Pitching was the name of the game on Sunday in the Dodgers minors. Well, that and Oklahoma City’s offense.
Player of the day
Bobby Miller threw a career-high 102 pitches for Double-A Tulsa on Sunday, but that wasn’t too far out of the norm for him, having pitched between 90-96 pitches in seven of his last 10 starts. But what set Sunday apart for Miller was that those pitches got him into the eighth inning for the first time as a professional.
Miller struck out nine and walked two in his 7⅓ innings, four outs longer than any other game in his career. He pitched into the seventh one other time this season, on May 28 against Springfield.
Strikeouts have been on the upswing for Miller, who struck out 11 twice in his previous three starts, and fanned nine or more in five of his last seven starts. Sunday’s game turned around a rough stretch, results-wise for Miller, who allowed 16 runs (14 earned runs) in 16 innings in his first four starts after The Futures Game at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers’ first-round draft pick out of Louisville in 2020, Miller on the season has a 4.45 ERA and 3.44 FIP with 117 strikeouts (a 30.5-percent strikeout rate) in 91 innings. Sunday was his fourth scoreless start of the season.
Tulsa was playing as the Noodlers on Sunday, a nod to the Oklahoma tradition of catching fish by hand by sticking one’s hand into the mouth of said fish (what?), an alternate identity that the Drillers added in 2021. Along with the Noodlers name comes neon green uniforms, in which Miller and Tulsa thrived on Sunday.
It’s the neon green Noodlers uniforms IMO pic.twitter.com/TH1t1a1BDZ— Eric Stephen (@ericstephen) August 14, 2022
Triple-A Oklahoma City
Dustin May made what is believed to be his final minor league rehab start for Oklahoma City, and did so in style in a win over the Round Rock Express (Rangers).
May struck out 10 in his five innings of work, and after a solo home run in the first inning didn’t allow another run. May allowed four hits and a walk, only needing 70 pitches to finish his outing, then threw some more in the bullpen to get stretched out.
May reached 99 mph on his fastball, averaged 98 mph on the four-seamer and 97 mph on the sinker. He only needed nine pitches to get through the second inning, all of them strikes.
The top of the 2nd inning was immaculate!— Oklahoma City Dodgers (@okc_dodgers) August 14, 2022
3 batters, 9 pitches, 3 strikeouts for Dustin May! pic.twitter.com/poRPFEX0Xj
Sunday was expected to be the final rehab start for May, who in five starts for Oklahoma City allowed four runs in 19 innings, with six walks and 33 strikeouts. If May’s next start is in fact for the Dodgers, Saturday against the Marlins makes the most sense.
Oklahoma City also scored double-digit runs on Sunday. Michael Busch homered among his five hits, driving in four. Jason Martin also homered. The game was already a blowout heading into the bottom of the eighth, when Oklahoma City was hit by four pitches, drew two walks, hit two singles, and had three doubles in a 10-run frame to double their total.
Edwin Ríos played third base and had two hits, including a double. This was the 13th game for Ríos on his minor league rehab assignment, and he’s gotten a hit in each of his last twelve, hitting .306 (15-for-49) with five doubles. Rehab assignments can last up to 20 days for non-pitchers, and for Ríos that day comes Tuesday. That means decision time is soon for the Dodgers, whether to activate Ríos off the 60-day injured list now or option him and wait a little more than two weeks to bring him back in September.
While Miller kept Tulsa ahead, the Drillers offense added on, especially late, to beat the Midland RockHounds (A’s). Shortstop Leonel Valera fell a single shy of the cycle, driving in four runs. The home run was his second in as many days and third of the series.
Andy Pages also homered for Tulsa, his 21st of the season.
Jordan Leasure entered with Miller’s two runners on and one out in the eighth in a 3-0 game at the time, and stranded them both. Leasure stayed in to pitch a perfect ninth to earn the save, this third.
High-A Great Lakes
Stellar pitching kept the Loons in the game despite scoring no runs, until the 10th inning with a walk-off win over the Peoria Chiefs (Cardinals). Great Lakes had only three hits in the game. First baseman Imanol Vargas had two of them, including the single in the 10th to plate pinch-runner Aldrich De Jongh for the game’s only run.
On the mound for the Loons was a trio of 2021 draftees. Sixth-rounder Emmet Sheehan pitched six scoreless to start things, allowing the only four hits of the game for Peoria — all singles — but walking none and striking out six. Fifth-rounder Ben Casparius struck out three of his six batters faced in two perfect frames, then eighth-rounder Ben Harris worked around a walk to pitch the final two innings scoreless, thanks to his two strikeouts.
Both strikeouts for Harris came in the 10th after the walk and a sacrifice bunt put two go-ahead runs in scoring position with one out. Harris has a 47-percent strikeout rate to go with his 0.98 ERA in 18⅓ innings since getting promoted to High-A.
Low-A Rancho Cucamonga
The Quakes played catch-up all night, dropping a high-scoring affair on the road to the Lake Elsinore Storm (Padres).
Left fielder Chris Alleyne, the Dodgers’ 19th-round draft pick who won Big Ten Player of the Year this season, hit his first professional home run. Second-round pick Dalton Rushing had three hits, including his second home run, plus a walk.
- Oklahoma City 20. Round Rock 3
- Tulsa 7, Midland 0
- Great Lakes 1, Peoria 0 (10 innings)
- Lake Elsinore 9, Rancho Cucamonga 7
- 4:05 p.m. PT: Great Lakes at Lansing (A’s)
- 5:05 p.m.: Oklahoma City at Sugar Land (Astros)
- 5:05 p.m.: Tulsa at Wichita (Twins)
- 6:30 p.m.: Rancho Cucamonga vs. Modesto (Mariners)
The top four affiliates are all off Monday.