Modesto Nuts (59-55) take series from Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (59-55)
Things are getting interesting in Modesto, as the Nuts remain in first place in the Cal League North, but are having to fend off a late surge by the Fresno Grizzlies nipping at their heels. Modesto won this series against Rancho, 4-2, but actually ceded ground to the Grizzlies, who had the pleasure of playing the Cal League’s worst team in the Visalia Rawhide this past week, sweeping them aside. As a reminder, Rancho doesn’t have video despite being literally a Dodgers affiliate, so this week’s Modesto cap has to be a box score rundown.
Game 1: Modesto comes back late, pulls out dramatic ninth-inning victory, 15-11
A defensive struggle this was not, but this was the game of the series for the Nuts, who rallied back from a 7-3 deficit in the third, busting out in a nine-run ninth inning to snatch a victory away. Hogan Windish, Jonatan Clase, and Axel Sanchez all had three hits apiece; Clase doubled and tripled and stole his 47th base, and Sanchez hit another home run, his sixth already, as did highly-touted prospect Gabriel Gonzalez.
Game 2: Nuts lose, 6-9
The Nuts couldn’t overcome an uncharacteristically rough start from Joseph Hernandez, who surrendered seven runs in five innings and struck out just one batter. Clase hit his ninth home run of the year in a losing effort.
Game 3: Modesto runs start coming and they don’t stop coming, win 11-6
This was a bullpen game with Modesto’s recently-promoted youngsters from the ACL, so the offense needed to step up, and they did. No single Nuts position player went, uh, nuts, but they got contributions up and down the lineup: Harry Ford had two hits including a double out of the leadoff spot, and Hogan Windish had a two-hit, four-RBI day out of the cleanup spot; he’s batting .380 with an OPS of 1.025 (which, impressively, is only the second-highest on the team; wunderkind Axel Sanchez is at 1.243). Eight-hole hitter Randy Bednar had two hits including his third home run of the season.
Game 4: Disastrous game ends in Modesto loss, 8-12
This game suuuuuuuucked. Something you should know about the Dodgers pitching development is they seek out hard throwers and don’t care much about command, or lack thereof [stares in Dustin May hitting Ty France]. Rancho started hard-throwing teenager Maddux Bruns, who hit four Modesto batters with pitches, including serving 97 MPH into Jonatan Clase’s elbow, who then had to leave the game (he’s fine now, don’t worry, but it did swell up). Recently-called up Miguel Santana replaced Bruns after 2.1 innings, but he wasn’t any better, hitting another two batters, including Harry Ford’s second HBP of the day, in just 1.2 innings. Two more Rancho pitchers would hit two more Modesto batters, giving them a total of eight HBPs which were unfortunately centered on three batters: Ford, Hogan Windish, and Tyler Locklear each got hit twice. And Modesto couldn’t even get a win out of it. Stupid game.
Game 5: More late-inning heroics in Modesto win, 6-5
I’m so glad the Nuts came back and won this game and didn’t waste another stellar effort from Sam Carlson (even if he doesn’t get a win). Bouncing back from a poor start last week, Carlson was excellent, going six innings with seven strikeouts and surrendering just one run. The bullpen wobbled in relief of him but Modesto’s offense came through to get the win in the ninth. Harry Ford, who had three hits out of the leadoff spot, hit a solo homer in the ninth for the go-ahead run, and Hogan Windish had a sac fly for some insurance that would be necessary when Stefen Raeth, UW alum and 2022 draftee, gave up a solo dinger of his own in the bottom of the ninth before locking things down for his first career save.
Game 6: Nuts crush Quakes, 7-2
No late-inning heroics necessary as Modesto had scored all the runs they’d need by the fourth inning, leaving things in the hands of the bullpen, who allowed just one hit and no runs over the final five. Modesto’s offense didn’t have any extra-base hits but got enough traffic on the bases to small-ball some runs in. Also, Jonatan Clase stole his league-leading 51st base.
Next up: The Nuts return home to face San Jose, which means TV again! Highlights! Yay!
Everett AquaSox (52-61) drop series to Vancouver Canadians (58-52), 2-4
The struggles continue for the AquaSox. In Game 1, the Everett offense actually got to hoppin’, scoring eight runs, led by the combo of Victor Labrada and Charlie Welch in the 1-2 spots: the two had seven runs between them, including a Labrada home run and three doubles from Welch. Unfortunately, starter Jimmy Joyce gave up one more run than that over five innings during which he also walked five batters, and the rest of the lineup only added one more run to Labrada and Welch’s total, leading to an 8-12 loss.
Game 2 was dèjá ewwww with another 8-12 loss, although this time the offense funneled through the middle of the lineup, with Alberto Rodríguez, Robert Pérez Jr., and Ben Ramírez notching three hits apiece from the 3-5 slots and Dariel Gómez adding another two from the six-hole. Once again, though, the Sox couldn’t overcome a shaky start, as Jordan Jackson gave up seven runs over the first half of the ballgame and the rest of the bullpen continued to leak oil as the game went on.
Game 3 was another heartbreaker, with the offense putting up eight runs and the pitching staff giving up nine of them. Are you sensing a theme? Everett finally got a strong starting pitching performance in Game 4, as Bryan Woo was dominant over six innings with 11 strikeouts and no runs allowed. But the offense could only scrape across one run, and the bullpen finally faltered in the ninth, as Tim Elliott gave up the first three runs allowed by the Everett pitching staff all day, and the offense could not answer back. Bummer.
Everett pulled out of their tailspin in a big way in Game 5, winning 14-4, finally syncing up a strong offensive performance with a good pitching performance, led by Logan Rinehart, who allowed nine hits over six innings but also struck out 11 batters and allowed just two runs. The AquaSox got contributions from up and down their lineup, jumping out with a six-run lead immediately in the first and never looking back. They followed up that effort with another big win in the series finale, winning 10-3 in Game 6. Jimmy Joyce bounced back with a strong start, allowing two runs over five innings and striking out six, and the Sox offense got a big boost from Victor Labrada, who doubled and hit a home run. Dariel Gomez also hit his 23rd homer in the win.
Next up: Everett stays at home to face Spokane, which means another week of no visual highlights. Boo.
Arkansas Travelers (56-58) drop rain-soaked series to Springfield Cardinals (55-59)
I have been spoiled by living in Seattle for 25 years and never having to worry about weather impacting a baseball game for at least 81 days a year. For those unaware, I am moving to New York in about a week and had a serious discussion with a friend the other day about dealing with rain delays or cancellations of Mets and Yankees games in September and October. Weather delays seem like the absolute worst, and I got just a taste of that this past week with the Arkansas Travelers. If I had a nickel for every rain-shortened game the Travs lost this series, I’d have two nickels. Which isn’t a lot, but it’s weird that it happened twice, right?
Game One: Kolek deals, offense stalls in eight-inning contest
The opening game of the series was the worst rain-shortened game of the series for the Travs. Stephen Kolek looked the sharpest he has looked in a while during his 5.2 innings of work, allowing just two earned runs and striking out four. We’ll get to Kolek’s gem when we get to the series finale.
Strong start by Stephen Kolek. Final line: 5.2IP, 4H, 2R, 2BB, 4K, 94-65. pic.twitter.com/dF9rdY3KZ4— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) August 17, 2022
Even with Kolek dealing, the offense was unable to take advantage of countless opportunities. They collected nine hits on the night, but other than a Jake Anchia double in the seventh inning, they just couldn’t string them together, collecting precisely one hit in six of the eight innings. There’s a chance that the Travs’ bats, which were clearly producing overall on the night, would’ve finally collected that second clutch hit in the ninth inning, but unfortunately, the game was called after an hour delay in the eighth inning with the Cardinals clinging onto a 2-1 lead.
Game Two: Taylor Dollard still leads the league in wins and ERA. Still good at baseball
Do we think there’s a way to trick the offense into thinking that Taylor Dollard is pitching every night? I know Taylor Dollard has been outstanding this season, as he leads the league in nearly all statistical categories, but the fact that the Travs keep winning when he pitches might lowkey be the most impressive stat this season. Dollard has not been as unhittable as he was at his peak at the end of June, but even with him putting up more human numbers, the team is still putting up runs to make sure their ace is still picking up the victory, or at least picking it up after he exits the game. Anyway, Dollard was solid yet again on Wednesday, going five innings and allowing two runs while striking out five.
Solid start for Taylor Dollard. Final line: 5IP, 4H, 2R, 3BB, 3K, 87-53. pic.twitter.com/d6SP5wJ5WU— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) August 18, 2022
The offense took advantage of the long ball on Wednesday as all seven runs came via the home run. Riley Unroe, Matt Scheffler, Jake Scheiner, and Kaden Polcovich all went deep.
Crushed. Jake Scheiner 3-run HR! pic.twitter.com/N72RZsNcOq— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) August 18, 2022
The bullpen nearly blew the 7-2 lead by allowing four runs and loading the bases in the eighth, but Collin Kober struck out top Cardinals prospect Jordan Walker to escape the jam. Kober stayed in the game for the four-out save to take home the victory.
Game Three: Travs lose another walk-off, 5-4, this time on a wild pitch
I forgot about it for a minute because the Travs have been at home for the first two weeks of August, but man, they have had some bad luck losing on walk-offs this season. Thursday night was no exception. Prelander Berroa was very strong in his first outing since his combined no-hitter. He struck out eight over four innings and, most encouragingly, only walked a single batter.
Prelander Berroa was dominant tonight. Final line: 4IP, 4H, 1R, BB, 8K, 74-44.— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) August 19, 2022
Last 2 starts: 9IP, 4H, 1R, 3BB, 19K. pic.twitter.com/qcJKjsU3TY
It was a back-and-forth affair for much of the evening, with neither team leading by more than a single run and the two sides trading leads throughout the night. Ultimately the Travs fell short in the ninth thanks to a leadoff double, sac bunt, and a wild pitch from Isaiah Campbell to bring the winning run home.
Game Four: Bats once again impress in a Bryce Miller start in 15-1 thrashing
Last series, the Travs bats exploded for 11 runs in Bryce Miller’s lone start in the series. Deciding that wasn’t nearly enough run support for the former Aggie, they decided to one-up themselves by scoring 15 runs on Friday night. Miller needed just a fraction of that run support as he allowed just a single run and three hits over his six innings.
Outstanding start by Bryce Miller. Final line: 6IP, 3H, 1R, BB, 3K, 87-52. pic.twitter.com/i2Ho7wt4iH— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) August 20, 2022
Miller has been very good this season.
Bryce Miller’s 1st full pro season:— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) August 20, 2022
22G, 5-3, 3.23ERA, 108.2IP, 81H, 35BB, 128K, .207 BAA.
The whole offense contributed because it is hard to score 15 runs otherwise, but Zach DeLoach and Kaden Polcovich stood out on Friday. I apologize that I somehow missed this in the chaos of getting ready to move and, you know, the depression and stuff, but DeLoach ended up on the 7-day IL on August 10th. The details of the injury are not apparent, but he did play DH in three of his first four games back in the lineup. He rejoined the team on Thursday, but Friday was truly his welcome back party. DeLoach picked up three hits and reached base four times in the evening. He picked up a double and notched his 10th home run of the season.
Zach DeLoach blasts a 2-run HR! pic.twitter.com/F7nZ67rStr— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) August 20, 2022
Polcovich joined the party by hitting two home runs of his own. The duo combined for eight RBIs on the evening.
Kaden Polcovich blasts his 2nd HR of the game! 7-1 Travelers. pic.twitter.com/9Jb0sRuldI— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) August 20, 2022
Game Five: Hancock hit hard in a rain-shortened loss
If this was somehow my fault, I apologize. I have been hyping up Emerson Hancock a lot over the last few weeks. I have been questioning why he isn’t on top-100 prospect lists and speculating that he might be in Seattle within the next six weeks if he keeps this up. Well,,, things didn’t go exactly as planned on Saturday night in what was by far Hancock’s worst start as a Trav. He gave up eight runs over 4.1 innings. For reference, he had allowed seven earned runs in his previous seven starts combined. Everyone makes mistakes, everyone has those days. We can chalk it up to poor weather, and maybe the vibes were just off on Saturday.
The offense stayed in it, and once again, it is not a stretch to say they could’ve won if they had all 27 outs to work with, but they called this game in the bottom of the fifth with Springfield holding onto an 8-5 lead that the Travs never got a chance to crawl out of.
Game Six: Travs blow late lead, thankfully done with this cursed series
Extremely tough break for Stephen Kolek. In the first game of the series, he was the best he had been in a while but got minimal run support, and the offense didn’t even get a chance to play all nine innings. Sunday was somehow even worse for Kolek. He had arguably his strongest start of the season with a four-strikeout gem over seven innings in which he allowed just four hits and a single run.
He exited the game with a 5-1 lead and only six outs left for the bullpen to let Kolek improve on his 4-12 record this season. Unfortunately, Kolek, nor the Travs, picked up the win on Sunday afternoon. Travis Kuhn walked three of the five batters he faced, with a double sprinkled in there too. Isaiah Campbell came in for Kuhn and allowed back-to-back base hits, including a bases-loaded triple that saw the four-run lead vanquish in the blink of an eye to put an end to a bizarre series.
Up Next: The Travelers return to the friendly confines of Dickey-Stephens Park to take on the Tulsa Drillers.
Tacoma Rainiers (53-64) split series with Albuquerque Isotopes (53-63)
Tacoma opened this series with a handy 8-4 win in Game 1 that featured some fun things like this Jarred Kelenic home run:
Jarred Kelenic blasts a solo HR! pic.twitter.com/IBKuGLybXp— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) August 16, 2022
and this Evan White home run:
Evan White goes oppo for a solo HR! pic.twitter.com/WjuoaoHEFh— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) August 16, 2022
This game also featured Matt Boyd throwing a scoreless inning in his first rehab start. Good vibes all around!
The vibes were a little thinner on the ground in a 5-2 loss in Game 2. Exactly two (2) Rainiers batters got hits: Mason McCoy had two and Kelenic had the other two, and each of them had a solo homer that accounted for the Rainiers’ two (2) runs. But hey, Kelenic homer!
Jarred Kelenic blasts a solo HR! pic.twitter.com/v4aK0d17y1— Mariners Minors (@MiLBMariners) August 18, 2022
Tacoma bounced back in a 9-5 Game 3 win where some familiar names had big games: Taylor Trammell had three hits including two doubles and three RBI out of the leadoff spot, Abraham Toro had two hits, Kelenic had two doubles, and Luis Torrens had three doubles. We love to see it!
Game 4 was kind of a heartbreaker, as the Rainiers just couldn’t quite scare up enough offense to keep pace with the six runs the pitching staff gave up, including two from Boyd, who got tagged with the loss. Toro doubled, Kelenic had another two RBI, and Kyle Lewis singled in his first appearance back with the Rainiers, but it wasn’t enough in a 6-4 loss. Saturday’s game was unfortunately the same story, this time a 6-2 loss. Evan White singled and walked twice, and Trammell and Kelenic both singled, but the Rainiers just couldn’t string together that big inning despite some traffic on the bases.
Tacoma rebounded in the series finale with a thrilling walkoff win in Game 6, 9-8. Every Tacoma batter recorded a hit, including homers from White and Toro as well as Austin Wilson, and Luis Torrens had three hits including a double.
Next up: Tacoma heads to the high desert of Salt Lake, where the pitching staff might suffer but the lineup should be able to make some hay.