August 21, 2018

In general, we try to pick the best/most important game on this date in Indians minor league history, but in doing so, we often ignore the lowest level of the farm system, the Dominican Summer League. This has largely been because they haven’t had a winning season since 2015 and have went 116-161 since then. That makes it hard to find a win, let alone a big or important one. That being said, we have a good one for you today.

The overall lack of success in this season for the DSL Indians was actually very surprising given the glut of talent at that level. Nearly all of the players from this game specifically have already had success in the US, including starting pitcher Brauny Munoz. Each team had runners reach in the first via single, but neither scored. The Indians had another hit safely in the second and, just like in the first he moved up on a throwing mistake by the pitcher, but was stranded. A Jothson Flores error let on the second Dodgers Guerrero runner of the game in the third, but he was immediately put out on a double play.

In the fourth, things got a little more wild as the Dodgers had two hits in the top half of the inning, but the first runner was caught stealing before a fruitless double. Jhonkensy Noel (pictured at top) then doubled for the Indians in the bottom half and went to third on an error on an attempted pick off with just one out, but he was stranded there despite a Derian Perez walk.

Alexfri Planez3
Planez prepares to swing during a 2019 Indians extended spring training in Goodyear, AZ. – Joseph Coblitz, IBI

After a silent fifth for both sides and a 1-2-3 top of the sixth, the Indians finally got on the board. Skeiling Rodriguez doubled to start the inning and Alexfri Planez followed with a home run to make sure he wasn’t stranded this time. Noel followed that with a homer of his own to go back-to-back.

Munoz was pulled after six shut out innings and Adenys Bautista allowed a single and wild pitch in relief, but kept the Dodgers from scoring. In the bottom half, the Dodgers bullpen really gave the game away. Jean Montero and Wilfri Peralta walked to start the inning before a Planez double. Noel followed that up with his second home run of the game. This pushed the score to 7-0, the ultimate finish to the game. Incredibly, Noel ended up hitting a team record ten home runs in 2018 while Planez finished with nine. This was the first career multi-homer game for Noel and one of two in his two year career.

In the eighth, Bautista gave up a triple, but kept him at third when he struck out the next batter then Adauri Vicente closed out the game with three straight K’s after a single. While the Indians did blow out the Dodgers Guerrero, nearly all the offense came from the heart of the order as Rodriguez, Planez and Noel scored six of the seven runs and knocked in all seven. Munoz ended up striking out five with one walk and three hits allowed across his six shut out innings.

Brauny Munoz2
Munoz makes a start for the Indians Red during the 2019 AZL season. – Joseph Coblitz, IBI

This was Munoz’s final start of 2018 and his third consecutive scoreless appearance. Following his 2.84 ERA and 51 K’s to 21 BB’s in 63.1 innings in his rookie season in the DSL, he had an even more impressive 2.91 ERA with 56 K’s and 13 BB’s in 52.2 innings as the ace of the 2019 AZL Indians Red.

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