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5/2 Minor League Wrap-Up

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I decided to bag Friday night and do this like I did in 2007, posting this weekend's recaps the morning after.  I like having breakfast, stopping in at a coffeehouse, dropping some coffee or Yerba Maté while catching up on what happened last night.  And considering that it precluded my watching yet another Mariner abortion against the Yankees, can't say I'm disappointed with the decision.

The Hume/Aumont combo struck again in Wisconsin, as did Joe Dunigan, looking to undo his slow start with a vengeance.  The Mavs offense took a dirt nap against Lake Elsinore, wasting a surprisingly useful pitching performance from Keith "Excuse me, sir, can you direct me to the Strike Zone?" Renaud.  Chris Jakubauskas couldn't finish the minimum against Carolina, but the bullpen had his back and he had help from Mike Wilson going nuclear.  And the Rainiers... well, it figures that the club closest in hierarchy to the Mariners would play the most like them.

On to the wrap-up!

A:  Wisconsin 5, Lansing 2
WIS:  9-15... LAN:  15-12

Donnie Hume:  5.1 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 walks, 8 K
Travis Mortimore:  two outs, walk, K
Phillipe Aumont:  3 IP, 2 walks, 2 K
Edilio Colina:  3-5, 2 doubles, RBI, K (322/344/424)
Calvin Beamon:  1-5, RBI, K (256/337/329)
Ronald Garth:  1-4, double, R (254/313/356)
Juan Diaz:  2-2, sac fly RBI, walk (257/338/314)
Joe Dunigan:  3-4, 2 doubles, solo HR, 2 RBI (179/300/373)

The T-Rats got the Hume/Aumont combo some runs early.  Joe White walked and Ronald Garth doubled him to 3rd in the top 2nd, before Juan Diaz sac flied White in to make it 1-0, and Joe Dunigan doubled to left to cash in Garth and make it 2-0.  Maximo Mendez led off the 3rd with a walk, and Edilio Colina immediately doubled him in to make it 3-0.

Donnie Hume was moving right along until Darin Mastroianni (who destroyed the T-Rats the night before with a 3 run bomb) tripled with one out in the 4th.  With two out, John Tolisano lined a double to right that easily scored Mastroianni, 3-1, but Tolisano got greedy with his easy doubled and tried to stretch for 3rd, only to get gunned down on the 9-4-5 relay.

The T-Rats did get the run back in the 5th on a two out Calvin Beamon single to make it 4-1, and the T-Rats put runners on 2nd and 3rd with two out, but Joe White harmlessly grounded to 2nd to end the threat.

Meanwhile, looked like the plan was for Hume to give the T-Rats 6 and for Aumont to
work the last 3, or maybe Plan A was 5 and 4 as usual but with Hume dealing, the T-Rats figured on rewarding him with another inning.  Either way, Hume came out for the 6th and immediately struck out Justin Jackson, but then Kevin Ahrens doubled, Darin Mastroianni walked and Matthew Liuzza lined a double to left to cash in Ahrens, 4-2, before Hume finally got the hook.  With Aumont still getting loose, manager Terry Pollreisz went to Travis Mortimore, who has put in a lot of good work lately, to get out of the jam.  Hume's good day featured a lot of gas, but the Lugnuts were getting good wood on the ball as well.

Groundballs:  2
Flyballs:  4
Line Drives:  5
Pop Ups:  1
Walks:  2
Strikeouts:  8

John Tolisano walked, but Drew Mastroianni on 3rd got caught trying for home for the 2nd out.  See, it's not just the M's running the bases like crackheads.  CJ Ebarb went down on strikes to end that rally: jam over.

Phillipe Aumont came in and the Lugnuts had no chance after that.  All three batters in the bottom 7th harmlessly grounded out.  Justin Jackson managed a liner
to lead off the 8th... right to Joe Dunigan in RF... and Darin Mastroianni did draw a walk, but strikeouts killed the Lugnuts dead in that inning too.  Joe Dunigan led off the top 9th with his 2nd homer in two days (and in the season) for the T-Rats, but Aumont hardly needed the help.  John Tolisano led off the 9th with a walk, only to run into the front end of a 3-4-3 double play.  One can of corn from Johermyn Chavez later, and Aumont had the 5-2 win in the bag.

A+:  Lake Elsinore 2, High Desert 1
Mavs:  14-15... Lake:  16-13

Ricky Orta:  2 IP, 1 H, 2 K
Keith Renaud:  6 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 3 walks, 2 K, wild pitch
Chris Minaker:  2-4, double, R (304/322/496)
Travis Scott:  1-4, double, RBI, 3 K (354/420/570)
rest of Mavs lineup:  2-25, walk, 12 K.  This includes Triunfel, Matt Mangini and Greg Halman.

I heard one of you devoted readers were going to a game in Lake Elsinore this weekend.  Was it this one?  If so, I'm sorry, because this was not an accurate representation of Cal League baseball.  For one, there was good pitching, and runs weren't getting scored, which is a completely inaccurate representation of Cal League baseball.

Lake SP Drew Miller has had a mostly meh season, but for the second time this year, he woke up and mowed down batters on strikes, pitching easily the longest game of his season (into the 7th) and striking out a season high 11.  Granted, the hacktastic Mavs helped him out, as evidence by the 4 additional strikeouts the Lake bullpen rang up.  Believe it or not, no Mav wore the Golden Sombrero, so this was clearly a team effort.  In fact, only Chris Minaker and Carlos Triunfel started the game and finished without a strikeout.

Ricky Orta, who spent the last 2-3 weeks injured AGAIN (poor guy: he's making Erik Bedard look like Livan Hernandez), threw two innings to work back into shape, then ceded to Keith Renaud, who to his credit allowed only two hits in working the rest of the game, easily his best outing of the season... but also allowed two runs, which given the hacktastic futility of his offense was more than enough to seal the Mavs' doom.  Don't feel too bad about Renaud: like Ryan Franklin, the lack of run support belies the fact that he couldn't find the strike zone if pitching coach Lance Painter shoved it down his throat: 0-4 with a 6.30 ERA in 30 IP on 25 walks and 15 K with 4 HR.  It's a shame because with opponents hitting about .207 off him, he can clearly cause trouble for hitters if he wouldn't cause so much trouble for himself.

Groundballs:  6
Flyballs:  5
Line Drives:  4
Pop Ups:  2
Walks:  3
Strikeouts:  2

AA:  West Tenn 5, Carolina 1
WTN:  19-10... CAR: 17-12

Chris Jakubauskas:  3.2 IP, 3 H, 2 walks, 5 K
Travis Chick:  2.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 walks, 4 K, wild pitch
Jason Mackintosh:  2 IP, 2 H, 2 K
Mumba Rivera:  1 IP, walk
Michael Saunders:  2-4, double, R, walk (286/375/449)
Mike Wilson:  3-5, solo HR, 2 run HR, 4 RBI, K (262/338/541)
Jon Nelson:  2-5, K (269/329/373)
Adam Moore:  1-4, double (256/354/395)

Something must have happened to Chris Jakubauskas in the 4th, as he took a curiously early exit with two out, replaced by Travis Chick, who fortunately was up to the task and finished the 6th.  Hopefully, Jakubauskas is okay.  Curiously, later in that 4th inning, Mudcats hitter John Raynor was tossed before his at bat while bickering with home plate umpire Jordan Baker.  Nick Carraway had no comment.

Slowly but surely, the DIAMOND JAXX piled on runs.  Mike Wilson, actually mixing in more power between all his strikeouts, went yard with two out in the 3rd.  Two walks eventually led to a run on a groundout in the 4th to make it 2-0.  Mike Wilson again cashed in, this time singling home Michael Saunders in the 5th to make it 3-0.  And Mike Wilson once again gave us thunder, tacking on insurance runs in the 9th with a two out 2 run bomb off Todd Doolittle.  Player of the game should be obvious.

Also, notice we haven't heard much from catching prospect Adam Moore.  He's playing... he's just not showing us the power he showed last year.  Just a month ago, we bemused the possibility of trying to fit him and Jeff Clement in the same MLB lineup... and now it's looking like the two aren't as close in readiness as originally thought.  It looks like Adam Moore's success in the hitter-friendly Cal League belied his capabilities, and on top of the struggle of facing pitchers of a higher level, his performance is subsequently returning to neutral... and this is despite what Marc pointed out yesterday about DIAMOND JAXX hitters hitting far better at home than on the road.  To a lesser extent, this is also happening to Michael Saunders, though he's still showing power.  The patience of both these hitters have helped them remain reasonably productive, but this is one challenge of climbing the ladder in this system: you go from a hitter's paradise in the Cal League to the more park-neutral Southern League, and against tougher competition to boot.  It's a reality check.

AAA:  Oklahoma 6, Tacoma 0
TAC:  14-13... OKL:  19-10

R.A. Dickey:  6.1 IP, 11 H, 3 ER (HR), 4 K
Potatoes:  two outs, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 walks
Cesar Jimenez:  1.1 IP, 4 H, 2 ER (2 HR), K
Joe Woerman:  two outs, walk
Jeremy Reed:  2-4, double, K (389/449/611)
Bryan LaHair:  1-3, double (296/378/571)
rest of Rainiers lineup:  1-24, 10 K

The Rainiers got owned by Dustin Nippert and two relievers.  Nippert was making his 1st start since getting sent down by the Rangers following 6 disastrous appearances that netted an 16.62 ERA on 8 walks and 6 K in 8.2 IP.

Remember when I said Potatoes was fine?  Well... he's not fine.  He's not pitching well and he needs to figure things out.

And yeah, Bryan LaHair started mashing behind my back.  :P  I'll eat my words
there.  And an .841 OPS at home indicates he's not exactly a product of the
launchpads (though he clearly is mashing on the road: 347/407/653).  I still want to see this over a larger sample, but it's very encouraging, and it appears he isn't as hopeless as I thought.  This is as good a reason as any to keep Marshall Hubbard in AA.

I kind of feel dumb posting BIP numbers for R.A. Dickey, as he has about as much control over these outcomes as the hitters do fighting with his knuckler, given he's still fighting with it himself.  But nonetheless, I can see wanting to see how many walks he gives up, how many of his pitches get squared up and driven, and so on.  Well... he got squared up a lot:

Groundballs:  9
Flyballs:  7 (1 HR)
Line Drives:  8
Walks:  0 (but 1 hit batter)
Strikeouts:  4

Some familiar names led the way for the Redhawks: John Mayberry had 5 hits and missed the cycle by a home run.  Kevin Mench hit a solo bomb, Nelson Cruz had 3 hits, including 2 solo bombs, with a stolen base, and some guy batting leadoff named Jason Ellison had 4 hits of his own, including a triple, with a stolen base.  And speaking of old faces seeing old teams: Dickey himself pitched quite a bit for the Redhawks a couple seasons back.