless innings.

Trenton (Yankees) 5, Altoona (Pirates) 2

It’s not often we single out middle relievers in the Daily Dish, but Steven Jackson deserves to be noticed. Jackson struck out seven in three perfect innings on Tuesday night to help Trenton top Altoona. Austin Jackson and Jose Tabata each had a pair of hits for the Thunder while Tabata also added his third stolen base of the season.

Connecticut (Giants) 2, Portland (Red Sox) 1

If you’re noticing a theme in the first week of the season you’re very perceptive. Thanks in part to cold weather, the pitchers are definitely ahead of the hitters early this season. That was on display in Norwich where Brooks McNiven and Justin Masterson hooked up for a pitcher’s duel. Masterson, one of the Red Sox better pitching prospects, had his sinker working, as he struck out seven in five scoreless innings. All eight of the outs put in play were ground ball outs. McNiven was even better as he held Portland to one hit in six innings. Travis Ishikawa’s hit a walk-off home run in the 11th for the Defenders.

Bowie (Orioles) 8, Reading (Phillies) 3

Andrew Carpenter didn’t get the e-mail about how pitching is ahead of the hitters. The Phillies prospect allowed eight runs (five earned) in 4 2/3 innings as Bowie pounded the R-Phillies. Adding to a bad night, Reading had to play without shortstop Jason Donald (hand) and center fielder Greg Golson (foot). Neither injury is though to be a long-term problem.


Birmingham (White Sox) 6, Chattanooga (Reds) 5 (11 innings)

Darryl Thompson made be the Reds last hope to get something out of its 2006 trade with the Nationals. That deal saw the Reds ship off Austin Kearns, Ryan Wagner and Felipe Lopez for five players. Royce Clayton was gone by the end of the year while Brendan Harris was quickly dealt to Tampa. Relievers Bill Bray and Gary Majewski, the keys to the deal, are both in Triple-A Louisville. But Thompson is doing everything he can in Double-A Chattanooga. The righthander allowed only two hits in six scoreless innings on Tuesday. Thompson has now thrown 12 scoreless innings this year. Thompson’s relief didn’t do him any favors. Josh Roenicke, Carlos Fisher and Pedro Viola are three of the Reds top relief prospects, but they combined to give up six runs (four earned) in four innings.


Northwest Arkansas (Royals) 2, Corpus Christi (Astros) 0

Carlos Rosa loves April. Last year he went 2-1, 0.39 for high Class A Wilmington in April to earn a promotion to Double-A. Back in Double-A this year, Rosa allowed only three hits in six scoreless innings on Tuesday to lower his ERA to 1.80.

"That was the best starting outing we’ve had all year," Naturals manager Brian Poldberg said. "Rosa came in, he pounded the strike zone and was able to throw his off-speed pitch for strikes. … From start to finish, that was just a quality start."


Sinkerballer Brad James (5 IP, 3 hits, 1 run) was nearly as good for Corpus Christi, but with Rosa and two relievers pitching a shutout, it wasn’t enough.

San Antonio (Padres) 4, Tulsa (Rockies) 3

Kyle Blanks shrugged off his slow start with a big Tuesday night. The Missions first baseman had three hits, including a two-RBI single in the eighth hat broke a 2-2 tie.

Midland (Athletics) 6, Springfield (Cardinals) 2

Springfield righthander P.J. Walters fanned nine in only five innings on Tuesday. That was the good news. The bad news for Walters was that when he wasn’t piling up strikeouts, he was giving up three runs. But Walters deserved better. With the score tied 2-2 in the fifth, Walters pick off throw should have erased a baserunner, but first baseman A.J. Van Slyke dropped the throw. Two batters later, a passed ball allowed Adam Klein to score. Springfield lost all six games of its season opening homestand.