Balfour Struggles With Control In 9th But Rays’ Rookie Saves The Game

Balf14With the Rays leading 5-3, Grant Balfour was given a rare opportunity to Save the game against the Twins today but his lack of control caused his removal with only 1 out.    After quickly getting the 1st out Grant, as we have seen so often this season, then walked the next 2 hitters and was yanked.   It must be a frustrating time for the former closer who was chasing his 12th Save only to see it slip, literally, from his fingers.   Fortunately for him, and the Rays, rookie Kirby Yates came on and got his 1st major league Save.

But the question remains, what has happened to Grant’s radar that he is struggling so much to get the ball in the strike zone.   Yesterday, on the other hand,  he was surgical in his 1-2-3 inning when he came on in the 8th.   Why the difference today?   Baseball is a tough mistress.

Grant Balfour Says He Has Been Tipping Pitches

 Grant Balfour (50) in the dugout in the bottom of the ninth inning of the Oakland Athletics against the Tampa Bay Rays

Grant Balfour (50) in the dugout in the bottom of the ninth inning of the Oakland Athletics against the Tampa Bay Rays.   Photo WILL VRAGOVIC | TIMES

By Marc Topkin/Times Staff Writer

Grant Balfour has made his share of bad pitches, as the 27 walks he has given up in 361/3 innings shows.

But there may be another reason for his rough performance — posting a 5.45 ERA and allowing 29 hits — this season: pitch-tipping.

Balfour acknowledged — without revealing specifics — that there has been an issue and said he has made recent changes in his delivery to correct it.

“I have a few things, and it’s been cleaned up,” Balfour said. “You look at the numbers and you think maybe they knew what was coming at certain times. That can explain a few things here and there.

“I’m not saying I pitched the best, but it doesn’t help when someone knows what’s coming. It could be an issue. It’s definitely cleaned up, so we’ll find out.”

Friday against the Twins was a good start. He had just his ninth 1-2-3 one-inning appearance and first since late June. “If you know what’s coming, it’s definitely a problem,” Balfour said.



Complete Aussie Player List After The All Star Break

An impressive return to Cedar Rapids by Logan Wade

An impressive return to Cedar Rapids by Logan Wade

This week Logan Wade returned to Low A after time on the DL and 10 rehab games in the GCL and David Kandilas has returned to High A after a short stint of 17 games in AA.

Jake Bowey [Astros] has been sent to the Dominican to allow him more game time.

Tim Atherton remains on the DL after a spot start in AAA.

Dean Aldridge and Elliott Hargreaves are on the 60-Day DL.


Majors:  Grant Balfour (Rays),

Triple-AJames Beresford (Twins), Liam Hendriks (Blue Jays), John Holdzkom (Pirates), Ryan Rowland-Smith (Reds)

Double-AJohn Hussey (Padres), Matt Kennelly (Braves), Warwick Saupold (Tigers), Stefan Welch (Red Sox).

High-A Corey Adamson [Padres], Tim Atherton [A's], Ryan Battaglia [Indians], David Kandilas [Rockies],  Todd Van Steensel [Twins]

Low-A:  Darryl George [Rays], Daniel McGrath [Red Sox], Lewis Thorpe (Twins), Logan Wade [Twins],

Short Season A :  Sam Holland (Padres), Robbie Perkins [Rockies], Sam Street [Pirates].

Rookie:  Jack Barrie [Twins],  Jared Cruz (Braves), Ryan Dale (Royals), Sam Gibbons [Twins], Josh Guyer (Twins),Nathan Hass (Braves), Karl Hoschke (Braves), Nick Hutchings (Pirates), Sam Kennelly (Pirates), Ben Leslie [Giants], Todd McDonald (Rangers),  James Philibossian (Tigers), Pita Rona (Orioles), Aaron Sayers [Tigers], Zac Shepherd (Tigers),

Dominican Rookie League: Jake Bowey [Astros], Connor MacDonald (Astros), Lachlan Madden (Astros), Adam Silva [Yankees], Hayden Timberlake [Astros]

Independent Leagues:  Allan de San Miguel [Blue Crabs], Justin Erasmus [Fargo Redhawks], Cameron Lamb [Frontier Greys], Connar O’Gorman [Amarillo], Ryan Searle [Grand Prairie], Josh Spence [Windy City],

MLBAAP:  Brandon Stenhouse (Yankees)

Rehab:  Dean Aldridge (Tigers)Elliott Hargreaves [Reds], Dakota Mitchell (Reds), Josh Warner [Phillies]

Balfour Perfect In Win Over The Twins

BalftbGrant Balfour proved he still has it when he threw a perfect 8th against his old club The Twins in the Rays’ 6-2 win in their first game back from the All Star break and Grant’s first game after his loss last week.

It’s been a rough year for Grant after his All Star year in 2013 with the A’s but he’s not one to throw in the towel.  No wonder manager Joe Maddon still likes his stuff.   It’s worth remembering that in his last 10 outings 8 were scoreless and it was also good to see that against the Twins his fast ball was up around the 92mph.

In the unlikely event that the Rays make a late season run at post season play you can bet Grant will be front and centre.

AAA – Beresford, Hendriks, Holdzkom, Rowland-Smith

Beresford goes yard

James Beresford is having a pretty good July with the Rochester Red Wings.  In the 10 games up to the All Star break James had hit safely in 9 of them, 12-42 whilst scoring 5 runs.   In that time he also hit 3 doubles and only struck out twice.  He then returned after the ASG break with a rare home run [his 2nd for the season] and went 2-4.  So after 92 games he is hitting .278.  With a .318 avg in his last 10 July just got better.

It was a very good week for Toronto’s Liam Hendriks who collected his 7th win for the Buffalo Bisons as well as getting the win in the IL All Star game and ‘Top Star’ honours.

The Pirates’ John Holdzkom has appeared in 3 games for the Indianapolis Indians since his early promotion this week.   He started brilliantly, winning his first two games, but the wheels fell off in the 3rd game when he conceded 3 runs on 4 hits whilst only getting 1 out. Fortunately for his record it was a no decision.  His second win was a scoreless 3 inning affair and certainly augurs well for John.

Ryan Rowland-Smith had a much better 2nd week for the Louisville Bats appearing in 4 games, 2 of which were scoreless outings including a 3 inning start in one game, whilst the others were out of the pen.  His ERA has dropped from 7.36 to 3.97.



Double Aussie top talent at AAA All-Star Game

hendriks_640x360_z4qvj4o8_gqzcyi1eBy Trish Quayle/

Two Australian’s have made their mark at the Triple-A All-Star Game. Perth’s RHP Liam Hendriks earned the win and ‘Top Star’ honours and Umpire Jon Byrne called the game behind the plate. describes how Perth Heat hurler Liam Hendriks shined the brightest among minor league baseball’s stars, earning the win and ‘Top Star’ honors in the International League’s 7-3 win over the Pacific Coast League.

Hendriks threw two shutout innings and struck out four PCL All-Stars to set the tone for the IL. He allowed just one hit and left the 27th annual event with a 4-0 lead the IL would not relinquish.Byrne17

From Perth, Umpire Jon Byrne called the All-Star Game as plate umpire. Jon made history in May when he became the first Australian to Umpire a Major League Game.


In May we wrote:- Jon, 31, has been a Minor League Umpire since 2005. As with players, umpires must work their way up through the minor leagues and in his nine professional seasons he has officiated at all levels from Rookie and Advanced Rookie, to Low-A, High-A, Double-A and most recently Triple-A. He began umpiring in 1998 with the WA Baseball Umpires Association.

In 2001 he attended an umpire’s school in Adelaide which led to national umpiring opportunities with the Under-16s tournament in 2002 and 2003, the Under-18s in 2005 and 2006. After taking up a US Minor League Umpiring role in 2005 he continued to umpire in Australia in the off-season with the Claxton Shield from 2007 to 2010 and the Australian Baseball League in 2011 and 2012.


Liam Hendriks Shines in All Star

International League MVP Liam Hendriks works from the mound during the first inning during the 2014 Triple-A All Star Game on Wednesday July, 16, 2014 at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, N.C Photo by The News and Observer, Robert Willett

International League MVP Liam Hendriks works from the mound during the first inning during the 2014 Triple-A All Star Game on Wednesday July, 16, 2014 at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, N.C
Photo by The News and Observer, Robert Willett

By Hayden Kane/

…One guy [in the IL All Star Game] worth mentioning is Liam Hendriks.

A top prospect in the Toronto Blue Jays organization, a guy who has seen big league action this season, and another name that scrawls across blockbuster trade rumors, Hendriks struck out an impressive four hitters in just two innings of work.

Hendriks sets the tone in IL All-Star win

With eye on Majors, Blue Jays farmhand pitches two scoreless innings

By Bob Sutton / Special to

Liam Hendriks is taking every opportunity that he comes along to show he’s ready for a return to the Major Leagues. A starting assignment in the Triple-A All-Star Game on Wednesday night was his latest platform.

Hendriks struck out four batters in two scoreless innings as the International League topped the Pacific Coast League, 7-3, before a crowd of 10,274 at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

“I’m giving it all I’ve got getting back up there,” said the Buffalo Bisons right-hander, who threw 25 pitches. “I just got ahead, a lot of first-pitch strikes and making them uncomfortable.”

Hendriks was named the IL’s Top Star. The offense took care of the rest.


Liam Hendriks Interview

AA – Hussey, Kandilas, Kennelly, Saupold, Welch


Matt Kennelly hit safely in all 5 games this week.

San Antonio Missions’ John Hussey had 3 games out of the pen this week.  One was scoreless, one was a workmanlike outing when he allowed 1 run in 4 innings and struck out 5 and the third was a loss when he gave up 2 runs on 5 hits [1HR] over 3 innings.   His record now is 3-5 and 4.74ERA after 24 games.

David Kandilas has been sent back down to A ball with the Modesto Nuts but we thought we would list him here in AA for this week as this is where he played most of his games since our last report on him.  He played 17 games for the Tulsa Drillers but never quite settled in there going 11-62 [.177Avg].   On the plus side he did crank out 3 home runs, a triple and a couple of doubles in that time as well as 8RBI suggesting that he might get another look at AA before the season ends.   In his 3 games back at Modesto he went 3-9 with a RBI.   He is currently hitting .270 at A ball.

The Braves’ Matt Kennelly continues to impress and is on a 5 game hitting streak this week at Mississippi.  He is 8-23 [.348] and is hitting .304 for the season.  He is getting into a good number of games which suggests that the Braves like what he is doing.

Warwick Saupold collected his 5th win this week in his first outing since collecting win No. 4 on the 3rd July.  His win was a complete 7 inning game, only his 2nd CG for the season.  In his 7 innings he allowed 4 runs on 4 hits and 4 walks but what made it a standout game was his 8 strikeouts [in his 4th win 5 days earlier he also struck out 8 in 5 innings].  His next game was a no decision for him but was a quality outing none the less with only 1ER [3 runs total] on 6 hits over 6 innings.  His record is now 5-8 and 5.83ERA.

It was another frustrating week for Boston’s Stefan Welch who played in 5 games for the Portland Sea Dogs going 1-14.  He is hitting .230.




Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,150 other followers