Welcome back for another week on the farm! This week, Modesto secures a series win,
Modesto Nuts (21-24) Take Series from San Jose Giants (27-19), 4-2
What a good series for the Nuts, who continue to play one of the top teams in the division tough. Modesto opened the series with a Game 1 win, 3-1, on the back of a strong start from staff ace Joseph Hernández. Yeury Tatíz provided a pair of scoreless innings plus a key out, and Jorge Benitez gave up the lone run on a solo homer but collected his fourth save. The Nuts got all the offense they’d need off a two-run homer from Ty Duvall in the fourth, but a newly-healthy Milkar Pérez singled and scored an insurance run in the sixth.
Modesto came up just short in Game 2 of the series in a 6-7 slugfest. Modesto starter Michael Morales allowed a lot of traffic on the bases (seven hits and a walk), but only allowed two runs to cross the plate (one on a solo homer) over a hard-fought five innings. Unfortunately, the bullpen let him down: Tyler Driver was able to shut things down in the sixth in relief of a flagging Morales, but allowed four straight singles in the seventh; similarly, Andrew Moore was able to bail out Driver in the seventh, coming in and immediately inducing an inning-ending double play, and then worked a clean eighth, but gave up the tying run in the ninth and Kelvin Nuñez allowed his inherited runner to score on a triple. It’s a bummer because the offense did their job, jumping out to a quick 2-0 lead with Walking Cabrera and Ben Ramirez RBI singles in the second, adding another two in the fourth, and Ramirez came through again with a big go-ahead two-run homer in the sixth.
The Nuts bounced back in Game 3 with the offense and defense getting on the same page at last; Modesto stacked six runs to give starter William Fleming a win, as he surrendered just one run over five innings while striking out six. The Nuts were unkind to Giants starter Will Bednar, SF’s 1st-rounder (14th overall) in 2021, hanging five runs on him even as he struck out seven over 4.1 innings. The big damage came on a three-run home run from Ben Ramirez, along with an Edwin Arroyo RBI single and a Walking Cabrera RBI double. Arroyo and Ramirez would each have another RBI hit on the day as Modesto cruised to an easy 9-3 victory. One bummer from this game: after singling in his first at-bat, Jonatan Clase got hit in the hand by 93 MPH from Bednar and would miss the rest of this series, but thankfully x-rays were negative and Clase should be back in the lineup next week.
Game 4 was another Modesto loss, although again, not for lack of effort by the offense, who again pounced on the Giants’ pitching staff for six runs, thanks to big days from the usual suspects: Edwin Arroyo continued to burnish his star with a three-run home run, and The Venezuelan Sensation, Robert Pérez Jr., added a double and his Cal League-leading 15th home run to his total. Pitching-wise, Jimmy Kingsbury didn’t have a great day despite striking out seven, giving up five runs over just 4.1 innings, but the real damage came in a late implosion by Kelvin Nuñez, who surrendered five runs, four earned, in just two innings.
Modesto made two runs, scored in the first and second innings, hold up for a win in Game 5, a 2-1 affair where four Modesto pitchers combined to hold the Giants to just one run. Jordan Jackson was strong in his start, striking out five over five innings and scattering six hits and no runs, and lefty Jorge Benitez recorded his fifth save, his second of this series. Modesto got their first run on some small ball in the first, when Harry Ford singled, stole second, moved to third on an Arroyo groundout and scored on a wild pitch, and on an RBI double from Amador Arias in the second.
Joseph Hernández tossed another solid five innings of work in Game 6, allowing one run while striking out six; Yeury Tatíz and Tyler Driver held things down over the back half of the game, although Driver allowed two ninth-inning runs that made the game a closer 6-4 than the comfortable 6-2 lead Modesto held at the start of the inning. Walking Cabrera hit two RBI singles, Robert Pérez contributed another RBI double and scored on a wild pitch, and Randy Bednar hit a two-run homer as the big blast of the day.
Up next: Modesto remains at home to host the Fresno Grizzlies (COL)
Everett AquaSox (19-24) try their hardest, earn series split with Spokane Indians (24-19)
I (Nick) have returned to take custody of my beloved lil frogs, after two weeks worth of Midshipmen’s abandoned. As I checked in on them on my trip, it seemed that they were unkind to the babysitter (Kate), losing their first series while I was gone 1-5. After a tough, but fair, conversation on the phone where we talked about respect and kindness, their attitude improved, sweeping the Hops last week, in what I hoped was a turning-the-corner moment for them.
Considering that Spokane leads the Northwest League, I’ll honestly take a split. I think this tweet kinda sums up the week:
Baseball is a game of ups and downs, we’ll get ‘em tomorrow!— Everett AquaSox (@EverettAquaSox) May 28, 2022
The Frogs Frogged this week, meaning they, per usual - gave up a lot of runs, but also, sometimes scored even more runs than they gave up. Let’s get into it.
(side note: we are, again without video. The Northwest League is very non-visual)
Game One: Jimmy Joyce learns that history is a nightmare from which he is trying to awake, Frogs lose 9-3
Oh, Jimmy. Joyce has had some poor results far this season, sometimes for reasons outside of his control, and sometimes...reasons very in his control. This game unfortunately falls into the second category.
Joyce dutifully pitched five innings, giving up 11 hits wince and 8 runs grimace. No need to dig in too deep here as we have six games to cover, but it was not a pretty scene.
By the time the AquaSox got the offense going, it was a case of too little, too late. In the seventh inning, Charlie Welch worked a walk, getting on base for a Victor Labrada home run. Spencer Packard knocked in one more on a sacrifice fly. Noelvi Marte also snagged a base, adding one of the few highlights of the night.
Game Two: Frogs try to hang on, unfortunately do not hang on, slip into the pond, lose 6-5
The Sox put up a valiant start to the game, jumping all over Spokane in the first to the tune of four two-out runs. A Trent Tingelstad double got the party started, and he came around to score on an error off of a Justin Lavey ground ball. Alberto Rodriguez smacked a double into the gap to score Lavey, who then scored on a Dariel Gomez home run to conclude the scoring. James Parker added a single for the fourth hit of the inning.
Juan Mercedes took the mound for Everett, and, unfortunately, it did not, how you say, go well. In the bottom of the second inning, three straight hits resulted in three runs, narrowing the lead to 4-3. A Noelvi Marte sacrifice fly widened the gap to two, but, like everything else on this bitch of an earth, this was not to last.
Mercedes gave up a two-run home run in the bottom of the fourth to allow Spokane to tie the game, and another solo shot in the sixth inning gave up the lead. He finished going six innings, giving up six runs on seven hits. His eight strikeouts were nice to see, but the three home runs were not.
Everett never threatened again, striking out six times in the last three innings, with just two singles.
Game Three: Frogs build higher quality lilypad, do not collapse, win 4-0
A Frog win! Let us all croak in joy.
Prelander Berroa, the most recent addition to the Mariners top-30 prospect list after his acquisition from San Francisco, delivered a strong performance for his new team. He went five shutout innings, giving up just one hit, one walk, while racking up nine strikeouts. After a couple rough outings upon arriving in the great Pacific Northwest, he hopefully has settled in to his new home. Berroa sports a lively fastball/slider combination, and his 5’11” frame and power two-pitch combination suggest he might eventually find a home in the bullpen, but for now, Seattle is likely hoping to develop his changeup more and see if he can’t stick in the rotation.
On the offensive side, all of the hits came from the 5-8 spots in the lineup. Berto, Lavey and Labrada each contributed a pair of hits, and Parker threw in a hit of his own. The top four in the lineup each contributed a walk, which helped the offense put up four runs.
A Lavey/Labrada hit combo scored the first run in the fourth inning. From there, the Frogs decided to make us wait a little bit before adding some insurance runs. In the eighth innings, another Labrada RBI scored the second run, driving in Berto (my beloved), before a Parker double scored the last couple runs needed to put Everett safely on top.
In a shocking turn of events, the Everett bullpen did not absolutely blow it, as Big Mike Mokma, Luis Curvelo, and Kyle Hill combined to go four scoreless innings to earn their holds.
Game 4: Everett gets back to their roots, loses 7-15
It’s no secret that the Northwest League has a pretty depressed offensive environment. Last year, the average low-minors OPS was around .736 across different leagues. In the 2022 edition of the Northwest League, Everett actually leads in team OPS, with a .733, with three teams under .700 and two teams much closer to .600. The league average is close to .680.
In spite of this, the Everett staff continues to attempt to prop up the entire league’s offense. I am unable to find a repository for doubles and triples given up by pitcher and therefore cannot calculate slugging percentage for you, but I can tell you that they haven given up approximately a .253 BA and a .360 OBP this season. This team would be the best offensive team in the league. They have had a tendency to give up the Big Inning, often sinking an otherwise productive game. Point of the story, the pitching?
In addition, the defense?
On the offensive side, there was actually plenty to love. Dariel Gomez, Packard, and Cole Barr each knocked a four-bagger, Packard had another RBI-single, and Thomas and Labrada each drove in a single run to give Everett an impressive offensive output. Alas, not enough to keep the game within reach.
Brayan Perez lasted exactly, uh, one inning, giving up four hits, two walks, and five earned runs, and one unearned run, as a fielding error in center field allows a runner to advance and then score.
The next five innings were pretty uneventful for the pitching staff, as Bryan Pall and Evan Johnson combined to give up one run over those middle innings. Unfortunately, they decided this time to give up, not one, not two, but three Big Innings, giving up four more runs each in the seventh and eighth inning. Max Roberts, who started the seventh inning, committed a balk and two fielding errors, and Jarod Bayless, who came on to finish the job, each gave up four runs, turning a tie game into a blowout in a hurry.
Game Five: Bryce Miller appears human, but it ends up being okay, Everett wins 12-5
Miller has been one of the few bright arms on the Everett roster, along with Macko, laying claim to one of the best pitching performances so far this season in the Northwest League. He gave up season-highs by allowing seven hits, three walks and three runs across his five innings, both of which...aren’t that bad? This mostly just speaks to his insane run this season.
His good-not-great performance was propped up by overall heroics from the bats. First place goes to Charlie Welch, continuing to be Everett’s most productive bat with a 167 wRC+ despite a .216 batting average, thanks to his bonkers walk rate (21%+) and prodigious power (.311 ISO). He racked up three extra-base hits, an RBI-double, a solo shot and a two-run home run. Just behind him, Barr earns silver knocked two doubles of his own for a trio of RBIs. On the third-place portion of the podium, stands the very crowded and squished rest of the team, as every other batter collected a hit of their own. Plus, we all win by getting to watch young future-Mariners do good :’)
Game Six: Bullpen, offense deliver, earn their off-day, finish series split 10-5
Only one Joyce pun per log, I promise. Jimmy Joyce went 5-for-5, by which I mean he gave up five runs in five innings. He also went 3-and-3, by which I mean he gave up three strikeouts and three home runs. A pretty mixed bag that was overcome with some help from his friends in the bullpen, and the bats staying hot.
Our Big-Boy Leadoff Era continues - the majors have seen our sweet, sweet Vogey leading off for the checks notes MLB team (???), the adjusts glasses Pittsburgh Pirates? This joke would land better when the Mariners aren’t only one game ahead of them in the standings, or if it was funny. All this is to say that Tyler Keenan, all 6’4” and 250lbs of him, earned the start in the leadoff spot on Sunday. He rewarded that trust with one of the three multi-hit games, along with Noelvi Marte and Victor Labrada.
Labrada, Myles Miller, and Keenan each collected an RBI in the first inning, and a Marte two-run double in the fourth inning gave the Frogs five, enough to keep the game tied when Joyce exited the game.
This time, though, it was Everett doing a Big Inning upon their enemies to seal the game. It came in the form of a Dariel Gomez grand slam, his eighth homer of the year (Dariel Gomez, power hitter?). A wild pitch in the eighth to score Noelvi put a nice bow on the scoring for the night.
Baserunners were much tougher to come by for the Indians after Joyce departed the game. Mike Mokma, Luis Curvelo, and Kyle Hill combined for four scoreless innings, giving up just two hits and one walk to lock the game down.
Up Next: Everett starts tonight with a continuation of the April 10 rainout against Eugene at home at 6:05 pm, and then starts a new six game series right after.
Arkansas Travelers (22-23) use outstanding starting pitching to win series over Amarillo Sod Poodles (20-25)
I know I probably sound like a broken record at this point, but gosh the Arkansas pitching staff is so good. Even a rain out of the first game couldn’t keep the Travs rotation down. Taylor Dollard continues to do Taylor Dollard things. Emerson Hancock looked the best he has since joining Arkansas as he returns from injury. Levi Stoudt and Stephen Kolek both had solid starts, and oh yeah Connor Jones threw a no-hitter, history books be damned.
Game One: Dollard impresses again, offense can’t get going in 2-0 loss
After rain delayed the opening game of the series, Taylor Dollard took the mound 24 hours later than expected against Amarillo. His performance was further proof that the pitcher win should be abolished.
Dollard followed up his 7.1 inning gem last week by going seven innings and giving up just four hits and one earned run. It is incredibly dumb that he gets punished because his team couldn’t score a single run. Sure, it ultimately does not matter at all right now, and most people are smart enough to understand that a pitcher’s win-loss record is irrelevant. One group that may not understand that is the arbitration panel that hears a player’s case.
It is incredibly dumb that we allow a pitcher’s win-loss record to determine their worth. Yes, that was a bit of a tangent. I am not sure why I picked Taylor Dollard to show that this is the hill I’ll die on. Pitcher wins will no longer exist under socialism. While we’re here, abolish the draft too. Ok, it’s probably time to move back to the actual game.
The Travs threatened in the seventh with a Zach DeLoach double, but he was left stranded. After the Sod Poodles added an insurance run in the top of the ninth, the Travs brought the tying run to the plate after Joe Rizzo extended the game one more batter, but DeLoach grounded out to end the threat and the game.
Also, it is almost June and Taylor Dollard still has an ERA under 1.00.
Taylor Dollard was great again. Final line: 7IP, 4H, 1R, 0BB, 4K, 91-59. 0.99 ERA in 8 starts. pic.twitter.com/lzIhiZql1n— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) May 26, 2022
Game Two: Connor Jones throws a no-hitter in the opening game of the doubleheader
Connor Jones officially belongs in the same conversation that I’ve been having about Taylor Dollard and Levi Stoudt this season. Any time you can throw a no-hitter, you elevate yourself in any conversation. I know what you’re saying, “but Kyle, it was only seven innings. It doesn’t really count.” I’ll be honest with you; I do not care about technicalities like that. If the game got called early because of the weather, then sure, you have a point. Both teams knew they had 21 outs to work with before the game, and the Sod Poodles couldn’t get anything at all off of Jones.
It probably does not need to be said about a no-hitter, but it was utter domination from Jones on Thursday night. The only real scare he got himself into was in the third inning when he walked the first two batters and Corbin Carroll stepped to the plate. A forceout on Carroll and a strikeout two batters later extinguished the threat.
From there, the Travs offense kept adding on, and Jones had more and more pressure taken off him to keep the Sod Poodles off the board and could pitch without worrying about the score. Jones answered by retiring the last 13 batters he faced to finish off the no-hitter, even if the official record book disagrees.
I don’t know what changed for Jones since giving up eight runs in his final start of April, but he straight up looks like a completely different pitcher over the month of May. It is probably a take for as dominant as Dollard has been, but Jones has probably been the best pitcher on the team (and probably the organization) for May. He has given up eight hits over four starts, which some quick math says is really impressive. He has a 0.67 ERA with a 3.87 FIP during the month. The rain delay last Tuesday seemingly pushes Jones back to Wednesday for his next start, so hopefully, he isn’t living some sort of Thunderstruck type thing where his talent goes away when the clock hits midnight on June 1st.
Game Three: Travs finish off a 2-0 day thanks to another pitching gem and some late offense
I am not an expert, but allowing two hits over 14 innings seems like a pretty good day from your pitching staff. With the rain delay on Tuesday throwing things out of wack a little bit and wanting to stay with their regular rotation going forward, the Travs threw a bullpen day in the second game of the doubleheader. Conor Jones throwing a no-hitter in the first game, and Dollard going seven innings the day before, definitely made the decision a bit easier as everyone was fairly rested.
Colin Kober took the opener role and tossed one perfect inning. Ben Onyshko had the only hiccup for the Travs allowing two hits to open the second inning, but a force out followed by a double play ended the Sod Poodles’ only threat of the day. Just an outstanding day from the bullpen as Devin Sweet and Braden Shipley cruised through the Amarillo batters.
The only problem was that the Travs couldn’t get anything going on offense either. They definitely created more opportunities, including loading the bases with no outs in the fourth inning, ut couldn’t bring across a single run through the first five frames. Finally, Joe Rizzo decided that he had had enough and sent a solo shot to right field to give the Travs the 1-0 lead.
Crushed. Joe Rizzo blasts a solo HR! 1-0 Travelers in the 6th. pic.twitter.com/qjYgrXK90w— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) May 27, 2022
Just to be safe, Cade Marlowe drove in Zach DeLoach to make it 2-0.
Michael Stryffeler took care of business from there to notch his league-leading seventh save of the season to close out a perfect doubleheader.
Game Four: Travs can’t capitalize late, fall 4-1 in extra innings
It’s never great when you score a single run on three bases-loaded opportunities. The first such opportunity occurred in the seventh inning with the Travs trailing 1-0 thanks to a strong start from Levi Stoudt. Stoudt there 5.1 innings of three-hit ball, allowing just one run and striking out eight batters.
Outstanding start by Levi Stoudt. Final line: 5.1IP, 3H, 1R, 0BB, 8K, 78 pitches, 54 strikes. pic.twitter.com/xBb0EU22dl— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) May 28, 2022
The Travs opened the frame with a single and two walks, giving them by far their best look of the game to do some damage, even if it was too late to give Stoudt the win.
Jack Larsen brought in one with a fielder's choice, which at least meant Stoudt wasn’t going to get stuck with the loss. Unfortunately, Kaden Polcovich grounded into an inning-ending double play to end the first threat.
Although it wasn’t a bases-loaded situation, the Travs squandered another prime scoring chance when they couldn’t bring in Joe Rizzo after his leadoff double in the eighth inning to keep the game knotted at 1-1.
Travis Kuhn kept Armarillo off the board in the ninth and 10th to give the Travs another golden opportunity. A Larsen groundout moved Tanner Kirwer to third with just one out. The Sod Poodles intentionally walked Kaden Polcovich to set up the double play opportunity. After a Connor Hoover strikeout and a Matt Schefler walk, Zach DeLoach came up with the bases loaded and another chance to play hero like he did last week. DeLoach came up empty and we went to another extra frame.
Again the Sod Poodles could not capitalize in the top of the inning, and again the Travelers just had to score one run to win. This time they loaded the bases with one out, but a Tanner Kirwer double play ended the inning and shortly thereafter any realistic shot the Travs had at winning the game. The Sod Poodles scored in the top of the 12th, and the Travs did in fact go gentle into that good night to end the game.
Game Five: Travs breeze past Sod Poodles, decide to be friendly, so it doesn’t look like such a blowout
It would’ve been very easy for the Travs to feel discouraged about a brutal loss less than 24 hours earlier. No one would’ve blamed them if they came out a little flat and took some time to get going. Nope, instead, they punished the first pitch they saw on offense and never looked back.
Polcovich opened the scoring with his shot to deep right. He was quickly joined on the scoreboard when Joe Rizzo drove in a run with a double in the third. The Travs fully broke it one in a four-run fourth with Jake Anchia and Polcovich each driving in two to make it 6-0. The six runs were more than enough run support for a dominant Stephen Kolek. Kolek allowed just one run on three hits with five strikeouts over seven strong innings.
The Travs scored twice more on a DeLoach blast to make it 8-1 entering the final frame. Surely everyone can relax as there’s no way this game becomes stressful at all, right? Well, I have some bad news. Dayeison Arias struggled mightily in his 0.2 innings of work and allowed the Sod Poodles to at least bolster their run differential a little bit. It did make for an exciting ending, however.
Babe Ruth. Shohei Ohtani. Connor Hoover? The super-utility player took that definition to another level when he came in to lock up the final out of the game. Hoover was throwing absolute gas (57 MPH) with a picture-perfect form. A thing of beauty.
I am sure Hoover’s 20/20/20 (20 home runs, 20 steals, 20 saves) season is coming soon. It is pretty cool that the Mariners have the best two-way player in the AL West now.
Game Six: Emerson Hancock impresses as Travs take series finale
Remember when Emerson Hancock was the Mariners' top pitching prospect? well hey, good news, that might be on the horizon again here very soon. Especially if he can continue to pitch as well as he did on Sunday,
It feels weird to say about someone who has barely played professional baseball, but I feel like there’s a level of prospect fatigue with Hancock that I can’t remember seeing in quite a while in the M’s system. Yes, Hancock has been rated as one of the better pitchers of his class since basically the moment he stepped foot on campus in Athens. Yes, he was a potential #1 pick who plummeted all the way down to #6 in the 2020 draft. I don’t even know if I would say he has been surpassed by other pitching prospects in the organization, but George Kirby and Levi Stoudt seemingly have generated more buzz than the former Bulldog. I don’t know how it is happening, but Hancock might somehow be flying under the radar after all the hype surrounding him for the last three years.
All Hancock did on Sunday was toss four scoreless innings, allowing just a single baserunner to reach base on a base hit where the runner was thrown out attempting to make it a double. Hancock threw an economical 44 pitches across his four innings, by far his longest outing of the season. I seriously cannot wait for Hancock to be fully unleashed later this summer when the entire rotation could conceivably give you at least seven innings on any given start.
Emerson Hancock was great tonight. Final line: 4IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 4K, 44 pitches, 30 strikes. pic.twitter.com/u0a70g0Yd1— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) May 29, 2022
The offense picked up Hancock, scoring one in the second, one in the third, and three in the fourth for a comfortable 5-0 lead. With Hancock still on a pitch count, the bullpen came in needing a few more outs than they have grown accustomed to lately with such strong starting pitching. Rob Kaminsky had the benefit of taking the ball first and picking up the win because baseball’s pitcher win rules are the second dumbest set of rules I have seen in this country, I bet you can try taking a guess at the number one most arcane rule (law) in this country.
Anyway, Ben Onyshko kept the Sod Poodles off the board in the sixth inning. Jake Haberer had a bit of a hiccup in the seventh inning, allowing three runs while recording just two outs. Devin Sweet came in to close out the inning.
The two-headed bullpen monster of Braden Shipley and Michael Stryffeler came in and each breezed through the Sod Poodles in their inning of work to give the Travs the victory and the series win.
Up Next: The Travs hit the road to take on the Springfield Cardinals.
Tacoma Rainiers (16-31) jumpstart Jarred Kelenic, discard all other facets of successful play against Las Vegas Aviators (26-21)
Game one: Positive start, all is well, Rainiers win 7-2
The first game of the homestand was a breezy victory, with RHP Darren McCaughan working 5.0 innings and handing a two-run lead to the bullpen that they would hold steady. Both C Brian O’Keefe and UTIL Erick Mejia went large, driving in six of the seven runs Tacoma plated. No stress, no mess.
Game two: Marge not in charge, Rainiers lose 3-1
This one was a heartbreaker. After a first inning solo shot by Aviators OF Billy McKinney off LHP Tommy Milone, Tacoma locked down once again, holding it to 1-0 until the eighth. In the bottom of the frame, the Rainiers finally broke through, with 1B Evan White drawing a walk and O’Keefe a hit by pitch before 3B Zach Green clubbed a double to drive in White and put the go-ahead run 90 feet away. No dice, as new catcher Andrew Knapp was stifled, and the bullpen finally cracked. After 2.2 perfect innings from Roenis Elías, Riley O’Brien, and Matt Brash, LHP Nick Margevicius saw his ill-fated season continue, giving up three hits and two runs in the ninth to seal Tacoma’s fate.
Game three: Wade in the water, sink, Rainiers lose 5-2
Once again, the Rainiers offense was unable to muster enough to threaten Las Vegas, and even this score was fairly fortunate. The R Squad only cracked three hits, all singles, and were the beneficiaries of four walks and two errors. Jarred Kelenic extended his hitting streak to three games. OF Miguel Perez got another hit, which is a reminder that 21-year-old Miguel Perez is one or two games away from having more plate appearances at Triple-A than he’s received at any full-season level stateside. That is to say, this is not a lineup playing with a full competitive roster. Starter Konner Wade got touched up for five runs on two big flies, but the bullpen once again was predominantly solid. Matt Koch stretched his scoreless streak to 9.0 innings to start his Triple-A season.
Game four: Kelenic nearly cycles, fin, Rainiers lose 6-2
Exciting facets, albeit still with similar results. LHP Justus Sheffield got the start and, to be completely frank, pitched dramatically better than his line. Five strikeouts, just one walk, and a terribly sequenced first inning undermined what was an encouraging outing in many ways for the southpaw, something that hasn’t been easily found. All three of his pitches were located well and with bat-missing capabilities at times, particularly after the rocky first, and yielding six singles to just two doubles and no other extra-base hits is the version of Sheffield that can succeed - getting weak contact and groundballs to clean up messes with double plays.
The star of the day was Jarred Kelenic, however, who had himself a monster of a day, with a triple off the monstrous wall in dead center at Cheney Stadium, as well as an oppo bomb and a pair of singles - a line drive yanked into right field and a sharp single the other way beating the shift. It’s hard to ask for anything more than exactly what Kelenic put together in this game, because this type of performance is what has made him such a promising prospect to begin with.
The bat control, the strength on all his swings, the hustle and athleticism, every aspect comes into play. He would maintain his hitting streak all series, stretching it to five and hopefully building more confidence while facing a handful of big league adjacent arms.
Game five: RAINED OUT
Game six: Aviators out-soar Tacoma, Rainiers lose 10-8
This was a slugfest between the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics affiliates, but the Aviators got the long end of the stick once more. Vegas pounced on RHP Daniel Ponce de Leon, but Tacoma did their darndest to make it a game all the same. Jarred Kelenic went deep the opposite way again.
Jarred Kelenic goes oppo for a 3-run HR. pic.twitter.com/YCaey3RwNZ— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) May 29, 2022
Matt Brash worked another clean frame out of the bullpen, striking out two with no free passes. Rehabbing Mariners reliever RHP Ken Giles worked a scoreless frame, sitting 94-95 in his first outing in over a year!
1st strikeout for Ken Giles. pic.twitter.com/q1XTJAAILc— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) May 29, 2022
The hole was too deep, sadly, but after weeks of games seeing Tacoma’s pitching flounder night after night, a week where this was more of an outlier game at home was at least some small comfort.
Up Next: Tacoma travels to the launchpad of the Reno Aces, the Arizona Diamondbacks affiliate.