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5/7 Minor League Wrap-Up

I showed off baseball geekery at the bar tonight.  They had the game on the big screen.  During the game, they showed the Banner Bank Building to the Future graphic featuring Chris Jakubauskas, leading me to say, "THEY SPELLED JAKUBAUSKAS' NAME WRONG!" 

See, FSN spelled it Jakubaukas... but I'm the only one in the bar who a) knew that and b) cared.

So, there were several roster changes.  Another key player for one of the teams got a promotion and made an impact in his debut.  Plus, it was Dickey Time with the Iowa Cubs.  Let's see if they called the cops.

On to the wrap-up!

A:  The T-Rats had the day off.  They are back in Appleton to play a series with Cedar Rapids (16-15).  According to Chris Mehring at Rattler Radio, there have been several off-day transactions.

Catcher Korey Feiner was moved to Tacoma, while Edward Paredes and Nathan Adcock were temp-moved to the Everett roster, a common move to make space for spot starters, rehabbing players and the like.  Everett's roster is often used as a de-facto inactive list before the NWL season, and there really isn't much of a limit to how it can be used.

Mehring believes the Feiner move is also temporary, though with Clement with the big club, I can see them spotting Feiner as a backup to Rob Johnson until Adam Moore or somebody is ready to move up.  It's common to take non-prospects and solid but questionably talented minor leaguers and move them around as needed: reliever Michael Wagner saw action at four different levels last year.

There were two more promotions: relievers Shawn Kelley and Bryan Harris got promoted to High Desert.  Kelley, in 8 appearances, 7.2 IP, allowed 10 hits, no HR, walked 2 and K'd 12 with a 3.52 ERA.  Harris, in 8 appearances and 9 IP allowed 6 hits, no HR, one walk and 9 K with a 2.00 ERA.

Also joining the T-Rats is Walter Suriel, who excelled last year in the DSL (Dominican Summer League).  In 12 starts, he threw 65.1 IP, allowed 63 hits, only 2 HR, walked 13 and struck out 64.  He was working out this year in Peoria before this, and the team will welcome him the opportunity to show his stuff.

There was also a demotion adding to the T-Rats' ranks.  Jose Escalona, who had spent quite a while in High Desert, has been demoted to Wisconsin.  In 8 relief appearances and 11.1 IP, Escalona allowed 13 hits, 2 HR, 4 walks and 10 K.  He wasn't hurting the team, but giving Kelley and Harris the chance to advance was worth shedding him, especially given he had stagnated at the A+ level.  Escalona will certainly help the T-Rats.

As for the Kernels, they're not especially horrible at the plate but the team's 237/310/365 is relatively meh against the rest of the league.  They DO lead the league in stolen bases, with 57, but have also been caught 23 times, 2nd most in the MWL.  They like to run, and they may as well given how anemic the offense is.  The key baserunning threats are OF Jeremy Moore (216/286/412, 15 SB) and SS Andrew Romine (210/325/238, 15 SB), but fortunately for the T-Rats, they have a hard time getting on base.  However, 1B Efren Navarro does not (326/421/449), nor does OF Clay Fuller (276/364/457).

The pitching stands out in one statistic: walks, and not in the good way.  Their 124 walks are most in the MWL, and their 201 team K's are tied for 3rd fewest in the MWL.  If the T-Rats had any patience, they could really do a number on Kernels pitching... but this is the Mariners org, and the T-Rats aren't known for their patience.  SP Robert Fish, with 22 walks in 34.1 IP, is probably the biggest culprit of all, and his 5.77 ERA shows it, though he has also struck out 36.

The other starters are productive but moreso just kinda there (with, obviously, a bit of a control problem), though Michael Anton (38.1 IP, 32 H, 3 HR, 9 walks, 24 K, 2.58 ERA) certainly stands out.  Closer Ryan Brasier (17.1 IP, 11 H, 8 walks, 15 K, 1.04 ERA) is pretty tough as A ball closers go, and reliever Sammy Leon is also tough, but the rest of the bullpen throws batting practice.

A+:  Lancaster 6, High Desert 4
Mavs:  15-18... Jethawks:  15-18

Nick Hill:  5 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 walks, 7 K
Alfredo Venegas:  1.2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 3 K, hit batter
Michael Wagner:  1 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 2 K
Shawn Kelley:  one out, 1 H, (1 R) 0 ER, wild pitch
Jamie McOwen:  2-5, triple, 2 R, 2 K (275/342/358)
Carlos Triunfel:  1-3, RBI, SB (253/295/343)
Chris Minaker:  2-5, double, RBI (294/321/492)
Carlos Peguero:  3-5 (280/302/464)
Greg Halman:  2-5, solo HR, 3 K, SB #13 (264/314/456)
Matt Mangini:  1-4, solo HR, K (227/370/330)

Jamie McOwen's 3rd inning leadoff triple set up the easy score on a Triunfel grounder back at the box to make it 1-0.  Greg Halman launched one over the RF fence in the 4th to make it 2-0.

Military Man Nick Hill was cruising along until- Leury "Latin Campaneris" Bonilla Watch: Leury subbed in before the bottom 5th at 2B for Triunfel.  Chih-Hsien Chaing (283/322/389) led off with a single back up the middle.  Chiang took 2nd on a Travis Scott passed ball, then scored on an Argenis Diaz (214/266/214) single.  Hill issued his 2nd walk of the inning to load the bases, but got the next two batters on strikes to end that threat.  That was Hill's last inning, ending what was otherwise a solid start that he certainly needed after his rocky beginning as an SP.

Groundballs:  8
Flyballs:  3
Line Drives:  1
Walks:  2
Strikeouts:  7

Alfredo Venegas came in for the 6th and loaded the bases, but got Jorge Jimenez to strike out.  Jamie McOwen led off the top 7th with a single and Chris Minaker doubled him in to extend the Mavs lead to 3-1.

Venegas stayed in for the bottom 7th, and surrendered two doubles to allow a run, 3-2.  Michael Wagner came in with two outs to put an end to this riffraff and got Josh Reddick (340/353/468 in 47 AB) on strikes to end that threat.

Matt Mangini re-extended the lead in the top 8th with a two out solo HR to make it 4-2.

But the Mavs imploded in the bottom 8th.  With two out, Zak Farkes (236/271/360) got a grounder through the left side, then Jorge Jimenez (346/400/486) lined a single to right, but Carlos Peguero let it get past him, allowing Farkes to score, 4-3... and Jimenez came all the way around to score himself and tie the ballgame at 4.

Jason Place (181/274/266) doubled to right, and Wagner got the hook so that Shawn Kelley could make his Mavs debut.  And Aaron Reza (417/500/542 in 24 AB) welcomed him to the Cal League with a triple to center that cashed in Place and made it 5-4 Jethawks.  Lars Anderson (276/382/491) lined to left and Jamie McOwen misplayed it to allow Reza to score to make it 6-4.  Welcome to the Mavs, Shawn Kelley!

T.J. Large came on to close.  Leury Bonilla drew a one out walk.  Chris Minaker grounded to short, and SS Aaron Reza misplayed it to put both men on!  Kuo Hui Lo spelled Minaker at 1st as the potential tying run... and Travis Scott took a disputable strike three.  Scott suggested that home plate umpire Joel Hospodka had a fetish for Yorkshire Terriers, and was summarily ejected.

And then Greg Halman struck out to end the game, because why not.

AA:  Mississippi 7, West Tenn 5
WTN:  22-11... MIS:  10-23

Denny Stark?:  4.2 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 walks, K, hit batter
Marwin Vega: 1.2 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, walk, K
Jason Mackintosh:  2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 K, 2 hit batters
Brodie Downs:  two outs, 2 H, 1 ER, K
Prentice Redman:  1-5, 2 run HR
Marshall Hubbard:  1-3, double, RBI, K
Mike Wilson:  1-4, double, R, 2 K
Adam Moore:  2-4, RBI
Johan Limonta!:  1-3, solo HR

So 33 year old Denny Stark, years removed from his final days in the majors with the Rockies, finally made his 2008 org debut after rehabbing an injury, and he wasn't bad for a rusty veteran.  He ain't no Chris Jakubauskas, though, that's for sure, but he only allowed a run and the DIAMOND JAXX got him 3 runs in the 3rd, powered by a 2 run Prentice Redman jack and an Adam Moore RBI single.  Stark got the hook for Marwin Vega two outs into a difficult 5th inning.

Groundballs:  8
Flyballs:  6
Line Drives:  2 (both in that 5th inning)
Pop Ups:  1
Walks:  1 (plus 1 hit batter)
Strikeouts:  2

West Tenn got another run in the 5th on a Marshall Hubbard double to make it 4-1.  But in the top 6th, Mark Jurich (250/320/426) doubled in a run with two on and no outs, and a groundout cashed in another to cut the lead to 4-3.

But in his long awaited AA debut, Johan Limonta came to the plate and led off the 6th wtih a lined solo shot to left to extend the lead to 5-3.  Welcome to the Southern League, Limonta!  May your regression to the mean be mild.

Vega immediately got into trouble in the bottom 7th.  Javier Guzman (272/291/359) and Jason Perry (321/446/714) smacked back to back singles to lead off.  Vega got Greg Creek to fly out before he ceded to Jason Mackintosh... who immediately plunked Matt Young (298/402/404) to load the bases.  Kala Kaaihue (173/311/235) popped out for the 2nd out, but Jurich lined a single to center to cash in Guzman and Perry and tie the ballgame at 5.  Save blown, Mackintosh struck out the next batter to escape.

The DIAMOND JAXX couldn't get anything going, and in the top 9th, Mackintosh got a line out, but plunked Matt Young before ceding to Brodie Downs.  Kaaihue popped out for the 2nd out, and once again, Mark Jurich did severe run damage with two outs, doubling to center to cash in Young and give the Braves a 6-5 lead.  Jose Camarena (152/188/174) then lined a single to score Jurich and make it 7-5 before Downs escaped.

Jeff Dominguez got on to lead off the bottom 9th, but the next 3 batters went quietly to end it.

AAA:  Iowa 4, Tacoma 3
TAC:  17-15... IOWA:  14-18

R.A. Dickey:  7.2 IP, 10 H, 4 ER, 2 walks, 4 K
Andrew Baldwin:  one out, 1 H
Yung Chi Chen:  2-4, walk, SB (274/360/305)
Shawn Garrett:  2-3, R, 2 walks, K
Bryan LaHair:  2-5, 2 R, K
Charlton Jimerson:  1-4, RBI, K
Oswaldo Navarro:  2-4, RBI, K

The Adventures of R.A. Dickey And His Dancing Knuckler features a bevy of pussy hits from the AAA Cubs, scoring a run in the first after a leadoff bunt single, a single and a sac fly.  The Rainiers got a run back in the 2nd with the bases loaded on an Oswaldo Navarro 6-4-3 GIDP because he's a MARINER IN THE MAKING.

Iowa got an actual leadoff single from Josh Kroeger in the 2nd, and once again we see a bunt, this time a sac bunt from Sam Fuld, for one out.  Koyie Hill grounded to 1st for two outs to move Kroeger to 3rd, and Andres Blanco lined a single to center to cash him in and make it 2-1 Iowa.

Yung Chi Chen led off with a single up the middle, and Shawn Garrett walked with two out, but Bryan LaHair stranded both with the inning ending big whiff.

Matt Murton (HEY) walked with one out, then Micah Hoffpauir singled.  Dickey did get Casey MeGehee to fly out, but Kroeger struck again, this time with a legit double to center to cash both runners in and make it 4-1 Iowa.

And that's the way it stayed, as Dickey gave the Rainiers 7 innings in all and had another crooked game full of action:

Groundballs:  14 (plus 3 bunts)
Flyballs:  7
Line Drives:  3
Pop Ups:  1
Walks:  2
Strikeouts:  4

The Rainiers had no rally in them until the 8th.  Shawn Garrett led off with a walk, Bryan LaHair smoked a single through to RF, where Josh Kroeger anti-redeemed himself by candyassing the ball to put both runners in scoring position with no outs.  But Charlton Jimerson grounded to short for one out to cash in one run, 4-2.  Then Rob Johnson struck out, proving that the Mariners clearly called up the wrong catcher.  Oswaldo Navarro smoked a single up the middle to cash in LaHair and make it 4-3, then took 2nd on a wild pitch.  But Brent Johnson harmelssly flied to center to end the threat.

The AAA Cubs almost got a run back with two outs and a man on 1st in the bottom half when Koyie Hill doubled off PHAT ANDY 22... but Sam Fuld, coming all the way from 1st, got gunned down at home on a 9-4-2 relay to end that threat.

In the bottom 9th, Jeremy Reed drew a 2 out walk, and Shawn Garrett grounded sharply to 2nd, but 2B Eric Patterson threw YIKES AND AWAY to put both men on at the corners.  However, Bryan LaHair helped the Cubs out by grounding to short to end the ballgame.