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4/26 Minor League Wrap-Up

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It's been a long week for me, and last night was a long night for High Desert.  Did it end well?... Wisconsin found themselves in a familiar position: getting pimp-slapped by a great pitching performance.  Last night's pimp: Nathaniel Culp.  Pimps up, hos down!... West Tenn watches Mumba Rivera melt down after watching Tyler Pelland shut THEM down... and the Rainiers, sadly, appeared to take my advice to spend their day off in Vegas developing flu-like symptoms.

A:  High Desert 3, Rancho Cucamonga 2, 16 freaking innings.

Marwin Vega:  7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 2 walks, 6 K
Juan Zapata:  1.2 IP, 1 H, 4 K!
David Asher:  0.1 IP, walk
Austin Bibens-Dirkx:  2 IP, 1 H, 1 K
Roman Martinez:  3 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 3 K
Brian Kappel:  2 IP, 2 K
Jesus Guzman:  3-7, R (.330)
Reed Eastley:  3-5, walk, 2 K (.319)
Michael Saunders:  2-7, double, R, RBI, K (.261)
Adam Moore:  3-7, double, solo HR, K (.290)
Jeff Flaig:  2-7, 2 K (.164)

Personally, the funniest thing to me about this overlong contest is that it went to extras because the game tying run was allowed by a Rancho Cucamonga pitcher named Francisco Rodriguez, who is NOT the K-Rod of Angels and grease-under-the-cap fame.  Yet, realize that Rancho Cucamonga is the Angels advanced single A ballclub, menaing the Angels org consciously signed a prospect named Francisco Rodriguez knowing they already had a notorious closer named Francisco Rodriguez.  Were they thinking, if K-Rod's elbow finally explodes or something, that they could run THIS Frankie Rodriguez out there and that their stupid fans wouldn't notice despite the obvious extra padding and non-horrifying delivery?

That said, this Frankie Rodriguez probably isn't close to the bigs, given he limped last season to a 5-13 record with an 83/68 K:BB and a 5.47 ERA with this exact same Rancho Cucamonga team.  It'd probably take the above scenario for him to make the bigs.

Despite the 8th inning, where Jesus Guzman singled with one out and Michael Saunders, with two out, doubled him in to tie it, Dud-Rod pitched into the 13th and struck out 8 batters in 5.2 IP, pretty impressive.  And I feel bad because I just blew through three paragraphs without mentioning Marwin Vega's 7 solid innings in what became a pitchers duel between him and the impressively named Brok Butcher.

We remained tied until the top 14th, when Adam Moore led off the 14th for the Mavs by GOING DEEP.  2-1 Mavs and the following batters quickly grounded out to go to the bottom 14th and wrap this up.  Mavs bullpen workhorse Roman Martinez had relieved the mighty Austin Bibens-Dirkx in the 13th and pitched a perfect frame, and now came back out to finish.  Except Hainley Statia and Patrick Reilly led off with back to back singles to put runners on the corners.  Roman got Jordan Renz swinging for one out, but Dallas Morris blooped one to center to tie the game all over again.  Nate Sutton saved Roman's hide by lining right to SS Jeff Dominguez, who doubled off Reilly at 2nd for the double play to end the inning.  But we're still tied now, and we're still playing.

Chris Colton had his shot in the top 15th to push HD ahead, with two out and Jesus Guzman on 2nd after a wild pitch from Kevin Jepsen... but he grounded to 3rd to end the inning.

Brian Kappel relieved Roman in the bottom 15th and got the Quakes 1-2-3.

The Mavs came out firing in the top 16th.  Michael Saunders led off with a sharp grounder up the middle to get on, then Adam Moore doubled to right, Saunders easily scoring after a misplay by RF Jordna Renz, and the Mavs once again had a lead 3-2.  Johan Limonta grounded into a fielder's choice that got the lead runner, and Jeff Flaig grounded into the 6-4-3 double play.  Now Brian kappel needed to do what Roman Martinez couldn't: put the Quakes away in the bottom half.

Bradley Coon grounded to 2nd, and Hainley Statia smacked a liner to left that fortunately found Casey Craig's glove for two outs.  Patrick Reilly came up and also put a charge in a liner to left... but that ALSO found Casey Craig's glove for the final out and the Mavs escaped with a tough win in a marathon.  Gameball to Michael Saunders, without whose hits the Mavs wouldn't have tied and won the game, respectively.

NEXT:  Aaron Jensen!  7:05 pm PDT!  Nothing says exciting Friday nights like Single A baseball!  Token exclamation marks!

A:  Fort Wayne 3, Wisconsin 1

Nathan Adcock:  5.1 IP, 6 H, (3 R) 2 ER, walk, 6 K
Steve Uhlmansiek:  1.2 IP, walk, 2 K
Joseph Kantakevich:  2 IP, 2 H, 2 K
Greg Halman:  2-4, R, K (.242)
Carlos Triunfel:  1-3 (.260)
Kuo Hui Lo:  1-3 (.147)
rest of T-Rats lineup:  0-19, RBI, walk, 8 K

I actually made an attempt to write a recap for this game last night after class, but I immediately saw why I preferred to write these in the morning: after a full day, my focus was shot and I simply could not offer anything in the way of recap or analysis.  So here we are.

Nathan Adcock clearly did not win that duel with Nathaniel Culp, who absolutely owned the T-Rats for 8 innings, allowing only an unearned run on 4 hits and a walk while striking out 7.  Adcock wasn't bad and the T-rats bullpen locked it down, but it just wasn't gonna be enough.  Phenom Triunfel returned from his hiatus with one of the T-Rats' 4 hits, and Greg Halman shows recovery from his early slump with two of his own, but other than Kuo Hui Lo, who's been so quiet this season you hardly knew he was there, no one else got a hit.

Also, Fort Wayne did not score their runs until after Andy Hargrove replaced Gerardo Avila at 1st base for unspecified, unclear reasons.  Coincidence?  I'd like to think not!  Even if he wasn't involved on any run scoring plays, I believe in the kryptonitic powers of Hargrove Karma.

NEXT:  Anthony Varvaro, who certainly has made things interesting one way or another, today at 4:35 pm PDT.

AA:  Chattanooga 4, West Tenn 1

Juan Done:  7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 walks, 4 K
Mumba Rivera:  0.2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 2 walks
Craig James:  0.1 IP, 1 bailing out of Mumba Rivera (BooMR)
Brent Johnson:  2-4 (.274)
Prentice Redman:  1-3, K (.167)
T.Marshall Hubbard:  0-3, sac fly RBI, K (.278)
Matt Tuiasosopo:  0-4, 2 K (.360)
Jeff Frazier:  1-4 (.181)
Rene Rivera:  1-3, walk (.236)
Luis Valbuena:  1-3, walk (.167)

Did I say the DIAMOND JAXX were returning home yesterday?  Silly me.  I meant they were LEAVING home.  It's been a long week.  Chattanooga and Jackson, TN are so close together anyway!  They went on the road to Chattanooga and coughed one up to the Lookouts.  LOOK OUT!

The DIAMOND JAXX just could not get anything going against Tyler Pelland, who wasn't exactly dominating.  Despite brief two out rally attempts in the 1st and 4th, West Tenn came up empty.

Meanwhile, the Lookouts squeezed in runs when they could.  A leadoff double in the 4th allowed them to bunt the runner to 3rd and then score despite a GIDP (that Tui chose to concede the run on the grounder was a bit surprising) to make it 1-0.  To their credit, the DIAMOND JAXX quickly responded in the top 5th: Sebastien Boucher and Brent Johnson led off with back to back Texas Leaguers, Prentice Redman bunted them ahead for one out, and Marshall Hubbard's sac fly scored Boucher to tie it.  Tui went down swinging for the 3rd out but the game was tied.

Chattanooga squeezed another run in during the bottom 6th with some help.  Drew Anderson led off by lining a single to right.  Paul Janish bunted him to 2nd for one out (man, they LOVE their small ball in Chattanooga).  Enrique Cruz grounded to 2nd but Luis Valbuena didn't have a play and runners were on the corners with one down.  Jay Garthwaite grounded to 2nd, Valbuena threw to SS Chris Minaker and the ball went YIKES AND AWAY to allow Drew Anderson to score.  2-1 Chattanooga, one out, and it looks like Valbuena's got a bad case of Oswaldo Syndrome.  Fortunately, Chris Dickerson grounded into a 6-3 double play to end the inning, a 6-3 rather than a 6-4-3 likely because Chris Minaker didn't want to take his chances working with Valbuena.

Tyler Pelland ceded to his shutdown bullpen, and West Tenn's tenuous hold on competitiveness in this contest slipped away in the bottom 8th.  Mumba Rivera relieved Juan "Screw This, I'm" Done and things looked fine as Paul Janish harmlessly flew out for one out, even after Enrique Cruz walked.  Mumba uncorked a wild pitch to give Cruz 2nd, and then the wheels came off, as Mumba centered a pitch and Jay Garthwaite smoked it down the left field line for a double that easily scored Cruz.  3-1 Lookouts.  Luis Bolivar pinch ran and Chris Dickerson flew out, but Bolivar took 3rd.  Cody Strait drew a walk and it's starting to get ridiculous.  Tonys Gutierrez, so named because one Tony just wasn't enough, lined a single to right to score Bolivar, and Mumba Rivera was toast.  Craig James came in to mop up, and got Ryan Hanigan to fly out, but still.

With Jeff Frazier, Rene Rivera and Luis Valbuena due up in the top 9th... you can probably guess how that went.

NEXT:  Andrew Baldwin's turn as they go again in Chatanooga at 4:15 pm PDT.

AAA:  Las Vegas 9, Tacoma 3

Jake Woods:  5 IP, 7 H, 7 ER (2 HR), walk, 6 K, and a lovely shade of olive and orange
Ryan Rowland-Smith:  3 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, walk, 3 K
Adam Jones:  1-4, RBI, 3 K (.310)
Jeremy Reed:  0-2, 2 walks, K (.250)
WLAD:  0-3 (.365... hitting streak over :(  )
Bryan LaHair:  0-4, K (.218)
Mike Morse:  1-4, R, K (.284)
Jeff Clement (DH):  0-2, R, 2 walks, K (.194)
Rob Johnson:  1-2, R, 2 walks (.262)
Brant Ust:  1-2, RBI, K (.350)

I'd like to apologize, as when I joked that the entire team would spend their day off getting themselves hung over, I didn't realize they were actually gonna do it.

WLAD's hitting streak, however long it was, has sadly come to an end.  Jake Woods got absolute hammered (maybe in more ways than one) with 2 1st inning runs and 5 more in the 3rd, ensuring that a) the game was well in hand by the 3rd and that b) the 51's fans had wasted their money and time.

If you had to pick someone for the full-time Rainiers catcher job right now between top prospect Jeff Clement and Rob Johnson... Johnson would probably be the easy choice, as it doesn't look like Clement has even acclimated to AAA pitching yet.

Not a good day for the Rainiers.  They should take the contents of Jakes Woods' last major league check and put it all on black at the roulette table, since that's probably the org's best chance of getting their money's worth.

NEXT:  Ryan Feierabend in Las Vegas at 7:11 pm PDT (oh lord, are the 51's whoring themselves to this stupid promotion too?)