Photo credit: Jumbo Shrimp pitcher Matt Tomshaw; Photo Credit: Roger C. Hoover
The Jumbo Shrimp (25-35) were able to salvage a home series with the Montgomery Biscuits (33-27) on Thursday, due to a 1-0 fifth game victory. Jacksonville avoided a series sweep and snapped a five-game losing streak. Southern League All-Star Mike Kickham recorded his first complete game shutout in five years with the 1-0 final. He allowed only four hits and no walks in the 7-inning game (moved to Thursday because of the heavy rains the day before). In other exciting news, two Jumbo Shrimp players will start in the June 20 Southern League All-Star Game. John Norwood will play in right field and bat fourth in the South Division’s lineup while Brian Anderson will bat eighth and start at third base. Jacksonville next plays at the Biloxi Shuckers (31-29) with this and another home series before the All-Star break.
- Even though a 5-2 loss against Montgomery was not the way Jacksonville wanted to begin the home series, Jumbo Shrimp third baseman Brian Anderson continues his good stretch over three games. He crushed his ninth homer of the season on Sunday. At the time, his 38 runs batted in was tied for the Southern League lead. A two-run homer in the 8th inning and 2 RBI on Sunday moves Anderson’s total to nine multi-RBI games in 2017.
- On Monday, infielder KC Serna – who played 27 games for the Jumbo Shrimp – was promoted from Jacksonville to Triple-A New Orleans. Having seen time in eight games for the Baby Cakes in mid-May, Serna had three homers and six RBI with the Shrimp. One day later, the Miami Marlins acquired infielder Chris Diaz in a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Diaz – who was designated to Jax – played for the Eastern League’s (Double-A) Altoona Curve in April and May for 10 games. A 2012 draft pick from North Carolina State, Diaz hit .375 with Altoona. In a corresponding move, infielder Cal Towey was transferred from Jacksonville to New Orleans. Beginning the year on NOLA’s disabled list, Towey tallied 26 games with the Jumbo Shrimp. The Baby Cakes sent right-handed pitcher Clayton Mortensen down to Double-A. At 32-years-old, Mortensen is in his 11th season of professional baseball with 16 games for the Baby Cakes this year. He went 3-0 over 22.1 innings pitched with an 8.46 ERA. It was one of the more active weeks for transactions with the Marlins minor league squads.
- Four Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp were named to the Southern League South Division All-Star team earlier this week. Pitchers Matt Tomshaw and Mike Kickham, outfielder John Norwood and infielder Brian Anderson will represent Jacksonville on June 20 in Pensacola. Tomshaw, a graduate of Jacksonville University, earns his first All-Star recognition after a dominant May where he went 2-0 with a 2.35 ERA. Kickham was named SL Pitcher of the Week for May 22-28 for his 12-strikeout game against Jackson on May 27. The 24-year-old Anderson, who was the 2016 Marlins Minor League Player of the Year, had nine home runs and 38 RBI when the All-Star announcement was made. Those are just a few of the reasons Anderson is the No. 3 prospect for the Miami Marlins. Norwood leads the SL South with an on-base-plus-slugging percentage of .828. He was a mid-season All-Star with the Jupiter Hammerheads for the 2016 Florida State League. Former Jumbo Shrimp David Vidal was left off the All-Star ballot but only because he was promoted to Triple-A last week.
- Jax was outscored by the Biscuits in the five-games series, 22 to 9. Of the nine games in May, Jacksonville has scored more than four runs just twice. Here’s hoping the All-Star Game break will give the Jumbo Shrimp a chance to recoup and figure out some things.
- The Jumbo Shrimp will head out on the road again where the Bold City squad is 10-20. Jacksonville – one of the Southern League’s three worst road teams – will play at Biloxi’s Trustmark Park, going from Friday to Tuesday. The Jumbo Shrimp will look for redemption after the Shuckers swept the series at the Baseball Grounds the second week of May. Worth noting is that all five of those games were decided by two runs or less. Players to keep an eye on: Aaron Wilkerson (SL Pitcher of the Week three weeks ago), who is the Biloxi ace, and right fielder Clint Coulter. A 2012 first-round selection, Coulter has the ability to go off for a big power game once a week.