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7/27 Minor League Wrap-Up

I just discovered a new lounge on the Ave in the U District that specializes in Sake, appropriately called Lounjin.  NO, I did not have any alcohol this early in the day.  They actually serve coffee in the mornings and do free wifi, so I wrote this up there.  I may have to take my first foray into sake at some point in the near future, however, given there is a place so close to my home that serves it.

Lots of action in yesterday's AZL game, some interesting tidbits about New Orleans' place in baseball history, and more!

On to the wrap-up!

VENEZUELA~!  VSL Mariners 6, VSL Mets 1
VSLM's:  43-20... Metropolitanos:  19-43

Reynaldo Sabala:  8 IP, 8 H, 1 ER, walk, 4 K
Mayckol Guaipe:  1 IP, 1 H, K
Roberto Velasquez:  1-4, RBI (.248/.331/.297)
Jose Rivero:  0-4, sac fly RBI, K (.288/.395/.472)
Carlos Ramirez:  3-3, double, 3 R (.268/.365/.366)
Rigoberto Rangel:  3-3, R (.261/.362/.420)
Larry Gonzalez:  2-3, R, 2 RBI, K (.247/.333/.299)
Terry Serrano, 0-1, R, 2 RBI, walk, K (.234/.343/.289)

The VSL Mets actually kept this close, clamping down and killing various rallies to keep the VSLM's lead to 2-1... until the VSLM's blew up for 4 runs in the 8th to put it away.  Meanwhile, Reynaldo Sabala had the stud game, posting the team's longest outing of the season over 8 innings while keeping the VSL Mets at bay in a tight balgame, leaving only the 9th for Mayckol Guaipe to mop up.

Domincan:  They played two in Santo Domingo!

Game 1:  AthleticsUno 6, Mariners 0, 7 innings

Henry Perez:  1.1 IP, 4 H, (4 R) 3 ER, walk, 2 K, wild pitch
Miguel Celestino:  2.2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, walk, K, balk
Tony Bremon: 2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER
Ramon Morla:  1-2, double, walk, K (.232/.377/.354)
Hector Mercedes:  1-3, double, K (.265/.357/.357)
Mario Flores:  1-3, double, K (.288/.382/.542)

Okay, that sucked.  NEEEEEEXT.

Game 2:  Mariners 1, AthleticsUno 0, 7 innings
DSLM's:  27-16... DSLA1's:  29-15

Ariel Alcantara:  5 IP, 1 H, walk, 2 K, wild pitch
Victor Duarte:  2 IP, walk, K
Amelis Carvajal:  1-3, solo HR, K (.247/.444/.356)
rest of DSLM's lineup:  2-19, 2 K

This 2nd game was a rush job, reminding me of the one MLB game 50 games ago when everybody had a train to catch, so everybody swung at everything and they finished the game in 51 minutes.  Four hits in all, one of which cleared the wall in the 4th (thanks, Amelis Carvajal) and decided the game, two walks, both by the DSLA1's, and 6 combined K's meant everything else was put in play, and quite likely, quickly.  It almost seems silly to compile the pitching stats, as you'd have to wonder how differently Ariel Alcantara and Victor Duarte would have fared had the hitters hadn't been as rushed.

Arizona... kicking off the AZL's second half:  Mariners 5, Athletics 4, 10 innings
AZLM's (1st half CHAMPS):  1-0... AZLA's:  0-1

Johnny DuRocher:  3 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 walks, 2 K
Jacob Wild:  5 IP, 4 H, 2 ER (HR), 7 K
Eddy Fernandez:  2 IP, 2 H, (1 R) 0 ER
Maximo Mendez:  2-4, 2 R, walk (.283/.380/.489)
Juan Fuentes:  1-4, double, K (.304/.354/.391)
Israel Nuñez:  2-5, R, RBI, 2 K
Mario Martinez:  1-4, double, RBI, 2 K (.222/.245/.293)

The first pitching surprise was Backup QB getting the start, as apparently they're looking to stretch him out, given a much better chance of advancing through the system if he proves effective as a starter in the lower ranks.

The second surprise was Jacob Wild's effort after DuRocher called it a day.  Wild, who has had a lot of work out of the AZLM's pen, came in and threw 5 solid innings, striking out 7 with a performance good enough to show that maybe HE could warrant a rotation spot....

... except for that two run home run he allowed in the 8th that gave the A's a 3-1 lead.  That was bad, but then again, given this outing was a stretch for him to begin with, he could well have been gassed once he hung that suck pitch over the plate for Ben Barrone, so, mulligan.

But not on the scoreboard, as the M's now needed to come back or toast.  Anthony Phillips led of with a walk.  Edgar Tejeda uncorked a wild pitch to move him over, and that was all for naught because Daniel Carroll walked.  Then Maximo Mendez smoked a ball to 3rd that 3B Carlos Arrieche couldn't handle in time, and his desperate throw to get Mendez went YIKES AND AWAY.  Phillips scored easily to cut the lead to 3-2 and Carroll took 3rd, but as Mendez ran for 2nd, RF Herbert Hudson retrieved the errant throw, threw to 2nd and got Mendez... for the 1st out.

And then Edgar Tejeda uncorked another wild pitch to bring in Carroll and tie the game.  In case you were wondering, it wasn't just this game: Edgar Tejeda is having a horrible season so far, with 12 runs allowed in 7.2 IP along with 7 walks and 7 K.

(A side note: Guess what I learned just now?  Function-Alt-N undoes entire paragraphs.  This is very close to the function keypad keys, which I use to type in symbols like ñ.  Function-Alt-0241, or in this case, Function-Alt-MKUJ, makes ñ.  But that's very close to Function-Alt-N, which undoes entire paragraphs.  Guess which key I just mis-hit? And Wordpad has no re-do function.  I just lost two paragraphs trying to type ñ in Israel Nuñez's name.  Thanks, Acer, for such a terrible keyboard layout and thanks, Windows, for setting such a function so close to relevant keys.  It must be because Bill Gates hates Latinos.)

So Eddy Fernandez relieves Jacob Wild and the A's get back to back one out singles to put runners at the corners.  Angel Sierra flies out, Herbert Hudson grounds to 3rd and 3B Mario Martinez throws YIKES AND AWAY to alow a run and give the A's a 4-3 lead

And once again, this time with only three outs to spare, the AZLM's had to come back.  Keith Eusebio came in to finish, Brandon McConnell came in to pinch hit for Guy Welsh, and McConnell struck out.  Because I guess Guy Welsh couldn't do that.

Israel Nuñez then smoked a grounder to 3rd and beat it out for a base hit.  Mario Martinez came up, and Eusebio uncorked a wild pitch to move Nuñez over. Then Martinez doubled to left to cash in Nuñez and TIE THE BALLGAME.  Martinez got to 3rd and Brandon Fromm got walked and took 2nd on indifference with two outs, but Daniel Carroll flew out and we headed to extras.

The AZLM's made about 5 defensive switches and put the AZLA's down in order in the top 10th.  In the bottom half, Maximo Mendez led off with a single, Juan Fuentes bunted him over for one out... so Eusebio intentionally walked Alfredo Mateo to recreate the force, then performed the pitching equivalent of shooting yourself in the foot while trying to figure out how to unlatch the safety lock on a loaded gun, uncorking a wild pitch to move the runners to 2nd and 3rd.  He sighed and walked Brandon McConnell intentionally to recreate the force again (he is not a good jedi master), and Israel Nuñez (I almost erased my paragraph again) lined a single to cash in the winning run.

a:  Spokane 11, Everett 5
EVE:  14-24... SPO:  17-20

Robert Harmon:  4.2 IP, 6 H, (6 R) 1 ER (HR), 2 walks (1 intentional), 7 K, wild pitch. 1-5 record. His ERA went DOWN... to 7.08.
Nick Hill:  1.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, K, hit batter
Keith Meyer:  1 IP, 4 H, 3 ER (2 HR), walk
Mark Pettis:  1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, K
Ogui Diaz:  1-5, double, K (.268/.301/.394)
Wellington Dotel:  2-5, solo HR, 2 R, 2 K
Greg Halman:  3-5, 2 doubles, solo HR, 2 R, 2 RBI (.336/.407/.609)
Manelik Pimentel:  1-4, RBI, walk, 3 K (.253/.314/.453)
James Davenport:  1-2, double, R, walk, K, SB
Roberto Mena:  1-4, RBI, K, SB (.167/.219/.200)

Everett built a 3-0 lead, and then Spokane just unloaded on Robert Harmon after an error for 6 runs in the 5th, and it just snowballed from there on the Aquasox bullpen as the Indians stretched it out of reach in the final innings.

A:  Wisconsin 5, Great Lakes 2
WIS:  10-21... GLK:  9-22

Anthony Varvaro:  5 IP, 2 H, 2 walks, 11 K
Michael Wagner:  2 IP, 1 H, 3 K
Justin Souza:  1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER (HR), K
Joe Kantakevich:  1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER (HR)
Carlos Peguero:  2-4, double, 2 R (.256/.308/.448)
Reed Eastley:  2-4, R, 2 RBI, K (.308/.404/.433)
Juan Beltran:  1-3, double, 2 RBI, K (.220/.275/.248)

This game was scoreless until the T-Rats blew it open with 3 runs in the 7th and 2 more in the 8th.  Great Lakes managed a couple of token runs in the 8th off Souza and the 9th off Kantakevich, but that was all, because Anthony Varvaro flat out dominated them over the first 5, with 11 strikeouts.  The layoff has done him well and he looks revitalized for the stretch run.  The bats do not, but whatever.

A+:  Inland Empire 10, High Desert 9
Mavs:  8-27... Former affiliate:  17-18

Cibney Bello:  5.1 IP, 8 H, (6 R) 4 ER, 3 walks, 2 K, wild pitch, hit batter
Roman Martinez:  2.2 IP, 5 H, (2 R) 1 ER, 3 K
Paul Fagan:  one out, 2 H, 2 ER
Nick Allen:  two outs, 1 H
Adam Moore:  1-4, double, R, RBI (.284/.354/.543)
Jeff Frazier:  4-5, 2 run HR, 2 R, 4 RBI (.354/.407/.496)
Jeff Flaig:  3-4, 2 doubles, 2 R, RBI, walk (.243/.288/.327)
Jeff Dominguez:  2-3, R, RBI, walk (.258/.313/.356)

Cibney was Cibney, and Empire struck first with 4 runs in the 4th, though the Mavs countered with 3 in the bottom half.  Empire poured it on, though, with 2 in the 6th to chase Cibney and another in the 7th off Roman to make it 7-3... before the Mavs exploded in the bottom half, capitalizing on five walks for 6 runs to make it 9-7.

But no lead is safe with the Mavs bullpen, and after Roman allowed a run before escaping the 8th to make it 9-8, Scott Steinmann had no choice but to pull Roman, gassed after 8 outs in a pinch, for somebody.  And that somebody was Paul Fagan, for whom the 2nd half has been one long nightmare that he's still waiting to wake up from.

One triple, one single and a sac bunt later, we were tied, and Fagan was yanked for Nick Allen, who promptly allowed the go-ahead run on a single before getting a GIDP to get out of the frame.  Despite a Jeff Frazier single (and he has been caucasian hot for the Mavs since his demotion), the Mavs went quietly to end it.

AA:  West Tenn 6, Birmingham 1
WTN:  15-20... BIR:  14-21

Andrew Baldwin:  7.2 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, walk, 8 K
Juan Sandoval:  1.1 IP, 1 H, K
Brent Johnson:  3-4, R (.288/.371/.395)
Luis Valbuena:  2-4, double, R, K (.238/.304/.365)
Matt Tuiasosopo:  1-3, GRAND SLAM, walk, K (.274/.387/.422)
Rene Rivera:  1-2, R, walk, K (.194/.259/.285)
Chris Minaker:  1-3, 2 run HR (.227/.288/.282)

As we statistically showed, the Barons are one of those teams the DIAMOND JAXX should be able to beat despite themselves.

Meanwhile, the DIAMOND JAXX finally got going in the 6th inning of what was a scoreless ballgame, as Tui blew it open in the 6th with a GRAND SLAM, and Chris Minaker went deep for a 2 run bomb in the 7th to put it away.

The benefactor:  Phat Andy 29.  Andrew Baldwin pitched impressively into the 8th inning, striking out 8 over 7.2 to pick up only his 3rd win of the season.  A recently demoted Juan Sandoval got the last four outs to seal the deal, and given how overmatched he was in Tacoma, it's good for Juan to be back in an environment more consistent with his current skills, where he can build on them without getting hammered in hitters parks by guys who are being blocked from the majors by proven veterans.

Speaking of guys being blocked from the bigs by proven veterans....

AAA:  New Orleans 3, Tacoma 1
TAC: 46-61... NO:  57-49

Tomo Ohka:  6 IP, 9 H, 3 ER (2 HR), walk, 3 K
Brad Thomas:  1 IP, 1 H, K
Wife Vulture:  1 IP, 1 H
Nick Green:  2-5, double
Adam Jones:  1-4
WLAD:  0-3, walk, K
Gookie Dawkins:  1-3, RBI, walk, K

The Zephyrs play in a real offense unfriendly environment, outdoors in a swampside stadium just one spirited sprint south of Lake Ponchatrain.  Even the alleged superpowers of Adam Jones cannot overcome the swampy, humid climes of the city that Hurricane Katrina bitchslapped two years ago.

As for game... the offense couldn't get going in the sticky weather, Tomo Ohka gave up 2 home runs and the Rainiers lost 3-1.  What more do you want to know?

Did you know that the Louisiana Superdome actually has a baseball configuration, and was used by the Pelicans of the American Association in 1977? The Pelicans played there for one year before they moved to Springfield, IL the next season and renamed themselves the Redbirds.  The Superdome has even recently been used for LSU and Tulane college baseball games: an April 10, 2002 contest between the two drew a college baseball attendance record of 27,673.  But once Zephyr Field was built for the Zephyrs, they stopped using it for baseball.  So little observational information on the Superdome's baseball usage is available that even the outfield fence distances aren't known (though in the link below, one person says the dimensions were 325-380-421-380-325).  The only observation I was able to find was this:

It was a crap design, but looked a lot like the Metrodome, except with seating all around the outfield wall. Walls were kind of high as well.

The Superdome's owners certainly made efforts to attract big league baseball.  During the Indians' malaise of the 70's, team president Gabe Paul met with a group from New Orleans to discuss moving the Indians there, but then the Cleveland media found out and all hell broke loose and the Tribe had to back off.