Jake Bird was a fifth-round draft choice of the Rockies out of UCLA in 2018. The Rockies saw him as a potential big-league reliever. That may be true. Lately, however, Bird has made an impression in his opportunity to start.
Bird debuted at Rookie-level Grand Junction a year ago, finishing with a 3.38 ERA in 17 appearances, after opening his pro career with a 1.23 ERA in the first nine appearances. He was back in the bullpen at Class A Asheville this season, and had a 2.36 ERA in 32 appearances.
The Tourists, however, had a need for a starter, and have slowly stretched Bird out. After using him for four innings in his first two starts, he pitched five innings in the third one, and on Tuesday worked six innings, giving up two hits and two runs in a 5-2 victory against Lakewood. That left him with a 1.42 ERA to show for the four starts. He has allowed only three runs in 19 innings, striking out 15 and walking five.
In Tuesday's Games
AAA Albuquerque (47-67) was off.
AA Hartford (19-25, 56-55) lost 5-4 at Reading (Phillies). Bret Boswell (.208) returned from 21 dayS on the Injured List to go 2-for-4 with four RBI, three of them on a home run. He also doubled. Heath Holder (6-4, 3.04) suffered the loss, allowing five runs on four hits and three walks, striking out four in 2 2/3 innings.
Advanced A Lancaster (24-21, 58-55) lost 5-1 at Rancho Cucamonga (Dodgers), falling into a first-place tie with the Dodgers' affiliate in the second-half standings. Lucas Gilbreath (4-9, 5.74) allowed five runs on six hits and a walk, striking out seven in seven innings. Todd Czinege (.233) was 2-for-4 with his 14th home run.
A Asheville (25-20, 54-61) won 5-2 against Lakewood (Phillies). As well as the strong effort from starting pitcher Jake Bird, Coco Montes (.258) tripled home three runs in the fifth, and Niko Decolati (.280) and Kyle Datres (.282) hit back-to-back solo home runs in the seventh. PJ Poulin (2.90) earned his eighth save.
Short-season A Boise (6-7, 21-30) was off for the All-Star Break. Boise hosted the game, and the Northwest League, which Boise is a member of, lost 11-7. Reliever Regan Todd did not pitch, but Jacob Wallace pitched the ninth, striking out all three batters. First-round draft Mike Toglia was 1-for-3 with a run scored. Outfielder Bladimir Restituyo was 0-for-3 but scored a run. Outfielder Joe Aeilts also was 0-for-3. Third baseman Aaron Schunk did not play.
Rookie Grand Junction (6-3, 21-26) was off for the All-Star Break, featuring the Northwest League against the Pioneer League. Anderson Bido retired the two batters he faced out of the bullpen for the Pioneer League team, which won the game 11-7. Third baseman Christian Koss, outfielder Colin Sompson and infielder Eddy Diaz were all 0-for-2, but Koss did score a run and get credit for an RBI.