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4/7 Minor League Wrap-Up

Rest assured that it wasn't just the Mariners that had a bad weekend.  Most of the org absolutely bit it today, most in new locales to start new series.  Only the DIAMOND JAXX had a good game to speak of.

Never fear, though.  The season is young.

On to the wrap-up.

A:  Clinton 8, Wisconsin 1

Juan Ramirez:  3 IP, 2 H, (2 R) 1 ER, 3 walks, 4 K, wild pitch
Justin Souza:  2.2 IP, 6 H, (5 R) 2 ER, 2 K, hit batter
Ryan Moorer:  1.1 IP, 2 H, 3 K
Bryan Harris:  2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 K, hit batter
Daniel Carroll:  2-4, double, R
Gavin Dickey:  1-4, double, RBI
rest of T-Rats lineup:  1-22, 3 walks, 4 K... and 7 errors in the field

This is not how to start a home opener.

Clinton - Top 1st

- Engel Beltre walks.
- Renny Osuna walks. Engel Beltre to 2nd.
- Ian Gac called out on strikes.
- With Cristian Santana batting, throwing error by Blake Ochoa on the pickoff attempt, Engel Beltre to 3rd. Renny Osuna to 2nd.
- Cristian Santana grounds out, shortstop Juan Diaz to first baseman Gerardo Avila. Engel Beltre scores. Renny Osuna to 3rd.
- Timothy Smith walks.
- With Jonathan Greene batting, wild pitch by Juan Ramirez, Renny Osuna scores. Timothy Smith to 2nd.
- Jonathan Greene strikes out swinging.

The T-Rats did show some fight in the bottom 1st.  Daniel Carroll led off with a lined double, and two groundouts eventually brought him in.  Alex Liddi singled, but Ronald Garth grounded out as well.

Matthew Lawson led off the top 2nd by grounding to 3rd, and Alex Liddi bobbled it to put him on.  After a steal, he took off for 3rd off a Carlos Dominguez liner... that found SS Juan Diaz.  Diaz threw to 2nd to double him off, except he threw YIKES AND AWAY, and Lawson advanced to 3rd.  But Engel Beltre mercifully tapped back to the mound to end that needless threat.

The T-Rats got in more trouble in the top 3rd.  After back to back one out singles by Ian Gac and Cristian Santana, catcher Blake Ochoa passed a ball to move the runners to 2nd and 3rd with one out.  But 1B Gerardo Avila fielded the ensuing grounder and threw out Ian Gac at home for the 2nd out, and Jonathan Greene's flyout ended the threat.

With the T-Rats going down in order, Juan Ramirez took a curiously early exit before the 4th, replaced by Justin Souza.  Matthew Lawson reached on a bunt single down the 3rd base line, but Miguel Alfonzo struck out, and Carlos Dominguez grounded to 3rd, Liddi threw to 2nd for one, and Garth threw YIKES AND AWAY for two bases to the batter.  Thankfully, Engel Beltre continued his struggles with an inning ending K.

Gavin Dickey looked to bring the T-Rats back to life, leading off the bottom 4th with a double, and taking 3rd on a Jorge QUintero wild pitch... but Alex Liddi popped out in foul territory, Ronald Garth struck out, and despite a Gerardo Avila walk, Blake Ochoa grounded out to 2nd.  Looks like the team liabilities are establishing themselves early.

And then it got away from the T-Rats.  After two quick groundouts, Cristian Santana smoked one through to left for a base hit, then Timothy Smith doubled to left to cash in Santana.  Then Jonathan Greene awoke with a grounder to 3rd that he beat out, and when Avila turned to throw out a lead runner, he threw YIKES AND AWAY to allow Smith to score.

At 4-1, the game was technically still within reach, but the T-Rats were doing little at the plate, and again in the 6th, Justin Souza got two quick outs... but Engel Beltre awoke with a single, and took 2nd when Juan Diaz misplayed the catcher's throw on a steal attempt.  Renny Osuna singled to cash in Engel.  Then Ian Gac got plunked, and despite not necessarily pitching like Bad Souza, Justin was yanked for Ryan Moorer.

And then Blake Ochoa passed another ball.  Cristian Santana struck out, but Blake Ochoa dropped strike three, and then horked the throw to 1st to allow the two runners to score.

If I were in Appleton, I'd have bought Chris Mehring a drink.  He puts a lot of work into covering this team, and he and Appleton deserved a better opener than that.

A+:  Rancho Cucamonga 10, High Desert 3

Anthony Varvaro:  5 IP, 9 H, 4 ER (HR), 2 walks, 3 K
Michael Wagner:  1.1 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, K
Joe Kantakevich:  two outs, 4 H, (3 R) 1 ER, walk
Harold Williams:  1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, hit batter
Greg Halman:  0-5, 2 K
Carlos Triunfel:  0-3, K
Johan Limonta:  1-3, double, R, walk, K
Carlos Peguero:  1-4, 2 run HR
Travis Scott:  2-3, triple, R, walk
Matt Mangini:  0-2, walk, K

Well, at least somebody's home opener went well.  :/

We got our first look at Anthony Varvaro, though Rancho Cucamonga's park isn't the punishing bandbox that the park in Adelanto is (it's actually more of the more offense-tame parks in the offense-friendly Cal League).  He got a lot of groundballs, but several of them got through and, a nice outfield assist from Greg Halman aside, a few ill-timed errors caused him to struggle over his 5 innings. 

Groundballs:  11
Flyballs:  4
Line Drives:  3
Pop Ups:  1
Walks:  2
Strikeouts:  3

Trailing 4-0, the Mavs didn't get a run until the 7th, and in the bottom half, the Quakes blew up for 5 runs of their own off Michael Wagner and Joe Kantakevich to make it a 9-1 lead, and the rout was on.  Details of the disaster inning are below.

    * Peter Bourjos singles on a line drive to left fielder James McOwen. Peter Bourjos out at 2nd, left fielder James McOwen to second baseman Carlos Triunfel.
    * P. J. Phillips doubles (4) on a line drive to right fielder Leury Bonilla.
    * With Wilberto Ortiz batting, P. J. Phillips steals (3) 3rd base.
    * Wilberto Ortiz singles on a line drive to left fielder James McOwen. P. Phillips scores.
    * Pitcher Change: Joseph Kantakevich replaces Michael Wagner.
    * With Mark Trumbo batting, Wilberto Ortiz steals (1) 2nd base.
    * Mark Trumbo reaches on fielding error by third baseman Matt Mangini. Wilberto Ortiz scores.
    * Clifton Remole triples (1) on a line drive to right fielder Leury Bonilla. Mark Trumbo scores.
    * Drew Toussaint singles on a line drive to center fielder Gregory Halman. Clifton Remole scores.
    * Larry Infante singles on a ground ball to right fielder Leury Bonilla. Drew Toussaint to 2nd.
    * Tadd Brewer pops out to third baseman Matt Mangini in foul territory.
    * Anderson Rosario singles on a ground ball to second baseman Carlos Triunfel. Drew Toussaint scores. Larry Infante to 2nd.
    * Peter Bourjos walks. Larry Infante to 3rd. Anderson Rosario to 2nd.
    * P. J. Phillips flies out to left fielder James McOwen.

AA:  West Tenn 12, Jacksonville 4

Ryan Ketchner:  3.1 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, walk, K, wild pitch
Travis Chick:  2.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 4 walks, 4 K
Brandon Morrow:  2 IP, 1 H, 3 walks, 4 K, wild pitch
Craig James:  1 IP
Michael Saunders:  2-4, double, R, 3 RBI, walk, 2 K
Matt Kiger:  1-4, 3 run HR, walk
Adam Moore:  1-4, R, K
Marshall Hubbard:  2-5, triple, 2 run HR, 2 R, 5 RBI, K
Luis Valbuena:  2-4, R, RBI, K

Who is Ryan Ketchner and what is he doing here?  Well, he was at one time a member of the M's org, but was sent to the Dodgers close to Opening Day 2004 as part of a 3 player trade that involved Aaron Looper and some dude named Jolbert Cabrera.

He spent last year with the Padres org and spent the year in Portland getting assrammed by PCL hitting, allowing 110 hits, 63 runs and 17 HR in 99.1 innings, striking out a respectable 85 and walking 37 en route to a 5.62 ERA and a sparkling 1-11 record.

He's mostly deaf, only having 10 percent of his hearing, and wears two hearing aids to detect vibrations, along with utilizing an uncanny ability to read lips.  If you tell him that his pitching eats shit and dies, he'll probably know, and he probably will kill you.

Meanwhile, he's here as part of the M's org's effort to help make the minor league teams more competitive while the prospects develop.  He... did not really help with that today.

Groundballs:  5 (plus 1 bunt)
Flyballs:  4
Line Drives:  3
Pop Ups:  2
Walks:  1
Strikeouts:  1

Travis Chick also had issues finding the strike zone, and you can guess how the night went for Brandon Morrow.  Only Craig James managed a solid outing, and only in an inning of work.

None of that mattered, fortuntely, because the DIAMOND JAXX erupted for 8 runs in the 4th, in which Mark Kiger got a 2nd trip to the plate... and went yard with a 3 run bomb.  The rout was on, and West Tenn had a couple other 2 run innings for good measure, while the pitching strung together enough outs to hold the damage to 4 runs, all scored before the 6th inning.

AAA:  Fresno 15, Tacoma 2

Joe Woerman:  3.2 IP, 6 H, 8 ER (2 HR), 4 walks, 5 K
Andrew Baldwin:  2 IP, 7 H, (7 R) 3 ER, 3 walks, K
Scott Shoemaker:  2.1 IP, 3 H, 2 K
Eric Cyr:  1 IP, K
WLAD:  1-3, R, walk, 2 K
Jeff Clement (DH):  1-2, double, 2 RBI, 2 walks
rest of Rainiers lineup:  3-26, R, 4 walks, 6 K

So that competition between Joe Woerman and Phat Andy 29 for a rotation spot is looking crappier than a skin rotting contest between two lepers.  And the pitching really blew today as a result, though to be fair, the Rainiers didn't have much of a shot today with superstars like Bronson Sardinha, Rob Johnson and Tug Hulett in the lineup.  That epic triad combined for 1 hit and 3 Ks in 11 ABs.

Though Clement played and knocked in the only 2 Rainier runs of the game, he was the DH yet again as last year's platoon with Rob Johnson continues.  I'm really not sure why we're taking it easy with Clement catching and continuing the platoon behind the plate, other than as a tacit org admission that Clement may not be cut out for catching and that the team eventually sees him as a 1B/DH.  If they are interested in forming him into a catcher, he's not gonna learn to catch everyday by not catching everyday.

Meanwhile, since I'm guessing it'll come up... there's no neat story about Scott Shoemaker.  He's some random dude the Padres left on the street, so the M's picked him up to fill in a minor league bullpen.  He'll do, and today, he turned out to be one of the few bright spots for the Rainiers no never mind, he sucked.  he just sucked less today than the other Rainier pitchers.