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8/1 Minor League Wrap-Up

Tonight is Big Day #1 in Tacoma! I quickly rifle through last night's games, dwelling a bit on a wild contest in Everett, and then dwell quite a bit on the Redbirds, to help give you some more info on the guys the Rainiers will be playing tonight at LL/USSM Night #1.

On to the wrap-up!

VENEZUELA~!  VSL Phillies 6, VSL Mariners 2
VSLM's:  46-23... VSL Phils:  35-31

Danny Cruz Ayala:  1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 3 walks, K
Oberth Guanire:  4.1 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 4 K
Jean Tome:  1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, walk
Manuel Campos:  1.2 IP, 1 H, K
Terry Serrano:  1-4, RBI, walk, K, SB #10 (.240/.347/.300)
Humberto Espinoza:  2-5, K (.309/.428/.404... only 4 K's in 136 ABs)
rest of VSLM's lineup:  2-22, 2 R, 6 walks, 10 K

Well, so much for that!  Danny Cruz Ayala barely lasted into the second, so something must be wrong with him.  Oberth Guanire doesn't appear to have any problems other than with hanging pitches.

And another Mariners org lineup disappeared.  Look at that.

Dominican:  Mariners 6, AthelticsUno 2, game called due to rain with one out in top 9th and bases loaded for AthleticsUno. FISHY.
DSLM's:  29-19... DSLA1's:  30-16

Henry Perez:  5 IP, 3 H, (2 R) 1 ER, walk, 5 K, wild pitch
Victor Duarte:  2.2 IP, 2 walks, 2 K, hit batter
Nelson Germocen:  one out, walk, K
Felix Bautista:  one out, 2 H, K
Anthony Fernandez:  no outs recorded, walk
Joel Mendez:  1-4, double, R, 2 K (.310/.374/.392)
George Soto:  2-4, R (.282/.349/.417)
Hector Mercedes:  2-4, R, RBI, 2 K (.277/.362/.384)
Mario Flores:  1-3, 2 run HR, 2 R, walk (.275/.390/.551)
Emmanuel Familia:  1-3, 3 run HR, 2 K (.258/.345/.400)

Living proof that the final score doesn't really count: the rain began coming down in the top 9th as the A1's loaded the bases with one out, and so the unnamed home plate umpire went ahead and called the game a win for the DSLM's... though the accumulated stats in that 9th inning counted. Right.  I guess the thunderstorm pinch hit and GIDP'd.  That terrible T.Storm... always gagging it up in the late innings with runners in scoring position.  And then it pisses itself.

Also, as a testament to how hot starts don't necessarily belie true performance level... Emmanuel Familia shows up for the first time in a while, his OPS down to a more pedestrian .745.  Looks like the power disappeared after those 4 early HRs.  No one's looking particularly impressive in extended work for the DSLM's at the plate, though catcher Mario Flores is showing pop as he gets more ABs (.941 OPS in 69 ABs).

Arizona:  Mariners 11, Padres 4
AZLM's:  4-1... AZL Hated Natural Rivals:  3-2

Johnny DuRocher:  3 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 5 walks, K, wild pitch
Eddy Fernandez:  2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 K
Jacob Wild:  4 IP, 1 H, 4 K
Daniel Carroll:  2-6, double, 2 R, RBI, K (.347/.436/.438)
Luis Nuñez:  1-4, 2 RBI, 2 K (.260/.297/.350)
Juan Fuentes:  3-5, 2 R (.321/.383/.395)
Mario Martinez:  3-4, R, RBI (.248/.273/.325)
Alfredo Mateo:  3-4, R, 2 RBI, walk (.277/.346/.404)
Maximo Mendez:  1-4, double, R, 2 K (.276/.389/.467)
Dwight Britton:  1-5, R, RBI, K (.286/.346/.314)
Anthony Phillips:  3-3, 2 R, RBI, walk (.365/.453/.381)

Backup QB struggled as he tried to stretch the Turn Me Into An SP Project past the 3rd inning.  He could not. He also walked 5 batters and allowed 3 runs, leaving an overworked Eddy Fernandez to get through the initial 5.

But that was okay, because the bats were SMOKING and I'm not talking southwestern peyote.  Mario Martinez continues to heat up as he has caught up to pro pitching, 18 year old Daniel Carroll's hot bat has never really cooled off (though like the other young phenoms, he still needs to physically grow into himself before he finds some more power), and OH HEY, Anthony Phillips, being very carefully adapted to pro ball with spot usage, had a 3 for 3 ballgame and his batted balls have found enough holes to leave him with fine numbers.  A 17/11 K:BB shows that he also possesses a stronger sense of pitch judgment than your average 17 year old.  The Mariners have such an awesome collection of teenage batting talent.

a:  Everett 12, Vancouver 10, 11 innings
EVE:  17-25... VAN:  20-21

Juan Carlos Ramirez:  4.1 IP, 3 H, 5 ER, 7 walks, 5 K
Keith Meyer:  1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, walk, wild pitch
Ryan Moorer:  two outs, 1 H, 1 ER, 2 walks, 2 K
Brandon McKerney:  2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, K, 2 wild pitches
Bryan Harris:  2 IP, 1 H, (1 R) 0 ER, 2 walks, 3 K
Aaron Brown:  1 IP, K
Wellington Dotel:  1-6, double, 2 R, RBI, 2 K
Manelik Pimentel: 1-2, RBI
Kris Sanchez:  2-6, 2 doubles, 2 R, RBI, K
Kalian Sams:  1-5, R, RBI, 3 K
Joe Dunigan:  1-3, double, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 walks, 2 K, SB
Blake Ochoa:  1-5, GRAND SLAM, K
Jermaine Brock:  1-5, RBI, 2 K

Juan Carlos Ramirez is widely considered one of the Mariners org's top pitching propsects.  That said, he has really struggled as of late, and this time around, he actually looked pretty good and flashed some serious talent... for about four innings, and then the wheels came off as he got chased in a 5 run 5th inning.

The good news was that the Aquasox had erupted in the 4th for 7 runs, powered by one of the most unlikely grand slams ever: after a flurry of base hits had cashed in 3 runs that frame, Blake Ochoa, the scrub backup catcher plucked off the free agent scrap heap to give the Aquasox some catching depth, came up with one out and the sacks jacked against Scott Hodsdon and took his suck pitch far over the Canadians left field wall (whose distance is measured in meters) to give the Aquasox a 7-1 lead.

And then the wheels came off in the 5th for Ramirez, as he walked 4 of the first 5 batters he faced that frame, bringing in a run before ceding to Keith Meyer, who then uncorked a wild pitch to bring in a run, and then gave up a triple that obviously cleared the bases and brought in all of Ramirez's runners.  Meyer soon recovered and got out of the frame, but a 7-1 lead was now a 7-6 lead and the pitching staff had to be more careful.

In the 6th, Joe Dunigan drew a leadoff walk, stole 2nd, and then Jremaine Brock singled him in to make it 8-6.  But the Canadians responded in the bottom half off Meyer.  Shane Keough drew a leadoff walk.  Matthew Sulentic singled and Meyer took a seat for Ryan Moorer, who gave up a double to Dan Hamblin that cut the lead to 8-7.  Moorer got K's on the next two hitters to get out.

Ogui Diaz reached in the top 7th with one out when his grounded confounded 3B Justin Frash.  Kris Sanchez doubled, but could not get him in, so after Kalian Sams recorded his requisite strikeout, Joe Dunigan struck again, doubling to left to cash them both in and make it 10-7 Aquasox.

Moorer forgot how to throw strikes before the bottom 7th and walked the first two batters.  Brandon McKerney came in and Dusty Napoleon sac bunted the runners over for one out.  But McKerney uncorked a wild pitch to bring in a run and make it 10-8... but Julio Rivera got the silly idea to also try and score from 2nd, and catcher Blake Ochoa reminded Julio that he still has functional legs, arms and hands, throwing to 1B Kris Sanchez, who helped Ochoa run the fool down for two outs.  Shane Keough struck out to end the frame.

The Canadians kept chipping away.  Michael Richard led off the 8th with a single and Matt Sulentic also singled.  Then McKerney uncorked ANOTHER wild pitch, moving the runners over, and Dan Hamblin sac flied to center to cash in another run.  10-9 Aquasox.  Corey Brown grounded out, and with Sulentic on 3rd, a failed hit and run left Sulentic DOA at home plate for the 3rd out.

Bryan Harris came on to close the bottom 9th, and he struck out the first batter, but Blake Ochoa passed the ball and batter Walter Correa took 1st.  Justin Frash walked.  Julio Rivera tapped back to the mound and Harris couldn't get anybody!  Bases loaded, no outs.  Dusty Napoleon flied to center, allowing Walter Correa to tag up and score, tying this ballgame at 10, and the other runners also moved up as Beef Roids threw it YIKES AND AWAY.  Shane Keough struck out, and though Michael Richard walked, Mat Sulentic grounded to 1st to end the threat and send this game to extras.

The 10th actually went quietly, but the sleepy Aquasox bats finally awoke in the 11th.  Roberto Mena walked and Edilio Colina bunted him over for one out, but Wellington Dotel doubled to right and cashed in Mena to make it 11-10 Aquasox!  Ogui Diaz grounded Beef Roids ahead and a wild pitch allowed him to score, extending the lead to 12-10.

The Canadians went down in order against Aaron Brown and that, thankfully, was that.

A:  Dayton 8, Wisconsin 1
WIS:  12-25... DAY:  20-18

Anthony Varvaro:  5.1 IP, 8 H, (4 R) 3 ER (2 HR), 6 K
Justin Souza:  1.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER (HR)
Drew Fiorenza:  1 IP, 3 H, 3 ER (HR), walk, K, hit batter
Reed Eastley:  1-4, double (.301/.407/.426)
James McOwen:  1-4, RBI, K (.245/.257/.265)
Juan Diaz:  2-4 (.262/.313/.335)


A+:  High Desert 9, San Jose 3
Mavs:  11-29... Little Giants:  23-17

Cibney Bello:  7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 K.  WHAT.
Jose Escalona:  1 IP, 2 H, (1 R) 0 ER, K
Aaron Jensen:  1 IP, K
Michael Saunders:  1-4, triple, R, RBI, walk, 2 K (.303/.399/.485)
Carlos Triunfel:  2-4, R, K (.340/.364/.406)
Jesus Guzman:  2-3, double, 2 R, RBI, walk (.289/.360/.510)
Adam Moore:  3-4, R, RBI (.303/.369/.553)
Eddy Hernandez:  1-4, solo HR, K (.193/.267/.321)

Once again, Cibney had one of those starts where he Puts It All Together and throws a solid games, manifesting the skillset that encourages the org to keep him around despite a repeated inability to avoid getting shelled by High A ballers.

Meanwhile, the Mavs poured it on over the course of this game, with a 3 run 2nd and a run in the 3rd posting a 4-1 lead.  They kept it at 5-2 after 5, and then pounded in 3 runs in the 7th to put it away.

AA:  Tennessee 3, West Tenn 2
WTN:  16-24... TEN:  21-19

Phat Andrew Baldwin:  7.2 IP, 6 H, 3 ER (HR), 2 K, 2 hit batters
David Asher:  1 IP, 1 H, walk, K, wild pitch
Mumba Rivera:  one out, K
Luis Valbuena:  2-4, double, solo HR, K (.251/.315/.391)
Matt Tuiasosopo:  1-3, walk, K, SB (.275/.389/.417)
Michael Wilson:  0-4, 4 K: The Golden Sombrero (.137/.219/.275)
Chris Minaker:  1-3, double, R, K (.231/.289/.296)

The bats were quiet and, once again, Phat Andy 29 allowed a few runs that the DIAMOND JAXX bats simply couldn't respond to in kind.  Loss number 10 for Baldwin, and his only solace is that a) he won't pitch enough times to get to 20 losses and b) he was considered worth half of Jamie Moyer once.

Also, Michael Wilson's manic depressive season firmly hit the 'depressive' portion of the meter yesterday, with yet another golden sombrero.

AAA:  Memphis 16, Tacoma 13
TAC:  49-63... MEM:  47-65

Tomo Ohka:  51 IP, 9 H, 8 ER (HR), 3 walks, K, hit batter
Justin Lehr:  1.1 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 2 walks, K
Juan Doñe:  1.1 IP, 4 H, 3 ER (HR), K
Jason Mackintosh:  1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, K
Nick Green:  3-6, double, 3 run HR, 2 R, K (.316/.354/.626)
Jeremy Reed:  2-6 (.288/.343/.433)
Adam Jones:  3-3, double, solo HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, walk, NOW A BIG LEAGUER WOOOOOO (.314/.382/.586)
Bryan LaHair:  2-4, double, 3 R, 2 RBI, walk, K (.269/.318/.405)
WLAD:  2-5, 2 run HR (.308/.378/.561)
Rob Johnson:  2-5, double, 2 R, RBI, K (.264/.332/.369)
Sebastien Boucher:  2-3, R, RBI, 2 walks, K (.309/.373/.397)
Oswaldo Navarro:  1-4, R, RBI, walk, K (.240/.307/.326)

Given the anticipation for LL/USSM night tonight, several of you were paying avid attention to last night's ballgame (for which I thank you) and noted that te Rainiers absolutely jumped all over Memphis pitching for 10 runs in the 2nd, staking themselves to a 10-2 lead.  Adam Jones had a hand in the melee, and suspicion arose from everyone after he exited in the 7th.  Sure enough, after last night's thrilling Mariners win, John McLaren and the usual media outlets confirmed that Adam Jones is on his way up the big leagues, supplanting the unselfish Jason Ellison, who we hope passes through wavers and lends his modular support to the Rainiers lineup.

Speaking of which, Ellison spent most of two seasons and parts of two others with AAA Fresno in the Giants org.  His career line in AAA:  318/436/438, with a 1.51 K/BB.  I think that bat could be of some use for the Rainiers, eh?

Oh, and the bullpen absolutely melted down and eventually gave the game away, but okay.

So, tonight.  Robert Rohrbaugh is tonight's scheduled starter, so those of you joining us tonight who are wondering what we've got with the recently promoted soft-tosser will get to see firsthand.  Memphis will send Chris Lambert to the hill.  Lambert, to put it as nicely as possible, is having a horrible year in AAA and will be making his 1st AAA start of the season.

After a passable effort in the Texas League, Lambert got called up early this season to work the bullpen, likely a Jason Mackintosh style situation, and now has a 7.99 ERA in 41.2 IP over 24 appearances.  This has to be an emergency start.  An FIP ERA in the 5's shows that he's not 7.99 bad, but he's bad.  39 K's in 41.2 IP is great, but that's also in relief, also with 24 walks (5.1 per 9!) and 7 HR (1.51 per 9).  A bleh effort last year in the Texas League, where he walked 63 in 120.2 IP over 23 starts, indicates this is a recurring trend rather than just a bad year.  The Cards org is likely enamored with his strikeout abilities and hope to harness his control enough so that this can be useful.  This is a far cry from the hope that made him the 19th pick in the draft in 2004 out of Boston College and landed him in the Futures Game in 2005.  Unless Lambert made one hell of an adjustment in the last couple of days, there's going to be some fireworks from the Rainiers bats tonight.

As for big Redbird bats, I don't need to mention much about converted pitcher Rick Ankiel (.272/.319/.573), who leads the PCL in home runs.  84 K's in 372 ABs to 24 walks and a .319 OBP indicates hacking tendencies, however.  This is a Sexson-type power bat, albeit one with a tremendous story.

Tagg Bozied of course is the former Rainier Portland Beaver who hit a walkoff blast once and then blew out his knee stomping on home plate.  Yeah, whoops.  Here he is in Memphis running a usefully solid line (.271/.363/.532) and a solid K:BB, 44 walks and 65 K in 340 ABs with a strong mix of doubles and HR power.  He absolutely went off yesterday, 2 home runs and 8 RBI in the comeback win.  Cheney probably will not neutralize his big bat the way it could neutralize Ankiel's (and I say that despite 3 hits and 4 RBI from Ankiel yesterday).

Top of the lineup bats: 2B Mike McCoy is an OBP pain in the ass at leadoff:  238/362/324 in AAA and 36 walks in only 185 ABs vs 30 Ks.  Brendan Ryan did play a bit with the big club with great success (339/397/452 in 62 ABs) and flashes speed (14 SBs and 5 triples in 287 ABs) when he can get on base (275/330/352).  This could be a Morse/Rene Rivera case where the guy's MLB cameo performance belies his actual abilities.  Nick Green is probably better.

As for the pitching staff, it's been better.  Mark Worrell worked last night's game so I'm not sure he closes tonight if needed.  Hugo Castellanos is another guy hey could call on in the later innings.  Neither is anything special.

I'll dig up info on the Redbirds to bring to the game.  Meanwhile, hope to see some of you there!  It should be fun.  I wear black glasses and look like Eddie Guardado's bastard nephew.