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7/30 Minor League Wrap-Up

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I waited until after the trade deadline had passed to post this, as everyone was clearly preoccupied.

The offenses came alive for the most part yesterday, one top prospect had a massive day, some good pitching performances snuck in there, and the Mariners organization is one wifebeating reliever lighter after today.

On to the wrap-up!

VENEZUELA~!  VSL Mariners 3, VSL Cubs/Twins 2
VSLM's:  45-22... Twinkie Cublets:  31-33

Kelvin Montbrum:  6.1 IP, 4 H, (2 R) 1 ER, 3 walks, K, hit batter
Jean Tome:  1.2 IP, 2 walks (1 intentional), K, wild pitch
Jose Jimenez:  1 IP, K
None of the VSLM's 3 RBI came on hits or sac flies.  No batter had more than a single.
VSLM's lineup:  4-29, 3 R, 3 "RBI", 6 walks, 4 K

This was a case of the VSLM's squeezing in two runs and waiting for the VSL Cubs/Twins to do themselves in.  A bases loaded hit by pitch of Jose Rivero in the 1st scored the first run (for which he received an RBI), and Cesar Fuentes grounded out to plate another to stake the VSLM's to a quick 2-0 lead.  The VSL Cs/Ts also grounded home a run in the bottom 1st.

This was a battle of who wanted the game less.  The only run that was actually BATTED IN came in the 7th when Alfredo Martin singled in a run to tie the ballgame.

And in the top 9th, with the bases loaded and one out, Carlos Ramirez got plunked to force in the winning run.  Game ball goes to big butts, cause they cannot lie, and those VSLers can't deny, with guys on base and batter in place and a butt in catcher's face, you get PLUNKED.

Dominican:  Mariners 9, AthleticsDos 6
DSLM's:  28-18... DSLA2's:  7-38

Jose Perdomo:  2 IP, 3 H, (3 R) 2 ER, 2 walks, 2 K, wild pitch
Michael Pineda:  4 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, walk, 6 K
Angel Echevarria:  2 IP, 4 H, (2 R) 1 ER
Felix Bautista:  1 IP, K
Amelis Carvajal:  1-3, double, R, RBI, 2 walks, 2 K (.241/.439/.354)
George Soto:  2-5, RBI, 2 K (.267/.337/.393)
Hector Mercedes:  1-4, RBI, walk (.269/.358/.380)
Victor Ozuna:  2-2, R (.256/.442/.256)
Rey Lebron:  1-2, R, 2 RBI, 2 walks (.110/.313/.164)

The DSLM's responded to 3 A2 runs in the top 2nd with 5 runs in the bottom half.  The A2's added a run in the 5th but the DSLM's stretched it out with 2 runs in the bottom 5th to make it 7-4. The A2's scored in the 7th and 8th but the DSLM's responded in each bottom half with a run of their own.  There was no way they were letting such a bad team win this game.

Arizona:  Mariners 9, Giants 4
AZLM's:  3-1... AZL Gigantes:  1-3

Robbie Dominguez:  5 IP, 5 H, 3 ER (HR), walk, 4 K, hit batter
Jason Snyder:  1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, walk, K, wild pitch, hit batter.  First game back in a long while (last pitched this season with the Mavs, and badly).
Stephen Bills:  2 IP, 2 H
Michael Renfree:  1 IP, 2 K
Daniel Carroll:  1-5, triple, 2 RBI, K (.348/.440/.435)
Brandon Fromm:  1-5, R, RBI, K (.184/.265/.299)
Brandon McConnell:  1-4, 3 run HR, 2 K (.283/.367/.453)
Dwight Britton:  2-3, 2 R, walk, K, 2 SB (.292/.356/.323)
Israel Nuñez:  2-3, R, walk, K (.277/.333/.277)
Anthony Phillips:  2-4, R (.333/.429/.350)

The AZLM's powered to a quick 7-0 lead that the AZL Giants never really threatened.

a:  The Aquasox had yesterday off.  They are in Vancouver to play 3 games with the Canadians (20-19).

A:  Wisconsin 6, Dayton 1
WIS:  12-23... DAY:  18-18

Kyle Parker:  6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, walk, 7 K, wild pitch
Michael Wagner:  2 IP, 2 H, K
Joe Kantakevich:  1 IP, 2 K
Calvin Beamon:  2-4, double, 2 R, RBI, walk, SB (.264/.362/.339)
Reed Eastley:  2-4, double, R, RBI, walk, K (.310/.416/.434)
Carlos Peguero:  1-3, double, RBI, 2 K (263/.315/.465)
Ronald Garth:  2-5, 3 RBI, 2 K (.204/.271/.241)

The T-Rats slowly staked a 4-1 lead over the first 4 innings, and aded insurance runs in the 9th to seal the deal.  Kyle Parker is lucky that I'm out of demolition derby jokes, and pitched 6 quality innings to clamp down on a decent Dragons squad. HEY, haven't seen one of these in a while:

Flyballs:  5
Groundballs:  7
Line Drives:  1
Pop Ups:  1
Walks:  1
Strikeouts:  7

(I decided not to gratuitously do these anymore, but to use them sparingly, when the moment calls for it.)

A+:  High Desert 20, Inland Empire 7
Mavs:  10-28... Empire:  18-20

Marwin Vega:  7 IP, 6 IP, 2 ER (HR), 2 walks, 3 K
Jose Escalona:  1 IP, 2K
Ivan Blanco:  1 IP, 4 H, 5 ER (HR), walk, 2 K (ERA:  17.36)
Michael Saunders:  1-3, R, 2 RBI, walk, K (.303/.399/.483)
Carlos Triunfel:  6-6, 3 R, 2 RBI (.340/.366/.402)
Jesus Guzman:  2-4, double, 2 R, 2 RBI (.287/.357/.506)
Adam Moore:  4-5, double, 2 R, 2 RBI, walk, K (.292/.361/.548)
Johan Limonta:  1-4, R, RBI, K (.298/.368/.438)
Jeff Frazier:  1-4, 3 run HR, 3 R, walk, K (.368/.423/.560)
Travis Scott:  1-3, GRAND SLAM, 3 R, 2 walks, K (.295/.380/.530)
Kevin Reynolds:  3-5, double, 2 R, RBI (.407/.438/.494)
Jeff Dominguez:  2-3, double, 3 R, RBI, walk (.269/.322/.369)

The Mavs finally got the groundgame going and rolled to three first half touchdowns, leaving a punchless Empire offense in the dust.  Travis Scott and Jeff Frazier pounded in a touchdown each.

In actual baseball news, Carlos Triunfel blew up with SIX HITS.  KISS THE RING, CAL LEAGUE.  A 7 run 1st followed by an 11, ELEVEN run 4th put the game away quickly.  And the score belies a temendous 7 inning outing by Marwin Vega, who only allowed two runs.  Ivan Blanco is to blame for allowing those 5 extra runs in the 9th, bloating his ERA to a total that looks like my grocery bill.

AA:  West Tenn 11, Tennessee 6
WTN:  16-22... TEN:  19-19

Justin Thomas:  3 IP, 7 H, (6 R) 4 ER, 3 walks, 5 K
Craig James:  3 IP, 1 H, 3 K
Juan Sandoval:  3 IP, 1 H, 3 K
Brent Johnson:  1-4, double, R, walk, K (.291/.372/.402)
Luis Valbuena:  2-4, 2 doubles, R, 4 RBI, walk (.251/.316/.382)
Marshall Hubbard:  1-4, double, R, walk, K (.247/.343/.391)
Matt Tuiasosopo:  1-4, 2 RBI (.271/.385/.416)
Prentice Redman:  1-5, double, 2 RBI (.257/.364/.429)
Michael Wilson:  1-3, solo HR, 2 R, walk (.143/.227/.286)
Luis Oliveros:  1-3, solo HR, 2 R (.268/.299/.362)
Chris Minaker:  3-4, solo HR, 3 R (.232/.291/.295)

The DIAMOND JAXX took a novel approach to their bullpen usage once Justin Thomas was pulled in the 4th trailing 6-4.  Given they have no shutdown arms, but DO have relievers who are currently somewhat capable in general, they took terrible closer Craig James, put him in for Thomas and had him go until the 6th.  Putting him into a one run game in the 8th or 9th carries a ton of pressure, obviously, because they're boned if he gives up runs, but putting him in the same position during the 4th doesn't carry as much pressure, given that, worst case scenario, he gives up the lead and they stil have plenty of innings in which to come back, plus the opposing team will not go all out with substitutions and putting their bets hitters and runers in the game on the spot, since there's still a lot of baseball left to play.

Then the DIAMOND JAXX struck with 3 runs in the bottom 4th, powered by Luis Oliveros and Chris Minaker hitting back to back home runs, to take a 7-6 lead.

In the 7th, they took failed AAA reliever Juan Sandoval, put him in with an 8-6 lead, and had him go the rest of the way.  Extended work in lower pressure situations will likely be the key to getting these two failures to turn their seasons around, so this was good bullpen usage.  The DIAMOND JAXX added insurance runs late, and it was an easy victory.

Apparently, Kerry Wood is going to make a AA rehab appearance today.  This wouldn't normally matter, except that the Cubs' AA team is... the Tennessee Smokies.  So the DIAMOND JAXX probably get to see an inning of the injury volcano that is Kerry Wood before continuing to lay waste to the foul, misshapen pitching staff of the Tennessee Smokies.

AAA:  Tacoma 6, Oklahoma 5
TAC:  48-62... OKL:  54-53

Ryan Feierabend:  7 IP, 5 H, (4 R) 2 ER (HR), 3 walks, 4 K
Brad Thomas:  one out, 1 H, 1 ER, walk, hit batter
Wife Vulture:  1.2 IP, 1 H, K
Sebastien Boucher:  2-5, R, K (.290/.333/.371)
Jeremy Reed:  2-5, double, RBI, K (.289/.346/.438)
Mike Morse:  1-3, R, RBI, K (.315/.382/.473)
Rob Johnson:  1-3, 2 R, RBI, walk (.262/.332/.367)
Gookie Dawkins:  1-4, double, R, 3 RBI, K, SB #11 (.250/.293/.341)

I don't think, barring injury, that we are going to see Ryan Feierabend again until September.  This is by no means an indictment of his performance today, which was alright if not a bit spotty.  But it's clear given his struggles in MLB, and his quality but not necessarily impressive performance in AAA, that at this young stage of his career, his skills don't necessarily clamor for a big league role.  He is a finesse pitcher whose margin for error at this point is far too small to get away with mistakes against big leaguers.  Here in AAA, he succeeds, but he does not dominate.  We'll see Feir again in September, likely in a mop up or middle relief role in the oversized 40 man expanded bullpen, maybe a spot start if 5 other guys drop dead, but we'll just have to hope that a couple more lights go on between now and next April.

Meanwhile, the Rainiers jumped out to a 6-1 lead, and only with a 3 run rally in the 7th off Feierabend, and one more run in the 8th off an errant Brad Thomas, did they make the score close, but Wife Vulture came in and treated the last six batters the way Michael Vick treats his dogs.

Fun fact:  2 of those 3 runs in the 7th for the Redhawks came off a home run from some catcher named Guillermo Quiroz.  Quiroz, inexplcably dispatched by the M's early in 2006, is hitting 281/330/411 in 54 games, and the fact that he wasn't a part of the Rangers merry go round at backup catcher says just as much.

LATE BREAKING UPDATE:  Apparently, right before the deadline, Wife Vulture got dealt to the Phillies, who were looking for relief and wifebeating help.  In return, they got Jesus Merchan, a 26 year old SS who has hit the wall at AA and is in his 3rd season at that level.  Merchan has hit 327/403/467 in 272 ABs in AA Reading of the Eastern League, but has only struck out 17 times while walking 23, one heck of a contact bat, albeit one with no more than doubles power.  A career minor league line of 288/345/377 shows that there's never going to be much pop, but 164 K's in 2113 career ABs confirms that he always been a put-the-ball-in-play guy, like a crappy Placido Polanco.  A line drive rate under 10% this year tells me that he's just having a lot of good fortune.  Expect little, except fewer strikeouts from whatever lineup slot he takes.

I would think, with the glut of incumbent middle infielders in Tacoma, that he would end up in West Tennessee, but stranger decisions have been made, AND he had just been promoted to AAA Ottawa, probably a fill-in callup or a just-because-it's-time callup.