Twins move into a tie with Cards for first in West

Published 6:00 am Friday, August 16, 2019

Stringing two-out hits together in the third inning of Monday’s 4-2 win over Pulaski which included an RBI double from Matt Wallner and a three-run homer from first baseman Parker Phillips – his fifth of the season – along with
Johnson City’s loss to Princeton put the Twins in a flat-footed tie for first place in the West Division of the Appalachian League.
Andriu Marin went 6.0 innings giving up one run on four hits with 11 strikeouts as he evened his record at 2-2. Marin is second in the league in strikeouts with 60.
Princeton (25-27) centerfielder Nick Schnell won Player of the Week honors for his sizzling week in which he batted .500 with two doubles, two triples and three home runs over six games. He also had six runs batted in for the week of August 5-11.
Burlington (31-22) lefty Angel Zerpa took the POW honors by hurling a one-hit game over five innings of work striking out nine and walking none. Others on hot streaks include Royals first baseman Vinnie Pasquantino who is 17-for-38 (.447) in August including a 5-for-5 game in which he scored two runs and drove in two more. He also has ten home runs which tie him for second in the league.
Also Bristol (26-26) shortstop Jesus Veldez deserves recognition for his hot hitting of late. Veldez has driven in 19 runs in August and had a 3-for-5 game in a 14-5 Pirates thumping of Bluefield. In that game, Veldez had three extra-base hits including a home run and drove in five runs in that contest.
The Twins (27-25) sent lefthander Erik Cha (5-1, 3.03) up to Cedar Rapids on Saturday with manager Ray Smith lamenting, “I would have used Cha in that situation (against the Cardinals) but we sent him up to Cedar Rapids which left us short in the pen. “But, that’s our philosophy here… move them up as quickly as we can so they get a chance to showcase their talent at a higher level.”
The Twins activated Owen Griffith from the 7-day injured list on Monday to help add depth to a depleted pitching staff.
Pulaski (35-17) continues to dominate the East Division with a team ERA of 3.78 which is a close second to Burlington’s 3.74 mark, but the Yankees lead the league in home runs with 57, one ahead of Elizabethton which helps to offset the team’s poor batting average of .238 which is ahead of just Greeneville .228 and Danville .227.
Yank’s righthander Randy Vasquez is among the league leaders with a 3-1 record and a 3.07 earned run average over 44.0 innings. He has given up 18 runs (15 earned) on 29 hits with 22 walks and 42 strikeouts.
Jhonathan Munoz (4-3, 4.93) has also been a big reason for Pulaski dominance with 25 earned runs over 45.2 innings. Munoz has walked 14 but has struck out 49 which puts him fifth on the list. League leader Mitch Stallings of Danville has 62 whiffs in 51.0 innings followed by Marin 60 in just 39.0 innings, Greeneville’s Jose Salvador 51, and Johnson City’s Julio Puello 50.
Games this week see Elizabethton at Danville, Johnson City at Burlington, Greeneville at Bluefield, Kingsport at Pulaski and Bristol at Princeton.

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