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Minor League Wrap-Up: 5/23/05

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Tacoma shut out Memphis, 4-0. Despite the excellent line, Felix didn't have the easiest outing. What's worrisome is that he pitched from behind to a lot of batters and had to go deep in the count several times to try and close the deal. This kind of thing works against AAA talent, but it doesn't against MLB hitters. Still, it's hard to argue that he doesn't look pretty close. His offspeed stuff is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with as hitters look just silly trying to hit it (or not even swing, usually). Keeping in mind he's only 19 and has plenty of time to get his control down, he's the most talented pitcher I've seen. Bo Hart would probably agree since in one at-bat he stared at three straight Hernandez pitches (two fastballs and a change) before shaking his head and taking a seat. Before getting a call I think the Mariners want to see him consistently throw first-pitch strikes which is something he failed to do on a lot of batters last night. Velocity-wise, he hit 96 MPH twice on the gun while I was down there (Ryan witnessed 97 MPH, check out his take on Felix in the Diaries to the right). His change was sitting pretty between 82-85 MPH. He's definitely not feeling anything wrong with that calf, so no worries there. He continues to show a bit of immaturity out on the mound after not having calls go his way, he need to work on that before coming up since batters can feed off raw emotion and frustration coming from the pitcher.

Other than intently watching Felix last night, I witnessed a 400ft Ramon Santiago homerun. I quickly checked my scorecard to make sure that it was Ramon Santiago and not someone else...then I checked to see if I was in the Twilight Zone or something. Speaking of Twilight Zone, there was a play in the ninth where the ball was popped straight up right behind second. In just about every single case, this was something the second baseman or shortstop would handle. But both Ramon Santiago and Mike Morse just stood there and watched Jamal Strong charge about 120ft to make the shoestring catch just as he got there. I don't know how else to explain it, it was one of the stranger plays I've seen in quite awhile. Is it too early to break out the FLSS and FL2B tags? Strong and deceivingly huge Abraham Nunez both had two hits and Mike Morse stroked a single in the first that drove in two. Also, I'd like to add that George Sherrill is the most disrespected pitcher in the organization.

Notables:

Felix Hernandez: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 K.
Jamal Strong: 2-4.
Shin-soo Choo: 1-3, 1 BB.
Abraham Nunez: 2-4, 1 RBI.
Mike Morse: 1-3, 2 RBI.
Hunter Brown: 1-3, 1 2B.
Ramon Santiago: 1-3, 1 HR, 1 RBI.

San Antonio knocked around Tulsa, 7-2. Thomas Oldham struggled a bit with his control (5 BB, 2 HBP) and while limiting the damage, didn't last past the fourth. The Missions received excellent relief from Emiliano Fruto and Cesar Jimenez who combined to go five innings giving up only a single hit. Everyone in the starting lineup not named Ismael Castro collected at least one hit and Rene Rivera smashed three. Gary Harris also chipped in with two doubles and Jon Nelson homered.

Notables:

Thomas Oldham: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 5 BB, 2 HBP, 2 K.
Bullpen: 5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 3 K.
Gary Harris: 2-5, 2 2B, 1 RBI.
Yuniesky Betancourt: 1-3, 1 BB, 2 RBI.
T.J. Bohn: 1-5, 1 2B.
Nate Espy: 1-5, 2 BB, 2 RBI.
Jon Nelson: 2-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI.
Jesus Guzman: 1-4.
Rene Rivera: 3-4, 1 RBI.

Inland Empire edged Rancho Cucamonga, 5-4. Jason Mackintosh took the hill and turned in a respectable performance by going six innings giving up two runs on six hits while walking three and striking out seven. Brian Stitt wasn't as respectable as he handed the lead back to the Quakes before the 66'ers could seal it in the seventh. IE really didn't have much offense at all (5 H, 0 XBH) and had to take advantage of three Quake errors that turned into four unearned runs.

Notables:

Jason Mackintosh: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 7 K.
Eric Blakeley: 1-4.
Adam Jones: 1-4.
Bryan Lahair: 1-3, 1 BB, 1 RBI.
Carlos Arroyo: 2-4, 3 RBI.

Wisconsin beat Kane County to cap the organizational sweep, 7-6 (10). Casey Abrams quickly exited after going only 1.2 innings giving up five runs (two earned) on two hits and four walks. Ouch. Luckily, the T-Rat offense (and the pen) were there to save the day and bail out Abrams. Robert Johnson smacked three hits including a homerun and Mike Wilson also homered in the 10th to win it for the Timber Rattlers.

Notables:

Casey Abrams: 1.2 IP, 2 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 0 K.
Bullpen: 8.1 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 6 BB, 5 K.
Asdrubal Cabrera: 0-3, 1 RBI.
Oswaldo Navarro: 2-4, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 RBI.
Robert Johnson: 3-5, 1 HR, 2 RBI.
Matt Tuiasosopo: 1-5.
Mike Wilson: 2-4, 1 HR, 1 BB, 2 RBI.

On the docket:

Tacoma: Andrew Lorraine vs. Memphis. Game time is 6:05pm PDT.
San Antonio: Ryan Rowland-Smith vs. Tulsa. Game time is 5:05pm PDT.
Inland Empire: Aaron Trolia at Rancho Cucamonga. Game time is an earlybird 10:30am PDT.
Wisconsin: Mumba Rivera at Kane County. Game time is 4:00pm PDT.