Jalen Christopher Beeks will always remember Thursday, June 7, 2018, when he made his MLB debut at historic Fenway Park for the Boston Red Sox against the Detroit Tigers.
Beeks might want to forget the first inning or he might use it for motivation.
The Tigers roughed up Beeks in that first inning, after Beeks started the game with a strikeout of Detroit’s leadoff man. Then, however, Beeks allowed five runs on four hits and one walk during the first inning en route to a 7-2 loss for the Red Sox.
Overall, Beeks’ line read six runs allowed (all earned) on seven hits over four innings with four strikeouts and three walks. Beeks’ MLB career stands at 0-1 with a 13.50 ERA.
Beeks, as shaky as the first inning proved to be, finished off his first start by retiring five consecutive Tigers. Over time, Beeks found more of a groove by mixing in a curveball and a changeup with the fastball; Red Sox manager Alex Cora said that Beeks will have a new pitching approach plan mapped out for him by Red Sox pitching coach Dana LeVangie and Pawtucket pitching coach Kevin Walker
Beeks was sent back to Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday.
In his first 10 starts at Pawtucket, he earned a 3-3 record with a 2.56 ERA and his dynamite numbers include 80 strikeouts and 14 walks over 56 1/3 hitters with opposing batters faring under the Mendoza line (.197) collectively against Beeks.
Beeks leads the International League with those 80 strikeouts.
Beeks, a 12th round pick of the Red Sox in the 2014 MLB Draft, saw his stock in the Red Sox system rise after two scoreless innings in an 2017 exhibition game against Team USA.
Apparently, the organization was considering moving Beeks from the starting rotation to the bullpen.
Beeks went on to have the best season of his professional career, one which earned him a shot for the Red Sox in Spring Training.
Last season, between Pawtucket and Double-A Portland, Beeks went 11-8 overall with a 3.29 ERA and 155 strikeouts and 55 walks over 145 innings.
— Former Crowder and current Triple-A New Orleans Baby Cakes (Miami Marlins) pitcher Mike Kickham enjoyed his longest appearance of the season Thursday night playing against the Las Vegas 51s (New York Mets).
Kickham surrendered one earned run on no hits and had four strikeouts and three walks over 3 2/3 innings Thursday.
Kickham owns a 4.15 ERA in three games with the Baby Cakes this season with eight strikeouts and four walks over 8 2/3 innings.
Kickham pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings with Double-A Jacksonville also this season.
He’s gone back-and-forth multiple times in 2018 between New Orleans and Jacksonville.
Overall, with no decisions this season, Kickham owns a 40-48 career minor league record and a 4.04 ERA with 617 strikeouts and 294 walks over 719 innings.
Kickham pitched parts of the 2013 and 2014 seasons in the bigs with San Francisco (who made him a sixth round pick in 2010) and went 0-3 with a 10.98 ERA in 14 games overall and three starts.
— Former Crowder and current Double-A Hartford Yard Goats (Colorado Rockies) right fielder Sam Hilliard had been swinging a strong bat for most of May and early June, pushing his batting average above .300 and ranking among the best average hitters in the Eastern League.
However, two hitless performances on back-to-back nights against the Altoona Curve dropped Hilliard’s average to .295 after his first 50 games played.
On the season, after 50 games, Hilliard owned a .295 average (52 for 176) with 29 runs scored, 10 doubles, five home runs, 17 RBI, 21 walks and 53 strikeouts, and 16 stolen bases in 22 attempts.
Like Beeks and the Red Sox, Hilliard continues to attract the attention of those watching the Rockies organization, who seem to find Hilliard’s size (6-foot-5, 225 pounds), speed, and power an intriguing mix. Then again, it’s those elements that have been key for Hilliard throughout his career.
The Rockies made Hilliard a 15th round pick in the 2015 MLB Draft.