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5/28 Minor League Wrap-Up

A big day for the VSLM's after two days off (one via rain)... High Desert walks all over the Rangers' crappy High A affiliate... the T-Rats play another doubleheader and get to face two tough SPs this time.  You can probably figure out how this goes... crappy pitching in the later innings dooms the DIAMOND JAXX... and great pitching locked down the Rainiers bats, yet they countered with some surprisingly great pitching from Brad Thomas.

Rk:  VSL Mariners 8, VSL Cardinals 1

Jessie Nava:  3 IP, 1 H, K
Jose Rios:  4 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, walk, 4 K
Carlos Sanchez:  2 IP, 1 H, 4 K, wild pitch
Jorge Agudelo:  3-4, 2 doubles, 2 R, RBI
Carlos Ramirez:  4-4, 2 doubles, triple, 2 RBI, walk
Jose Rivero:  2-5, R, 2 K
Cesar Fuentes:  2-5, 2 R, K
Humberto Espinoza:  pinch hit 3 run double

The VSLM's inched ahead to a 3-1 lead through 5, but blew it open with 5 runs in the 8th.  And unfortunately, I cannot think of anything witty at the moment to say about the VSL Cards.

High Desert 5, Bakersfield 2

Marwin Vega:  6 IP, 1 H (!), 2 walks, 6 K
Juan Zapata:  1 IP, 1 H, 2 K, hit batter
David Asher:  1 IP, walk, K, hit batter
Aaron Cotter:  1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER (HR), walk
Casey Craig:  1-4, RBI, K (.316)
Jesus Guzman:  2-4, double, RBI, walk (.290)
Adam Moore:  0-4, R, walk, 2 K (.282)
Johan Limonta:  2-3, 2 run HR, solo HR, walk (.327)
Omar Pena:  1-4, double

The Bakersfield Blaze are just awful.  They just are.  They are the Cal League's Royals... even if their parent club is actually the Rangers.  I know we've said it about Michael Young and Mark Teixiera, but I believe that the Rangers' ballpark and a weak division goes a long way to masking exactly how poor the Rangers organization is in quality from top to bottom.

Despite this, this was still a game until the later innings, as Johan Limonta's 2 run bomb in the 4th and solo shot in the 6th (don't get too excited: those were only his 5th and 6th HRs of the season) were the Mavs' only offense after 6, for a 3-0 lead.  Then Omar Pena, making his 1st start for the Mariners org, doubled with no outs and a man on 1st in the 7th, and Casey Craig cashed in the runner on a sac fly to make it 4-0.  Then Jesus Guzman singled in Josh Womack with two outs in the top 9th to make it 5-0.

Then Bakersfield got their only runs of the game in the bottom 9th when Aaron Cotter, previously a starter, made another mysterious relief appearance.  Perhaps he was considered the odd man out once Chris Tillman arrived?  Rather strange given he was one of the more solid SPs in High Desert's rotation, and even pitched reasonably well in the space park.  Anyway, relieving's not going well for him so far: he allowed a leadoff homer to Taylor Teagarden, then put runners at the corners, allowing Chris Kemp to score one with a groundout to make it 5-2, but that would be all.

NEXT:  Ruben Flores will try and replicate his double digit strikeout effort from last time at 7:15 pm PDT.  And given he's facing Bakersfield, it's not entirely out of the question.

They played two in Appleton AGAIN!

A:  Game One:  Peoria 7, Wisconsin 0, 7 innings

Nathan Adcock:  5.1 IP, 6 H, (4 R) 3 ER, walk, 2 K, 2 wild pitches
Michael Wagner:  0.2 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, walk, K
Ogui Diaz:  1-3, double (.208)
Kuo Hui Lo:  2-3 (.268)
Carlos Triunfel:  0-3, 2 K (.309)
Carlos Peguero:  1-3, K (.248)
Danny Santin:  1-3 (.188)

And again, the T-Rats took game one off, managing only 5 hits while Peoria took a pedestrian 2-0 lead before blowing it open with 5 runs in the 6th off Michael Wagner, who can't seem to find any success at any level.  Either he's hiding arm trouble or has some serious work to do.  Nathan Adcock did okay, but with Jacob Renshaw and Little Pap combining to shut his offense down, that wasn't nearly enough even without Michael Wagner's meltdown.

Game 2:  Peoria 4, Wisconsin 1, 7 innings

Anthony Varvaro:  5 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 walks, 5 K, wild pitch, hit batter
Drew Fiorenza:  1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 K
Alex Meneses:  1-4, 2 K (.192)
Carlos Triunfel was penciled in as the starting SS but did not play.  Ogui Diaz batted for him in the top 1st and played SS.
Kalian Sams:  1-2, double, walk, K (.241)
Gerardo Avila:  1-3, 2 K (.255)
Alex Liddi:  2-3, double, solo HR, K (.208)

It didn't matter that they were up for game two this time, as Marco Carillo was dealing as usual, and shut them down.  Peoria ran out two good starters today, and it just wasn't happening for the T-Rats.

No word yet on why Triunfel didn't head to the plate in the top 1st.  No word on any sort of injury from Rattler Radio in their brief recap, so he probably wasn't hurt.  If he's in the lineup for the next game, then it's probably just a very, VERY late scratch, but strange things happen.  It could be nothing, just him being rested... and he could be on a plane to Adelanto (NOT saying that it happened so don't get excited)... I could see it either way with this org.

NEXT:  Tony Butler opens a series with Burlington, and it's a good thing the bullpen got an amazing amount of rest in those 2 doubleheaders, because if he still can't consistently throw strikes, Butler's gonna need them.

AA:  Tennessee 7, West Tenn 4, 10 innings

Justin Thomas:  5.2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 3 walks, 4 K, wild pitch
The Aircraft Carrier:  1.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 3 walks, 2 K, wild pitch
Chad Fillinger:  2.1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, walk, 2 K
Aaron Troila:  0.2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 walks
Charlton Jimerson:  2-5 (FINALLY, a multi-hit game), 2 RBI, K (.217)
Prentice Redman:  1-4, double, R, RBI, walk, 2 K (.300)
Brent Johnson:  pinch hit RBI single (.301)
Matt Tuiasosopo:  0-5, 3 K (.293)
Jeff Frazier:  2-4, double, walk (.226)
Rene Rivera:  0-5, K (.188)
Chris Minaker:  1-3, double, R, walk (.234)

YES, it's a Tennessee Civil War!  Seriously, though, couldn't they name the Smokies after their respective town, or the county (they play in Kodak, TN)?  Because all those Tennessees get confusing.

Okay, the game... the pitching sucked.  Justin Thomas was okay, and his bullpen was worse.  The DIAMOND JAXX were down 2-0 in the bottom 5th when Charlton Jimerson came to the plate with men on 1st and 2nd, watched SP Justin Berg uncork a wild pitch to move the runners over, then singled on a grounder up the middle to knock them both in and TIE THE BALLGAME.

But Justin Thomas ran into trouble in the top 6th.  Jose De La Cruz came in to fix things, but Gary Cates lined a single to drive in Matt Craig and make it 3-2 Smokies.  Heh... Smokies... they should put a sign over the bullpen that says ONLY YOU CAN PREVENT RALLIES.

The Aircraft Carrier came out for the 7th, and surrendered a walk and two singles off the bat to make it 4-2 Smokies.  Then Jose uncorked a wild pitch, and walked the bases loaded... but then somehow induced 3 immediate outs without surrendering another run.  Now THAT'S impressive.

It was still 4-2 in the bottom 9th and it appeared the DIAMOND JAXX would go down with nary a whimper.  Except, after a Sebastien Boucher walk, Prentice Redman doubled him in with two outs to make it 4-3, and Marshall Hubbard, ice cold as of late, was yanked for pinch hitter Brent Johnson, who WAS taking the night off.  Pitcher Geoff Jones came in to stop this madness... and Brent smoked a grounder up the middle to drive in Redman and TIE THE BALLGAME!!  Johnson took 2nd as the throw home was not in time.

Tui came to the plate with a chance to win it right there... and grounded to 2nd for the 3rd out.  Weak sauce, Tui.  He struck out in 3 of his 5 plate appearances and went hitless.

Chad Fillinger, who had pitched the 9th, came back out for the 10th, but knowing Fillinger, implosion was imminent, and you had to believe that he was only out there because Aaron Troila wasn't warmed up yet.

Gary Cates bunted down the 1st base line and beat it out to get on.  Carlos Rojas bunted Cates to 2nd for one out.  Sam Fuld pinch hit for Jemel Spearman, and drew a walk.  Troila was ready and Fillinger got the hell out of there... not that the tie game was any safer with Troila, but the DIAMOND JAXX would like to think it was comforting.

Troila walked Jorge Cortes and the bases were loaded... for Jake Fox.  And Fox smoked a grounder into left to score Cates and Fuld, 6-4 Smokies.  Josh Kroeger smacked a Troila pitch into right for a double to cash in another run, 7-4 Smokies.  Troila intentionally walked the next batter, then got a double play to end the frame, but the meltdown was complete and West Tenn only had three outs to come back.

And with Jeff Frazier, Rene Rivera and Luis Valbuena due up, you can probably figure out what happened from there.

NEXT:  Andrew Baldwin's turn against (Not So West) Tennessee at 5:05 pm PDT in Jackson.

AAA:  Tucson 1, Tacoma 0

Brad Thomas:  6 IP, 5 H, 3 K
Jamie Cerda:  2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, walk
Adam Jones:  0-4, 3 K (.299)
Jeremy Reed:  0-3, walk, SB (.281)
WLAD:  0-3, K (.332)
Ronnie Prettyman:  1-3, K
Gookie Dawkins:  1-3, K, SB (.208)

With Dustin Nippert having a stud year for Tucson after getting optioned by the DBacks, it looked pretty one sided... until Brad Thomas started ringing up groundouts and turning this into a pitcher's duel.  And good thing he did, as Nippert one hit the Rainiers over 5, and the only other hit came off the unassuming Adam Bass in the 8th inning... which was followed by Gookie Dawkins grounding into the 5-4-3 inning ending double play.

Sadly, the door was slammed by Tucson in the 7th, as Dee Brown doubled with two outs against Jamie Cerda, and Matt Morgan lined a single to center to drive Brown in for the only run of the game.  Bass held the fort in the 8th and Chad Harville (yes, THAT Chad Harville) slammed the door in the 9th for his 12th save.  A 13/9 K:BB in 21.2 IP says not to be fooled by Harville's 12 saves and 2.08 ERA.

NEXT:  ES CAMPILLO TIEMPO as the Rainiers come back to Cheney to open a series with Omaha at 6:05 pm PDT.  And of course, best of luck to Ryan Feierabend as he gets the start tonight for the big club against that bunch of losers in Anaheim.