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6/24 Minor League Wrap-Up

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Okay, J came by and mentioned it in the comments for yesterday's recap, and I will officially fess up to it: I missed not only the season opener of the Arizona League for Peoria's Mariners, but the first 2 games entirely!  Blame the various distractions this weekend along with my own tendency to space things in a melee.  No, I did not forget the AZL existed entirely.  I just forgot about the start of the season.

But NEVER FEAR.  There will be a Peoria Mariners recap today, and I'll look later today into sneaking the results of the previous games into their respective wrap-ups.

Needless to say, the wrap-up is chock full of action and should be for quite some time.

VENEZUELA~!  VSL Mariners 4, VSL Astros 3

Jean Tome:  4.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 walks, 2 K
Jose Rios:  2.2 IP, 4 H, (1 R) 0 ER, 4 K
Rhonny Acosta:  2 IP, 1 H, walk, 2 K
Jorge Agudelo:  1-3, RBI, 2 K (.195)
Jose Rivero:  1-3, 3 run HR, 2 K (.280)
Jose Hernandez:  2-3, 2 doubles (.310)
Jose, Jose, Jose!

Now THAT'S more like it after losing 2 in a row.  Getting off the deck and winning is one thing, but to do it against the top team in the VSL (the Astro lead the VSL with a 25-9 record; the Mariners are 2 back) is a nice win in itself.

Jose Rivero pretty much dictated the pace with a 3 run bomb in the 2nd.  The Astro spent the entire game scrapping and clawing, a run here, a run there, to try and come back (runs usually aren't easy to come by in the VSL), so imagine how deflating it must have been to finally tie the ballgame in the top 7th... only to see the VSLM's retake the lead in the bottom 7th when Jorge Agudelo singled in a run with two outs.

Sometimes, it's the Mariners org that does the bitchslapping.

AZL:  Mariners 7, Rangers 3

Robbie Dominguez:  3 IP, 3 H, (2 R) 0 ER, 2 walks, 2 K
Philip Roy:  4 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 K
Travis Mortimore:  2 IP, 3 K
Daniel Carroll:  2-5, R, 2 K
Maximo Mendez:  1-4, double, 2 R, RBI, 3 K
Juan Fuentes:  1-3, R, RBI, walk, K
Alfredo Mateo:  1-5, double, RBI, 3 K
Mario Martinez:  1-4, solo HR, K
Jonathan Arias:  1-3, double, R, RBI, walk, K
Dwight Britton:  1-3, double

The AZLM's struck first in the top of the 1st,  Daniel Carroll led off with a lined single, Maximo Mendez doubled him in, then stole 2nd, watched the catcher throw YIKES AND AWAY and scored easily.  Must be rookie ball.  Then prized prospect Mario Martinez went deep for his 1st HR as a pro, and the AZLM's led 3-0.

However, the Rangers struck back.  A Mario Martinez throwing error at SS put the leadoff guy on.  Todd Donovan drew a walk, and Robbie Dominguez uncorked a wild pitch to put the runners in scoring position.  Chad Ogden lined a single to cash one in, and even after Dominguez picked off Ogden at 1st, a single from Reece Creswell cashed in another run.

The AZLM's did add another run in the 4th off a Jonathan Arias double (HEY, any relation to David OrtERRRR Arias?) to make it 4-2 AZLM's.  The Rangers got the run back in the 6th when Johany Abreu (HEY, any- probably not) bunted to get on, stole 2nd, and scored when Reece Creswell smoked a single into right to cut the lead to 4-3.

But the AZLM's blew it open in the 7th.  Arias led off with a walk, and after the next two batters were retired, Maximo Mendez got plunked, and Geuris Grullion soon indicated he didn't intend to do so, as he uncorked two wild pitches to cash in Arias and move Mendez to 3rd, 5-3 AZLM's.  Juan Fuentes eventually singled to center to cash in Mendez and make it 6-3, and Alfredo Mateo (I would hope there's no relation) doubled on a one hopper over the RF wall to make it 7-3 and put it out of reach.

a:  Everett 5, Tri-City 2

Edward Paredes:  7 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 6 K, wild pitch, balk, hit batter
Will Brown:  1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER (HR), 3 K
Keith Meyer:  1 IP, K
Manny Pimentel:  pinch hit RBI single
Mike Mangini:  2-4, SB
Ogui Diaz:  2-4, double, R, 2 RBI, K

Paredes was, for the most part, in command, shutting down the aptly named Dust Devils, which were nothing more than a bunch of harmless hot air to Paredes.  After striking out the first batter, he induced 5 straight groundballs, and 3 of the next 4 after that to basically set the tone: 'You're going to hit it on the ground and maybe you'll get lucky.'

He wasn't perfect, as the bottom 4th showed.  After yet another groundout, he got Darin Holcomb swinging at strike three... except strike three was YIKES AND AWAY and Holcomb made it to 1st,  Holcomb then swiped 2nd base, but batter Logan Wiens lined right to CF Jermaine Brock thereafter.  Lars Davis came up, and in checking the runner, Paredes committed some sort of no-no and was called for a balk, moving Holcomb to 3rd.  I think the ump just felt bad for Tri-City's ballclub, as Paredes had absolutely owned them up to that point.  And sure enough, Lars Davis lined a single to left, one of only two hits off Paredes, to cash in Holcomb and put Tri-City on the board 1-0.  Those back to back line drives were the only ones Paredes surrendered.

The Everett offense couldn't get going either, but Paredes settled right back down and continued giving the Dust Devils nothing until he departed following     the 7th with a 1-0 deficit.

Flyballs:  1
Groundballs:  12 (plus 1 bunt)
Line Drives:  2
Pop Ups:  1
Walks:  0 (but 1 hit batter)
Strikeouts:  6

But before he called it a night, the Aquasox decided to get it going in the 8th.  Edilio Colina got plunked to lead off.  Joe Dunigan went down on strikes for one out, and starting pitcher Sheng-An Kuo took a seat after 7.1 shutout innings for reliever Riquy Peña.  Peña immediately uncorked a wild pitch and moved Colina to 2nd.  Dunbar drew a walk, then Ogui Diaz lined a double (where was THIS power in Appleton?) to cahs in the runners and FINALLY put Everett on top 2-1.  Peña took a seat and Brandon Miller came in to pitch, and Evrett countered with PH Manny Pimentel for Jermaine Brock.  Pimentel lined a single himself to cash in Diaz and make it 3-1, then got lifted for pinch runner Marquise Liverpool before Greg Halman drew a walk.  Matt Mangini grounded to 3rd, and 3B Darin Holcomb was too far off the bag to get the lead runner, so he took the easy out at 2nd for 2 outs.  Then Brandon Miller uncorked a wild pitch to bring in another run, and it was 4-1 Everett, a lead the Aquasox would not relinquish.

NEXT:  Juan Carlos Ramirez gets his 2nd turn in the rotation in the Tri Cities tonight at 7:15 pm PDT.

A:  Wisconsin 6, Quad Cities 5

Ricky Orta!:  6 IP, 5 H, (3 R) 2 ER (HR), 6 K
Eddy Fernandez:  2 IP, K
Joe Kantakevich:  1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, K, wild pitch
Calvin Beamon:  1-4, R, RBI, walk, K
Juan Diaz:  3-5, 2 doubles, 3 RBI (.347)
James McOwen:  2-4, RBI, K
Juan Beltran:  2-4, 2 R, SB (.208)
Gavin Dickey:  1-4, R, RBI, K, SB (.200)

Fun fact:  SS Juan Diaz is from Bani, Dominican Republic, the same hometown as the Wife Vulture.

The T-Rats jumped out to a 4-0 lead before the 4th as Ricky Orta continued to make progress back to useful-starterhood, throwing 6 reasonable innings, 4 more than he was able to throw 2 months ago so that's something.  He did crack in the 5th, giving up a leadoff HR to Jared Schweitzer, watching Luke Gorsett reach on a fielding gaffe by newcomer LF James McOwen and eventually scoring on a Donovan Solano single, cutting the lead to 4-2.

Mcowen did atone in the bottom half with a one out single, and though he got forced out on a Juan Beltran grounder, Beltran was eventually able to score on a Gavin Dickey single after previously stealing 2nd, making it 5-2.

Orta gave up a leadoff triple in the 6th, allowing the run to easily score on a groundout, but he got the next 2 batters to strike out to finish with a flourish.

Flyballs:  4
Groundballs:  8
Line Drives:  4
Pop Ups:  1
Walks:  0
Strikeouts:  6

The T-Rats did add another run in the bottom 8th on a Juan Diaz double that knocked in Calvin Beamon.  But All Star Joe Kantakevich struggled in the 9th.  With one out, Jared Schweitzer lined a single to get on, then Luke Gorsett doubled him to 3rd.  JoeKan then uncorked a wild pitch to bring in Schweitzer and make it 6-4 as Gorsett took 3rd.  Christian Reyes grounded out to bring in Gorsett and make it 6-5, but with the bases empty, the Swing's chances were dim and indeed, Wilmer Alvarado went down on strikes to end the ballgame.

NEXT:  Justin Souza (!) is slated to go for the T-Rats as they start a series in Peoria today at 5:00 pm PDT.

A+:  Lake Elsinore 8, High Desert 4

Cibney Bello:  3.2 IP, 5 H, 5 ER (3 HR), 5 walks, 3 K, hit batter
Ruben Flores:  2.1 IP, 1 H, walk, 3 K
Aaron Cotter:  2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, walk, K, 3 wild pitches, hit batter
Michael Saunders:  1-5, 2 run HR, 3 K (.300)
Jesus Guzman:  2-5 (.290)
Jeff Flaig:  1-4, RBI, K (.222)

The Mavs got the hell away from Lancaster, but the losing continued.  This wasn't a huge surprise given the starter yesterday was our favorite Single A pitching conundrum, Cibney Bello.  It's surprising to me that, as bad as he's been, they keep him in the rotation when they've got Aaron Cotter and Ruben Flores, two useful pitchers who have started and had some success, in the bullpen.  Granted, Cotter has struggled in the pen, and Flores hasn't been so hot himself, but has Cibney ever shown that he can be consistent enough to go 5 innings without going baseball china syndrome on the hill?

Maybe Scott Steinmann keeps him in the rotation for the comedy.  I'm beginning to think that Cibney Bello is a practical joke that the Mariners org is playing on all of baseball.  It just makes more sense that way, and it's more fun to think of it that way.

Anyway, Matt Antonelli led off the ballgame with a home run, and after a strikeout, CIbney plunked the next batter and walked the next two and... yeah.  Lake also led off the 3rd and 4th innings with home runs, eventually chasing him in the 4th while building a 5-2 lead.

Flyballs:  5 (3 of these left the yard)
Groundballs:  5
Line Drives:  1
Pop Ups:  1
Walks:  5
Strikeouts:  3

The Mavs did add a run in the 6th and another in the 7th to pull within 5-4, but Aaron Cotter imploded and Lake put up a 3-spot after the stretch to put it away.

NEXT:  Marwin Vega, feeling better after taking that scary line drive some time back, goes against Lake tonight at 7:05 pm PDT.

AA:  Mobile 6, West Tenn 2

Justin Thomas:  6 IP, 11 H, 6 ER, walk, K, 2 wild pitches
Michael Hrynio:  2 IP, 3 H, 2 K
Charlton Jimerson:  1-4, 2 run HR, 3 K (.256)
Matt Tuiasosopo:  0-3, 2 K (.281)
Rene Rivera:  0-2, R, walk (.179)
rest of DIAMOND JAXX lineup:  3-20, walk, 4 K

So after the long, painful series with Mississippi, the DIAMOND JAXX got on the bus and took a long ride to Alabama, where their tired selves fell flat against the BayBears.  Their only runs came on a last-gasp 2 run bomb from... Charlton Jimerson!  Looks like the DIAMOND JAXX made reservations... albeit a bit too late for the HR to matter, but still!

Congratulations also to Prentice Redman, Marshall Hubbard and Casey Craig, as they were the only other DIAMOND JAXX to get hits yesterday.  Greg Smith struck out 7 over 7 shutout innings, faring much better than Justin Thomas, who went as long as he could and got beat up over 6 innings where he threw strikes... and the BayBears hit them hard, keeping the line drives coming and making the groundballs hard to handle.

Flyballs:  5
Groundballs:  10
Line Drives:  9
Pop Ups:  3
Walks:  1
Strikeouts:  1

And with Mumba Rivera about close to dead, it appears Eddie Rodriguez has made Michael Hrynio his run-into-the-ground everyday reliever.  Enjoy the work while you can, Michael.

Meanwhile, if anyone has seen Matt Tuiasosopo's offense, be sure to contact the Mariners organization at 1-877-8-MY-OH-MY.  The reward has been set at an order of garlic fries and a Gene Brabender baseball card.

You would have hoped that Tui would have found some power to offset the inevitable regression to the mean from all those singles, but apparently not, and now he's stopped drawing walks.

NEXT:  Andrew Baldwin should be the starter in Mobile today at 4:05 pm PDT.

AAA:  Tacoma 11, Tucson 10

Brad Thomas:  4.2 IP, 9 H, (9 R) 7 ER, 4 walks, 3 K
Juan Sandoval:  0.2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER
Kam Mickolio:  2.2 IP, 2 K, hit batter
Wife Vulture:  1 IP, 1 H
Jeremy Reed:  1-6, double, R (.283)
WLAD:  2-5, R (.323)
Bryan LaHair:  2-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, walk, K (.257)
Nick Green:  1-4, R, RBI
Jeff Clement:  3-4, 2 doubles, 2 R, 2 RBI, walk (.279)
Jon Nelson:  2-2, double, RBI (.214)
Sebastien Boucher:  Welcome to AAA!  Pinch ran, played LF, 0-3, R, K.
Rob Johnson (DH):  2-4, solo HR, 2 R, walk, K (.261)
Oswaldo Navarro:  3-4, R, 3 RBI, walk (.229)

One of the unsung launchpads in the PCL is in Tucson, overshadowed by high arid Isotopes Park in Albuquerque, mile high Colorado Springs, and the desert and altitude thin air (a paltry 1250 feet above sea level) of Cashman Field in Las Vegas.  But don't forget about Tucson, which sits around 2600 feet above sea level and, I hear, gets pretty dry and hot itself.

Yet, despite this and the offensive explosion from yesterday, only one home run was hit, and it was an important home run.

First of all, sneaking under the radar was the absence of Adam Jones, who also didn't play on Saturday.  Don't get too excited or worried: he ran into a wall on Friday and was given a couple days off to rest and make sure he's alright.  According to the News Tribune, Daren Brown said the specific ailment was 'back soreness' and that Jones remains day to day.

As Keith Olbermann used to say, we're all day to day.

Meanwhile, SPs named Thomas clearly did not have a good day, as Brad's day was about as bad as Justin's in Mobile.  He had done a passable job through 4, but got absolutely destroyed by line drives in the bottom 5th, giving Tucson a 9-7 lead and getting chased after the Sidewinders had trailed 7-3 going into that frame.  Five of the seven line drives he surrendered came in that 5th frame.

Flyballs:  3
Groundballs:  10
Line Drives:  7 (5 in final inning)
Walks:  4
Strikeouts:  3

More fun for the Rainiers, as Jon Nelson strained a hammy running out a double in the 4th.  His replacement was Sebastien Boucher, making his AAA debut after a dubious AA campaign (219/325/289) where he showed good plate patience and stole bases but had an average hovering around the Mendoza line the entire way with no power.  Clearly, he was brought in to come off the bench, play some outfield and provide some footspeed.

Juan Sandoval came in, gave up a line drive to Alberto Callaspo that scored one of Thomas' runners, and Boucher muffed the play in LF to give Callaspo 2nd.  He soone escaped.

The Rainiers came right back.  WLAD lined a single with one out, Bryan LaHair walked and Mike Schultz had a convo with the pitching coach.  I don't think the message was 'throw a wild pitch' but Schultz went and did so anyway, moving the runners into scoring position before Nick Green smoked a grounder into right to cash in WLAD and cut it to 9-8.  Bill Murphy came in to pitch and Jeff Clement must have learned Murphy, because he hit a towering double to cash in LaHair and Green and give the Rainiers a 10-9 lead.

The Sidewinders immediately responded.  Robby Hammock led off with a double and Brian barden knocked him in to tie the ballgame.  Jason Smith lined a single and Sandoval got lifted for Kam Mickolio, who got the next two batters to get out of the jam.  Kam wasn't dominant, but he tiptoed to six more outs, working 2.2 scoreless frames in all.

In the top 9th, Rob Johnson walked to the plate to lead off against Brandon Medders, and took Medders deep to give the Rainiers an 11-10 lead.  It was only Rob's 4th HR of the season.

With the lead in hand, Wife Vulture came in to get groundballs, because that's what Hargrove said.  Tucson sent two pinch hitters up to try and get something going, but all the Sidewinders managed was a two out single before going quietly to seal the Rainiers win.  Wife Vulture now has 5 saves since returning to action.

NEXT:  ES CAMPILLO TIEMPO in Tucson at 6:05 pm PDT.