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7/19 Minor League Wrap-Up

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I simulate a fictional baseball league on my laptop with Out of the Park 6.5.  I did this sort of thing throughout my childhood and through adulthood, save for periods when I had no computer or materials to continue.  My baseball league has 24 teams, none of which are based in MLB cities, most of which play in actual minor league stadiums with actual park factors.  The big league rosters have 26 players instead of 25 and there is no DH.  My geek card is up for renewal.

I just uploaded OOTP to my new laptop a few weeks ago, and it took forever to transfer players from my old sim (Front Page 96), teams and play several seasons to amass requisite career numbers.  Finally, four days ago, I got the Las Vegas Gamblers up to the present day, and took over as manager for a 43-46 squad that had a reasonable payroll and a fractured but useful 26 man roster.

I immediately swung a bunch of even trades to get a more balanced and solid roster, and won my first two games, stealing bags, bunting and suicide squeezing like mad while having a strict 27 batter limit on SPs and liberally playing the backups (including two no-hit, all-glove middle infielders I plucked off the waiver wire).

So anyway, in my last game, my team builds a 12-1 lead on Omaha in Omaha through 5, and my ace, looking at making his next start on short rest, gets pulled after about 90 pitches as I also pull the league's leading slugger after a 4 hit night, as well as some other big bats, to put in the backups for some work.  I send in Daniel Derozier, a 27 year old mop-up reliever with good stuff but Morrow-esque control and he gives up 5 runs over the next 3 innings, but whatever.

In the 9th, leading 12-6, I consider warming up Sal Clark, my veteran setup guy, just in case, but think 'nah' because the kid's durable enough to finish and had only thrown 35 pitches.

With one out, the kid gives up a double.  He strikes out the next batter for two outs.  Omaha's no hit 2B flies to left, and my LF, a decent glove, drops it.  The guy on 2nd comes around and scores, 12-7.  Then the next guy homers, 12-9.  I quickly go and get Sal Clark to warm up.  The next batter walks.  The next batter, a shortstop with minimal power, goes yard and now it's 12-11, and Omaha dusts off Willie Saunders, the league's 2nd best slugger who had taken the day off, to pinch hit.  I check the pen, and Sal still isn't warm yet.  I think about walking Saunders, but think, "C'mon, what are the odds that he goes deep, and besides, if I walk him, and the next hitter (John Hitt, who has a pretty good power bat) goes yard, game's over."

So Derozier pitches to him.  And Saunders pulls a liner right down the LF line and 30 feet over the wall to tie the ballgame.  And NOW Sal Clark is warm.  Clark comes in and retires Hitt, but it is, quite simply, the greatest meltdown fake or real I had seen this side of 14-2.

And on top of it, my bench is empty and all of my no-hit backups are in the lineup.  They do nothing, and finally, in the 12th, their catcher goes deep off Sal Clark and seals a horribly ugly 13-12 comeback win.

I can only imagine what it would be like if that happened to an actual field manager in his 4th day on the job.

Uh... on to the wrap-up!

VENEZUELA~!  VSL Pirates 6, VSL Mariners 4
VSLM's:  37-19... VSL Bucs:  38-17 (!)

Leonardo Rodriguez:  7 IP, 4 H, (3 R) 1 ER (HR), 2 K, hit batter
Rhonny Acosta:  one out, 2 H, 2 ER, K
Kelvin Montbrum:  no outs recorded, 1 ER, walk (intentional)
Oberth Guanire:  no outs recorded, 1 H
Jose Jimenez:  1.2 IP, 2 walks (1 intentional), K
Jose Rivero:  1-4, double, R, RBI (.286/.390/.454)
Cesar Fuentes:  3-4, R, RBI, SB (.321/.393/.425)
Carlos Ramirez:  1-4, double, 2 RBI, 3 K (.255/.356/.346)

Leonardo Rodriguez had begun to fade down the stretch, as a 4-0 VSLM's lead became 4-3, but it fell apart upon his departure, as Rhonny Acosta, Kelvin Montbrum and Oberth Guanire combined to record one out in a 3 run disaster 8th inning.  Jose Jimenez finally bailed these clowns out of the 8th, but by then it was 6-4 Pirates and the VSLM's would not rally.

Dominican:  Phillies 2, Mariners 1, 10 innings
DSLM's:  22-14... DSL Phils:  22-16

Ariel Alcantara:  5 IP, 2 H, (1 R) 0 ER, 5 K, hit batter
Victor Duarte:  1 IP, 1 H, 3 K
Juan Franco:  2.1 IP, 1 H, walk (intentional), 4 K
Angel Echavarria:  one out, K
Felix Bautista:  0.2 IP, 1 H, (1 R) 0 ER, walk (intentional)
Ramon Morla:  2-4, 2 doubles, R, K (.202/.337/.286)
rest of DSLM's lineup:  2-29, 4 walks, 11 K

The DSLM's first two batters pounded in a run: Ramon Morla led off with a double, and after a Dario Alvarez wild pitch, George Soto grounded out to cash in Morla.

The bad news is that the DSLMs didn't do a thing after that, as the Phils took their sweet time coming back.  Ariel Alcantara put the tying run aboard when he plunked leadoff batter Vladimir De Los Santos, and Rudney Balentien singled him over (now, isn't that a mishmash of familiar names?).  Luis Paulino grounded to 1st, and 1B Cristian Rijo bucknered the ball to allow the tying run.

Neither side did a thing until the bottom 10th, when the Phils Lendy Castillo led off with a single, Cesar Tejada bunted him over, and after reliever Felix Bautista intentionally walked the next batter, Eduard Martinez grounded to the 1B side, Cristian Rijo picked it up and threw YIKES AND AWAY, allowing the winning run to score.  Can we credit Cristian Rijo with this loss? Because I'm gonna.

W:  Kenny Fernandez (3-0)
L:  Cristian Rijo (0-1)

Arizona:  Athletics 13, Mariners 9
AZLM's:  16-7... AZLA's:  8-15

Richard Ortiz:  2.2 IP, 4 H, 4 ER (HR), walk, 3 K, wild pitch, balk, hit batter
Tom Ellis:  3.1 IP, 2 H, (1 R) 0 ER, walk, K
Ramon Romeijn:  one out, 1 H, 3 ER, 2 walks (1 intentional)
Johnny DuRocher:  1.2 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 2 walks, K, hit batter. Ouch.
Daniel Carroll:  2-4, triple, R, RBI, walk, K (.372/.479/.462)
Guy Welsh:  pinch RBI single, R
Brandon Fromm:  0-3, R, sac fly RBI, walk, 3 K (.200/.286/.354)
Maximo Mendez:  1-3, triple (.268/.376/.465)
Brandon McConnell:  4-5, double, triple, 2 R, RBI, K

Aaaaaand the rookie teams get swept*.  The sad news is that a primary culprit in putting this game out of reach is the org's favorite backup QB, as he surrendered 3 runs in the 7th (to go with Ramon Romeijn's 3 runs allowed) and 2 more in the 8th.  The fatal 7th made a 5-4 deficit a 11-4 deficit, so, granted, the game was already in the toilet once DuRocher suffered severe earned run damage, but it made the AZLM's 5 run rally in the 9th nothing more than a hollow gesture of pride.  However, hindsight is 20/20, and to date, DuRocher has still had a pretty good start to his pro career.

* - I count Everett as A ball, as MiLB does.

a:  Everett 5, Boise 4, 13 innings
EVE:  13-17... BOI:  14-16

Nolan Gallagher:  4 IP, 1 H, 2 walks, 3 K, wild pitch
Alfredo Venegas:  3 IP, 4 H, 3 ER (HR), 2 K, freshly demoted from High A ball, where he got creamed
Nick Hill:  1 IP, 1 H, 2 K
Aaron Brown:  3 IP, 1 H, walk, 4 K
Ryan Moorer:  2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 walks, 3 K
Craig Hurba:  3-3, double, solo HR, 2 RBI, walk
Jeff Dunbar:  late sub, 0-1, sac fly RBI, K (.200/.311/.300)
Joe Dunigan:  1-6, RBI, K (.217/.239/.274)
Deybis Benitez:  2-5, RBI, 3 K (.136/.282/.169)

FINALLY, a win over those damned Boise Hawks!  And it took a comeback in the final frame of a grueling 13 inning contest.

Nolan Gallagher made a curiously early exit after 4 innings of one hit ball.

Flyballs:  6
Groundballs:  3
Line Drives:  1
Walks:  2
Strikeouts:  3

His reliever was even more curious: Alfredo Venegas, who had gotten shelled in High Desert upon his return from injury.  He received a demotion to Everett to get back on track, so here he was in his 2007 Everett debut, and he did fine in the 5th.  Venegas did fine in the 6th, and the Aquasox built a 3-0 lead.

Venegas did not do fine in the 7th.  Ty Wright led off by trying to bunt himself on, just to be annoying.  He was retired, but Tony Thomas Jr doubled, then stole 3rd base before Josh Donaldson doubled him in.  Then Kyler Burke went yard.  Tie ballgame.  Venegas escaped the 7th, but still.  The previous innings indicated that this meltdown wasn't just more of the same, but still, discouraging debut.

Military man Nick Hill relieved Venegas in the 8th and withstood a one out double to keep things knotted.  Craig Hurba led off the bottom 8th with a double down the LF line, and Wellington Dotel pinch ran for him to try and maximize the odds of the run.  Pitcher Jordan Latham showed that he didn't read the scouting report as he intentionally walked Kalian Sams, who at this point is about as easy an out as a pitcher holding a bat so long as you know how to throw non-fastballs for strikes, and then it didn't matter because Latham uncorked a wild pitch against Roberto Mena to move the runners over.  Mena flew to center for two outs and Wellington Dotel tagged up, but Beef Roids clearly did not drink his Powerthirst before coming in, because Jonathan Wyatt gunned him down at the plate for the 3rd out.  SNAAAAKE EYYYYES.

It looked in the top 9th like Boise was gonna take another one, as Kyler Burke walked against reliever Aaron Brown with one out, and Jeff Dunbar was called for catcher interference (!) to put Mario Mercedes on, leading Aquasox manager Mike Tosar to come out and say, 'Excuse me, sir, but that call indicates the presence of foreign bodies in your retinas and you should probably have them tested for glaucoma, you piece of fetid doberman excrement,' which got him thrown out of the game.

Uh... so Marc Sawyer grounded to 1st and 1B Kris Sanchez took the easy out at 1st for two outs, as the runners moved up.  And then Dylan Johnston struck out swinging as Mike Tosar went out to the parking lot with his car keys and a vial of abrasive chemicals and kindly asked an attendant for the identity of the home plate umpire's car.

The Aquasox batters went down in the bottom 9th without a whimper and we headed to extras.  Fortunately, so did the Boise batters in the top 10th.  Unfortunately, so did the Aquasox batters in the bottom 10th.  And the Boise batters looked to kindly return the favor in the top 11th but Tony Thomas Jr led off with a double.  Fortunately, his teammates atoned for this transgression by going down in order, kindly took Tony back to the dugout between frames and beat the Jr. out of his name for defying courtesy.

The Aquasox overlooked this transgression and went down in order in the bottom 11th.

But then Ryan Moorer came in to pitch for Everett, which violated the terms of the cease fire that Boise's batters had agreed to before extra innings, and so with one out, Dylan Johnston singled, and Marquez Smith drew a two out walk, but Ty Wright, momentarily distracted by a cloud of tinted smoke coming from the players/umpires section of the parking lot, swung and missed at strike three to end the frame.

The Aquasox overlooked the violation of the cease fire and went down in order in the bottom 12th.  Or maybe they're just a bunch of pussies who chose not to stand up for themselves, who knows.

In the top 13th, still violating the cease fire, Josh Donaldson drew a one out walk, Kyler Burke singled and Mario Mercedes singled to 3rd to load the bases.  Boise went into kamikaze tactics and sent Donaldson home on a suicide squeeze as Marc Sawyer put the bunt down and took the out to cash in the go-ahead run.  Dylan Johnson struck out.

And so the Aquasox, down now to their final three outs assuming they could not tie the game, tore up their copy of the cease fire.  Greg Halman shocked the world and led off with a walk.  I had no idea he knew that he didn't have to swing at balls outside the strike zone!  Halman, elated at this discovery, stole 2nd base, and Kris Sanchez drew a walk himself.  Reliever John Muller came in to pitch, then watched his catcher Josh Donaldson pass a ball to move the runners over.  Jeff Dunbar hit a deep fly to left, which Ty Wright caught for one out, but Greg Halman tagged up and came in to TIE THE BALLGAME.  Joe Dunigan smoked a grounder to the right side, INTO right field for a base hit, and Kris Sanchez came in for the winning run!  AQUASOX WIN!!

After the game, home plate umpire Bobby Leon had no comment on Mike Tosar's ejection, but was heard in the parking lot loudly remarking, "WHO THE HELL DID THIS TO MY CAR?"

Okay, that was long.  Now we've gotta jet....

(And Mike Tosar didn't actually do that. Calm down.)

A:  THEY PLAYED TWO IN APPLETON!
Game 1: Beloit 3, Wisconsin 1

Kyle Parker:  7.2 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 3 walks, 6 K
Joe Kantakevich:  one out, 2 H, 1 ER, K
Reed Eastley:  3-3, double, R, walk
James McOwen:  1-3, RBI, K
rest of T-Rats lineup:  2-25, 10 K

Yeah, so the hitters weren't quite ready.  ANYWAY....

Game 2:  Beloit 4, Wisconsin 2
WIS:  8-17... BEL:  14-11

Steven Richard:  5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER (HR), K
Brian Kappel:  1 IP, K
Shawn Kelley:  2.1 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 K
Michael Wagner:  no outs recorded, 2 H, 2 ER (HR)
Gavin Dickey:  2-4, solo HR, 2 K (.203/.242/.324)
Ronald Garth:  2-4
Reed Eastley:  2-4, R (.310/.417/.450)
Alex Liddi:  3-4 (.236/.317/.396)
James McOwen:  1-3, double, K (.275/.296/.304)
Juan Beltran:  1-3, double, RBI (.207/.265/.230)

The T-Rats had built a 2-0 lead, but the Snappers got a run off Steven Richard in his 5th and final inning of work, tied the game in the 7th off Shawn Kelley, and Eli Tintor took Michael Wagner deep with a runner on in the bottom of the 9th to seal a 4-2 walkoff win.

A+:  Modesto 11, High Desert 2
Mavs:  8-20... Deez Nuts:  17-11

Marwin Vega:  6 IP, 10 H, 4 ER, 2 K, 3 wild pitches, hit batter
Roman Martinez:  2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER (2 HR), 2 K
Steve Uhlmansiek:  1 IP, 4 H, 5 ER (HR), walk
Michael Saunders:  1-3, double, R, walk, K (.301/.396/.496)
Jeff Dominguez:  1-4, 2 run HR (.253/.308/.352)
Kevin Reynolds:  2-3 (.431/.470/.534)

Jeff Dominguez got it going with his 2nd HR of the season, a 2 run shot that quickly made it 2-1... but that was all we saw from the Mavs, as the Nuts slowly crawled ahead, tying the game in the 4th, taking the lead in the 6th, and then scoring in every frame after that, another run in the 7th, 2 more off a pair of solo HRs off Roman Martinez in the 8th, and then bombing Steve Uhlmansiek in the 9th for 5 runs to give us the embarrassing final score.  The Mavs scored 2 runs in Adelanto.  Their opponents scored 11.  This comes one day after a 12-4 blowout loss.

AA:  West Tenn 4, Mobile 2
WTN:  11-17... MOB:  11-17

Justin Thomas:  5 IP, 6 H, (1 R) 0 ER, 4 walks, 4 K, hit batter
Mark Lowe:  1 IP, 1 H, K
Craig James:  2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, K
Mumba Rivera:  1 IP, 1 H, walk, K
Brent Johnson:  2-5, R, RBI, 2 K (.278/.360/.385)
Matt Tuiasosopo:  2-4, 2 RBI, 2 K (.280/.394/.427)
Luis Valbuena:  3-4, double, R, SB (.237/.298/.370)
Chris Minaker:  2-4, double, R (.229/.287/.278)

The DIAMOND JAXX powered ahead in a sleepy contest with 3 runs in the top 8th to make it 4-1.  A token rally in the bottom 9th by Mobile produced no more than a run.  Mumba Rivera held on to record his 1st save of the season after Craig James failed to record an out in his 3rd inning of work (!).

Just to show you how punchless the DIAMOND JAXX lineup is, here are the only five players on the roster with a season AA OPS about .700:

Matt Tuiasosopo:  .821
Charlton Jimerson:  .910
Brent Johnson:  .744
Prentice Redman:  .801
Marshall Hubbard:  .740

Everyone else is under .700 on the season in AA.  I know the Southern League is a depressive offensive environment, but the normal alibis can only go so far.

AAA:  Salt Lake 9, Tacoma 8
TAC: 43-56... SLK:  53-46

Ryan Feierabend:  6 IP, 10 H, 5 ER (HR), 2 walks, 3 K, 2 wild pitches
Cesar Jimenez:  1 IP, 3 H, (4 R) 0 ER (HR), walk, K, balk
Jason Mackintosh:  1 IP, 1 H, K
Nick Green:  2-5, double, R (.315/.345/.602)
Adam Jones:  1-3, R, RBI, 2 walks, 2 K (.312/.378/.589)
WLAD:  1-5, R, 3 K (.318/.388/.569)
Brant Ust:  0-4, 4 K: The Golden Sombrero (.257/.314/.367)
Bryan LaHair:  pinch ran for Gookie Dawkins, played 1st base, 1-1, R, 2 RBI, walk (.266/.314/.385)
Oswaldo Navarro:  1-3, 2 run HR, K (.236/.298/.332)

Every time I try and hurry through the tail end of a recap, I get to AAA and the damn Rainiers just have to go and play a high scoring thriller that warrants some sort of useful recap, the bastards.  Promote WLAD and Adam Jones and CUT IT OUT.  Or at least win more of these games.

This was partially Ryan Feierabend's fault, as he got lit up for a run in the 3rd, another in the 4th, 2 in the 5th and another in the 6th before leaving with a 8-5 lead, thanks to a big 5 run 6th from the Rainiers.

The problem was the 7th inning, where Cesar Jimenez and some bad defense just crapped the bed.  With two outs and a man on 1st, Cesar Jimenez balked.  Mike Eylward, thorn in the side, grounded to 3rd, where Brant Ust had shifted after Bryan LaHair had come in, and Ust muffed it to put runners at the corners.  Still, two outs, so get Greg Porter and we're out of here.

Unfornately Cesar Jimenez misinterpreted 'get Greg Porter' as 'throw Greg Porter a suck pitch' because Greg Porter crapped all over said suck pitch and took it over the right center field wall for a game tying 3 run bomb.  Still, he can get out of here with a tie game and some hope... except he immediately gave up a double to Adam Pavkovich, and Ryan Budde cashed him in with a single.  Bees lead 9-8.  Did I mention that the Bees are the Angels' AAA affiliate?  I bet that makes you feel even better.

The Rainiers went quietly in the top 8th, and ater Jason Mackintosh averted trouble in the bottom 8th despite a two out double, the Rainiers had three outs to make something happen.  Marcus Gwyn came in to shut it down and Bryan LaHair drew a leadoff walk.  Oswaldo Navarro bunted him over for one out.  Nick Green grounded to 3rd and 3B Matthew Brown threw it YIKES AND AWAY to put him on... except it didn't get far and LaHair could only get to 3rd.  Jeremy Reed drew a walk, loading the abses with one out and Adam Jones and WLAD due up.  Oh man, you totally know what's gonna happen next!

Yeah, that's right!  Adam Jones struck out and WLAD struck out to end the ballgame!

... uh, wait.