Colorado Springs: L 8-5
Josh Towers imploded. Matt Holliday went zero for two for a walk in his rehab. Christian Colonel hit his first homerun of the season for a rate of 1 HR:131 AB. Joe Koshansky hit his fourteenth and Rick Guarno his first. Koshansky's going at pretty close to a 30 HR/season clip, which is nothing to sneeze at even if he's mostly doing it with the aid of the Pacific Division of the PCL.
Tulsa: L 9-4
The Drillers will have six players in the Texas League All Star game, but of our four full season affiliates, making the TL All Star team is least impressive because the ratio of All Star positions to total pool of players is so favorable. Now that I've been a killjoy, congratulations anyway to starters Matt Miller, Corey Wimberly and Dex Fowler, as well as reserves Tony Blanco, Adam Bright and Ryan Mattheus.
As for the game yesterday, Blanco had a nice offensive performance with three hits including a two run homer, but he also committed two of three Tulsa errors, that helped turn what should have been a close game into a rout. The pitching story was a 13-2 GO to FO ratio with a little too much traffic for Xavier Cedeno. Eight of the ten hits he allowed were in the air, so there's still improvement that needs to be made with only one cleanly finished 1-2-3 inning out of the seven he started.
I think there are mainly three kinds of people that pay close attention to minor league box scores. There are the friends and family of players who religiously check out how their kid is doing in his quest to make the MLB. There are fans of the local team, who don't particularly care if the caliber of player on the squad has major league skills so long as he can help bring in the minor league wins. And then there are the prospect hounds, subdivided into baseball generalists who are just looking for the next top talent anywhere, and the individual MLB team specific observers that only care about the future of their specific franchise.
Purple Row's target demographics are primarily the Rockies fans in that last subdivision, but we get all the other types reading these Pebble Reports, and I'm sure that sometimes we come off as unappreciative of the efforts of the players not at the top of our prospect lists. Last night's Modesto game featured a slew of those performances, like Nick Haley's three runs, Michael Paulk and Jay Cox's three hits apiece (3 RBI for Paulk), and the two shutout innings pitched by former Pirate Todd Ritchie in his system debut and perpetual comeback bid. All of these happenings were crucial to the Nuts win, but I'm going to kind of ignore them to focus more on Esmil Rogers' fourth straight quality start and wonder how much of a setback the four walks he allowed was after he had seemingly been making progress with his command.
Three of the four walks were issued to three of the first four batters Rogers faced before he induced an inning ending double play. Rogers then went on with four more beautiful innings where he faced the minimum (his no-hitter was broken up in the fifth with a single before another GIDP) before waning severely the third time through the Stockton lineup in the sixth.
Asheville: W 6-3
Jhoulys Chacin won his tenth game, pitching a complete game with a phenomenal 20-1 GO-FO rate, including hits, 21 out of 25 (84%) balls put in play off Chacin were on the ground last night, that's just not right to have that kind of talent. The Tourists are inching closer to locking up the playoff spot, let's hope a call-up is in the works after that.
David Christensen provided most of the offense, homering in two with one swing, and doubling in two more with another. His last three games have been what we've wanted to see all along from him after he had a three game layoff to work out some kinks. Consistency will be crucial here, and while he doesn't necessarily need to have games like last night every night, he needs to continue this kind of play without relapsing over the coming weeks to prove he belongs at this level.