Jumbo Shrimp Notebook: Miller Spurs Four-Run Sixth in 6-3 Victory

Brian Miller homered in a four-run sixth inning on Friday to allow the Jumbo Shrimp to leapfrog the Tides 6-3. After Luis Aviles Jr. tripled and later scored on a fielder’s choice in the second, Jordan Westburg laced a three-run homer in the third to put Norfolk in front. 

The score remained that way until the sixth. Erik González notched a two-run single to tie the game before Miller’s two-run shot gave Jacksonville the advantage. Lewin Díaz clubbed a solo homer in the seventh to extend the Jumbo Shrimp lead to 6-3. Nick Neidert, Andrew Nardi and George Soriano combined to cede just two earned runs in 7.1 innings of relief. 


Jumbo Shrimp right-hander Max Meyer starts Saturday’s contest against Norfolk, marking his fourth outing since coming off the injured list on June 22. The Woodbury, Minn., native has yielded one run or fewer in each of those first three starts off the IL, going 1-1 with a 1.32 ERA with just five hits and one walk allowed against 14 strikeouts in 13.2 innings. During this span, opponents are batting just .114 against him. On the season, of the 173 International League pitchers who have logged at least 30.0 innings, Meyer ranks 19th in swinging-strike rate (15.6 percent), 27th in K-BB percentage (20.5 percent) and 35th in both strikeout percentage (27.6 percent) and ground ball rate (51.5 percent). 


 Heading into play on June 5, Jacksonville relievers had put together a solid 3.73 ERA in the season’s first 54 games. However, in the 29 games since, the Jumbo Shrimp bullpen has been excellent. During this span, Jacksonville relievers have worked 114.1 innings, ceding 37 runs, 31 earned, for a 2.44 ERA. They have combined for 130 strikeouts (10.2 K/9) against 73 hits (5.7 H/9) and 43 walks (3.4 BB/9). 


Jacksonville starting pitchers have yielded three earned runs or fewer in 14 of their last 16 games. During this run, Jumbo Shrimp starters have posted a 3.36 ERA thanks to 33 runs, 28 earned, on 69 hits (8.3 H/9) in 75.0 innings. Collectively over this span, Jacksonville lid-lifters have combined to strike out 70 (8.5 K/9) against only 14 walks (1.7 BB/9). 


Peyton Burdick closed the month of June on a 1-for-15 skid, but the Jumbo Shrimp outfielder has been off to a sizzling start in July. Over seven games this month, Burdick is 9-for28 (.321/.321/.607/.928) at the plate, bashing two doubles and two home runs with two RBIs and two runs scored. After earning the Marlins’ Minor League Player of the Year award in 2021, Burdick has lopped his strikeout rate from 29.3 percent with Double-A Pensacola last season to 26.7 percent this year. Additionally, the Wright State product has increased his line drive rate from 17.6 percent to 19.2 percent. Burdick has also excelled on the basepaths in 2022, taking the extra base in 26 of 32 opportunities, a 72.2 percent rate that is far above the 42-percent MLB average. 


Over the season’s first 18 games, Jacksonville outfielder JJ Bleday struggled, going just 10-for-63 at the plate with two doubles and two homers for a .159/.321/.286/.607 batting line. The Panama City Beach native has played in 58 games since that point and has been a force at the plate, hitting .244/.378/.502/.880 with eight doubles, 15 home runs, 38 RBIs, 42 walks and 36 runs. Since this run began on April 28, Bleday ranks tied for second in the IL in homers (15), tied for third in walks (42), tied for 10th in RBIs (38), tied for 13th in extra-base hits (23), 14th in both OBP (.378) and OPS (.880), tied for 14th in runs (36) and 19th in SLG (.502). 


Jacksonville boasts a 26-16 road record thus far in 2022, but the club has struggled at home, posting just an 18-22 mark. Interestingly, the Jumbo Shrimp have hit far better on the road, posting a team batting line of .275/.355/.477. The club’s resulting .832 road OPS places fourth in Triple-A and second in the IL. When playing at 121 Financial Ballpark, Jacksonville is hitting .235/.310/.385, with the club’s .695 OPS ranking 29th at the Triple-A level and 19th in the International League. Only 40 of the Jumbo Shrimp’s 109 homers (36.7 percent) have come at home. 

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