Casper: Tom at Tap the Rox has to be thrilled as his favorite sleeper from this year's draft, Kyle Blumenthal put on an offensive clinic, with a grand slam and a bases clearing double, winding up with eight RBI's. The slam came in the first inning following three bunt singles by Corey Wimberly, EY Jr, and Dexter Fowler. Dang, that team has some serious speed. Another example? Blumenthal's other RBI came by way of a safety squeeze with Fowler scoring from third. Anyway, the Casper Rockies version of the three amigos, Wimberly, Young and Fowler combined for nine of the Rockies fourteen runs. EY in particular had one of his best games to date, going four for five, with a double and triple and four runs scored.
Brandon Durden got hit hard in five and a third innings, giving up eleven hits including two homeruns, but he only walked one and struck out eight Osprey.
Tri-City: Shane Lindsay didn't factor into the decision, but he pitched very solidly nonetheless, giving up two runs on five hits and a walk in five innings while striking out eight.
Jason Van Kooten went three for four with his fifth homerun and continues to impress me a great deal. I think people write him off too quickly by weighing his first year stats more heavily than they should, or perhaps they are weighing his very low walk totals (1/24 PA's this year) which I will agree need improving, but patience is a learnable skill. Granted, not everybody takes the time to learn to draw a walk, but Van Kooten has shown that he's a student of hitting and this year he's showing solid power for a twenty year old in the Northwest League, particularly at shortstop. The Rockies already have a plethora of middle infield candidates at all levels, but in the lower levels particularly, should Chris Nelson fail to materialize to his potential, Van Kooten is a solid plan B.
Chris Frey has been a disappointment to date for me at least, as I thought he would get off to a better start than he has, even after going three for four last night he's below the Mendoza line for the season. Still, he's played good D and shown the patience and baserunning skills that Van Kooten for one hasn't, so that's something. Plus, as in Jason's case, I always take first year performances with a grain of salt, whether they're good or bad.
Finally, I should mention the stand-up job Ryan Fox and George Delgado did in relief of Lindsay, no hits or walks and five K's over four perfect innings, three by Fox for the win, and one by Delgado for his ninth save.
Asheville: The Tourists won behind some wild, but ultimately decent pitching by Dragon Lo, who only gave up three hits but also five walks in six innings of work. In fact, that would have been a difficult game to watch if you're a control freak as the two teams combined for fifteen walks, two HBP's and five wild pitches. Hagerstown used a combination of all three -an HBP, two walks and a wild pitch- in the seventh to tie the game at two before Adam Bright brought sanity back for the last two innings, striking out five while walking none, only allowing a double in earning the save.
Modesto: I don't really feel like talking about the Nuts, they aren't looking very good at all right now, losing four to two yesterday and managing only four hits on Ryan Sadowski and the San Jose Giants.
Tulsa: Zach Parker lost last night, but really pitched excellently, allowing only an unearned run on three hits and two walks in seven innings. Rich Dorman, though was something else and a step or two better, allowing no hits through six while K'ing eleven Drillers. His downfall? He also walked six, so his pitch count obviously got up there. Tony Miller and Chris Iannetta each had three strikeouts as Missions' pitchers finished with fifteen in all.
Colorado Springs: Similarly unlucky as Parker was Justin Hampson who went six and a third, giving up just two runs on four hits and three walks. A Ryan Shealy solo shot accounted for the Sky Sox lone run, however, so the math just wasn't in Hampson's favor.