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5/26 Minor League Wrap-Up

Okay, weather plays a factor in Mariners org games on TWO CONTINENTS.  Tucson plays like Albuquerque, Cibney Bello pitches like Cibney Bello, and a pitchers duel in Jackson, TN ends the right way, albeit thanks to the most unlikely hero ever.

Rk: VSL Phillies 3, VSL Mariners 1... suspended after 3 innings due to rain

Awwwwww... I'm sure the paying customers were pissed off, all 7 of them.  I'm sure play will resume today if the weather permits.

A:  Lake Elsinore 12, High Desert 9

Cibney Bello:  5.1 IP, 7 H, (8 R) 6 ER (3 HR), 2 walks, 4 K, 2 hit batters.  Yep, that's our Cibney.
Juan Zapata:  0.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, wild pitch
David Asher:  2 IP, 3 H, (3 R) 2 ER (HR), 2 K
Aaron Cotter (!):  1 IP, 1 H
Casey Craig:  1-4, triple, R, walk, K (.324)
Michael Saunders:  2-5, double, 2 R, RBI, SB #14 (.279)
Jesus Guzman:  1-4, 3 run HR, 2 R, K (.289)
Adam Moore:  1-3, R, walk, K, SB (.290)
Johan Limonta:  1-4, triple, R, 3 RBI, K (.318)
Travis Scott (DH):  2-3, 2 run HR, walk (.366)
Jeff Dominguez:  2-4, R, K, SB (.253)

There's never a dull moment when Cibney Bello takes the mound.  David Freese took him deep with two outs in the 1st and it was 1-0 off the bat.

However, Casey Craig led off the bottom 1st with a lined triple to right, and Michael Saunders singled him in to make it 1-1.  Adam Moore singled with one out to move Saunders to 2nd, and they then successfully pulled off THE DOUBLE STEAL, netting Moore his 1st stolen bag of the season while Saunders picked up number 14.  This allowed Johan Limonta to sac fly Saunders in and give the Mavs a 2-1 lead.

Cibney immediately surrendered a leadoff double in the 2nd to Chad Huffman, then walked Seth Johnston... but someone escaped the inning without allowing a run.

Cibney did not escape the 3rd, as Matt Antonelli led off with his 6th HR of the season to tie the ballgame.  Mike Baxter's liner found Johan Limonta at 1B for one out, and Cibney settled down and got of that inning without further incident.

Jesus Guzman got plunked with one out in the bottom 3rd, then Adam Moore got plunked, and you know what happens when Mavs get plunked... NO, not a beanball war!  Johan Limonta tripled to right to clear the bases and make it 4-2 Mavs.  Chris Colton struck out for two outs, but Travis Scott, DHing to get his hot bench bat in the lineup, took Richie Daigle deep for his 1st HR of the season to make it 6-2 Mavs.  Surely, that'd be enough for Cibney Bello!

No lead is ever safe in the space park, especially with Cibney Bello pitching.  And don't call me Shirley.

Sure, Cibney held the fort in the 4th, and he did allow a run after a Jeff Flaig fielding error on what should've been an inning ending groundout to a 1-2-3 inning... but 6-3 still isn't bad.

Cibney got sent back out for the 6th, which is like sending Jeff Weaver out there, period.  CIbney walked Kyle Blanks, then plunked Chad Huffman, and at this point any manager who hadn't already started warming up somebody in the previous frame to bring in now is a brain dead retarded moron.  C'mon, Scott Steinmann, don't make me call you a brain dead retarded moron.

Seth Johnston struck out, but Cibney stayed in, in case there was anyone left who didn't think Scott Steinmann is a brain dead retar- Jose Lobaton smoked a grounder into center to load the bases.  Okay, bases loaded, one out, go get a relief ace and- oh, this is High Desert.  You have none (sorry, ABD).

So Steinmann left Cibney in to face Nick Crosta.  And Nick Crosta put a charge in a flyball that DID NOT come down in play, GRAND SLAM.  7-6 Lake.  I am out of adjectives.

Juan Ciriaco smoked a grounder to 3rd and beat out the throw, and that was it for Cibney Bello after a classic Cibney outing.  In came Juan Zapata, whose key qualification for middle relief at this point is Not Being Cibney Bello.

Ciriaco went ahead and stole 2nd, just because.  Mike Baxter grounded to short, and Jeff Dominguez, feeling left out, threw it YIKES AND AWAY to move Ciriaco to 3rd and put Baxter on.  Then David Freese smoked a grounder into left to score Ciriaco and make it 8-6.  Kyle Blanks would've continued the damage had his liner not found Michael Saunders in right for the 3rd out.

The Mavs were SO MAD AND SO PUMPED that after Travis Scott drew a leadoff walk in the bottom 6th, they went down in order.

Zapata surrendered a leadoff double to Chad Huffman in the top 7th, then uncorked a wild pitch to move Huffman to 3rd.  Seth Johnston knocked him in with a lined single to right to make it 9-6, and that was it for Juan Zapata.  Nice try, dude.  David Asher came in to pitch, and got the next three guys without incident.

Again, the Mavs went quietly in the bottom 7th, and Matt Antonelli led off the top 8th with a solo shot to RF to make it 10-6 Lake.  Mike Baxter watched strike three for one out, but David Freese smoked a grounder to Jeff Flaig at 3B that could not be played.  Then Kyle Blanks smoked a grounder to Flaig that he bobbled, everybody safe.  Chad Huffman came to the plate, and watched a pitch get by Adam Moore as the runners moved over.  Huffman smoked a grounder into center to score the runners and it was 12-6 Lake.  The damage would've continued had Seth Johnston not grounded into the 6-4-3 inning ending double play.

The Mavs bullpen was so shorthanded that starter Aaron Cotter came in to pitch the 9th, allowing a leadoff single but retiring the other batters to get through without incident.  The Mavs did finally spark a late too-little-too-late rally like true MARINERS IN THE MAKING... with Jesus Guzman hitting a one out 3 run bomb to get the Mavs within 12-9, but Adam Moore and Johan Limonta went quietly to end it.

Wisconsin and Peoria were washed out due to rain.  They're in progress as I write this and they'll try and get two in today, then two more tomorrow.  That's a lot of baseball.

Fun fact:  The T-Rats home field in Appleton, Time Warner Cable Field, is currently hosting the NCAA Division III Baseball Championships.  THE PAGENTRY, THE TRADITION, OF D-3 BASEBALL... COMES TO APPLETON.

TWC Field is also hosting the Brett Favre Charity Softball Game on Sunday, June 17th.  Get there before Favre threatens to retire from charity softball and demand for his team to trade him to... I dunno, the other charity softball team!

AA:  West Tenn 2, Chattanooga 0

Joe Woerman:  6 IP, 2 H, 3 walks, 7 K, hit batter
Mumba Rivera:  2 IP, 1 H, 4 K
Craig James:  1 IP, 2 K, completing a team 3 hitter!
Brent Johnson:  2-4, double (.297)
Marshall Hubbard:  2-4, R, 2 K (.234)
Matt Tuiasosopo:  1-2, double, R, 2 walks (.302)
Rene Rivera:  1-4, 2 RBI, K (.195).  Yes, Rene Rivera knocked in both runs.

This was a pitching duel until Justin Mallett cracked in the bottom 8th.  Mallett had worked a scoreless 6th and 7th after relieving starter Carlos Fisher, and I mentioned in the past how the strikeout pitcher's 5ish ERA is largely the product of a disastrous 10 run outing on May 12th against the Tennessee Smokies.

Well, Mallett's 3rd inning began by retiring Jeff Frazier on a flyout, such a difficult accomplishment that even Jeff Weaver can do it.  Marshall Hubbard snuck a grounder into right to get on, and Tui, who had already drawn a couple walks today against some good-control pitchers, smoked a double into right to move Hubbard to 3rd.  Charlton Jimerson did his Adam Dunn impression for two outs, but then RENE RIVERA lined a single to left to score both runners and put the DIAMOND JAXX on the board.  RENE RIVERA.

Craig James came in to try and continue his run of non-suck pitching, and he did just that, working a 1-2-3 9th to seal the victory!  FOUR STRAIGHT WINS, and 5 of the last 6 for the DIAMOND JAXX.

AAA:  Tucson 11, Tacoma 9

Ryan Feierabend:  1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, walk, K, and a surprisingly quick exit.  Heh heh heh....
Jim Parque:  3.2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 walks, still sucks.
Jason Mackintosh:  1.2 IP, 5 H, 5 ER (HR), walk, 2 wild pitches
Ryan Rowland-Smith:  1.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER (HR)
Adam Jones:  0-4, R, walk, 3 K (.302)
Jeremy Reed:  4-5, solo HR, 2 R (.281)
WLAD:  3-5, 3 run HR (11), 2 R, K (.337)
Bryan LaHair:  4-5, 2 doubles, 2 R, RBI (.267)
Jeff Clement (DH):  1-3, R, RBI, walk (.228)
Rob Johnson:  1-5, RBI (.270)
Gookie Dawkins:  1-4, 2 RBI (.187)
Oswaldo Navarro:  1-4, double, R (.217)

Well, for Ryan Feierabend, a) it's a good thing he didn't have to pitch much in this thin, pitcher-killing Tucson air, and b) Tucson isn't far from Anaheim, so it shouldn't be a long flight to meet the big club.  We'll see if he finds Baekian success with the big club, and it would help the big club for him to do well, cement a rotation spot and create a conundrum with the walking crapfest that is HoRam (assuming Ho hasn't blown out a labrum).

And if you're gonna run the crappy Jim Parque out there, you might as well run him out in a place like Tucson where, when he gets inevitably blasted, he at least has an excuse.  As for Jason Mackintosh, he really belongs in AA in terms of current skillset, and these outings are a matter of him learning to swim by getting tossed in the pool.  Hey, if this approach worked for WLAD, Adam Jones and Tui....

As for the game... you talk about your meltdowns.  Like Albuquerque, no lead is safe in Tucson, and even as the Rainiers ended the top 5th with a commanding 8-1 lead (on paper), you had to know the Sidewinders were a couple outbursts from coming all the way back.  Their first one came, coincidentally, in the bottom half of the 5th against, go figure, Jim Parque.  Chris Carter doubled Alex Romero to 3rd with two outs, and Jamie D'Antona tripled to score them both and cut the lead to 8-3.  Dee Brown lined a single to center to score D'Antona and cut the lead to 8-4.  Parque was yanked and in came Jason Mackintosh, to got Augie Ojeda to pop up and end the inning.

Jeremy Reed went solo bomb in the 6th to stretch the lead to 9-4, and it remained safe until Inevitable Outburst #2 in the bottom 7th.  Brian Barden led off by grounding a single up the middle, then Jason Mackintosh uncorked a wild pitch to move him over, a HUGE no-no in a park that does the pitcher absolutely no favors.  Chris Carter smoked a comebacker to Mackintosh and Jason hurriedly threw it YIKES AND AWAY.  Barden scored and cut the lead to 9-5.

Then Jamie D'Antona crapped all over some AA out pitch and took it deep for a 2 run bomb.  9-7.

After Dee Brown popped up for the 1st out of the frame... yikes... Augie Ojeda drew a walk, and Mackintosh uncorked ANOTHER wild pitch to move HIM over.  SEND THIS GUY BACK DOWN.

Matt Morgan singled to right to score Ojeda.  9-8.  And that's FINALLY it for Mackintosh, as Ryan Rowland-Smith came in to end this madness.

Except Rich Thompson bunted and was able to beat RRS's throw to 1st.  Danny Richar grounded to short for two outs as the runners moved over.  Then Alex Romero lined a single to right to score both runners and give Tucson the 10-9 lead.  Meltdown complete.  Satisfied with the results, Brian Barden popped up to end the inning.

With one out, Jeremy Reed singled in the 8th, but WLAD went down on strikes, and Bryan LaHair's liner was snagged by Brian Barden at 3B to end the frame.

And just in case we didn't get the point, Chris Carter led off the bottom 8th by taking RRS deep to make it 11-9 Sidewinders.  And speaking of guys who belong in AA, Dee Brown popped up to the 3B side, and Ronnie Prettyman let it drop to put him on.  But the Rainiers escaped without further incident.

Down to the last 3 outs, Jeff Clement led off by drawing a walk, but Rob Johnson, showing us that the duel for the catcher's position is still dead even, grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.  Ronnie Prettyman flew to right to end the ballgame.