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6/12 Minor League Wrap-Up

I hear today was supposed to be a blogobservance of The Global Zombie Uprising.  The Yankees should celebrate by activating Carl Pavano.

Meanwhile, I'm starting to like the balls-in-play data I'm posting for some starters, so you'll probably see more of it.  It can tell you a bit more about how a start went for a pitcher than the usual line scores.

Along with the usual recaps, I have discovered some info involving an alleged incident in Wisconsin involving 3/5ths of the current T-Rats starting rotation and some motor vehicles....

Rk:  VSL Mariners 6, VSL Pirates 3

Jean Tomé:  4 IP, 1 H, 2 walks, 4 K
Yoervis Medina:  3 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 3 walks, K
Leonardo Rodriguez:  1 IP, K
Jose Jimenez:  1 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, walk, K
Roberto Velasquez:  2-3, triple, 2 R, RBI, walk, K (.250)
Carlos Ramirez:  2-5, R, RBI (.337)
Jose Rivero:  2-3, double, R, RBI, walk, K (.315)
Cesar Del Rio:  2-3

I think Jean Tomé may have a future with this organization.  Save for a 3 run debut in 2.2 IP, the 17 year old has been relatively dominant in his other 4 appearances (3 starts) and in 18 IP has allowed 11 hits, no home runs, struck out 19 and walked 6 for a 2.00 ERA.  It's early, but Tome has made strides in establishing himself as the ace of this young staff, and put the clamps on the VSL Pirates as the VSLM's were able to score 6 runs before the Bucaneros could manage their 2nd.  Only a surprisingly subpar effort by young Jose Jimenez made the score look close.

Meanwhile, I'd be remiss in failing to mention middle infielder Carlos Ramirez (337/421/478 in 92 ABs) having yet another good day, as well as outfielder Jose Rivero (315/384/393).

A:  Wisconsin 4, Quad Cities 2

Justin Souza:  5 IP, 3 H, 3 K, wild pitch
Eddy Fernandez:  2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, walk, 3 K
Joe Kantakevich:  1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, walk, K, wild pitch
Andrew Barb:  1 IP, 1 H, K
Kuo Hui Lo:  1-3, triple, 2 R, 2 RBI (.246)
Alex Liddi:  1-2, double, RBI, 2 walks (.211)

Some new faces showed up for the T-Rats (okay, it was Kevin Reynolds' 2nd game, as he debuted yesterday), and go figure the team put up one of their better efforts today.  Okay, granted, it was thanks to the pitching from both sides.

Reliever Eddy Fernandez, coming off an impressive season in the Dominican Summer League last year, threw reasonably well in relief of Justin Souza, who worked 5 solid shutout innings, while inducing 8 of his 15 outs via groundball.  However, it could've been a lot worse, as 4 of the 5 linedrives he surrendered came early in the ballgame, and while 2 landed as doubles and one as a single, the other two found fielders.  That's quite a few line drives for 5 innings.  However, 4 of them came in the first 2 innings, and most of his 8 groundballs came in his final 3.

Flyballs:  2
Groundballs:  8
Line Drives:  5
Walks:  0
Strikeouts:  3

Meanwhile, Swing starter Blake King looked awful, as he allwed all four T-Rats runs while failing to escape the 3rd.  He also threw an astounding FOUR wild pitches and hit a batter.  Wild King(dom) has walked 40 batters in 47.1 IP, is running a 5.32 ERA and is kept around mainly because of stuff that has produced his 52 Ks.  The 20 year old can only cite his age as an alibi for so long: getting the ball over the plate is a fundamental issue for all ages.

Meanwhile, I got wind of a disturbing report via J at Mariner Minors, about 3/5th of the T-Rats rotation (Varvaro, Richard and Parker) receiving a local police summons over an alleged incident involving some motor vehicles and a parking lot.  As J had recommended when he linked it, I suggest you take from it what you will, and I won't have much more (other than the usual vague wisecracks) to say about it until we know more.  Let's just say ramming parking cars is bad.

NEXT:  Game with Quad Cities already in progress, and Kyle Parker, who may or may not have been an accesory to parked car ramming, is pitching.

A:  Lancaster 10, High Desert 4

Jose Escalona:  1.2 IP, 10 H, (9 R) 8 ER (2 HR), walk, K, hit batter.  Wow.
Roman Martinez:  4.1 IP, 1 H, walk, 4 K, 2 hit batters
Juan Zapata:  2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER (HR), walk, 2 K, hit batter
Steve Uhlmansiek:  1 IP, walk, K
Note:  MiLB says the wind was 10 mph out to center.  In the space park.  Yeah.  Meanwhile, Lancaster allowed no HRs.  Yeah again. EDIT: A fan who went to the game says there was no wind. Yeah again.
Casey Craig:  3-4, double, 2 R, walk (.333)
Michael Saunders:  3-5, double, 2 R (.310)
Johan Limonta:  2-4, 2 doubles, 2 RBI (.309)
Adam Moore:  1-4, double, 2 RBI (.292)

The final score was pretty much all on Jose Escalona, who had by far his worst outing of the season as he didn't make it out of an 8 run 2nd.  It'd be easy to cite the space park, but we've been over its effect on the staff and really, in the end, there was a wind out to center, he wasn't throwing well, and Lancaster murders Cal League pitching in general.  This is a bad outing just about anywhere.  Escalona just didn't have it and the Mavs paid.

Flyballs:  6
Groundballs:  4
Line Drives:  4
Walks:  1
Strikeouts:  1

Meanwhile, the bludgeoning of Jose Escalona must have deflated the Mavs as a group, as the bats only put up so much of a fight against Lancaster SP Justin Masterson, who isn't all that great but did throw 6 passable innings (actually, great innings given the wind blowing out) thanks in large part to 13 groundball outs.  The Mavs managed 4 runs but given the early rout, they needed much more than that to come back.

That's basically the neutralizing factor in the Cal League, and probably the big lesson for its pitchers: keep the ball down and get groundouts, or get punished.  And really, if a pitcher can keep the ball down and get groundouts, that will translate to success in just about any league, let alone the Cal League.

NEXT:  Marwin Vega should get the call against Lancaster tonight at 7:05 pm PDT.  KEEP THE BALL DOWN.  He probably will:

Flyballs:  44
Groundballs:  113
Line Drives:  30
Pop Ups:  7
Walks:  37
Strikeouts:  71

AA:  West Tenn had the night off.  They start a series tonight with the Tennessee Smokies, in lovely Kodak, TN.  The starter will likely be Justin Thomas.

AAA:  Portland 6, Tacoma 5

Juan Doñe:  4 IP, 9 H, 6 ER (HR), K
Jason Mackintosh:  2.2 IP, 2 H, 2 walks, 2 K, wild pitch
Wife Vulture:  1.1 IP, H, K (this would preclude his getting called up tonight, as the M's need fresh arms)
Rob Johnson:  1-4, R, RBI (.258)
Adam Jones:  1-3, solo HR, walk, 2 K (.317)
Bryan LaHair:  1-3, 2 RBI, walk (.255)
WLAD:  0-3, walk (.304)
Jeff Clement (DH):  0-3, walk (.244)
Jon Nelson:  1-4, double, R (.215)
Oswlado Navarro:  1-2, R, RBI, walk (.226)
Jeremy Reed:  pinch hit single (.295)

I was up around 11 pm last night, after having watched that baseball marathon from Wrigley, and had switched to FSN.  On came Mariners All Access, and one of the segments featured the Rainiers catching platoon, Jeff Clement and Rob Johnson.

One of the things Dave Cameron mentioned early on is how slow Clement's bat had looked to scouts.  And when they showed clips of Clement swinging the bat, man... no kidding!  He got the bat around about as fast as I can.  For the line drives that didn't find holes and for the power numbers that he had been able to put up during his May tear, as well as his pair of 2 HR games in early June, I had to wonder if he does have a lumbering bat... or those clips of him swinging were all taken during his April slump.

5 K's in his last 10 games, as well as his tear the last 4-6 weeks, leads me to believe that the latter is the case.

Anyway, the starter last night turned out to be Juan Doñe, as his passable 1st start proved enough to warrant a 2nd... and maybe they should've started Jason Mackintosh after all, because Portland beat up Doñe in the 2nd for a pair of runs and four runs in the 3rd.  The Rainiers staged a slow rally through the middle innings, but the well-managed Portland bullpen slammed the door in the final 3 innings by sending a different shutdown reliever to the hill for each inning.

Doñe's numbers over 4 innings.  Not exactly dominant, and like the other starters, he pitched to contact.

Flyballs:  8
Groundballs:  5
Line Drives:  5
Pop Ups:  2
Walks:  0
Strikeouts:  1

NEXT:  Brad Thomas goes for the Rainiers tonight at 7:05 pm PDT against a familiar AAAA name: Tim Stauffer... though this year he's pitching more like a AA guy.