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7/21 Minor League Wrap-Up

I didn't watch this morning's game, and haven't even checked the score, but I'm guessing the outcome wasn't too good.

Not much to crow about here.  The Rainiers were supposed to be on TV last night, but got rained out.  The rookie teams looked good, the T-Rats look like they're getting nowhere, as do the Mavs, but the DIAMOND JAXX are looking better lately.

On to the wrap-up.

VENEZUELA~!  VSL Mariners 10, VSL Cubs/Twins 1
VSLM's:  39-19... Twinkie Cubs:  28-28

Oberth Guanire:  7 IP, 4 H, 4 K
Yorjans Chourio:  2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 4 walks, K
Jorge Agudelo:  3-5, 2 R, walk
Humberto Espinoza:  1-3, R, 2 RBI (.327/.427/.429)
Jose Rivero:  1-5, triple, 2 RBI, K (.294/.395/.495)
Cesar Fuentes:  2-5, R (.320/.397/.420)
Rigoberto Rangel:  1-4, RBI, K (.250/.345/.422)
Rafael Torrealba:  2-4, double, 2 R, RBI (.186/.290/.237)
Larry Gonzalez:  3-4, triple, R, RBI (.258/.324/.323)
Terry Serrano:  3-5, triple, R, 2 RBI (.232/.326/.270)

In the wake of another fine victory, let's look at a couple VSLers.

Humberto Espinoza:  Pinch Hitter Extraordinare has been Humberto Espinoza: Ordinary Starter.  In his last 8 starts... save for a 4 hit game in July 12th against these same Cubs/Twins, his bat has turned into the proverbial pumpkin at midnight, 3 for 21 with no extra base hits.  Nonetheless, his key stat remains the ability to put the ball in play: only 2 K's in 98 ABs, against 16 walks.  Of course, if he's going to get out of Hugo Chavez's grasp, he needs to show that he can be as productive as a lineup regular as he was in a situational pinch hitting role.  Manny Mota didn't pinch hit his way to the bigs and neither did Lenny Harris.

Oberth Guanire:  In only his 2nd start (he had made 11 relief appearances), Oberth threw 7 impressive innings, walking nobody and allowing only 4 harmless hits.  Having only walked 2 batters per 9, holding a 23/8 K/BB ratio for an FIP that matches his 2.41 ERA... Oberth, like Humberto, will need to show that he can work in a starting role to get out of Venezuela, and so far, so good, though obviously we'll need to see a few more quality starts like this given the low sample size as a starter.  Three fairly recent relief outings that ended badly (3 runs in 3.2 on June 18th, 2 runs and one out recorded on July 3rd and 3 runs in 3 on July 16th) will keep the suspicion high on his inabilities, until he shows they are anomalies rather than an expected norm.

Dominican:  Mariners 8, Cardinals 1
DSLM's:  24-14... DSL Cards:  20-20

Henry Perez:  5 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 walks, 9 K
Victor Duarte:  2 IP, 3 K
Nelson Germocen:  2 IP, 1 H, walk, K
Luis Peguero:  2-5, R, K (.286/.386/.357)
Ramon Morla:  2-5, double, 2 run HR, 3 R, 2 K (.213/.346/.337)
George Soto:  3-5, 2 R, RBI, K (.270/.345/.410)
Emmanuel Familia:  3-4, double, R, RBI, K (.258/.351/.402)
Joel Mendez:  1-4, RBI (.341/.403/.437)
Mario Flores:  2-5, double, R, 2 RBI, 2 K (.245/.362/.408)
Augusto Marte:  1-4, RBI, 2 K, SB

After a hot start, Emmanuel Familia's bat has cooled (194/237/306 in his last 10).  See why I try not to get too excited about early hot starts?  Right now, the only guy whose hot start has held up is Joel Mendez, and most of his .403 OBP is a product of singles (only 10 walks in 126 ABs... against 25 K's).

Though it seems like many of the DSLM's are showing great patience at the plate, their walk totals and OBP actually sit well into the peloton, and their team K:BB is 335/162, still very Mariner-like and far from the near 1.5 K/BB ratios of teams like the DSL Tigers, Cards, Giants and NationalsUno.  However, the DSLM's seemingly small .343 SLG is actually 6th out of 33 Dominican squads.

Arizona:  The AZLM's had the day off.  They're just about done playing the AZL Cubs, but you'll have to wait until later for that recap.

a:  They played two in Everett!

Game 1:  Boise 6, Everett 3, 7 innings

Edward Paredes:  3.2 IP, 6 H, (6 R) 5 ER, 4 walks, 3 K
Keith Meyer:  1.1 IP, 3 walks, 2 K, wild pitch
Will Brown:  2 IP, 1 H, walk, K
Joe Dunigan:  subbed for Beef Roids in RF, 1-1, double, R, 2 RBI, walk
Roberto Mena:  1-2, RBI, walk
rest of Aquasox lineup:  4-25, 2 R, 2 walks, 7 K

The Hawks jumped on Edward Paredes right away and eventually sent him packing in the 4th.  The Aquasox had rallied for 3 runs in the 3rd, but after 4 they trailed 6-3, and after that it seemed like both teams were in a rush to get to game two.

Game 2:  Boise 4, Everett 1
EVE:  13-19... BOI:  16-16

Juan Carlos Ramirez:  5 IP, 4 H, 1 ER (HR), 2 walks, 7 K
Brandon McKerney:  1 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 2 walks
Bryan Harris:  1 IP, 1 H, 2 K
Roberto Mena:  2-4 (don't get excited... .108/.195/.162 in 37 ABs)
Jeff Dunbar:  1-3, solo HR (.206/.312/.349)
Joe Dunigan:  1-3 (.227/.254/.291)
rest of Aquasox lineup:  2-16, 2 walks, 7 K

The curiously named Al Albuquerque shut down Everett's bats for 5 innings, and with this being a doubleheader-shortened seven inning game, that was pretty much all he needed, as the Hawks pounded in a run in the 5th off a solo shot from Jose "I've Got It" Made, and 3 more in the 6th to finish the Aquasox off and finish off the doubleheader sweep.  The Aquasox got a run of a token rally in the bottom of the 7th and final inning.

A:  South Bend 5, Wisconsin 1
WIS:  8-19... SBD:  14-14

Anthony Varvaro:  6 IP, 6 H, (1 R) 0 ER, walk, 5 K
Joe Kantakevich:  1 IP, 2 H, (4 R) 1 ER, walk, K, wild pitch
Michael Wagner:  1 IP, K
Rollie Gibson:  1 IP, K
Juan Beltran:  2-3, SB (.217/.273/.239)
Alex Liddi:  0-2, sac fly RBI (.231/.310/.388)
rest of T-Rats lineup:  1-24, R, walk, 7 K

Varvaro pitches pretty well, but Joe Kantakevich facilitated a meltdown, Alex Liddi committed two errors in the field at 3B and the T-Rats got three hit.  After an influx of drafted talent that replaced several overmatched kids that have since been reassigned to more appropriate development levels, the T-Rats are right back where they started offensively.

A+:  Lake Elsinore 6, High Desert 5
Mavs:  8-22... Lake:  20-10

Cibney Bello:  3.1 IP, 7 H, 5 ER (HR), 2 walks, K, wild pitch, 3 hit batters
Jose Escalona:  2.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 3 walks, 3 K, 3 wild pitches
Juan Zapata:  2 IP, 1 H, K
Michael Saunders:  2-5, double, R, SB #26 (.304/.397/.497)
Carlos Triunfel:  2-4, walk, SB (.302/.323/.349)
Travis Scott:  3-5, double, 2 R, K (.303/.376/.487)
Alex Meneses:  1-4, double, R, RBI, walk, K
Kevin Reynolds:  2-5, R, RBI, 3 K (.429/.465/.524)
Jeff Dominguez: 2-4, double, RBI, K (.254/.307/.353)

It took 6 innings for the Mavs to get the bats going and by then, they were trailing 6-0.  Their 9th inning rally produced one run but could not produce the crucial 2nd run to tie the ballgame.

AA:  West Tenn 9, Mobile 4
WTN:  13-17... MOB:  11-19

Andrew Baldwin:  5.1 IP, 7 H, (4 R) 3 ER, walk, hit batter
Chad Fillinger:  two outs, 1 H, walk
Mark Lowe:  1 IP, walk
The Aircraft Carrier:  2 IP, walk, K
Brent Johnson:  2-5, R, K (.281/.364/.395)
Marshall Hubbard:  2-4, 2 R, walk, K (.254/.345/.407)
Charlton Jimerson:  2-5, double, 2 R, RBI, K, SB #29 (.284/.351/.588)
Michael Wilson:  3-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, walk, K (.155/.238/.268)
Luis Valbuena:  2-3, R, RBI, 2 walks (.237/.301/.367)
Erick Monzon:  2-4, 3 RBI, K (.216/.287/.330)
Rene Rivera:  1-5, RBI, K (.193/.260/.282)

Go figure that MC Baldwin 29 throws one of his weaker games of the year, failing to strike out a batter, allowing 4 runs while failing to get out of the 6th, and only THEN records his 2nd win of the season. This is thanks to enough 2 hit games to make your head explode, including Michael Wilson coming out of whatever cave he's been staying in lately to record another massive game.  Expect him to disappear for another month, come back and have a 3 home run game, then go AWOL and become a Buddhist monk somewhere in Nepal.

AAA:  Well, they WERE supposed to play two in Tacoma.

Game 1:  Tacoma 3, Las Vegas 3, suspended in the 8th inning

Jake Woods:  6 IP, 5 H, 3 ER (HR), 2 walks, 2 K.  Thank Tomo Ohka's suck pitch that you still have a job, mystic-tan boy.
Juan Sandoval:  1 IP, walk
Wife Vulture:  Someone left the vulture out in the rain,
And he don't know if he can take it
Cause it took so long to make it
And he'll never hit his wife again... AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGAINNNNNNNNNNN
Adam Jones:  2-3, walk
Bryan LaHair:  1-3, solo HR, walk, 2 K
Jeff Clement:  1-3, triple, R, 2 K
Gookie Dawkins:  1-2, R, RBI, walk

What sucks is that the nightcap was supposed to air on FSN last night, and because they got rained out in the front end of the doubleheader, FSN instead raced the broadcast team down to Portland and covered the Portland-Tucson game instead, which is nice in that we got to see some PCL baseball anyway, but it sucks because we as Mariner fans couldn't give two craps about Portland and Tucson.

Also, memo to those who run PGE Park: it's 2007.  They make Fieldturf now.  It feels just like real grass, and PGE Park's infield wouldn't turn infield grounders into high bouncing doubles if you had Fieldturf.  RIP OUT THE ASTROTURF AND GET WITH THE TIMES.  Just because the park is old and can't be retrofitted with neat stuff doesn't mean you need to keep EVERYTHING outdated.

Also, there's a campaign to change the Portland AAA squad's nickname, of which I strongly approve.  I think the Beavers nickname is absolutely hokey and dumb, plus it's an unflattering euphemism for a certain part of the female anatomy.  Notice I refuse to use it in wrap-ups when the Rainiers play... Portland.