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6/16 Minor League Wrap-Up

There was a no NO-HITTER in Venezuela!  Unfortunately, you're not gonna like the details... one of our teams won an extra inning ballgame and one of them lost, while today's recap is mostly about the pitching, for reasons better or worse.

I like that these recaps give me an excuse not to watch the big club right now. :(

Rk:  VSL Phillies 2, VSL Mariners 1

Jessie Nava:  3 IP, 2 H, walk, 3 K, balk
Edlando Seco:  4 IP, 2 H, 2 walks, 7 K, 2 wild pitches
Yorjans Chourio:  1.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER
Jose Jimenez:  0.2 IP, 1 H, K, 2 wild pitches
VSLM's batters:  0-27, 1 mysterious run, 2 walks, 14 K

Yes, the VSLM's got no-hit yesterday.

Juan Colmenarez, who allowed 7 runs on May 20th and 4 runs in his last start, has not allowed a run in any of his other 5 starts, and did not allow one over 8 perfect innings, while striking out 12 VSLM's.  He now has 49 K's in 45 innings, against 3 WALKS.  THREE.  IN 45 INNINGS.  He's allowed 34 hits.  Here, he struck out the first 5 batters he faced, but Cesar Del Rio grounded out to end the 2nd and Colmenarez's bid to be Steve Nebraska.  At no point did it look like the VSLM's were starting to get a bead on Colmenarez's stuff.  The VSLM's did hit two line drives in the 4th, but it appears that was just a coincidence.

Colmenarez's stats:

Flyballs:  2
Groundballs:  4
Line Drives:  4
Pop Ups:  2
Walks:  0
Strikeouts:  12

Meanwhile, the VSL Phillies got two runs in the top 9th, on two hits, two wild pitches from Jose Jimenez and an infield single.  Victor Diaz started the bottom 9th, looking to finish the perfecto...  then immediately screwed it up by walking Eduardo Garcia.  Nice work, dude, though the no-hitter remained intact.

Humberto Espinoza, pinch hitter extraordinare, came up to PH for Alejandro Garcia... and drew a walk.  Howard Cedeno relieved Diaz and Rafael Torrealba came on to pinch run for Espinoza as Yidid Batista came to the plate.  Catcher Jorge Guerra went for the pickoff and threw YIKES AND AWAY to move the runners over.  So not only did the Phils want to preserve the no-hitter, but the tying runs were now in scoring position.

Yidid Batista did his part by striking out.  So there was runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out despite no batter having put the ball in play.  Terry Serrano changed that, grounding to 2nd, and the Phils took the out at first, conceding the run as the runners moved up, 2-1.

And Roberto Velasquez struck out swinging to seal the no-no.

A:  Wisconsin 4, Cedar Rapids 3, 11 innings

Steven Richard:  6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER (HR), 7 K, hit batter (with a pitch, not his car)
Joe Kantakevich:  2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, K, 2 wild pitches
Brian Kappel:  2 IP, 2 K
Andrew Barb:  1 IP, 2 K
Kuo Hui Lo:  2-5, R (.246)
Reed Eastley:  2-5, R
Carlos Peguero:  1-5, double, R, RBI, 2 K (.254)
Trevor Lawhorn:  2-5, 2 RBI, K
Joseph White:  2-4, K
Alex Liddi:  1-4, RBI, 2 K (.216)

ANOTHER pair of wins in a row!  But the T-Rats had to claw in extras for this one.

See, they had a 3-0 lead going into the 6th.  Steven Richard was tiring, especially following a 5th inning where he put runners on the corners and escaped unscathed.  His performance had been solid to this point: the Kernels did not manage a base hit until the 3rd and save for that 5th, hadn't been able to get going against Richard.

With one out in the 6th, Chris Pettit lined a single to center, then Matthew Sweeney crapped all over a Stevenpitch, sending it over the LF wall to make it a 3-2 ballgame.  Richard got the next two batters in short order, but that was it for him after a solid outing where he blew strikes past his opposition.

Flyballs:  7  (1 HR)
Groundballs:  5
Line Drives:  3
Pop Ups:  1
Walks:  0  (1 hit batter)
Strikeouts:  7

This came one day after fellow car-rammer Anthony Varvaro mowed down the Kernels.  Could the Demolition Derby Trio be the Kernels' kryptonite?  Cedar Rapids' numbers against the Derby Trio in this series (Cedar Rapids luckily escapes getting to see Kyle Parker by one day):  13 IP, 8 H, 3 ER (2 HR), 1 walk, 16 K

Meanwhile, Joe Kantakevich came in to hold down the fort, and got mugged and had his shoes, coat, hat and keys to the fort tooken.  Or actually, he saw thieves in masks and said, "Hey, want the keys to this really cool fort?  Here you go! ::tosses keys::"  JoeKan gave up a one out single, watched the Kernels ground him over, then uncorked two wild pitches to score the runner and tie the ballgame.  Little did he know that his gaffe would set the table for extra innings.

The Kernels certainly tried to avoid it.  They led off the 8th with a single, then Chris Pettit reached when 2B Trevor Lawhorn dropped Alex Liddi's throw on a routine grounder and turned a 5-4-3 into two men on with no outs.  But Matthew Sweeney flew to left, and PJ Phillips, seeing it about to drop in, took off, but Kuo Hui Lo hustled in and made a nice catch, throwing back to 2nd in stride, a throw Trevor Lawhorn did not drop, and doubled off PJ Phillips.  KHL has some 1337 6a536a11 5ki115*.

* - Kuo Hui Lo is very skilled at baseball

Tyler Johnson smoked a liner to left that did drop in front of KHL, but Hank Conger struck out to end that threat.  Still KHL, saved what would have been the game winning run, probably more.

The Kernels overturned half their outfield before the top 9th, likely to confuse the T-Rats, and it must've worked because the T-Rats went down in order without hitting the ball past the pitching mound.  The T-Rats counter by sending Brian Kappel to the hill, likely to prevent JoeKan from coughing up the game twice, and it worked because he put down the Kernels in order.  Off to extras!

Jair Fernandez led off the top 10th with a lined single, and Kevin Reynolds pinch ran for him.  Juan Diaz bunted him to 2nd, but Calvin Beamon and KHL couldn't make anything happen.

The Kernels stayed quiet, and the T-Rats tried again in the top 11th.  Reed Eastley led off with a single.  With one down, Trevor Lawhorn singled to right to move over pinch runner Alex Meneses.  Leury Bonilla struckout, but Alex Liddi showed some clutch, lining a single to right to score Meneses and give Wisconsin the 4-3 lead.

Andrew Barb came on for his first save opportunity in ages in the bottom 11th, and put down the Kernels in order to seal a 2nd straight win for the T-Rats.  The new faces (Beamon, Lawhorn, Joe White, Kevin Reynolds) appear to have lifted the level of play from the T-Rats in the short term, as many of the younger, more overmatched guys have headed off to Everett to play more suitable competition.

A:  High Desert 7, Rancho Cucamonga 5

Aaron Jensen:  3 IP, 6 H, K
Cibney Bello:  3 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, walk, 5 K, FOUR wild pitches (is that a Thrown Sombrero?)
Juan Zapata:  1 IP, 1 H, K
Steve Uhlmansiek:  1 IP, walk
Austin Bibens-Dirkx:  1 IP, 1 H, walk, 2 K, hit batter
Jeff Dominguez:  1-4, 2 R, RBI, walk (.234)
Jesus Guzman:  2-4, GRAND SLAM, 2 run HR (.279)
Johan Limonta:  1-2, double (.303)
Chris Colton:  pinch ran for Limonta, triple, walk (.286)
Omar Peña:  2-4, R, K

JESUS HAS RISEN err grand slammed the Quakes, as he hit a no-doubt Grand Slam that keyed a 5 run 3rd, giving the Mavs a 5-0 that he padded when he crapped all over another suck pitch in the 5th for a 2 run bomb to make it 7-0.  Aaron Jensen, returning from injury hiatus, scattered six hits over 3 innings of work and eventually ceded to... Cibney Bello.  The love child of Gil Meche and Jeff Weaver blew away the Quakes in the 4th and withstood uncorking two wild pitches and a walk to put runners at 2nd and 3rd in the 5th, escaping that without allowing a run.

He did not escape the 6th.  After a one out double, he uncorked wild pitch #3, then surrendered four consecutive singles, only the first of which came on a grounder and constituted anything resembling bad luck.  The other three came on two lines and a flyball, indicating suck pitches were mostly to blame.  7-2, and the bases were loaded.  In a moment of mind blowing hilarity, Anderson Rosario swung and missed strike three for two outs, even though strike three was so far outside of the zone that the pitch sailed past Adam Moore for wild pitch #4 and scored another run, 7-3.  Only in single A is a wild pitch an out pitch.

Then Colby Smith smoked a double down the LF line to score both runners aboard and make it 7-5.  Bradley Coon grounded out to end the frame, and needless to say, that was Cibney's last frame.  The most interesting thing about contrasting his and Jensen's outings is that their balls in play are basically the same.  The only difference is four wild pitches, more strikeouts for Cibney, and a whole bunch of runs.  Remember, folks, it's easy to miss bats when you miss the plate as well.

Jensen:

Flyballs:  2
Groundballs:  5 (plus 1 bunt)
Line Drives:  3
Pop Ups:  0
Walks:  0
Strikeouts:  1

Bello:

Flyballs:  2
Groundballs:  5
Line Drives:  3
Pop Ups:  1
Walks:  1
Strikeouts:  5

Whenever you want to holler about Brandon Morrow or Jason Davis, just remember that it could be a lot worse: Cibney Bello could be in a Mariners uniform, available in the bullpen.

As a result of this hilarity, a washout turned into a close ballgame, requiring a Trust Bridge of relievers to finish the ballgame.  Juan Zapata worked a thankfully uneventful 7th, Steve Uhlmansiek undid a one out walk with a double play ball, and ABD overcame a hit batter, a single, a double steal and a bases-loading walk to pitch a shutout 9th.  I think he was just making fun of Cibney.

AA:  Tennessee 5, West Tenn 2

Joe Woerman:  7 IP, 12 H, 5 ER, walk, 4 K
Michael Hrynio:  1 IP
Brent Johnson:  2-2, 2 walks (.289)
Marshall Hubbard:  1-4, 2 run HR (.248)
Matt Tuiasosopo:  1-4, K (.291)
Luis Oliveros:  0-4 (.293).  Back to back starts!  Uh ohs, Rene.

The Smokies unloaded early on Joe Woerman for 3 runs before the end of the 1st frame.  A leadoff grounder got through into right, and Gary Cates beat out a bunt down the 3B line that Tui couldn't play in time.  And then the line drives came, as 3 of the next 4 batters lined Woerman's pitches (and the 4th sac flied to plate a run).  5 hits and 3 runs later, Woerman finished a terrible inning.

It ended up being the difference, as Donnie Veal didn't give the DIAMOND JAXX anything over 5 innings, and the bullpen gave them little more, but they added a run in the 4th and another in the 7th.  Normally, you want to consider pulling a struggling pitcher after 3 trips through the lineup, but Woerman was left out there for as long as he could go, pitching 7 innings and facing 34 batters for a start that resembled Felix's last start, scattering a bunch of hits that produced enough runs to make his night a mediocre one.  He settled down about 4 innings in and started getting groundballs, but too many of them snuck past for base hits.  Most of his 7 line drives allowed came early in the ballgame, 3 of which came in that fateful 1st inning.

Flyballs:  8
Groundballs:  12 (plus 1 bunt)
Line Drives:  7
Pop Ups:  1
Walk:  1 (intentional)
Strikeouts:  4 (1 on a dumb 2-strike bunt attempt)

Michael Hrynio's appearance in relief gave another indication that, indeed, the DIAMOND JAXX were trying to rest the pen today.  Hrynio, 24, and pretty much a AA mop-up bitch at this point, did pitch a scoreless 8th, getting all three outs via groundball, but the Smokies bullpen is just too solid, and aside from 2 runs in the 6th, the DIAMOND JAXX weren't getting anything off them.

AAA:  Tucson 6, Tacoma 5, 10 innings

Justin Lehr:  6 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 4 walks, 2 K
Aaron Cotter:  0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, walk, wild pitch
Kam Mickolio:  2.1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, walk, 4 K, wild pitch, balk
Byron Embry:  1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 3 walks, 2 K, wild pitch
Jeremy Reed:  0-3, 2 walks (.295)
Adam Jones:  0-4, R, K (.323)
Bryan LaHair:  2-5, 2 doubles, 2 R, K (.258)
WLAD:  1-4, RBI, 2 K (.309)
Jeff Clement:  1-4, walk, 2 K (.257)
Jon Nelson:  2-5, double, R (.209)
Oswaldo Navarro:  2-5, solo HR, 2 RBI, K (.224)

The Rainiers and Sidewinders took turns lobbing runs, and eventually the Rainiers were stopped on cuts.

Let's pick it up in the bottom 5th, Rainiers down 3-1.  Adam Jones grounded to short and SS Brian Barden threw it YIKES AND AWAY to put Adam on.  Then Bryan LaHair doubled to right to move Jones to 3rd, likely slowed up because RF Dave Krynzel huslted and made the liner look playable until it dropped in.  WLAD sac flied Jones in to make it 3-2 as LaHair tagged up and took 3rd, then, with two outs and Jon Nelson batting, DJ Carrasco uncorked a wild pitch to bring in LaHair and TIE THE BALLGAME.

Justin Lehr worked his 6th and final inning in short order before calling it a night.  He was a groundball machine all night long, and only a handful of isolated pitches were well-hit all day.  The problem is that a lot of those grounders either got through or got misplayed.  So though the numbers look so-so, Lehr actually had a pretty good game, and just had some bad fortune.

Flyballs:  2
Groundballs:  14
Line Drives:  4
Walks:  4
Strikeouts:  2

The Rainiers looked to get him the win before the 7th.  Oswaldo Navarro, usually a screw-up this season, crapped all over a DJ Carrasco pitch and sent it over the LF wall to give the Rainiers a 4-3 lead.  Jeremy Reed walked with two outs, bringing up Adam Jones as Carrasco ceded to Adam Howard, but Jones could only fly out to cavernous center to end the frame.

Scary thing: due to the depleted bullpen, Lehr's reliever was Aaron Cotter, as the bullpen was so thin that Cotter was actually one of Daren Brown's better options.  Matt Morgan led off with a liner to center for a base hit.  Rich Thompson bunted him over for one out.  Alex Romero flew to center for two outs and it was looking good despite it all.  Except Cotter uncorked a wild pitch, moving Morgan to 3rd, and walked Jeff Salazar.  Cotter took a seat and Kam Mickolio, only a slightly better option, relieved him.  Still, he only needed one out to get out of the jam.

Big Kam flinched, and the umps called a balk, bringing in Matt Morgan, tying the ballgame and taking the win from Lehr.  Jeff Salazar then stole 3rd base.  Then Kam walked Chris Carter.  But fortunately, Jamie D'Antona grounded to 3rd to end the threat.

Bryan LaHair led off the next frame with a lined double.  WLAD and Clement went down on strikes.  Jon Nelson grounded to 3rd, and 3B Jamie D'Antona hurled it YIKES AND AWAY to bring in LaHair and give the Rainiers a 5-4 lead.

As bad as the 7th was for Kam, the 8th was far better, as he struck out the side!  Kam's got a ways to go, but THIS overpowering stuff is what the org's looking for out of this guy.

Kam came back out to seal the deal in the top 9th, as, with Byron Embry sucking, the Rainiers have no real closer at this point.  Matt Morgan led off with a flyball single to center.  Rich Thompson bunted him ahead for one out.  Alex Romero flew to center for two outs, Morgan tagged up and took 3rd.  Jeff Salazar came up with the game on the line, and Kam watched a pitch get away from him and Jeff Clement, as Morgan scored and tied the ballgame!  AAAAGH!!!  Had Kam put it over the plate, Salazar puts it into play in cavernous Cheney and likely ends the ballgame, so that was a huge gaffe for Kam... especially given he struck out Salazar right after that.

WLAD and Clement hit back to back singles with two outs to put runners at the corners, the winning run 90 feet away... but Jon Nelson popped up in foul territory to end the inning and send it to extras.

Kam was done, and now they HAD to bring in Byron Embry and hope he could cut the crap and pitch well.  So Chris Carter hit a leadof double, and Jamie D'Antona drew a walk, pretty easy given ball four was a WILD PTICH.  Pinch runner Donnie Sadler took 3rd.  It proved costly, because when Mark Johnson flew out to left, Sadler tagged up and scored the go-ahead run.  Embry then walked two more batters, Clement passing the first ball four to put the runner on 3rd.  The bases were loaded with one out, and pitching coach Terry Pollreisz went out to the mound and threatened to take away Byron Embry's buffet privileges if he didn't get the next two batters.  Embry struck them both out.

Did the Rainiers have another miracle left in them with three outs to go and Randy Chaote pitching?  They certainly tried, but Brant Ust flied out to riht, Oswaldo Navarro grounded to 2nd and Gookie Dawkins' liner found 2B Matt Morgan to end the ballgame.

When it rains it pours:

For the Rainiers:

  • Adam Jones, despite being worlds beyond any hitter in the PCL, is only 7th in PCL All Star Voting, 500 votes behind 3rd place.  Feel free to go and do something about this injustice.
  • Just a couple days after coming off the DL, Mike Morse reaggravated his injured left wrist, landing him BACK on the DL.  Scrambling to find someone, the Rainiers called up Edilio Colina from High Desert, which makes about as much sense as any of the other injury-scramble callups.
  • Juan Doñe is tomorrow's scheduled starter.
For the Sidewinders:
  • Remember Danny Richar from yesterday?  Yeah... his big club just traded him to the White Sox just a few hours before last night's game.
  • The Sidewinders are about to be sold to a group that plans to move the team to Reno, NV.  So while this assuages worries that the Rainiers were going to get moved to Reno, which had been stumping hard for a AAA ballclub... this means AAA baseball is about to leave Tucson.