The excitement of playing at home begins tonight for Somerset, Scranton Wilkes-Barre, and Tampa as they play their first home games of the season on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Hudson Valley continues their 12-game road trip.
Find out who takes the ball for these home openers with our Pinstriped Previews:
Norfolk Tides (3-3) vs. Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRIders (4-1)
6:35 PM ET I PNC Field
RHP Kyle Bradish vs. LHP Matt Krook (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
The RailRiders will play their home opener tonight at PNC Field after Sunday’s series finale with the Syracuse Mets got rained out. Due to the postponement, Matt Krook will now a series opener once again.
Krook was effective in his first start on Tuesday against Syracuse. He allowed no runs on two hits, struck out seven, and walked one on 56 pitches (41 strikes) in the win. The left-hander did a good job forcing Syracuse hitters to hit the ball on the ground as he induced six ground-ball outs and he allowed only one extra-base hit.
The Tides will go with Kyle Bradish in the series opener. The 25-year-old right-hander was acquired from the Angels in December 2019 in the deal that sent Dylan Bundy to Los Angeles. According to MLB Pipeline, he is the #10 prospect in the Orioles organization. Bradish is a four-pitch pitcher that has a fastball that can get into the mid-90’s in velocity to go with a curveball, changeup, and cutter.
After three starts at Double-A last year, Bradish was promoted to Triple-A. With the Tides, he was 5-5 with a 4.26 ERA in 21 games (19 starts) and he had 105 strikeouts to 39 walks in 86.2 innings of work. He ended the 2021 season on a good note as he went 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA in his final four starts (24 strikeouts to 5 walks in 20 innings).
If there is one thing that the RailRiders should be looking for in this game, it might be the walk. In their last two games against Charlotte (White Sox affiliate), the Tides pitchers had a combined 17 walks. On offense, Norfolk hit nine home runs in their first six games, so it will be a good test for Krook as he tries to keep forcing hitters to hit the ball on the ground.
Erie Seawolves (2-1) vs. Somerset Patriots (2-1)
6:35 PM I TD Bank Ballpark
RHP Markus Solbach vs. RHP Jhony Brito
After a walk-off loss on Sunday, the Patriots return home to begin a new series. Despite the loss, Elijah Dunham is off to a great start to the season as he hit .385 with a home run and four RBIs in the first three games.
On the mound, the Patriots will go with Jhony Brito. The 24-year-old right-hander made his last eight start of 2021 with Somerset. He was 3-3 with a 5.01 ERA. However, Brito showed good command of his pitches as he had 45 strikeouts to 9 walks in 46.2 innings of work. He was also one of the Patriots best pitchers in terms of going deep into games as he went six innings or more six times.
The SeaWolves will go with Markus Solbach in the series opener. The 30-year-old right-hander signed a minor league contract with the Tigers last year after pitching in the Dodgers organization a year ago. 2021 was not kind to Solbach as he went 0-6 with a 7.89 ERA in 18 games (9 starts) and opponents hit .320 against him. If that trend holds, it could be a fun home opener for the Patriots offense.
For Erie, their offense had a .200 average and they struck out a combined 47 times in their opening series of the season. With that being said, the SeaWolves had four home runs as a team and 11 of their 19 hits went for extra-bases. The offense has arguably the Tigers best catcher prospect in Dillon Dingler (.222, 1 HR, 1 RBIs).
Hudson Valley Renegades (2-1) vs. Rome Braves (2-1)
7:00 PM I State Mutual Stadium
RHP Blas Castano vs. LHP Luis De Avila
After an extra-innings win on Saturday, the Renegades picked up 11 hits in a 9-4 win over Greenville to take the opening series on the road. Three different players (Everson Pereira, Austin Wells, and Cooper Bowman) each drove in a pair of runs in the victory. Pereira is off to a good start to the year as he is 6-for-14 with a triple, two RBIs, and three walks.
As a team, the Renegades had an .OPS of .854 against Greenville (2nd in the South Atlantic League) and they were tied for second in the league in walks (23).
The Renegades will send Blas Castano to the mound in the series opener. The 23-year-old right-hander will be making his High-A debut after spending the bulk of last season with Low-A Tampa. In eight games (seven starts), Castano went 6-1 with a 4.23 ERA and he had 43 strikeouts to 8 walks in 38.1 innings of work. He had six or more strikeouts in each his last four starts of the season.
The Braves will be going with a 20-year-old southpaw in Luis De Avila. Avila was claimed off waivers by the Braves back in February after being in the Royals organization. This will be his first start since 2018. In 27 games out of the bullpen in 2021 (Rookie-Level and High-A), he went 5-4 with a 4.99 ERA. De Avila had 64 strikeouts to 24 walks with opponents hitting .303 against him in 57.2 innings of work.
If we look at the offense for the Braves High-A affiliate, they hit only one home run in their first three games against Greensboro (Landon Stephens). One name to watch is shortstop Vaughn Grissom. The 11th Round pick in the 2019 MLB Draft is ranked as the 7th best prospect in the Atlanta system according to MLB Pipeline.
Dunedin Blue Jays (1-2) vs. Tampa Tarpons (2-1)
George M. Steinbrenner Field I 6:30 PM
TBD vs. RHP Yon Castro
The Tarpons will be playing their home opener this evening after taking two out of three in Lakeland over the weekend. In her first home game as manager, Rachel Balkovec will hand the ball to Yon Castro.
The 22-year-old right-hander will be making his second start for the Tarpons after getting an appearance there last year. In the FCL last year, he was 1-1 with a 2.66 ERA in 10 appearances (4 starts). He had 31 strikeouts to just 7 walks in 23.2 innings of work. Dunedin’s starter was not announced at the time of this article.