Monday Pebble Report: Three wins and some rain

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

None of the Rockies' minor league teams have started off the season especially well, but they all won yesterday (at least, those that played), and on the road to boot. Both Tulsa and Asheville saw good work from both the plate and the mound, and while the struggling Nuts didn't pitch especially well, their offense showed up to bail them out this time.

The Colorado Springs Sky Sox game against the Iowa Cubs was postponed due to the rain that crossed Colorado yesterday. The game was to be the last of the four game series. It won't be made up until a double header opportunity on June 26th.

Tulsa 5, NW Arkansas 1

Daniel Winkler continued his excellent start to the season, picking up his third win. He allowed one run on six hits and a walk over six innings. He also got, you guessed it, six strikeouts. In a rotation that also contains both Eddie Butler and Jon Gray, Winkler has quietly been the best starter the Drillers have had so far. This is a big year for Winkler, who will likely be added to the 40-man roster after the season as a Rule 5 protectee if he keeps this up. Ryan Arrowood threw the final three innings, notching an unusual save in the process, the second of his career.

The Drillers offense hasn't exactly been shining so far in 2014, but they cobbled together five runs on just five well-timed hits, plus some help from the NW Arkansas defense, whose two errors in the third led to a three-run inning. Joey Wong led the team with two of the five hits, batting in and scoring a run each and also stealing a base. Brian Humphries doubled in two runs on his lone hit. Tulsa's three catchers all continue to struggle; though Dustin Garneau had a hit and scored a run, three weeks into the season now none of Garneau, Ryan Casteel or Tom Murphy are hitting above .205. One wonders how much longer the Rockies will try to juggle them all for playing time before committing.

Modesto 8, Visalia 7

This year's Modesto Nuts are really, really bad. The struggling team picked up just their sixth win of the year (to 18 losses) with a close victory over Visalia. Interestingly, the Nuts' two biggest success stories at the plate this year have been Trevor Story and Will Swanner, who were the team's two biggest stories of disappointment last season. Both players had three hits in this win, with Story hitting his second home run of the season and Swanner, who is speedy for a catcher, nabbing his fourth stolen base. Chris O'Dowd and Derek Jones, both struggling mightily at the plate for Modesto, had good games with two hits apiece, including a home run for Jones. Infielder Juan Ciriaco knocked in two runs on two hits. Best of all, the Nuts collectively struck out only four times in the game; the team has been averaging about eight a game.

Andrew Brown picked up his first win of the year, going six innings and allowing three earned runs on six hits and a walk. Shane Broyles continues to look overmatched at the A+ level, as the reliever has only had one relief appearance where he hasn't allowed at least one run, and has twice allowed as many as five. Rayan Gonzalez pitched a clean inning, while Raul Fernandez nearly blew the save, allowing two more runs to cross before securing his fourth save.

Asheville 12, Augusta 2

Johendi Jiminian added to a breakout month of April with a superb seven inning start. Though he allowed seven hits and struck out just one, he limited the damage with 12 groundball outs, allowing just two runs (one earned) to cross for Augusta and picking up his fourth win. Jiminian will also be entering Rule 5 eligibility in the offseason, and is looking more and more likely to join the 2015 roster himself. Logan Norris and Trent Blank were both excellent in relief as well.

Speaking of strikeouts, though the Tourists suffered ten of them at the hands of Augusta pitching (three of which landed on Raimel Tapia, who has yet to see a breakout so far), they feasted on it otherwise. Jose Briceno, recently off the disabled list, led the charge with three hits. Ryan McMahon has already hit his ninth home run of the season as of today, a grand slam as part of a six RBI night for the prospect. Patrick Valaika also hit a home run, his third, while scoring and batting in another run each. Max White scored three times and stole a base.

Today's Probables:
Colorado Springs (Christian Bergman) @ Memphis
Tulsa (Jon Gray) @ NW Arkansas
San Jose @ Modesto (Matt Flemer)
Asheville: No game scheduled.

Thus concludes my time at Purple Row. Make sure not to forget to follow RockiesRoster.

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