Monday Pebble Report:

Colorado Springs: L 8-2

For the second night in a row, the Sky Sox had a lefty who had erstwhile been struggling with the Rockies, struggle on their team also. Yesterday it was Mark Redman's turn to spread the pain to all corners of our system, allowing five runs in three innings to a lineup that isn't even good enough to play for the Giants. Juan Morillo had an interesting inning in relief. Nine of the first ten pitches he threw were strikes, and he recorded two quick outs with five of those. Clay Timpner, relative of one of our own here at the Row, then got a single which seemed to cause this short little cascade of misery. Two more singles and a throwing error by Morillo later, the final run -but just one- scored before Juan struck out Travis Denker on three fastballs, to the exact same spot according to Gameday, on the outside corner at the knees. In all fifteen of eighteen pitches were strikes by Morillo, so I guess what I'm saying here, is that yesterday he, for one, really seemed to have his location working for him.

Ian Stewart went two for three with a double and a walk, he's now hitting .413/.538/1.000 over his thirteen game hitting streak. Still, as hot as Stew's been, I feel bad for not mentioning enough that Seth Smith seems to be marching in lock step with Stewart, hitting .467/.547/.911 in that same span (twelve games though, since Seth was off the day Stewart started his streak). These two are about as hot as hitters get right now.

Tulsa: W 9-5

Speaking of hot hitters, I'd almost assume that Jeff Kindel would prefer to be in the Cardinals organization the way he's hit these last three games at Springfield. Although you'd figure he'd be more inclined to hit well in front of an organization that's less blocked at first base, not more. At any rate, Kindel collected three more hits in five at bats yesterday, ten out of fifteen on the series overall and drove in five of the Drillers nine runs. Tony Blanco homered and doubled, and Matt Miller and Daniel Carte each also had a pair of hits.

Ching-lung Lo is doing an on again, off again, on again thing with his starts of late. He had a decent five innings yesterday, allowing four hits, two walks and a run, but was pulled after suffering some injury warming up for the sixth. When we get word on the injury, we'll let you know.

Modesto: L 6-2

Keith Weiser allowed all six runs in five innings, giving up nine hits, including just his second homerun allowed on the year. His lack of stuff's catching up to him at this level. His K/PA rate has dropped from 22.4% in Tri-City two seasons ago to just 12% this season, and a K/BB rate that was better than 4/1 at Asheville last year is half of that this year. At this point it seems there's a need for him to fine tune the finesse game if he wants to continue to find the success he's had. It's easy for me to type that, hard for him to do it, but I'm rooting that he'll figure it out.

Michael McKenry and Travis Becktel doubled once apiece for the only extra base hits by the Nuts.

Cole Garner continues to just make solid contact and ring up two for four nights. They're almost entirely singles and you're probably wondering why I keep on bringing up a guy who through all his hot hitting only has an .816 OPS.

Let me show you by numbers:

  • 2006: 24.8%
  • 2007: 32.0%
  • 2008: 28.0%

Alright, that doesn't really explain anything. Let me give you a number for just the last ten games:

  • 13.2%

That's how frequently Garner strikes out when he comes to bat, and except for that last one, the numbers are simply too high for sustained success at upper le . Of course ten games is far too short a stretch to know if it's a real breakthrough or not. You'd be right to point out that he's also got zero walks in that ten game span. But let me just also point out that he has zero walks in that ten game span. Really we know pitchers, they're lazy. They would just not throw him anything near the plate knowing he was so averse to the free pass. If he's just going to swing and miss at your junk, throw him a lot of junk. Instead, what I'm seeing here is that his plate coverage must be pretty dang wide right now and he's either effectively waiting for his pitch, or more likely just hitting everything that's thrown at him. His BABIP would scream fluke if it weren't for a very high line drive rate that's accompanying it, which again makes it feel like there's a large skill element here along with whatever luck is involved (admittedly there's got to be a lot of that). There are just a lot of signs in this streak that signal to me that he's made a real progression, and I think we'll start to see it in the rest of his stats soon enough.

Asheville: L 3-1

Connor Graham didn't pitch quite as well as the score might indicate. He couldn't last through the fifth, and was a bit wild with four walks and a wild pitch in four and two thirds. With first half playoff implications looming large in this contest he was pulled before things got too far out of hand. The Charleston pitcher did quite a bit better, allowing just a Darin Holcomb single and the T's just couldn't crack through save for one run off the bullpen. Everth Cabrera walked twice and stole his 25th base.

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