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5/25 Minor League Wrap-Up

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When Gomez drinks and has his laptop with him... YOU WIN.

Okay, sometimes.

I ponder the peril of the VSL Devil Rays/Reds... Chris Tillman's debut wasn't a disaster, but didn't end well, though the Mavs picked him up... Steven Richard carries the T-Rats on his back to glory (okay, the bullpen helped)... a big inning eases Robert Rohrbaugh's mind and allows him to focus on dominating Chattanooga (that's what she said)... and the arrival of two relievers, one out of his league, and one out of jail on bond, keys a dramatic extra inning affair in Tucson for the Rainiers.

Rk:  VSL Mariners 3, VSL Devil Rays/Reds 0

Yorjans Chourio:  5 IP, 5 H, walk, 4 K, 2 wild pitches, hit batter
Oberth Guanire:  3 IP, 3 H, walk, K
Jose Jimenez:  1 IP
VSL Mariners lineup:  3-26, 3 R, RBI, 4 walks, 9 K

Now let's think about what a consolidated Rays/Reds club is like.  Are we talking about a bunch of horribly error prone infielders and a bunch of horrible young pitchers, with a couple of really good hurlers, one really good slugger with a serious strikeout problem, one injury-prone glass-boned slugger with a sweet swing, and two violent young outfielders with criminal records, one of which can run really fast (from the cops after beating his girlfriend) and the other of which can hit (umpires) really hard?  That clubhouse would probably be a lot of fun.

Better yet, do the MLB teams sharing VSL squads fight over which prospects they get?  Do they fight over the really crappy relievers?  Do the D-Rays take all the criminals?  Do the Reds trade all their decent role players to the VSL Nationals?  

If they had their own field, would they play in a dome with outfield fences 220 feet from home plate, and catwalks spanning a really low ceiling?  Are there muchas chicas bonitas hanging out at the games?  Are las chicas being stalked by a Fox Sports Venezuela roving sideline reporter?

A:  High Desert 9, Lake Elsinore 6
Two for two!

Chris Tillman:  5 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, walk, K
Roman Martinez:  2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER (HR)
Paul Fagan:  1 IP
Austin Bibens-Dirkx:  1 IP, 1 H
Casey Craig:  1-4, R, walk, K (.326)
Jesus Guzman:  1-5, double, R, 2 RBI, 2 K (.290)
Adam Moore:  3-5, 2 doubles, triple, 2 R, RBI, K (.289)
Johan Limonta:  1-3, 2 run HR, walk, K (.320)
Chris Colton:  2-4, solo HR (.296)
Jeff Dominguez:  0-3, sac fly RBI, K (.247)
Jeff Flaig:  3-4, R (.204)
Josh Womack:  1-3, triple, R, RBI, walk, K (.239)

Chris Tillman has a bad looking line that is mostly the product of Roman Martinez gagging up inherited runs in the 6th inning.  He only K'd one but ran some pretty good batted ball numbers overall:

Groundballs:  9
Flyballs:  5
Line Drives:  6 (4 in 5th and 6th innings)
Walks:  1
K:  1

As noted there, most of his line drives surrendered came in his final two innings of what had to be a somewhat stressful 1st start at a higher level of baseball.  The Mavs had built him a 4-2 lead going into the fateful 6th, wher ethree consecutive hits, capped by a ground rule double that scored a run to make it 4-3, finished Tillman's day.  Roman Martinez came in to pitch, and got Craig Cooper to ground out, though Chad Huffman scored to tie the ballgame at 4.  And then Seth Johnston took Roman deep to make it 6-4 Lake.  Roman wiggled his way out of the jam, but Tillman lost the win, and the Mavs had work to do.

With two outs in the bottom 6th, the Mavs said So What?  Jeff Flaig lined a single to center, and that was it for Brent Carter, who ceded to the overworked and crappy Michael DeMark.  Josh Womack triple to left to score Flaig and cut the lead to 6-5.  Michael Saunders grounded to short, but SS Juan Ciriaco threw it YIKES AND AWAY to score Womack and TIE THE BALLGAME.  Jesus Guzman doubled to right and cleared the bases to make it 8-6 Mavs.  Adam Moore then hit his 1st triple of the season to knock in Guzman and make it 9-6, a lead that held up in the later innings as Roman worked a scoreless 7th, Paul Fagan got himself together and worked a scoreless 8th, and Austin Bibens-Dirkx slung a scoreless 9th for the save.

Wisconsin 3, Peoria 2
THREE  FOR THREE!

Steven Richard:  5.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 5 K, balk
Justin Souza:  1.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER
Rollie Gibson:  1.1 IP, 2 K
Drew Fiorenza:  1 IP, 1 H
Greg Halman:  0-4, 4 K: The Golden Sombrero (.192)
Kuo Hui Lo:  1-4, 2 run HR, K (.256)
Carlos Triunfel:  1-3, walk, K (.322)
Carlos Peguero:  1-4, double, R, K (.241)
Gerardo Avila:  2-4, RBI, K (.250)
Alex Meneses:  1-2, double, R, 2 walks

Hey, Steven Richard the Starter isn't all that bad!  Richard pitched into the 6th, his only blemish being a 1st inning run that he balked into scoring position before surrendering the single that drove him in.  Both singles allowed in the 1st were on groundballs.  For shits and giggles and TO OPEN YOUR MINDS, I have perused the box scores for these here statistics on Steven Richard's performance.

Grounders:  11
Flyballs:  3
Pop-Ups:  3
Walks:  0
Strikeouts:  5

In other words, this wasn't luck and flyballs/line-drives finding fielders.  In fact, all five hits were groundball singles that got between the fielders, and another batter reached on an infield error.

The T-Rats did their damage in the top 6th.  Alex Meneses led off with a double to left.  Greg Halman bunted him to 3rd for one out, the only plate appearance for Greg that did not end in strike three hitting the catcher's glove.  Kuo Hui Lo then took Alessandro Maestri deep for his 1st HR of the season to make it 2-1 T-Rats.  Phenom went down swinging for two outs, but once Jayson Ruhlman relieved Maestri, Carlos Peguero doubled to right, Kalian Sams walked, and Gerardo Avila went RICO SUAVE all over a Ruhlman pitch and smoked it at an unassuming Matt Camp at 2B to score Peguero and make it 3-1.

The Chiefs snuck in another run in the bottom 7th but never got any closer against Rollie Gibson or Drew Fiorenza.

West Tenn 6, Chattanooga 3
FOUR FOR FOUR

Robert Rohrbaugh:  6.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 walks, 8 K
Chad Fillinger:  1.2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 3 K, wild pitch
Kam Mickolio:  1 IP, 2 walks, 2 K, wild pitch
Chris Minaker:  1-4, R, RBI, 2 K (.236)
Prentice Redman:  2-4, 3 run HR (.298)
Matt Tuiasosopo:  1-3, double, R, walk (.299)
Jeff Frazier:  1-4, RBI, 2 K (.225)
Rene Rivera:  1-3, R (.194)

Rohrbaugh's night got a lot easier after the 3rd, where the DIAMOND JAXX broke a scoreless tie and unloaded for all six of their runs.  Rene Rivera got to come to the plate twice that inning: he actually singled the first time.

Meanwhile, the Lookouts scored 2 in the 4th and one in the 8th, but never could get in range for a rally.  Robert Rohrbaugh pimp slapped them for six innings and pitched into the 7th.  Chad Fillinger helped foster some false hope before big Kam Mickolio shut the door in the 9th for his first save in AA.

AAA:  Tucson 6, Tacoma 5, 10 innings
NOOOOOO

Justin Lehr:  6 IP, 9 H, 3 ER, 2 walks, 2 K
Jamie Cerda:  0.2 IP, 1 H, walk
Wifebeating Win Vulture:  1.1 IP, 2 K, wild pitch
Juan Sandoval (from High Desert):  0.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 walks
Byron Embry:  0.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, walk
Adam Jones:  1-4, R, K (.309)
Jeremy Reed:  1-5, R, RBI, K (.267)
WLAD:  1-4, double, R, 2 RBI, K (.330)
Bryan LaHair:  3-5, RBI (.253)
Mike Morse: a curious, sudden disappearance before the bottom 3rd
Brant Ust:  1-2, RBI, walk (.260)
Jeff Clement:  2-5 (.226)
Ronnie Prettyman:  2-5, R
Oswaldo Navarro:  2-4, double, R, 2 K (.216)

Tucson quickly teed off on Justin Lehr for two runs on three quick hits before a liner found 2B Oswaldo Navarro and Lehr settled down.

The Rainiers didn't get going until the top 5th.  Ronnie Prettyman led off with a lined single to right, and Oswaldo Navarro followed with a lined single to center.  Adam Jones got plunked to load the bases... for Jeremy Reed.

And Reed's grounder snuck through into left to score Prettyman and keep the bases loaded.  2-1 Tucson, no outs, bases still loaded... for WLAD.

And WLAD put forth a good shot to left, but in play for the first out, though Oswaldo tagged up and scored to TIE THE BALLGAME as the other runners tagged up and took additional bases.  Bryan LaHair grounded to second for the 2nd out, but Adam Jones came in to give the Rainiers a 3-2 lead.

The Sidewinders responded in the bottom 6th against a tiring Justin Lehr.  Brian Barden hit a soft liner into left for a base hit.  Dee Brown (not the 1991 slam dunk champion) smoked a grounder into right to move Barden to 3rd.  Lehr, however, caught Dee Brown napping at 1st and picked him off for one out.  But Mark Johnson smoked a grounder into right himself, scoring Barden and re-tying the ballgame.

Jamie Cerda started the bottom 7th and ran into trouble, but the Rainiers' patron saint of domestic violence, Julio Mateo, made his Rainiers debut and got them out of the jam, then worked a scoreless 8th.

Adam Jones got plunked again to lead off the top 9th, and Jeremy Reed half bunted to the pitcher, who got the lead runner for the 1st out.  WLAD hit a looming double to center to score Reed and give the Rainiers a 4-3 lead!  Bryan LaHair lined a single to left to move WLAD to 3rd, and Brant Ust's flyout to center scored him to make it 5-3.

The 2 run lead was handed to another new face: former High Desert swingman Juan Sandoval.  As you would guess, putting a Single A reliever into the 9th inning of a tie game in Triple A is probably not the best idea, and after Danny Richar grounded to 2nd for one out, Sandoval walked Alex Romero, and Jeff Salazar's grounder to short confounded the easily confoundable Oswaldo Navarro, and everybody was safe.  Chris Carter smoked a grounder into right, scoring Romero to cut the lead to 5-4.  The pitching coach visited the mound and advised Sandoval that due to all of the bullpen aces being in Kansas City, except for Byron Embry who had spent the last week crapping the bed pitching-wise... he was basically it and he had better shape the hell up or they were boned.

So Sandoval walked Brian Barden to load the bases.... I believe he misinterpreted 'shape the hell up' as 'load the bases and crap the lead away.'

Dee Brown smoked a comebacker at Sandoval, and Juan couldn't make the play at home in time.  Tie ballgame.  Bases still loaded, one out, and Daren Brown came out to arrange reservations back to Adelanto for Juan Sandoval.

Byron Embry came out and was able to get Mark Johnson to ground into the 6-4-3 inning ending double play to send us to extra innings.

The Rainiers went down in order, but Augie Ojeda led off the 10th with a liner to right for a double.  Rich Thompson laid a perfect bunt down the 3rd base line to move Ojeda to 3rd AND get on base.  Embry went ahead and walked Danny Richar intentionally to load the bases and create the force at any base... but Alex Romero hit a flyball to center that dropped in for the winning run.