This was one of those days where I'm glad I had a Wrap-Up to write to take my mind off an abortion of a Mariners game.
Today lacked the back and forth excitement of Opening Day, but there are still items of interest, including Rene Rivera getting his karmic comeuppance... Clayton Kershaw getting outshined by the most unlikely of pitching suspects... suspense rearing its now-familiar head in Cal League action... the schizophrenic Justin Souza becoming Bad Souza today, much to the chagrin of the T-Rats, and the mystery of the Rainiers rotation, with several candidates after Feierabend involved, taking some shape with our favorite organizational knuckeballer getting the call in day two... with mixed results.
On to the Wrap-Up!
A: Quad Cities 4, Wisconsin 3
Nathan Adcock: 5 IP, 4 H, (2 R) 0 ER, 3 walks, 5 K, wild pitch
Justin Souza: 2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, walk, K
Ryan Moorer: 1 IP, K
Daniel Carroll: 1-4, 2 R, RBI, K, SB
Gavin Dickey: 2-3, RBI, walk
Ronald Garth: 1-3, RBI, K
Alex Liddi: 0-4, 3 K
Gerardo Avila: 2-3, R, walk, K
Rain finally stopped long enough for the T-Rats and the newly dubbed Quad Cities Bandits (nee the Swing) to get in their season opener, and while it wasn't a bad effort by Wisconsin, they eventually came up short. Daniel Carroll took advantage of getting plunked in the top 3rd, stealing 2nd and eventually scoring the T-Rats first run of the season on a Gavin Dickey single. The Bandits responded in the bottom half by taking advantage of an Alex Liddi error and Nathan Adcock wild pitch to cash in a tying run on a Matthew Arburr single.
In the bottom 4th, Adron Chambers led off with a double and picking up 3rd on a Joe Dunigan throwing error. Justin Roberson sac flied Chambers home for the 2nd out to make it 2-1 Quads.
The 5th was a singles inning for the T-Rats. Gerardo Avila led off with a lined single to right, then Daniel Carroll knocked him in with a one out lined single to right, taking 2nd on a bad throw from RF Adron Chambers. Ronald Garth grounded a single up the middle to cash in Carroll with two outs and the T-Rats took a 3-2 lead.
... that they would soon surrender. The Bandits, who I keep wanting to call the Swing, rocked Justin Souza like it was the front end of 2007 all over again. Adron Chambers atoned somewhat for his fielding struggles with a one out double, his 2nd of the game, and David Carpenter immediately tripled to knock him in and tie it at 3. After Jose Garcia walked, Justin Robertson's groundout cashed in Carpenter to give Quad Cities a 4-3 lead it would not relinquish.
Adcock's effort was up and down.
Line Drives: 2
Pop Ups: 1
A+: High Desert 7, Lancaster 5
Ricky Orta: 5 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 3 walks, 4 K, wild pitch
Michael Wagner: 1.2 IP, 3 H, 2 K
Aaron Cotter: 1.1 IP, 1 H, (1 R) o ER, walk, K
David Asher: 1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER (HR)
Greg Halman: 0-5, K
Carlos Triunfel: 0-5
Johan Limonta: 3-4, double, 2 R, walk, K
Chris Minaker: 1-5, double, R
Carlos Peguero: 0-5, R, RBI groundout, 4 K: The Golden Sombrero
Travis Scott: 3-5, 3 run HR, 2 R, K
Kuo Hui Lo: 3-4, double, R, 2 RBI
Matt Mangini: 0-1, a curiously early exit, replaced by Leury Bonilla
Jamie McOwen: 2-3, RBI, walk, K
Lancaster scored first in the 2nd with Jorge Jimenez bouncing a double over the wall to score Jon Still with one out, but the Mavs roared back in the bottom 2nd. Travis Scott smoked a one out single, and Kuo Hui Lo doubled him in to tie it. Matt Mangini reached on an error, and must have hurt himself at some point in this frame because he was replaced in the top 3rd at 3B by Leury Bonilla. Anyway, Jamie McOwen singled in Lo to make it 2-1.
The Mavs poured on more in the 3rd. Johan Limonta led off with a walk, and Chris Minaker doubled him to 3rd. Carlos Peguero grounded to short, and SS Argenis Diaz conceded the run to throw to 3rd for an easier out on Chris Minaker. Travis Scott singled to put runners at the corners, but got caught trying to steal (!!). Kuo Hui Lo did snake a grounder down the middle to cash in Peguero and make it 4-1.
Lancaster did manufacture a run in the 5th off the tail end of Ricky Orta's start, but Travis Scott showed some advanced offense engineering with a one out, 3 run bomb to straightaway center to make it 7-2 Mavs. Orta himself had a shaky but effective outing where it took time to settle but he settled down, got more groundballs down the stretch and didn't allow any line drives.
Line Drives: 0 (yes, they were counting)
Pop Ups: 0
No lead, however, is ever safe in the Cal League. Lancaster manufactured a mere run in the 8th, but David Asher was doused in gasoline in the 9th, as Chih-Hsien Chiang hit a one out single and Jon Still hit a two out 2 run bomb to left to make it 7-5. But Zak Farkes couldn't ground it past Leury Bonilla, and he was thrown out at 1st to end the game.
AA: West Tenn 5, Jacksonville 1
Rich Dorman: 6 IP, 1 H, (1 R) 0 ER, walk, 5 K, balk
Brandon Morrow: two outs, 1 H, walk
Brodie Downs: 2.1 IP, 1 H, 4 K
Michael Saunders: 1-4, K
Shawn Garrett: 1-4, R, RBI, K
Adam Moore (DH): 0-2, 2 walks
Prentice Redman: 2-3, 2 R
Luis Oliveros: 2-4, RBI
Clayton Kershaw wasn't a phenom today. He gave up two runs in 3 innings of work, then watched as Rick Asadoorian imploded in long relief to let the game get away.
If anything, the phenomenal pitcher today was Rich Dorman of all people. After allowing a double to Ivan De Jesus, the 2nd batter he faced, he did not allow another hit over his 6 innings of work. In fact, with a Greg Jacobs walk later in the inning, and Jamie Hoffman reaching in the 2nd on a Mark Kiger error, Dorman did not allow a single baserunner after the 2nd! Not a bad 2008 debut for the soon-to-be journeyman.
Line Drives: 2
Pop Ups: 2
The offense did most of their damage in the 3rd and 4th innings. Against Kershaw, Shawn Garret knocked in Mark Kiger with a two out lined single, and in a moment of karmic retribution, Adam Moore grounded to short for what would have been the frame ending groundout, had the ball not been dropped by 1st baseman RENE RIVERA. That anyone in their right mind would try to find extra playing time for Rene Rivera at all is baffling.
Asadoorian came in for the 4th and with one out, Prentice Redman bunted himself on, then Luis Valbuena lined a single to center to put runners at 1st and 2nd. Luis Oliveros tapped back to the mound, but ht epitcher had his head stuck up his Asadoorian and made no play, loading the bases. Then Asadoorian uncorked a wild pitch against Ronnie Prettyman, because that always helps, to cash in Redman. Prettyman's subsequent groundout to short cashed in Valbuena to make it 4-1.
Luis Oliveros, probably cackling to himself at Rene Rivera's 0 for 4, 3 strikeout day and dazzling defensive performance at 1B, knocked in Prentice Redman with a two out single in the 6th to make it 5-1 and effectively put the game out of reach.
Credit is also due to Brodie Downs, who, after Brandon Morrow failed to finish the 7th in relief of Dorman and left after 4 batters, finished the 7th... and the rest of the game for his first save of the year, striking out 4 of the 8 batters he faced.
AAA: Sacramento 5, Tacoma 1
R.A. Dickey: 7 IP, 7 H, (5 R) 3 ER, 4 K, hit batter
Eric Cyr: 1 IP, 2 K
Jon Huber: 1 IP, 2 K
Jeremy Reed: 2-5, K
Greg Norton (LF): 3-4, double
WLAD: 0-4, K
Jeff Clement (DH): 2-4
Bryan LaHair: 3-4, solo HR
Matt Tuiasosopo: 1-4, K
R.A. Dickey could have had a better debut, but served his purpose in getting deep into the ballgame. He just could have used better defense and more offense.
Sacramento did a lot of damage in the 2nd, opening with three consecutive pussy hits: Casey Rogowski's soft grounder to 2nd that he legged out, Wes Bankston's soft liner to left, and Jeff Fiorentino's grounder that snuck up the middle into center to cash in Rogowski ahead of Jeremy Reed's throw and put runners at 2nd and 3rd. Nick Blast grounded to 3rd and Tui didn't inspire any confidence in hurling the throw YIKES AND AWAY to cash in both runners and put Blasi at 2nd. Dickey did put down the next three batters like dogs to finish a bleh inning.
After Bryan LaHair's solo homer in the bottom 2nd cut the lead to 3-1, the Rainiers did stay within reach... until the 5th, where three consecutive one out singles cashed in a run, and Casey Rogowski's sac fly cashed in another to make it 5-1, and with the Rainiers flatlining today at the plate, there would be no comeback.
However, we did find out that newcomer Eric Cyr probably won't work out of the rotation, as he worked the 8th inning in relief. His inning went fine: strikeout, groundout, strikeout.
Dickey's outing wasn't bad at all when you factor in how few batters managed to hit his pitches hard, and the fact that half the batters he faced hit groundballs. Not bad for a knuckler in progress with some other workable stuff.
Line Drives: 5
Pop Ups: 1
Walks: 0 (but 1 hit batter)