AFL Recap: Michael Burrows Looks Strong in Final Outing

The Peoria Javelinas played a road game against the Surprise Saguaros on Wednesday afternoon that was a must-win game, or they could face elimination from the playoff race. They went with Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Michael Burrows to start the game, his first start of the AFL season. The lineup included Ji-hwan Bae leading off in center field and Canaan Smith-Njigba as the DH, batting seventh. Carmen Mlodzinski came on in relief late. Here’s a recap of their day:

Bae grounded out to first base to start the game. In the third inning, he doubled and then scored a run one batter later. He reached on an error in the sixth and scored a run, then struck out swinging in the seventh. Bae popped out to shortstop to finish 1-for-5 with two runs scored and his third double.

Smith-Njigba hit a two-run homer in the second inning, his first of the fall. His singled on a line drive in the fifth. He was called out on strikes in the sixth, without taking the bat off his shoulder for three straight pitches. Smith-Njigba walked in the ninth to finish 2-for-3 with a single, homer and walk.

Burrows had an easy first inning, with two swinging strikeouts and a fly ball to right field. He threw 13 pitches, with seven going for strikes. He allowed a single to start the second inning, then struck out the next three batters. He threw 18 pitches in the second, with 14 going for strikes. The third inning started with a fly out to Bae in center field. The next batter walked, then Burrows got a nine-pitch strikeout on Michael Siani, the brother of Pirates prospect Sammy Siani. The inning ended on a fly ball to left field. He threw 24 pitches in the inning and 14 went for strikes. That ended Burrows’ day due to his pitch count. He went three scoreless innings on one hit, one walk and six strikeouts.

Carmen Mlodzinski came on in the eighth inning and gave up a ground ball single to the first batter. He struck out the next guy swinging on a five-pitch at-bat. That was followed by a grounder to third base, which resulted in the out at first base. The next batter drew a nine-pitch walk. With two men on, he got a fly ball to center field to end the inning. Mlodzinski threw 22 pitches, with 13 going for strikes.

In the ninth inning with a 5-2 lead, Mlodzinski got a fly ball to center field for the first out. The next batter struck out, then he issued a walk. The final out came on a grounder to shortstop. He threw 16 pitches, nine for strikes.

Here’s the boxscore

These same two teams meet again tomorrow in Surprise at 2:35 PM ET. With two games left in the season, Peoria is one game back of both teams.

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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