Night of the Pitcher:
Colorado Springs: L 6-5
Don't blame Greg Reynolds for this one, he rebounded nicely from his disastrous opening day start, pitching five innings and giving up just two runs on four hits. Don't blame Matt Daley, even though he took the loss after a Terry Tiffee solo homerun gave the 51's the difference maker. That was the only hit, only baserunner Daley allowed in an inning and two thirds in his AAA debut. Nope, blame for this one rests solely on the wild shoulders of Juan Morillo, who came in at the start of the sixth with a four to two lead, and left one out later with the game tied and the bases loaded. Daley allowed one more Morillo run to score on a sac fly, but otherwise cleaned up the mess admirably. At this point, however, the mess that Morillo's control issues are leaving our bullpen depth with might call for some professional help.
At this point, we'll want to praise Omar Quintanilla, who had another pair of doubles, and another pair of walks yesterday. Q's only had two K's in 29 PA's thus far, it's a fantastic contact rate, and he's hit safely in all six games -four times with multiple hits- but unless he starts to rack up a lot more games like last night, it's probably safe to assume that at the moment he's still just AAAron Miles redux. Granted, the way Jayson Nix has started the year, that's probably preferable, but let's wait a while longer before really talking about that option.
Tulsa: L 4-3
Alan Johnson, like Reynolds, rebounded from a subpar initial outing with a sharp six innings yesterday. Johnson allowed just one run on six hits and a walk. He only struck out one, but he did a much better job of keeping his pitches down and had his usual command. Of course, like Reynolds, he handed his lead over to an erratic bullpen member who coughed it up. In this case, Edward Valdez, who had been in the Yankees Nationals system before this season, actually got through one inning unscathed before being hammered in the next frame. The three runs were enough to allow San Antonio to avoid being swept by the Drillers. Daniel Carte doubled and homered (3) and drove in two, Dexter Fowler hit his third triple on the season, Eric Young and Corey Wimberly both do what they do well, got hits and stole bases, and Jeff Kindel doubled and walked, so it appears the Driller offense is starting to kick into gear.
Modesto: W 1-0 (10)
While those first two starting pitching performances were solid, these last two were nothing short of brilliant. Esmil Rogers went seven innings, striking out seven and allowing just five hits (no walks!) and only one for extra bases. On the season, Rogers now has pitched twelve innings with nine K's, eight hits and three walks, giving up just one solo homer for a sparkling 0.75 ERA. In the fifth inning last night , he showed some remarkable poise under pressure, as well. Two leadoff singles left runners on first and third with none out, but he induced a comeback grounder that he fielded, looked the lead runner back to third and fired to get the force out at second. The next batter grounded into an inning ending double play and the shutout was preserved.
Daniel Mayora has had a miserable start to his season -he had just one hit heading into play yesterday- but he proved the offensive hero last night with a lead-off triple in the tenth and scored on a subsequent Jay Cox hit.
BTW, one of the ways Mike McKenry helps his teams is just by making the opponents less willing to run and test his arm. In their first four games, San Jose was ten for eleven in stolen base attempts. In two games against Modesto thus far, they're one for one, but the rate drop from nearly three attempts per game to just half of one is telling.
Dan O'Dowd was at Modesto yesterday to present NL Championship rings to Nuts coaches and staff. As Brian VanderBeek says, it's a nifty gesture that the team doesn't have to do, but knowing how we rely on our farm for success, it certainly has merit.
Asheville: W 2-0
Jhoulys Chacin had a perfect game going two outs into the sixth, and wound up pitching eight innings, allowing just three hits, a walk, an HBP and striking out nine. He gets front page treatment this morning at Milb.com and I'm sure Baseball America will take some notice as well. Chacin still hasn't allowed a run in fourteen innings pitched now, one start in hitter friendly Asheville, one in relatively neutral Kannapolis, so it's not like he's been taking advantage of PETCO-esque ballparks. Chacin definitely seems to be the first under the radar Rockies prospect to grab the national spotlight in 2008.
Craig Baker's been lights out so far this year as well, with six K's in three innings, he picked up his first save last night in the win. Brian Rike scored both Tourist runs, one on a homer in the eighth, one after a single and Kevin Clark double in the sixth.
I've started to write a weekly farm report blog with the Rocky Mountain News, but I might have made a mistake with their posting platform so it's not up yet. I'll try and link it when it is. You'll note that they made me give up my pen name for that blog, but my e-mail's still the same. Newspapers are so stodgy that way. Danielle Steel uses a pen name, Ben Franklin had several, why can't I? Anyway, there's that.