Once again the Billings Mustangs were the only team in action down on the farm. Cory Thompson led the offense with a 3-4 night that included a triple, two runs scored, three stolen bases and two more driven in. After going 3-25 over the previous seven games, Thompson has going 4-7 in the last two games to bust out of the slump. After a quick start to the season the shortstop has struggled since July rolled around, hitting .230/.289/.330 through August. September is off to a good start and with the regular season ending tonight hopefully he can carry things into the playoffs and finish strong.
Jimmy Pickens was the only other Mustang to have more than one hit in the game as he went 2-4 with a double, RBI and two runs. That extended his hitting streak to three games, going 1-3 in the previous two games as he has gotten off to a good start in September. After a very slow start to the season, hitting just .170/.228/.292 through July the outfielder has turned things around since August 1st. In 21 games since August rolled around Pickens has hit .281/.333/.422 thanks to vastly improved plate discipline and a little bit more power than he showed earlier in the season.
The pitching led the way for the Mustangs win last night, allowing just two hits in the game. Luke Moran tossed two perfect innings to start the game. He racked up three strikeouts before exiting. Last night was just an extension of the quality run that he has been on over the last eight starts where he has tossed 40.1 innings with a 3.35 ERA, TWO walks and 35 strikeouts. In his first seven starts with Billings this season he posted a 6.09 ERA and walked 10 batters in 34.0 innings.
Following Moran was Fabian Roman, who is on quite a run of his own. Last night he threw 3.0 shutout innings with just one hit allowed. Over his last 10 appearances he’s allowed runs in just one game as he’s posted a 1.72 ERA in 15.2 innings.
Jefry Sierra continued to show that his transition to pitcher was a good idea as his shutout inning of work lowered his ERA to 3.00 on the season. He too has been on a good run of appearances as he’s posted a 1.38 ERA in 13.0 innings over his last nine games. The control is still something that needs working on as he’s walked eight batters in that stretch, but he has also struck out 16.
Reliever Brian Hunter did what he has done most of the season and didn’t allow a run. His scoreless inning lowered his ERA on the season to 1.95 in 27.2 innings pitched where he has 31 strikeouts and nine walks. Hunter has allowed runs in just four of 21 games this season and only two of his last 15 appearances.
Conor Krauss got into the action as he tossed a perfect 9th inning to finish the game out. After a very rough outing on August 18th the reliever has allowed just a run over his last 5.0 innings (1.80 ERA) with a walk and four strikeouts.
There were several guys who made it into the Reds game last night from the call ups, though there were no big league debuts, Jason Bourgeois made his 2014 big league debut with a pinch hit single in the 8th inning.
David Holmberg also showed up, making his first appearance of his career from the bullpen. He tossed a shutout inning with a hit, walk and a strikeout.