A: They played two in Clinton, IA.
Game 1: Clinton 4, Cedar Rapids 3, 7 innings
Adam Harben: 4 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, walk, 4 K
Ruben Flores: 2 IP, walk, K
Ryan Moorer: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, hit batter
Juan Fuentes: 1-3, triple, K
Scott Savastano: 1-3, R, RBI, SB
Ben Billingsley: 1-3, double, RBI
Each team scored two runs in the 1st, but Scott Savastano lined home Nate Tenbrink with two out in the bottom 4th to give the Lumberkings a 3-2 lead… and he got thrown out trying to 2nd. Smooth move, kid.
Adam Harben gave the Lumberkings 4 decent innings, which for a 7 inning game is like going 6 innings in terms of how much you need to use the bullpen, except for that whole ‘we need to play 7 more innings after this’ thing. Given that Harben gave up two line drives and four flyballs, don’t get too excited about the 4 strikeouts to one walk. His job was to fill in, and he did that fine.
Ruben Flores helped out the pen with two hitless innings, a huge bounceback after his initial struggles. But Ryan Moorer ran into trouble: Angel Castillo got a groundball into RF to lead off, then Moorer plunked Matt Crawford. Anel De Los Santos bunted them over for one out and the dangerous Darwin Perez lined a single to right to tie the ballgame, but Almonte got it back in and prevented Crawford from scoring. Fortunately for the Lumberkings, Perez drifted too far off the bag, allowing Moorer to pick him off before Tyson Auer harmlessly grounded out.
However, Clinton would prevail: Despite a one out Juan Fuentes triple producing no runs when Terry Serrano got thrown out on a fielder’s choice, Scott Savastano would come around to score on a Ben Billingsley walkoff double.
Game 2: Cedar Rapids 5, Clinton 3, 7 innings
Walter Suriel: 2.2 IP, 1 H, (4 R) 1 ER (HR), 3 walks, 5 K
Jose Jimenez: 2.1 IP, 3 H, (1 R) 0 ER, 2 walks, K
Blake Nation: 2 IP, K
Terry Serrano: 1-2, 2 RBI, walk
Scott Savastano: 3-3, R
Gavin Dickey: 1-2, double, R, walk
Luis Nuñez: 0-2, sac fly RBI
After the good bullpen fortune in Game 1 with a spot starter, Clinton’s Lumberkings ironically ran into trouble in game 2 with an actual starter, as Walter Suriel got wild, served up a 3 run homer to Jon Townsend, and could not finish the 3rd, forcing the Lumberkings to scramble for pitching to finish the nightcap. He wasn’t expected to go too far anyway, as he had started the year in the pen, but the walks and home run complicated matters.
Fortunately, Jose Jimenez has long-man experience, finished the 3rd and got the Lumberkings through the 5th despite a hodge-podge of baserunners. Blake Nation went a little longer than he would typically expect and mopped up the last two frames without incident.
Unfortunately, thanks to Suriel’s wildness, the Kernels had a 5-0 lead by the middle 3rd that proved enough to take the nightcap.
A+: High Desert 7, Lake Elsinore 1
Juan Carlos Ramirez: 5.1 IP, 1 H, 3 walks, K
Juan Zapata: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER (HR), 2 walks, 3 K
Phillipe Aumont: 1 IP, 1 H, walk
Steven Richard: 1 IP, K
Tyson Gillies: 2-4, double, 2 R, walk, K, SB
Edilio Colina: 1-5, R, RBI, K
Jamie McOwen: 1-4, 2 run HR, walk
Ian Bladergroen: 2-5, solo HR, 2 RBI, 2 K
Alex Liddi: 3-4, 2 doubles, triple, 2 R
Travis Scott: 1-4, RBI, K
Joe Dunigan: 1-4, double, RBI, K
Wind: 17 mph out to CF
Key: The wind blowing out to CF, and Juan Carlos Ramirez’s prowess for groundballs. Sure, he gave up a few flyballs, but how many of those weren’t just pop ups that drifted into the outfield with the wind? We can’t tell from here, but aside from a shaky 1st inning (two walks), Ramirez threw a solid outing, hit his pitch count and left the ballgame with one out in the 6th after allowing only a single hit.
Line Drives: 1
Pop Ups: 1
Of course, the first batter reliever Juan Zapata faces takes him deep to put Lake on the board. Fortunately, it was the only run Zapata and the Mavs allowed, and the Mavs still had a 3-1 lead: Alex Liddi and Joe Dunigan hit doubles in the top 2nd to punch in a run, and after an Ian Bladergroen leadoff HR in the 4th, Alex Liddi tripled and scored off a Travis Scott line drive single shortly thereafter.
Did I mention Alex Liddi had a huge game yesterday? He also hit a two out double in the 6th that didn’t go anywhere, but after an RBI single from Edilio Colina, Jamie McOwen hit an inside the park home run with two out in the 7th to make it 6-1 and effectively put the game out of reach. Did the wind have something to do with this offense? Maybe, but if it did, it only shows how effectively Juan Carlos pitched given he only allowed a hit.
AA: Jacksonville 3, West Tenn 0
Ricky Orta: 4 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 4 walks, 6 K, hit batter (88 pitches, 46 strikes)
Josh Fields: 1 IP, K (9-6)
Nick Hill: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, walk, hit batter (25-13)
Marwin Vega: 1 IP, 1 H, 2 K (11-9)
Oswaldo Navarro: 0-1, 3 walks, K
Matt Mangini: 1-3, double, K
Rest of DIAMOND JAXX lineup: 3-22, walk, 10 K
6 foot 8, 22 year old lefthander Sean West owned the DIAMOND JAXX for six innings, striking out 9 as the Suns quietly staked a 3-0 lead they would not relinquish. West, one of the Marlins top prospects, allowed only four baserunners.
Ricky Orta, needless to say, wasn’t as sharp.
Groundballs: 2 (plus 1 bunt)
Line Drives: 5
Pop Ups: 1
Walks: 4 (plus 1 hit batter)
He was, in fact, all over the place from a shaky 1st inning where he needed a pep talk to escape with only one run allowed. He had enough stuff for six strikeouts in four frames, but he couldn’t hit his spots. Of the 21 batters he faced, only 10 put the ball in play, though five didn’t need to in order to reach base.
Speaking of not putting the ball in play, Oswaldo Navarro came to the plate four times and did not put the ball in play: he walked three times and struck out the other time.
AAA: Tacoma 5, Fresno 4
Garrett Olson: 5 IP, 2 H, 3 walks, 3 K (90 pitches, 50 strikes)
Jesus Delgado: 2.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 walks, K, wild pitch (46-25)
Randy Messenger: one out, 5 H, 2 ER, walk (27-16)
Denny Stark: one out (2-1)
Justin Thomas: two outs (3-2)
Chris Woodward: 2-3, double, R, sac fly RBI
Chris Shelton: 2-4, double, 2 RBI, 2 K
Mike Carp: 0-1 R, 3 walks, K
Mike Morse: 1-4, 2 run HR
Callix Crabbe: 1-4, double, R
The Rainiers actually built a 5-0 lead over the first six frames as Garrett Olson actually managed a passable outing. But Jesus Delgado caved in during the 7th and 8th, and it took an additional three relievers to escape with a 5-4 victory. Like Oswaldo Navarro in AA, Mike Carp also had 4 plate appearances with no balls in play: three walks and a strikeout for him as well, though he did come around to score once.