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Minor League Wrap-Up: 5/29/06

Tacoma shutout Colorado Springs, 1-0. All hail King Francisco! Ok, that's a stretch, but man was Francisco Cruceta impressive today. This is the first time all season I've got to see Cruceta live and he didn't disappoint. He went eight simply fantastic innings giving up only two hits and striking out eleven. A few notes from the game:

  • Cruceta's mechanics troubled Jeff a bit during his warmups. He had barely any forward extention and while he looked a bit better during the game, it wasn't a significant improvement. With such a release, Cruceta leaves a lot of balls up in the zone, which could lead to problems with good power hitters down the road.
  • Can't argue with how unhittable he was though. He struck out eleven, finishing a few off with his sensational splitter and a couple with a devastating slider (?). He allowed two hits, but one of them was a little blooper into no-man's land down the right field line. Sky Sox hitters didn't stand a chance.
  • He hit a batter, but can you really blame a pitcher for plunking Ryan Shealy?
  • Cruceta's scouting report must read: "Will start off with fastball up in the zone. If a ball, he'll throw the same thing again and get it over."
  • Jeff thinks it's time for Cruceta to sink or swim in the Majors. Given that we have guys like Gil Meche and Joel Pineiro throwing every five days, I'm inclined to agree.
  • Snelling was 1-3 with a double. His first out was a line drive that was SMASHED into the left field corner but was somehow run down by (a presumably clean) Jorge Piedra.
  • Both Scott(y) Youngbauer and Bo Hart appeared in the same game at the same time. The universe is coming to an end.
  • Colorado Springs has some whack outfield shifts. They play almost every lefthanded hitter like he's going to go the other way with the ball and Snelling exploited this in his second at-bat. Either they have some very detailed advance scouting or they just aren't paying attention. Both of us felt it was the latter.
  • Hats off to Mike Esposito. The guy went out there and, minus the strikeouts, was on Cruceta's heels all day. Tough loss for him.
  • Adam Jones looked lost at the plate. He's now hitting under .230 and he hasn't developed much patience. Don't panic or anything, he's only 20, but he's certainly having some difficulty at this level.
And if you're wondering how the Rainiers scored that run:
Chris Snelling doubles (3) on a line drive to right fielder Jeff Baker.
Greg Dobbs doubles (3) on a line drive to center fielder Sean Barker. Chris Snelling scores.

There you have it. On to the notables!

Francisco Cruceta: 8.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 11 K.
Chris Snelling: 1-3, 1 2B.
Greg Dobbs: 2-3, 1 2B, 1 RBI.
Todd Sears: 1-3, 1 2B.

Tulsa edged San Antonio, 1-0. Another low-scoring affair, but the M's affiliate came out on the losing side of this one. Ryan Feierabend only went two innings before being pulled as a precaution (got nailed by a line drive in the third) and Chad Fillinger came on to take his place. Fillinger went four innings and allowed the lone run (on a solo homer, no less) on four hits while walking three and striking out five. Ubaldo Jimenez kept the Mission batters off-balance all evening as they collected only two hits off of him while fanning eight times.


Ryan Feierabend: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K.
Chad Fillinger: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 1 HR.
Jesus Guzman: 1-4.
Wladimir Balentien: 1-3.
Luis Oliveros: 1-3.
Oswaldo Navarro: 0-2, 1 BB.

Inland Empire was, in fact, off on Memorial Day. I'm not sure why I thought they were scheduled to play. I apologize for any confusion.

Wisconsin lost to Burlington, 3-2 (10). So, a grand total of three runs scored by the ENTIRE organization tonight. The T-Rats were a bit heartbroken after this one as they rallied back to tie it in the ninth only to watch Ruben Flores blow another one in the tenth:

Christopher McConnell singles on a line drive to center fielder Michael Saunders.
Mario Lisson out on a sacrifice bunt, first baseman Curtis Ledbetter to second baseman Luis Valbuena. Christopher McConnell to 2nd.
Miguel Vega reaches on throwing error by pitcher Ruben Flores. Christopher McConnell scores.

Whoops. The guy who got the start almost three hours prior was Paul Fagan who pitched well and went 7.1 innings giving up a couple runs (one earned) on five hits while walking two and striking out no one. The bats were just dead - a theme that carried through every team in the minors and Majors tonight.


Paul Fagan: 7.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 0 K.
Ron Garth: 1-4.
Casey Craig: 1-3, 1 RBI.
J.B. Tucker: 1-4, 1 2B.
Michael Saunders: 1-4, 1 3B.

On the docket:

Tacoma: Bobby Livingston at Salt Lake. Game time is 5:30pm PDT.
San Antonio: Adam Pettyjohn vs. Tulsa. Game time is 5:05pm PDT.
Inland Empire: Ivan Blanco vs. Lake Elsinore. Game time is 7:11pm PDT.
Wisconsin: Harold Williams at Burlington. Game time is 5:00pm PDT.