Jackson Jobe dominates his Double-A debut; Lakeland eliminated from postseason

Bless You Boys

Toledo Mud Hens 5, Columbus Clippers 1 (Fri)(box)

Toledo Mud Hens 5, Columbus Clippers 2 (Sat)(box)

Columbus Clippers 6, Toledo Mud Hens 0 (Sun)(box)

The Toledo Mud Hens took down the Clippers on Friday and Saturday to win the series before losing Sunday’s contest. They’ll now head out on the road for their final series of the season against the St. Paul Saints.

Friday saw the Mud Hens tee off on our old friend, Daniel Norris. Meanwhile, Sean Guenther gave the Hens a solid inning as the opener — this seems like something the Tigers are experimenting with throughout their system over the last two weeks — and then Keider Montero took over for six electric innings during which he allowed a walk, a single, and a solo shot, and nothing else, while racking up nine strikeouts against the Cleveland Guardians affiliate.

Justyn-Henry Malloy doubled in the first with one out, but that went nowhere. It wasn’t until the third inning that the Hens struck. Malloy walked with one out, and Colt Keith was hit by a pitch. Eddys Leonard singled in Malloy, and a sacrifice fly from Nick Maton allowed Keith to tag and score from third. Justice Bigbie kept the rally alive with a grounder through the right side of the infield for a single, and a suddenly red hot Ryan Kreidler lined a single to left to plate Leonard. Michael Papierski lined out to left to end the inning.

In the fourth, Wenceel Perez doubled with one out, and after Malloy struck out, Keith launched a two-run shot to right center field. 5-0 Hens. That was Keith’s third home run in as many days, and his 27th on the season.

Things quieted down from there. Montero finally showed a little crack in the armor when he allowed a solo shot in the seventh inning, but he slammed the door from there and the bullpen had no trouble finishing this one off.

Bigbie: 3-4, 2B, K

Keith: 1-3, 2 R, 2 RBI, HR, 2 K

Malloy: 1-3, R, 2B, BB, 2 K

Montero (W, 4-2): 6.0 IP, ER, 2 H, BB, 9 K

Justice Bigbie had a bit of a slow start at Triple-A, but he’s heating back up and helped lead the way offensively on Saturday as the Hens won 5-2.

Bryan Sammons gave Toledo a strong start with five shutout innings with just two hits and a walk allowed against six strikeouts.

In the bottom of the second inning, Eddys Leonard led off with a single, and Ryan Kreidler and Bigbie followed with singles of their own to load the bases. A Dillon Dingler sacrifice fly scored Leonard to make it 1-0, but the next two hitters struck out to strand a pair of runners.

Bigbie led off the fourth with a single, and Dingler doubled him to third. A Michael Papierski sacrifice fly plated Bigbie to make it 2-0 Hens. Dingler took third on the Papierski fly out, and then scored on a wild pitch to make it 3-0.

Brenan Hanifee took over from Sammons and allowed a run in the sixth, and another in the top of the ninth. However, in the bottom of the eighth, Keith led off with a double and Kreidler walked with one out. A wild pitch advanced them a base, and a Bigbie fly out scored Keith from third while an error allowed Kreidler to follow him home to make it 5-1 at the time.

In defensive positioning watch, Keith played second base, and Malloy has mainly been back at third base recently.

Keith: 2-3, R, 2B, BB

Dingler: 1-2, R, RBI, 2B, K

Leonard: 2-4, R

Bigbie: 2-3, R, 2 RBI

Sammons (W, 1-3): 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, BB, 6 K

Cleveland’s Shane Bieber made a rehab start on Sunday, and he pretty well had his way with the Mud Hens lineup for 3 23 innings, striking out seven without allowing a hit. He did avoid Colt Keith, walking him twice, but otherwise the Hens offense had nothing for him. Things didn’t get much better against the Clippers bullpen.

Zach Logue put together a decent outing, limiting Columbus to one run in five innings of work, but Garrett Hill got shelled again in the sixth inning, allowing four runs as the Clippers pulled away for good.

Keith: 0-2, 2 BB, K

Bigbie: 1-4, 2B, K

Dingler: 1-3, 2B, K

Logue (L, 3-9): 5.0 IP, ER, 4 H, 2 BB, K

Coming Up Next: The Hens head out to St. Paul for the final series of the regular season. It’ll be a 7:37 p.m. ET start on Tuesday night to kick things off.

Erie SeaWolves 8, Richmond Flying Squirrels 3 (Fri)(box)

Erie SeaWolves 10, Richmond Flying Squirrels 2 (Sat)(box)

Richmond Flying Squirrels 1, Erie SeaWolves 0 (Sun)(box)

The Erie SeaWolves are already in the postseason, and they’ll begin the playoffs on Tuesday on the road against these same Richmond Flying Squirrels. Richmond served a little notice that the SeaWolves best be ready as they took the series four games to two, and in the process secured their own playoff spot. Of course, as we saw on Sunday, the SeaWolves have a brand new weapon to deploy in the form of one of baseball’s elite pitching prospects, Jackson Jobe.

On Friday, a scuffling SeaWolves’ offense that is really missing Justice Bigbie finally broke out. Luis Santana doubled in Ben Malgeri and Jake Holton in the first inning, and in the second Danny Serretti singled to leadoff and later rode home on a two-run shot from Eliezer Alfonzo, the latter’s first Double-A home run.

RJ Petit was the opener in this one, and after an inning he turned things over to lefty Adam Wolf, who carved up the Squirrels for four more scoreless innings.

Finally, in the sixth, Richmond got on the board against reliever Blake Holub, scoring two on a two-run shot from Yoshi Tsutsugo. Erie answered right back as Trei Cruz led off the bottom of the sixth with a double and Chris Meyers blasted a two-run shot that made it 6-2. Erie scored two more in the seventh, and cruised to victory.

Alfonzo: 1-3, R, 2 RBI, HR, BB

Malgeri: 2-5, 2 R, RBI,

Meyers: 1-4, R, 2 RBI, HR, 2 K

Wolf (W, 5-4): 5.0 IP, 0 R, 3 H, BB, 5 K

On Saturday, Wilmer Flores put together a good effort and SeaWolves pitching didn’t walk a batter, while their own lineup drew seven walks and ran up the score with relative ease.

A single, double, single combination in the top of the second inning gave Richmond a two-run early lead, but they do little else against Flores. He spun five innings without a walk, recording seven strikeouts. Good to see him coming around after an inconsistent second year on the Tigers’ farm.

The SeaWolves seized control in the third. Corey Joyce was hit by a pitch to lead off, and Gage Workman followed with a single. A pair of walks and a wild pitch plated two runs for Erie, and then Jace Jung walked to re-load the bases. Trei Cruz scored on a Meyers grounder that forced Jung at second, and then Brady Allen came through with a screaming double to center field. Danny Serretti scored, but Meyers was cut down at the plate. 4-2 SeaWolves.

A single and another pair of walks loaded the bases for Erie again in the fourth inning, and this time Jace Jung belted a double the opposite way into the left field corner, clearing the bases. 7-2 SeaWolves.

They’d add a run on in the sixth, and a two-run single from Cruz in the seventh made it 10-2 where it ended.

Jung: 2-4, 3 RBI, 2B, BB, K

Allen: 2-3, R, RBI, 2B, BB, K

Cruz: 2-3, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB

Flores (W, 5-3): 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 0 BB, 7 K

On Sunday, the SeaWolves offense was very quiet, but Jackson Jobe made enough noise for everyone. The recently turned 21-year-old has already rebounded from the early season back injury and re-established himself as a top pitching prospect. But over the last month, he’s seized the pole position as the best pitching prospect in baseball, and only Paul Skenes has a strong counter argument.

Wielding plus fastballs up to 98 mph, a plus changeup now backed with an above average cutter, and his lethal double plus slider, Jackson Jobe has all the weapons you could ask in an ace, and his command of the whole package has advanced with shocking speed over the last month. We make a point to be patient and try not to get overly hyped or too down on prospects from moment to moment, but what Jackson Jobe is doing is simply undeniable.

Jobe allowed four singles, no runs, and no walks, over six innings of work in his Double-A debut on Sunday. He struck out six, throwing 58 of 76 pitches for strikes. Jobe hasn’t walked a batter in any of his last five starts, totaling 30 innings of work without a walk allowed back to his August 18th start. He has 36 strikeouts in that span, and only five runs allowed.

About the only flaw visible is a total disregard for opposing hitters that has led to a few more home runs than you’d expect considering he’s only allowed 22 hits total over those 28 innings. He’ll need to start expanding the zone a little more in swing counts rather than just overpowering everyone, but otherwise he’s just some fine tuning from being very much major league ready.

Building up his innings is a bit of different matter, and that will have to wait until 2024. Still, we expect to see Jobe in the Arizona Fall League to try and get to 85 or so innings on the year. At that point, he’ll have the exposure and you’ll see national scouts recognizing what I’m telling you here, and if he starts out the 2024 season looking this good or better, I don’t think you can spend many more of his innings in the minor leagues.

In the meantime, check this out and note some of the filthy changeups coming out now to go with the slider. Those tight 89 mph cutters he’s mixing in to lefties to help keep them off the fastball have really made the whole repertoire sing as well. He’s already got major league command of all this. It’s stunning how fast he’s progressed over the past two months.

The SeaWolves offense, on the other hand, was pretty bad in this one. They managed just three hits and three walks, put together their only modest scoring threats in the seventh and eighth innings, and couldn’t come through.

Jung: 2-4

Jobe: 6.0 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 0 BB, 6 K

Coming Up Next: The SeaWolves travel to Richmond for Game 1 of the Eastern League’s Division Series on Tuesday at 6:35 p.m. ET. They’ll have an off day on Wednesday before hosting Game 2 and if necessary, Game 3 on Thursday in Erie. Hopefully, we’ll see Jobe one more time in the postseason. A shorter outing in Game 3 on five days rest seems like a distinct possibility should the series go that far. Otherwise he won’t get his next start until the championship series, should Erie beat Richmond and get there.

Clearwater Threshers 2, Lakeland Flying Tigers 1 (Fri)(box)

After Lakeland’s offense broke out on Thursday to force a deciding Game 3, they couldn’t get anyway going on Friday, and were bounced out of the Florida State League postseason with a 2-1 loss to Clearwater.

Starter Joe Adametz was solid, allowing two runs over five innings of work. Chris Williams Jr. and Max Alba shut the Threshers down the rest of the way.

Kevin McGonigle and Max Clark accounted for two of the four Lakeland hits in this one, with Jim Jarvis and Josue Briceno accounting for the others. The Flying Tigers drew seven walks against a wild Clearwater pitching staff, but that effectively wild “approach” worked out for the Threshers as Lakeland just couldn’t buy a hit with runners in scoring position.

Still, it was a very strong second half for the Flying Tigers, bolstered by many of the club’s 2023 draft picks. So it should still be considered a success.

Clark: 1-4, BB, K

Jarvis: 1-3, R, BB, K

Briceno: 1-2, RBI, 2 BB

Adametz (L, 0-1): 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 3 K

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