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6/11 Minor League Wrap-Up

Did you know that:

  • The VSL Mariners, at 16-7, have the 2nd best record in the Venezuelan Summer League?
  • That Eddie Degerman, Preston Guilmet and Jim Bouton all throw over-the-top?
  • Cibney Bello makes one heck of a batting practice pitcher?
  • Travis Chick, before getting hurt, used to be a starting pticher, and got his first chance in a long time to do so, getting the call against Huntsville Stars ace Lindsay Gulin?
  • Jamie Cerda, in 11 innings, has walked 12 batters and struck out 5, while allowing 3 HRs?
Find out what any of this has to do with anything below the jump....

Rk:  VSL Mariners 10, VSL Mets 3

Jose Rios:  5 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 walks, K, hit batter
Rhonny Acosta:  4 IP, 2 H
Carlos Ramirez:  1-3, R, 2 RBI,2 walks, K (.333)
Rigoberto Rangel:  2-5, 2 doubles, 2 R, 3 RBI, 3 K (.263)
Cesar Fuentes:  1-4, R, RBI, walk (.293)
Jose Rivero:  4-5, double, 2 R, 2 RBI, K (.302)
Eduardo Garcia:  2-3, 2 RBI (.250)

Most of the damage came in a seven run 7th inning off some guy who's definitely never getting past the Venezuelan Summer League, and may want to consider taking up cricket.

A:  Quad Cities 3, Wisconsin 0

Steven Richard:  6 IP, 2 H, (2 R) 1 ER (HR), 3 walks, 6 K
Michael Wagner:  1 IP
Andrew Barb:  1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER (HR), walk, 2 K
T-Rats batters:  5-28, 4 walks, 12 K

Kuo Hui Lo (244/301/321), Carlos Peguero (243/303/408), Trevor Lawhorn (6-27, 2 doubles, 1 HR so far), Juan Diaz (5-16 with 1 double and 3 walks in MWL) and Alex Meneses (176/361/320) had the hits.

Swing starter Eddie Degerman shut the T-Rats down over 5 innings, striking out 8, and the bullpen did the rest.  Degerman, a 23 year old overhanding phenom out of that intellectual baseball powerhouse Rice University, has actually been a swingman roving between the pen and the rotation since returning from injury in May, and he's been ridiculously good in 9 appearances (5 starts) this season: 55 Ks vs 13 walks over 38.1 IP while only allowing 16 hits and posting a 2.11 ERA.  Allegedly, his secret is combining his over the top delivery with a huge breaking ball that lands low in the zone and hits the dirt so much that it gives the catcher knuckleball-like difficulties.  Imagining being either a catcher or a hitter and having to face a guy who throws like this:

Like K-Rod's elbow, you fear for his shoulder.

NEXT:  Justin Souza, who made one other start this season, during a doubleheader, gets the start in Quad Cities today at 5:05 pm PDT.  When Steven Richard and Justin Souza are making starts back to back, your rotation is thin.

A: Lancaster 10, High Desert 7

Cibney Bello:  5 IP, 12 H, 7 ER (4 HR!), 2 walks, 5 K, 2 wild pitches, hit batter
David Asher:  2.1 IP, 1 H, (3 R) 1 ER, walk, K, wild pitch
Aaron Cotter:  1.2 IP, 2 H, 3 K
Michael Saunders:  0-3, R, sac fly RBI, walk (.305)
Adam Moore:  3-5, double, 2 R, RBI (.293)
Johan Limonta:  1-3, 2 run HR, 2 R, 2 walks (.305)
Chris Colton:  2-3, solo HR, walk, K, SB (.295)
Jeff Dominguez:  2-3, R, walk, K (.249)

Cibney + space park = BLASTOFF.  My best friend went with his girlfriend to see the movie Dreamcatcher.  He came back with a stunned look on his face and told me, "I knew it was gonna be bad... but I didn't know it was gonna be THAT bad."  This would, in turn, adequately describe Cibney Bello's performance in the space park last night against the big bats of Lancaster.

The opposing starter, Mike Rozier, is better at throwing strikes than Cibney but is far more hittable and he's similarly bad.  That said, the Mavs had trouble getting rallies going against the big loser, while the Jethawks had absolutely no trouble against the poster child for bad pitching despite immense talent, as Cibney was left out there to get his 5 innings in and got piñata'd for FOUR home runs (Scott White (257/378/505) in the 2nd, Bubba Bell (356/451/628) in the 2nd with one on, Aaron Bates (309/449/583) in the 4th and Luis Soto (227/294/331) in the 5th with one on) and 7 runs in all over 12 hits.

The Mavs 3 run rally in the 2nd tied it at 3, but then the Jethawks added one in the 3rd, one in the 4th, 2 more in the 5th and final inning against Cibney, and the Mavs didn't score until the bottom half of the 5th, when they cut a 7-3 lead to 7-6.  But the Jethawks added another run in the 6th off David Asher and added 2 more in the 8th to make it 10-6, while the Mavs could only add a run in the bottom 8th.  The 1st, 7th and 9th innings were the only frames in which Lancaster was held scoreless.  The space park tends to do things like this: it's just that you wish the home club would play along a bit more often.  But then again, the Jethawks lineup are loaded with big bats that compose a lineup suited for their hitter's park so it figures they come into Adelanto and mash.  Meanwhile, the Mavs have some big bats of their own, but some are inconsistent, and the lineup gets a bit thin towards the bottom half.

Oh, and guess who got promoted and played his first game in High Desert?  Hargrove's kid.  The 'DH' went 0-3 with 2 Ks.  Like Chris Tillman, there was no real reason to promote Little Rain Delay, who has no discernable talent other than an ability to order and consume pizza like his old man.  Maybe he got the call to get him closer to Dad or something.

NEXT:  Jose Escalona, the closest thing the Mavs have to an ace (sorry, Chris Tillman, you're more like the 9 of clubs right now), gets the call against deadly Lancaster in the space park tonight at 7:05 pm PDT.

AA: West Tenn 1, Huntsville 0

Travis Chick:  5 IP, 2 H, 3 walks, 3 K
Chad Fillinger:  2.2 IP, 1 H, wild pitch
Kam Mickolio:  1.1 IP, K
Brent Johnson:  1-4, double (.284)
Matt Tuiasosopo:  2-3, double, solo HR, K (.293)
rest of DIAMOND JAXX lineup:  1-21, 2 walks, 8 K

Sometimes, a guy on the comeback trail gets his first chance to start in the minors since his injury, and then craps the bed, like Jim Parque.  But sometimes, the guy gets that start and, staying within his means, pitches marvelously well, like Travis Chick, who allowed only 2 hits over 5 while inducing 9 of his 15 outs via groundball and only allowed three balls in play that could be considered well-hit.  Granted, he was facing a hot and cold Huntsville lineup (which is also dead last in HRs by far with 29) that was clearly cold last night, but you take what you can get when you've spent 2 years trying to come back from arm trouble and make your first start in forever.

Groundballs:  8
Flyballs:  1
Line Drives:  2
Pop Ups:  2
Walks:  3
Strikeouts:  3

In fact, his 5 shutout innings combined with some crafty extended middle relief from Chad Fillinger, who has looked so much better lately than his terrible start to the season, and four outs from big Kam Mickolio to shutout the Stars, and the DIAMOND JAXX really needed it, because familiar face Lindsay Gulin threw gas and shut down West Tenn, striking out 8 and pitching into the 8th while allowing a run on four hits.  It wasn't fair: Gulin had to outpitch multiple guys.

The fateful run against Gulin?  A solo shot from TUI (!!!) to lead off the 5th inning!  It was only Tui's 3rd blast of the season.

NEXT:  Enough of that!  The DIAMOND JAXX get on the bus and ride to lovely Kodak, TN to face the Tennessee Smokies.  The Smokies are contending in the Southern League's North division, just one game behind first place... Huntsville!  They can thank the DIAMOND JAXX when they arrive.  Meanwhile, the DIAMOND JAXX are seven games under, so they need not worry about that whole contention thing as they continue to develop their prize prospects, like Rene Rivera.

AAA:  Portland 6, Tacoma 5

Justin Lehr:  6 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 2 walks, 4 K
Jamie Cerda:  no outs recorded, 3 H, 5 ER, 2 walks (ERA: 12.27)
Byron Embry:  2 IP, 2 H, 2 walks, 2 K
Adam Jones:  1-4, K (.317)
WLAD:  0-2, 2 walks (.308)
Jeff Clement (DH):  0-3, R, 2 K
Rob Johnson:  3-4, double, 2 R, 2 RBI (.258)
Ronnie Prettyman:  2-4, 2 run HR (1st HR in AAA!) (.238)

It's easy to look at the score, knowing Justin Lehr was pitching, and thinking, "Oh, crap, Lehr had another bad night!"  But no!  Lehr actually had a pretty good night: it was his bullpen, or namely, Jamie Cerda, who had a bad night.  In fact, coming in with a 5-1 lead, Cerda had a horrific night, as all 5 batters he faced in the 7th reached base and, eventually, scored.  Byron Embry looked more like Good April Byron Embry, but it wasn't enough to save Cerda's bacon, because Byron Embry loves his bacoERRRRR because he allowed Cerda's runs to score on a double and a sac fly, and the Rainiers could not mount a comeback against a well-coordinated Portland bullpen.

But anyway, as thin as the Rainiers bullpen is at this point, if it's not time for Jamie Cerda to go, or at least hit the disabled list (his performance in light of his reasonable performance in the past reeks to me of a hidden injury), it's time to send the 28 year old journeyman to the back of the pen and call up somebody from AA who can throw strikes and string together a couple of outs at a time until Cerda can figure out how to get AAA hitters out without walking more than a guy per inning and hanging meatballs over the plate.  In other words, he needs way better control than he has right now.

Fun fact: Jamie Cerda was born 10 days after I was.

NEXT:  Another game at legendary PGE Park tonight at 7:05 pm PDT, and with Jake Woods now with the big club, we have no idea who will take his place tonight.  I'm guessing Jason Mackintosh.