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5/7 Minor League Wrap-Up

After two straight wins, Anthony Varvaro tried to make it 3, except he didn't realize we meant 3 wins in a row instead of 3 or more earned runs within the first 3 outs.

Juan was pitching, so the Mississippi Braves were Done.  Okay, Prentice Redman helped him out quite a bit, as did Tui and Chris Minaker.  Okay, and Rene Rivera too.  Geez, nevermind.

And is Kasey Olenberger the next great Angels prospect to come up?  You'd think so after what he did to the Rainiers last night.  Mike Morse disagreed.

A:  High Desert had the day off as they take one those patented luxury Greyhound bus rides to Lancaster, and by luxury, I mean a step up from riding Metro route 49 into Capitol Hill.  Casey Craig is cranky and constipated, craving Kentucky Fried Chicken.  Cripes!

With a day of rest, the rotation could be shuffled and anybody could go today at 6:30 pm PDT.  The status quo would lead to Marwin Vega.

A:  South Bend 9, Wisconsin 3

Anthony Varvaro:  4 IP, 7 H, 6 ER (HR), 3 walks, 3 K, wild pitch
Robert Harmon:  2 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 3 walks, K, wild pitch, plunked batter
Rollie Gibson:  1 IP, 2 H, 2 K
Natividad Dilone:  1 IP, 2 K
Greg Halman:  1-4, K (.233)
Danny Santin:  0-4, K
Carlos Peguero:  2-4, double, R, K (.229)
Alex Liddi:  2-4, double, R (.229)
Kalian Sams:  3-4, solo HR (.274)
Luis Nunez:  1-4, triple, RBI, K (.195)
Gavin Dickey:  1-3, double (.189)
Carlos Triunfel had the day off.

After two straight wins, it wasn't in the cards for the T-Rats today, as Soth Bend blew up for 4 runs in the 1st on an erratic Anthony Varvaro, who walked 2 and uncorked a wild pitch but to his credit, only surrendered one line drive and one flyball XBH in the inning.  He got hit a lot harder in the bottom 2nd, though, as Matthew Oxendine and Daniel Perales led off with back to back doubles for another run.  He did get a flyout and induced a double play after a walk to get out, and got a bit of help in the top 3rd with big Kalian Sams' first HR of the season, a solo shot that made it 5-1.  But in the bottom 3rd with one out, Varvaro gave it back as Steve Mena took him deep to make it 6-1.  To Varvaro's credit, he got out of the inning and worked the 4th before taking a seat, but he gave up a lot of fly balls and was a bit wild, indicating a struggle today just to find the zone, let alone throw strikes that didn't hang up as he tired.

The T-Rats did plate another run in the top 5th with the help of a leadoff double by Carlos Peguero and a two out triple by Luis Nunez, that made it 6-2, but before the T-Rats could fathom the thought of a comeback, Edward Romero put them down in the top 6th, and the Silver Hawks blasted off on reliever Robert Harmon for 3 more runs to make it 9-2 and put the game out of reasonable reach.

It must also be noted that since coming back from his minor injury, Alex Liddi is hitting and fielding way, WAY better.

NEXT:  Tony Butler, returning from the injured list, will kick off the series with Great Lakes, against a rather tough Clayton Kershaw, who has allowed 3 earned runs in 25 IP and struck out 35 (though against 15 walks).  Patience, young T-Rats!  4:00 pm PDT.

AA:  West Tenn 6, Mississippi 1

Juan Done:  6 IP, 3 H, (1 R) 0 ER, 2 walks, K, hit batter
Kam Mickolio:  1 IP, 1 H, walk, K
Michael Wagner:  1 IP, 1 H, wild pitch
Mumba Rivera:  1 IP, 2 K
Sebastien Boucher:  0-4, 2 K (.202)
Erick Monzon:  0-4, K
Marshall Hubbard:  0-3, R, walk, 2 K (.259)
Prentice Redman:  2-4, 2 run HR (.327)
Matt Tuiasosopo:  1-2, 2 R, 2 walks, K (.336)
Jeff Frazier:  1-4, R, K (.218)
Chris Minaker:  1-3, double, 2 RBI, K (.226)
Rene Rivera:  1-4, double, R, RBI, K (.192)
Luis Valbuena:  1-4, double, RBI, K (.202)

The AA Braves struck first in the bottom 2nd thanks to a Marshall Hubbard miscue fielding a grounder to 1B.  Carl Loanderthal reached, then stole 2nd, allowing Brent Lillibridge to score him with a lined single to center.  Juan Done got the next two batters to tap back to him for two outs, but with Lillibridge on 3rd, Done plunked Greg Creek and walked Diory Hernandez to load the bases.  Mark Jurich grounded to 2nd and Valbuena turned it to get the DIAMOND JAXX out of the inning only down 1-0.

And here come the DIAMOND JAXX!  With one out, Tui lined a single to left, Jeff Frazier blooped a single to right to put runners at the corners, and Chris Minaker's sac fly for two outs scored Tui to tie it.  Then Rene Rivera pretended he was at Boston and smacked a double to center that scored Frazier to make it 2-1.  Luis Valbuena, his bat finally waking up this past week, smacked a double to left that scored Rivera and made it 3-1 before Boucher grounded out to end the frame.

WIth the lead, Juan Done put the AA Braves down in order, and Marshall Hubbard, with one out in the top 4th, atoned in part for his gaffe by drawing a walk.  Hubbard caught the eye of Braves pitcher Matt Harrison, who hitched his windup to Prentice Redman and got called for a balk, moving Hubbard to 2nd.  Suitably distracted, he hung a pitch to Redman, who destroyed it and sent it over the LF fence for a 2 run bomb, 5-1 DIAMOND JAXX.  Prentice Redman is ON FIRE.  Tui took a walk, but Jeff Frazier popped up for two outs and it looked like that would be all.  Except Chris Minaker hit a laser towards left that got past Brandon Jones, scoring Tui to make it 6-1 and giving Minaker a double, before Rene Rivera remembered who we was for the 3rd out.

The Mississippi bullpen, relieving Harrison after the 4th, was not amused and put down the West Tenn lineup like dogs, with 8 Ks in relief, two baserunners and no runs allowed over 5 innings.  However, the Braves batters could not mount a comeback, as Juan Done went six strong and Kam Mickolio, Michael Wagner and the overworked Mumba Rivera refused to allow any runs themselves.

NEXT:  Andrew Baldwin, in the 2nd of a 5 game set in Mississippi, 5:05 pm PDT.

AAA:  Salt Lake 4, Tacoma 2

Ryan Feierabend:  6 IP, 10 H, (4 R) 3 ER (HR), 2 walks, 2 K, hit batter
Ryan Rowland-Smith:  2 IP, 1 H, walk, K
Jon Huber:  1 IP, 1 H
Adam Jones:  1-4 (.306)
Jeremy Reed:  0-4 (.243)
WLAD:  1-4, double (.353)
Bryan LaHair:  1-4, double, R, K (.217)
Mike Morse:  1-4, 2 run HR (.327)
Jeff Clement:  1-4, K (.206)
Rob Johnson (DH):  1-3, walk (.231)

With 27 Ks in 43 IP against only 8 walks, Kasey Olenberger is totally a 'here it is, hit it' type of pitcher, a guy who pounds the strike zone, and if you go to the plate hacking, you're in for a world of trouble... though the flyballer does hang pitches and can be beaten.  The former was the case the last time the Rainiers faced Olenberger (7.2 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 walks, 7 K on April 10th... he allowed 4 hits over 7 with 7 Ks in Las Vegas six days later)... and the sequel was even better.  For Kasey, that is.

Olenberger pitched into the 9th and though he left it up to his defense to do the work, striking out only 3, he only allowed 7 hits and 2 runs.  Meanwhile, Ryan Feierabend was good old emotional yet capable Ryan Feierabend, holding the potent Salt Lake lineup to 4 runs (3 earned) and keeping the Rainiers within reach, but getting his drama whore on in the process.  He threw strikes and scattered a whole bunch of hits, very few of which weren't hit hard.  Entering his final inning, Rainiers only down 2-0, the tiring Feierabend surrendered a leadoff line drive single to Matthew Brown, then got taken deep by Casey Smith, Casey's 1st home run of the season, to make it 4-0 Salt Lake.  Feierabend then gave up a lined single to Ryan Budde, and with the pitching coach heading out for a mental therapy session, the meltdown apparently was on.

Except Adam Pavkovich's liner happened to find the outstretched glove of Mike Morse at 3rd base (!).  After Clement passed a ball and gave Budde 2nd base, Nathan Haynes also took sympathy, blooping a ball right into the glove of a surprised Oswaldo Navarro, who ran over and stepped on 2nd, with Budde way off the bag, for the inning ending double play.  That could have gone a whole lot worse.  Feierabend got the catcher's handshake and was done.  No word on whether or not he curled up into the fetal position on the bench.

Ryan Rowland-Smith held the fort in the 7th and the 8th.  The Rainiers got a man on in the bottom 8th when Oswaldo Navarro lined a single with one out, but Jeremy Reed grounded into the 4-6-3 inning ending double play.

It wasn't looking good in the bottom 9th, as Kasey Olenberger was three easy outs from the CG (and given how easy the first 24 outs were, it seemed inevitable).  Tiring, Olenberger began hanging pitches.  WLAD took his best shot but center field in Cheney is a cavern... one out.  Bryan LaHair put a charge on one and it dropped behind RF Terry Evans for a double.  Mike Morse hit a towering blast to center, but it took Shin Soo Choo a gusting wind at his back to hit one over the CF wall a year ago, and that sucker had to travel 500 feet... except Morse's blast had a small wind behind it and Morse clearly found his old Birmingham Wheaties dealer before the AB, because that ball cleared the center field wall for a HOME RUN!!!  4-2 Rainiers with one out, and suddenly they had a chance in hell!

That was more than enough for Kasey Olenberger, who left to no reaction because he's a member of that bastard Angels organization.  Matt Wilhite, part of Salt Lake's closer by committee, came in to shut it down.  Wilhite is no shutdown guy, but all a closer ever really has to do is throw decent strikes and bet against the opposing team's luck and fortitude.

Sorry, Jeff Clement, you are not a winner.  Grounded to 2nd for two outs.  In a curiously contrasting moment between the Rainiers catching platoon, Rob Johnson, who was DHing last night, smoked a grounder at SS Casey Smith, and Smith couldn't play it in time, giving Johnson the single.  Gookie Dawkins worked the count and got on as the tying run at 1st base.  Oswaldo was due up but he was pinch hit for with the dubious Jon Nelson.  And Nelson grounded to Smith at short, who lobbed it over to Pavkovich at 2nd to end the ballgame.

How Marineresque, to fall behind off a beatable performance from your beatable SP, let some random dude shut down your lineup, then stage a late rally that faces odds too high to come back, and fall just short.  I guess the club whose players are closest to the big club should be expected to play most like the big club.

NEXT:  The opening game for the Rainiers series in Round Rock ES CAMPILLO TIEMPO!  5:05 pm PDT.