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6/23 Minor League Wrap-Up

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The VSL Mariners bats get shut down despite what was hardly a dominating pitching performance, like true MARINERS IN THE MAKING.

The Aquasox beat up on Yaktown, allowing Everett to empty the bullpen and give some kids some work.

Also, 1/3rd of the Demolition Derby Trio has a terrific night, as the run of success by the T-Rats Trio since their little incident continues.

Casey Craig may be gone (find out why down the page) but the Mavs bats live on- oh wait, no they don't, but Lancaster's sure did, especially one guy's as the Jethawks just go the (expletive deleted think of the children) off on High Desert.

Speaking of Chris Jakubauskas, the Indy Leaguer makes his rotation debut and does just fine, but don't think the DIAMOND JAXX's fun ended there.  C'mon, it's the Mississippi Braves!  You didn't think it'd be THAT boring, did you?

And yeah, the Rainiers... huh.  When you spend the majority of the recap talking about Nick freaking Green, you can guess the game itself could've gone better.

VENEZUELA~!  VSL Cubs/Twins 2, VSL Mariners 1

Leonardo Rodriguez:  4 IP, 3 H, 2 walks, 3 K
Reynaldo Sabala:  2 IP, 3 H, (2 R) 0 ER, K, 2 wild pitches
Kelvin Montbrum:  2 IP, 1 H, 2 walks, K
Cesar Fuentes:  2-4 (.291)
Jose Rivero:  1-3, solo HR, walk, K (.278)
rest of VSLM's lineup:  1-25, 2 walks, 5 K

VSLM's hitters vs the VSLC/Ts pitchers:

Flyballs:  8
Groundballs:  9
Line Drives:  4
Pop Ups:  5
Walks:  3
Strikeouts:  6

In other words, getting 4 hit was basically the product of negative variance from young kids who mostly need batted balls to not find gloves to succeed.  And the batted balls did, which means the kids didn't get it done.

a:  Everett 9, Yakima 3

Nolan Gallagher:  4 IP, 1 H, walk, 3 K
Aaron Solomon:  1 IP, 2 H, walk, 2 K
Shawn Kelley:  1 IP, 2 K
Mark Pettis:  1 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, walk, 2 K
Nick Hill:  1 IP, 2 H, walk, 2 K
Ryan Moorer:  1 IP, walk, K
Jermaine Brock:  2-4, double, RBI, 2 K
Greg Halman:  2-4, double, solo HR, 2 R, walk, K
Matt Mangini:  1-5, double, K
Kris Sanchez:  3-4, double, R, 2 RBI
Edilio Colina:  2-3, double, 2 R
Joe Dunigan:  2-2, R, 2 RBI
Jeff Dunbar:  1-3, double, R, 3 RBI, walk

Once the Aquasox built a solid lead, it became about getting the rest of the kids in the bullpen some work, as five guys came in and worked separate innings to finish the ballgame.  The only painful inning was Mark Pettis' 3 run frame.  All other relievers pitchers threw scoreless frames.

Also, needless to say, several of the kids in the lineup got their bats going, with the only hitless batters being Kalian Sams and Roberto Mena, still looking for his 1st hit after 3 games.

Nolan Gallagher, the lost Oasis brother, wasn't commanding in the 1st, but settled down in his next 3 innings, allowing only one well-hit flyball the rest of the way.  Given only 15 batters faced, this is a pretty small sample size, and a balls in play sample from a start is a small sample to begin with, but the number of groundballs, pop ups and strikeouts is very encouraging.

Flyballs:  2
Groundballs:  5
Line Drives:  0
Pop Ups:  3
Walks:  1
Strikeouts:  3

A:  Wisconsin 5, Quad Cities 2

Steven Richard:  7 IP, 6 H, (2 R) 1 ER, walk, 5 K, wild pitch
Brian Kappel:  1 IP, 2 walks, K
Justin Souza:  1 IP, 1 H, K, wild pitch
Calvin Beamon:  2-4, R, RBI, SB
Kuo Hui Lo:  2-4, triple, RBI, K (.271)
James McOwen:  0-4, K.  Welcome, 6th round draft pick!
Alex Liddi:  2-3, triple, solo HR, walk (.223)
Leury Bonilla:  1-3, double, R, K (.235)
Juan Diaz:  1-3, RBI (.318)

I'm not sure about the validity of smashing up cars as a bonding and coming of age process, but ever since the incident in question came to light, the Demo Derby Trio has pitched pretty well (yes, Kyle Parker's 5 run night notwithstanding).  Steven Richard, basically rotation fodder when he first filled in, went out and pitched his best start as a T-Rat to date, going 7 strong innings.

He spent the early end of his start up in the zone and getting either K's or flyballs, but settled down and got more groundballs and the game wore on.  He suffered very little damage despite the flyballs.

Flyballs:  10
Groundballs:  8
Line Drives:  1
Pop Ups:  1
Walks:  1
Strikeouts:  5

A+:  Lancaster 16, High Desert 4

Jose Escalona:  2 IP, 9 H, 8 ER (3 HR), walk, K
Juan Zapata:  3.1 IP, 3 H, (5 R) 4 ER, 2 walks, 3 K
Steve Uhlmansiek:  2.2 IP, 4 H, 3 ER (2 HR), 2 walks, 2 K

Lancaster's Brad Correll tied a Cal League record when he hit 4, FOUR HOME RUNS, for 8 RBI.  In only his 5th game of the year, and 6 days after he hit his first 2 HRs of the year against Inland Empire, Correll hit a 2 run bomb off Escalona in the 1st, a solo shot off Escalona in the 3rd, a 3 run shot off Steve Uhlmansiek in the 6th, and a 2 run shot off Uhlmansiek in the 8th.

And that HR record?  It was set only 35 days earlier... by his teammate, Aaron Bates.

Yeah, Lancaster makes the space park look like Safeco Field.

Meanwhile, Jose Escalona did not fare well, again, and his bullpen did not fare better.  Escalona was getting groundballs, and having horrible luck with said groundballs, as 6 of the 8 groundballs Escalona allowed went for base hits.  Also, 3 of the 4 flyballs Escalona allowed left the yard.  Most every AB went about as badly as it could have for Escalona.

Flyballs: 4
Groundballs:  8
Line Drives:  0
Pop Ups:  1
Walks:  1
Strikeouts:  1

AA:  West Tenn 6, Mississippi 5, 10 innings

Chris Jakubauskas:   6 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 2 walks, K
Mumba Rivera:  2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER (HR), K
Craig James:  2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, K
Brent Johnson:  4-5, R, 2 RBI, walk (.292)
Prentice Redman:  2-6, triple, R, RBI, K (.269)
Marshall Hubbard:  2-4, 2 doubles, R, RBI, walk, K (.260)
Matt Tuiasosopo:  1-4 double, RBI, walk, 2 K (.285)
Erick Monzon:  2-5, 2 doubles, K (.238)
OMGWTF Casey Craig?:  1-4, double, walk, K

Chris Jakubauskas ain't no typical rookie.  Jakubauskas was the 2006 Golden Baseball League Pitcher of the Year, going 8-1 with a 3.09 ERA in 14 starts for the Fullerton Flyers, striking out 76 while walking 21.  He went to the American Asociation's Lincoln Salt Dogs via trade (yeesh, maybe Fullteron should've thrown in a nickname that doesn't look retardedly awful) where he continued to impress, holding hitters to a .177 average before the Mariners finally said, "OKAY, we'll sign you already!"  Jakubauskas, 28, became the latest Indy League phenom to land with the M's, and after extended ST, got to debut earlier this week from the DIAMOND JAXX bullpen.

With the pitching staff thinner than Lindsay Lohan knee deep in the South Beach diet, Jakubauskas was thrown in the rotation, and did a quality job over 6 innings, especially considering he just worked 3 innings out of the pen 4 days before.  He got tagged a few times but mostly did a good job of getting grounders and holding things down.

Flyballs:  5
Groundballs:  8 (plus 1 bunt)
Line Drives:  5
Pop Ups:  3
Walks:  2
Strikeouts:  1

Also, it appears Casey Craig's attitude could only keep him down in the org for so long, as he finally got a long awaited promotion to AA.  He actually went 0 for 5 on Friday night, his debut eluding my curious examination of the box scores, but anyway, WELCOME.

But don't think the excitement ends there, with Jakubauskas calling it a night with a 3-2 lead.  No, Mumba Rivera hasn't blown the lead yet!

Mississippi Top 7th

  • Pitcher Change: Mumba Rivera replaces Chris Jakubauskas.
  • Greg Creek grounds out, first baseman Marshall Hubbard to pitcher Mumba Rivera.
  • Van Pope homers (3) on a line drive to left field.
Thank you, Mumba.  We were wondering if you were gonna make it.  Tie ballgame, folks!

West Tenn went quietly in the botom half despite Marshall Hubbard's two out double.  The AA Braves went quietly as well, but Erick Monzon led off the bottom 8th with a lined double.  Luis Valbuena did his duty and bunted him ahead, and pitcher Jose Ascanio threw it YIKES AND AWAY to put Valbuena on as well.  Rene Rivera, still getting starts for some reason, did the right thing at least and grounded to short, but SS Mike Rozema made the astute throw home to get Erick Monzon for one out and prevent the run, as Rivera made it to 1st.

Ascanio uncorked a wild pitch to Casey Craig to move the runners into scoring position, then walked Craig to load the bases... for Brent Johnson.

And Brent lined a single to center to cash in Valbuena and Rivera, 4-2 DIAMOND JAXX!

West Tenn hoped for Big Fly action from Charlton Jimerson, but Charlton said the team hadn't made reservations, so he struck out.  And Prentice Redman continued his fall off a cliff with a flyout.

Craig James has had a horrible year, but the Pony Express needed only three outs with a run to spare, so this was a nice opportunity for an easy, confidence building save.

So he surrenders a leadoff double to Mark Jurich, and a triple to Ray Serrano, Serrano's 1st triple of the season, to make it 4-3.  Okay, buttface, that was really funny.  Now that you've used up your free run, go get outs.

Greg Creek flied to center for one out and Serrano stayed put.  Good.

Van Pope flew to left for two outs.  Serrano, seeing that the left fielder was that n00b Casey Craig, tagged up and took off.  Craig threw home and showed us one reason why he and his 'arm' were stuck in High A for half the year.  Tie ballgame.  JC Holt popped up for the 3rd out, but whatever.  What a horrible year Craig James is having.

The DIAMOND JAXX still had the botom of the 9th to win it in regulation.  Marshall Hubbard drew a leadoff walk and Tui... struck out.  Hubbard swiped 2nd for his 1st stolen bag of the season, a shock given how much hustle and footspeed the guy has.  But Erick Monzon grounded to 3rd for two outs while holding Hubbard at 2nd, and Valbuena grounded to 1st to send us to extras.

Surprisingly enough, Craig James came back out for the 10th.  With the bullpen thin, and figuring it couldn't get any worse, I can see Eddie Rodriguez saying the hel with it and sending him back out.  Carl Loadenthal led off the top 10th with a lined single to center, then swiped his 26th stolen base of the season.  But even after Brandon Jones' groundout moved Loandethal to 3rd, James rebounded by getting Matt Esquivel on strikes and Mike Rozema to pop out.

Joey Devine, Braves phenom closer, came in to work the bottom 10th.  Casey Craig, with one out, doubled to left, his 1st hit as a AAer.  Brent Johnson drew a walk, and Charlton Jimerson... still no reservations... struck out.  But Prentice Redman, deciding it's been long enough, smoked a lined single to left to cash in Craig and WIN the ballgame!

AAA:  Tucson 5, Tacoma 3

Juan Doñe:  6 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 3 walks, 2 K, hit batter
Jason Mackintosh:  2 IP, 2 H, walk, K, wild pitch
Gookie Dawkins:  3-5, R, K (.263)
Jeremy Reed:  1-4, 2 run HR (.286)
WLAD:  1-4, 2 K (.321)
Nick Green:  2-4, double, solo HR, 2 K
Jeff Clement (DH):  0-4 (.271)
Rob Johnson:  0-4 (.257)
Ronnie Prettyman:  2-3, walk (.269)

New series, new city... new set of crappy circumstances.  Juan Doñe got beat up and the Sidewinders knocked themselves ahead.  There would be no comeback.  Doñe did a good job of inducing groundballs, but once again, too many got through for hits, and just about every line drive and flyball he surrendered ended up going for hits.

Flyballs:  2
Groundballs:  13 (plus 1 bunt)
Line Drives:  4
Pop Ups:  3
Walks:  3 (plus 1 hit batter)
Strikeouts:  2

Also, after bouncing between the Braves, D-Rays and Yankees orgs, it appears that Nick Green could be onto something.  You remember him as one of the AAAA scrubs the Yankees powercycled through during 2006.  The disappearance of Green's power numbers last season were largely the product of battling injuries.  He caught on with the Pirates org this year despite missing ST with a foot injury, didn't play until mid-May, had a hot start with AAA Indianapolis and then cooled to nearly nothing, got DFA'd when the Pirates wanted to clear his 40 man roster spot, and got sent to the Mariners on Wednesday (during the Pirates series!) for future considerations.  Given what Jason Davis cost, I doubt those 'future considerations' will be at all significant.  If Nick Green amounts to a useful bench scrub on the big club, it'll be a bonus.