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Luis Gil. Photo by Matt Kardos

Yankees MiLB Previews

Pinstriped Previews:Luis Gil and Luis Medina make second starts of 2021

In the first five games of the minor league season, Yankees affiliates are a combined 15-5 in the 20 games that have been played. This includes a crazy stretch of hot hitting by the Low-A Tampa Tarpons and great pitching by the Double-A Somerset Patriots in their first series as a Yankees affiliate.

On Mother’s Day, the first six-game series for all of these affiliates will come to an end (Yes, it is weird to write six-game series). The only team that hasn’t won their series is High-A Hudson Valley, but they still have a chance to get a split against Jersey Shore.

Since this is the sixth game of the season for all affiliates, each team will send their Opening Day starters back to the mound for the second time this year. This includes top prospects Luis Gil (Somerset) and Luis Medina (Hudson Valley). Can they duplicate the same success they had in their first starts?

Check out the rest of the matchups in today’s Pinstriped Preview:

Trey Amburgey (Matt Bufano)

Triple-A

 Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (4-1) vs. Syracuse Mets (1-4)

 NBT Bank Stadium ! 1:05 PM ET

LHP Mike Montgomery (0-1, 4.15 ERA) vs. RHP Jerad Eickhoff (1-0, 3.00 ERA)

After losing to the Mets on Opening Night, the RailRiders will look to take the next five games of the series with a win today. They send the left-hander Mike Montgomery to the mound for the second time this year. On Tuesday, the 31-year-old took the ball and ended up getting the loss. He went 4.1 innings, gave up three runs (two earned) on four hits, struck out four, and walked one on 64 pitches (37 strikes).

Most of the damage against Montgomery came in the bottom of the third when Martin Cervenka hit a solo home run as part of a two-run inning for the Mets. Cervenka is 4-for-12 with two home runs and 4 RBIS in the series. Despite only going 4.1 innings, the RailRiders were able to throw out two of the three runners that tried to steal on Montgomery on Opening Night.

The Mets will send Jerad Eickhoff to the mound for the second time in this series and his last start was quality. He went six innings, allowed two runs on seven hits and struck out five on 80 pitches (53 strikes). The only runs scored against Eickhoff came on a two-run home run by Socrates Brito in the top of the fourth. The outfielder is 5-for-14 with that home run and three RBIs on the year.

Last night, the RailRiders got home runs from both Luke Voit and Derek Dietrich en route to a 4-2 victory. Trey Amburgey had the night off last night, but he is 6-for-14 this week with a pair of home runs and five RBIs. Also, keep an eye on Chris Gittens as he is 5-for-11 with a home run, four RBIs, and six walks. Gittens has constantly been on-base whenever he gets into the lineup.

Luis Gil. Photo by Matt Kardos

Double-A

 Harrisburg Senators (1-4) vs. Somerset Patriots (4-1)

 TD Bank Ballpark ! 1:05 PM ET

Tim Cate (0-1, 11.25 ERA) vs. Luis Gil (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Fans will be treated to this marquee matchup a second time on Mother’s Day with one of the top pitching prospects in the Yankees’ system, Luis Gil, taking the mound for the Patriots. Gil’s outing was short on Opening Night, but he was able to make the most of it. In 3.2 innings of work, he struck out six batters and walked one on 63 pitches (38 strikes).

It will be interesting to see how much further Gil will be able to go in his second start of the season when you consider he struck out the Senators four times as he went through the order the first time (three of them swinging).

The Senators will counter with Tim Cate, who was the Washington Nationals. The 23-year-old left-hander was the organization’s second-round pick in 2018 and he will try to have a much-better start than he did on Opening Night.

In the season opener, Cate went four innings, allowed six runs (five earned) on five hits, walked three, and struck out three on 74 pitches (38 strikes). All five earned runs came in the bottom of the first as Estevan Florial led off the game with a solo home run and Thomas Milone hit a three-run home run later in the inning.

Milone has played in four of the five games this series and is 5-for-10 with two doubles, a home run, five RBIs, and four walks. As for Florial, he has a hit in each of the first five games and is hitting .316 with three home runs and five RBIs.

The Patriots’ pitching staff has held the Senators to two runs or fewer in all four wins this series. With a pitching matchup of high quality, it would not be surprising if this ends up being a low-scoring game. As a team, the Patriots have the best ERA (1.60) and WHIP (0.67) in the Double-A Northeast after five games.

Luis Medina (Robert M. Pimpsner)

High-A

Hudson Valley Renegades (2-3) vs. Jersey Shore BlueClaws (3-2)

 FirstEnergy Park ! 1:05 PM ET

RHP Luis Medina (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. RHP Tyler McKay (0-0, 9.00 ERA)

The bats woke up for Hudson Valley on Saturday night as they had their best game of the young season with a 9-3 victory over Jersey Shores. The Renegades will turn to Luis Medina for the second time this season to try to help them get a split in the opening series.

Medina ended up getting the no-decision in his first start of the year. However, his outing was very impressive. Despite throwing two wild pitches, he only allowed one hit, struck out eight, and walked two on 67 pitches (41 strikes) over four scoreless innings. Out of his eight strikeouts, seven were swinging and the only hit he gave up was a leadoff single to center in the bottom of the second.

 

McKay is listed as the BlueClaws starter for this game. He came in to pitch the top of the fifth in the season opener in relief for Ben Brown.

Brown, who was the Phillies’ 33rd Round pick in the 2017 MLB Draft, allowed only one hit, struck out six, and walked one on 57 pitches (37 strikes) over four scoreless innings. That one hit was a leadoff single in the top of the fourth by Ezequiel Duran. Duran is 5-for-17 so far this year and has the second-most hits on the team behind Brandon Lockridge (6).

McKay, the Phillies’ 16th Round pick in 2018. only went one inning and allowed one run on two hits, walked two, and struck out two on 30 pitches (18 strikes) on Tuesday. While he came in out of the bullpen in that outing, he did make 12 starts out of his 18 appearances for Low-A Lakewood on 2019 (3-5, 5.05 ERA in that season).

James Nelson had the RBI double in that inning that gave the Renegades a 1-0 lead. While Nelson has only played in three of the five games this year, the former third baseman in the Miami Marlins organization is tied with Lockridge for the team lead in RBIs (4) and all three of his hits have been doubles.

Matt Sauer (Photo by John Brophy/Pinstriped Prospects)

Low-A

Dunedin Blue Jays (0-5) vs. Tampa Tarpons (5-0)

 GMS Field I 12:00 PM ET

LHP Rafael Monsion (0-0, 3.38 ERA) vs. RHP Matt Sauer (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

The offense just has not slowed down for the Tarpons as they rallied for a 12-11 win on Saturday night. In the first five games of the season, they have scored 77 runs (averaging a little over 15 runs per game). The crazy part about that is their Opening Day starter, Matt Sauer, received the second lowest run total so far this year.

While the Tarpons pitching has not matched their hitting, Sauer had a good outing in his first start of the season. He allowed one hit, struck out six, and walked three on 54 pitches (30 strikes), Out of Sauer’s six strikeouts, five of them were swinging.

The Blue Jays will send Monsion to the mound for his first start of the season. Monsion appeared in Thursday’s game. If he does get the start, don’t expect this to be a long outing for him. However, he has been the best pitcher in terms of containing the Tarpons this year. He appeared in relief of Naswell Paulino in the fourth and went 2.2 innings, allowed one run on three hits, and struck out six on 56 pitches (34 strikes).

Monsion struck out Trevor Hauver, Jake Sanford, and Spencer Henson in the bottom of the fourth after Austin Wells reached on an error. After a 1-2-3 fifth, the Tarpons finally got to the southpaw as Evan Alexander had a leadoff double and would later come around to score on an RBI double by Hauver.

Hauver has had a great start to his professional career. The Yankees’ 3rd Round pick in the 2020 MLB Draft is 9-for-14 (.643_ with five home runs, 12 RBIs, and has seven walks with an OPS of 2.513 in the first four games of the year. However, Hauver does not lead the team in RBIs as outfielder Pat DeMarco has driven in 14 runs in the last three games he has played.

It is hard to shut down this Tarpons offense that has a .356 average, a .481 on-base percentage, 19 doubles, and 13 home runs in the first five games. Eventually, the bats will probably cool down, but this is a stretch that Yankees fans should enjoy because it isn’t something you see often.

Written By

I am an alum of St. John's University, where I majored in sports management.

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