16-16, 2.0 GB
Surprise finished its season on a four-game winning streak to get back to .500, but unfortunately it wasn't enough to carry them to the Arizona Fall League Championship Game, as they fell two games short.
Still, the final day was yet another successful outing for Rangers prospects.
Starting pitcher Matt Harrison finished his season on positive note by tossing three scoreless innings, giving up just one hit, walking one, and striking out three.
Once again, Harrison's velocity was excellent, as he threw his fastball anywhere between 92-95 mph. The southpaw recently mentioned that he wanted to begin throwing his cutter again after surgery, and he threw his cutter a number of times with effectiveness on Thursday.
The 24-year-old's overall Fall League numbers aren't extremely impressive, but coming off surgery, it was all about getting reps and getting ready for game action again. Harrison showed drastic improvement late, as he tossed six scoreless innings in his last two outings, yielding just one hit over that span.
Leadoff hitter Marcus Lemon (.343/.389/.627) hit–you guessed it–yet another home run on Thursday. The 21-year-old was 2-for-5 with a solo shot, his fourth of the Fall League and his third in the last four games.
A pair of hits got right fielder Mitch Moreland's (.300/.398/.457) batting average up to the .300 mark. The Mississippi State product singled twice in five at-bats. He also drove home a run.
Right-hander Daniel Gutierrez surrendered three runs in three innings of work to raise his AFL earned-run average to 4.08, but he still had a solid outing overall. Gutierrez struck out six without walking a batter.
Gutierrez's punchouts came on the following pitches: 75 mph curveball (swinging), 91 mph fastball (swinging), 93 mph fastball (called), 93 mph fastball (swinging), 74 mph curveball (swinging), 93 mph fastball (swinging).
A primary focus for Gutierrez, as he attempts to start in the Major Leagues, will be improving his changeup. However, he threw just one changeup [an 85 mph ball] out of his 51 pitches on Thursday.
Fireballing hurler Tanner Scheppers got one last chance to flex his muscles, and he responded by tossing a perfect inning. He got a soft lineout, a flyout to center, and a groundout back to himself. Scheppers worked between 95-98 mph, and he mixed in a couple of curveballs for good measure.
Despite the solid pitching, the star of the day was certainly catcher Taylor Teagarden, who ended the Rafters' campaign with a bang. Teagarden tagged a three-run walkoff homer in the bottom of the ninth, giving him his fourth extra-base hit in the last two games.
Catcher Jose Felix appeared as a defensive replacement, but he didn't have a plate appearance.
Former Rangers pitcher Kameron Loe is now also pitching in Mexico. The tall 28-year-old worked a perfect inning for Mexicali on Thursday, striking out one batter.
Max Ramirez had a day of mixed results, going 1-for-4 with a double and three strikeouts. Second baseman Renny Osuna got in for defensive purposes, but he didn't get to hit, despite his .357 batting average.
La Guaira lefty Joseph Ortiz continued to do his job, as he retired the only hitter he faced. Ortiz's earned-run average has dipped to 2.45.
Guilder Rodriguez played as a pinch runner for Lara, and he scored a run.
Warner Madrigal's winterball struggles continued on Thursday. The big righty surrendered three runs on three hits and a walk in just two-thirds of an inning. He has given up eight earned runs in just 5.2 innings thus far.
Third baseman Esteban German went hitless in two at-bats, but he also drew a pair of walks.
Righty Omar Beltre allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits in 1.2 innings. He surrendered a home run to Cibao third baseman Erick Almonte.
Licey reserve second baseman Andres James struck out on his only plate appearance. Jarrod Saltalamacchia is expected to join James on the Licey club in the near future.
Aguilas leadoff hitter Julio Borbon was hitless in four trips to the plate.
No Rangers appeared on Thursday.
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