Monday Pebble Report: Morales takes step forward.

Colorado Springs: W 4-0

The Franklin Morales Question Part Eleven, from the Irv Moss recap:

Added Geivett: "I thought we could see the velocity coming back for Morales. His delivery looked much better, but he still needs to work on his secondary pitches. He was dominant with his fastball at times, and that's something that we haven't seen for a while."

So does that mean his velocity was back? Or just coming back and not back? Other than that concern that the velo still might be off, it seems like the movement to Franklin Morales' pitches was there and the command was mostly on (two of the five walks he gave up were around the hundred pitch mark) so you have to take this appearance as a hugely positive step forward for Morales.

As the article indicates, for the Rockies immediate future, the clean inning by Luis Vizcaino seems to be more relevant. This is the Vizcaino we would have liked to have shown up for Spring Training, but better late than never, I suppose. Matt Daley also pitched, to one batter, getting Morales out of a bases loaded jam in the bottom of the seventh. Joe Koshansky hit a two run double in the first, and Doug Bernier a two run homer in the second for the only scoring in the game.

Tulsa: W 2-0

The big news for Tulsa was the return of Eric Young Jr. Young walked twice and stole his eleventh base leading off for the Drillers. He scored what proved to be the deciding run in the first after a walk, sac bunt by Dexter Fowler, passed ball, and a fielding error. With Chris Nelson being injured last week, the return seems fortuitously timed. I don't know about Corey Wimberly playing shortstop, but it was a clean game for him as far as errors go. One more step in his evolution into a Chone Figgins type of utility player would be a positive development, but I wouldn't consider him a safe defensive sub at any position, if he's put into a game in the Bigs it will be for his contact  and speed skills, not his glove.

Tomas Santiago has had just two quality starts this season, but he's had four other starts like yesterday in which he gives up two runs or less in less than six innings. It leaves a lot of work for the bullpen but at the same time you can't really fault the guy for giving the team a decent chance to win. Which is exactly what Tulsa did. Casey Weathers had another scoreless inning with a K and Ryan Mattheus picked up his seventh save.

Modesto: W 8-5

Due to Shane Lindsay's hand injury, Chaz Roe's anticipated debut in Tulsa is being put off for the time being. Roe's outing yesterday for Modesto wasn't especially effective with four runs being given up, but Modesto's offense came up with some support for him. The link to Brian VanderBeek's blog also brings up important notes about Andrew Johnston spraining his ankle and Michael McKenry going on bereavement leave. I'll try and get more word on Johnston later today, as well as the mysterious disappearance of Daniel Carte in Tulsa.

Asheville: W 7-4

I think it's safe to say that this was Jhoulys Chacin's worst outing of the year (maybe the second worst, with the April 14 outing at Greensboro vying for top honors) with thirteen baserunners allowed in six innings, but the T's won regardless in what looks from the boxscore to have been a pretty wild affair. There were a total of ten stolen bases in thirteen attempts, four of them by Kevin Clark. There were two HBP's by Chacin and a pair of wild pitches by Rome pitchers and a passed ball by their catcher. That's a lot of bases being given away, and in many ways I'm surprised that the scoring was limited to just eleven runs. Brian Rike hit a three run homerun, Everth Cabrera doubled and tripled and stole two, and Jeff Cunningham and Darin Holcomb both added doubles for the offense.

This marked the Tourists eighth win in a row, and they maintained their two and a half game lead over Charleston with thirteen games remaining in the first half. Even though they have a lot of bodies still in Tucson, nobody should accuse the Rockies of manipulating their extended Spring Training roster to expand the player pool they can use at their A-ball affiliate. It's also a sign of the luck with good health that this Asheville team has had that in the month of May, the Tourists had zero transactions according to the SAL's transaction page.

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