Saturday Morning Pebble Report:

Colorado Springs: L 5-1

Nobody besides Sean Barker (two hits, including a double and RBI) and the bullpen showed up for the Sky Sox last night, so I'm not going to spend a lot of time here. Juan Morillo had what was probably his best inning of the season, four batters faced, one hit, one K, zero walks. Matt Daley pitched an inning and two thirds and dropped his ERA to 1.35, in the PCL, that's exceptional. What's more, he seems to be doing a better job of keeping his pitches down this season. It's still far too small a sample, but although he has a slightly higher walk rate, he's giving up fewer hits (none so far to right handers) and less damaging hits when the league context is taken into account. He's putting himself in a good spot for a call-up to our big league pen when (it's always just a matter of time) injuries start to take their toll.

Tulsa: W 5-2

Corey Wimberly (two hits, including a triple) and Justin Nelson combined to score four of Tulsa's five runs, and Jeff Kindel drove in three with a pair of doubles. What's more, unlike the night before, the pitching staff didn't give up an Andrew Jackson to the Cardinals, which helped tremendously in their effort to get the win. Xavier Cedeno had another solid start, he's quietly putting together a campaign that would be easy to overlook thanks to the low strikeout numbers. He had a 10/3 GB/FB split last night and is now at a healthy 51% GB rate for the season. As importantly, he's faced sixty-nine hitters thus far and not one of them has hit a HR. Last night he didn't allow more than a single. Basically, it all points to the idea that Cedeno's fooling opposition hitters a lot more than the low K figure would suggest.

Milb.com has a video featuring Tulsa's quartet of speedy table-setters.

Modesto: W 5-4

Cole Garner has really taken off this past week, three more hits last night brought his average up to .317 for the season thus far. This sort of streak is the kind of confidence boost he's needed for a couple of years now, so I'm really happy to see the hits dropping of late. Speaking of performances that make me happy, Will Harris picked up just his first save, but another two scoreless innings brings him up to eleven on the season thus far, and the three K's add to his pile of eighteen in that time. That's almost 15 K's per nine, which is absolutely fantastic. He has the second most strikeouts on the team (to last night's starter Esmil Rogers who rang up ten K's) and is contributing a lot more value than one should reasonably expect from a reliever.

Asheville: L 14-3

I didn't mention Michael Mitchell at all on Wednesday or Thursday, but I definitely can see why the Rockies like him. Thursday night, he made an incredible catch on a screaming line drive over his head in center-field that saved Bruce Billings' bacon. He's got a fantastic first step and read on the ball off of contact, and with his speed, he closes quickly into gaps and the far reaches of the field. The games I saw showed him to be a pretty complete player -defense, baserunning, instincts and energy- with the one glaring and notable exception of anything having to do with making consistent solid contact with a baseball bat. Yesterday, apparently he showed glimpses that even this isn't beyond his reach, going four for five with two doubles and a triple. He drove in all three Tourist runs and stole two bases o bring his season total up to five. I'm well aware that the clock's working harder against him at this level than it is with some of the younger guys, and given the competition a couple of levels ahead, he's not in our big picture right now, but I think he's certainly worthy of sleeper status.

David Christensen was the only other Tourist to get an extra base hit on Friday night, he had the hardest hit ball on Thursday with a double to the gap. He's still striking out a ton right now, but watching him I saw some positive signs of adjustments being made with two strikes. I could see him going either way. He could very well get frustrated and flop out -there were certainly signs of that at times in the games I saw- but I also saw a real desire to listen to coaches and take instruction and there's a lot of potency in that bat. I still think there's a decent chance he could grow into a real player up the road.

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