Yesterday's games saw quite a few positive things for the farm.
Cole Garner and Kyle Blumenthal each homered for the Casper Rockies -who won five to three, which means it was a good night for pitching as well. The two hurlers primarily responsible for the win were Alan Johnson (five innings, six hits, two runs, zero walks, six K's) and Brett Strickland (three innings, two hits, a walk and five K's). This was Johnson's second notable start in a row, and so I had to do some research to figure out where he was coming from. Undrafted as a senior out of Mississippi State in 2004, Johnson signed with the Rockies (greatly exciting his hometown of Pleasant Grove, Alabama) and is a bit old for the Pioneer League, which explains some of his success, but has been doing quite a number regardless and should be worth watching, yet.
The Dust Devils' Phillip Cuadrado hit a grand slam to key Tri-City's seven to four victory. Buzz Vargas had an effective start and Ethan Katz continues to pitch well in relief. I still want to see Katz tried as a starter at some point down the road, but at least he's not letting me down with his performance thus far (he has a WHIP of .8182 through seven and a third).
Asheville lost seven to six, Dragon Lo wound up with an okay outing after starting fairly strong, and Scott Beerer took the loss although the onus should rest on Chris Buechner who gave up three runs in his one inning of work. Justin Nelson had two hits including a double and Kyle Wilson had a key double as well in the loss.
Aaron Cook went five innings for Modesto allowing one run on five hits, even better news is he struck out five and seemed to get stronger as the game progressed. Before last night he had exhibited some trouble generating the K's in his rehab outings, but this eases my mind somewhat on that (particularly with our infield D as OhNoKoolAid has astutely pointed out in his comments). Offensively there were lots of contributors to the tenth straight Nuts victory, as could be expected with that lineup, but Jordan Czarniecky was particularly effective. The "Czar of Czenterfield" had a perfect night at the plate going two for two -including his sixth HR- with two walks to raise his OBP to .426. With Tony Miller still in Tulsa and nobody down system ready to replace Jordan with the Nuts, I don't know if he'll be promoted even though he really deserves it.
Miller's all alone in center now in Tulsa with the Salazar promotion, and he was the only Driller to get on base more than once without the help of errors last night. That's okay though, because for the second day in a row, the Driller's didn't need a whole lot of offense thanks to their amazing starting pitching. Sandy Nin followed Enmanuel Ulloa's Monday gem with a beauty of his own. Only four baserunners allowed (his WHIP at two levels now stands at .9966) in a complete game four to one victory.
As has been reported a couple of places here already, Jeff Salazar is now with the Springs and he got a hit and a walk last night in his debut. Unfortunately it didn't help as Ryan Shealy's homerun was the only score to back up pretty decent pitching from rehabbing Jose Acevedo as well as regular Sky Sox starter Justin Hampson (in one of his strongest games on the season) and Colorado Springs lost four to one. Seth Etherton is a completely different pitcher when he goes against the Springs for some reason. Fight on, Seth, I hope the A's call you up soon.