Colorado Springs: Ramon Ramirez can't get back to the Rockies soon enough, so when Rami came in to pitch a scoreless frame in the Sky Sox' eight to seven win, I was surprised that I was the only one in my apartment complex shouting for joy. Okay, maybe I shouldn't have been surprised about that since I'm the only Rockies fan here, but I am surprised by the rigidity of the noise ordinances in this town. At any rate, Ubaldo Jimenez wasn't quite as sharp, let's say to be kind, and still doesn't look ready to step in for Josh Fogg, particularly if Fogg can perform more like he did in the first seven innings last night. Ian Stewart, Ed Bellorin, and Seth Smith all had two hits for the Sky Sox, with Smith's coming late in a PH-substitution role as he helped fuel the Sky Sox' 8-7 come from behind victory over Nashville. The win meant a series sweep and was the fourth straight over the Sounds and fifth straight overall for the Sky Sox. They are now 8-3 in May after going 7-14 in April.
Tulsa: The Drillers split a double header with Arkansas, losing the first game 3-1 and winning the second 5-4. Highlights of the loss were limited to Joe Gaetti's two hits and a fairly effective six inning outing by Ryan Mattheus. The win in the second game started with a bases clearing double from Jordan Czarniecki for three of the five runs, and then finished its scoring with him walking and coming around to score on a Matt Miller sacrifice fly. In between, Miller hit a solo homerun for the other Drillers' score. Ching Lung Lo gave up three hits, five walks two hit batsmen and yet only four runs in four innings, but the bullpen came on with a stellar performance before the eighth inning score.
Modesto: The Nuts beat Padres prospect Wade LeBlanc and Lake Elsinore three to one, getting another uncomfortably good start from Xavier Cedeno. I say it that way because in each of his three starts this year Cedeno has had aspects that look sharp (like zero runs and two hits allowed) and aspects that don't (like four walks in four innings). The cumulative picture for Cedeno is looking pretty good, still, so we'll just sit back and see where this season takes him. Speaking of cumulative pictures, if you've been paying attention to this team this year, you might have noticed that Travis Becktel has been putting up some awesome numbers on the road, but only doing so-so at home, while Daniel Carte's been doing just the opposite. Yesterday that pattern broke, Carte went two for four, and Becktel went zero for three in the away game.
Asheville: I should start doing these things in the order of personal preference and then Asheville would probably sit on top most mornings. Simon Ferrer continues to progress with his knuckle ball, yesterday he picked up the win with a five inning, seven hit, one run outing. This is where news people would say he "scattered" the hits, which is generally a euphemism for "got lucky". It's true, Ferrer allowed at least one baserunner in every inning he pitched, and in all but the last he allowed at least two. You can read through the log, however, and see a lot of groundballs (8/4) and pop flies thrown in the mix too, so I think there are still plenty of positives to take from the performance.
Commenter lahardball takes us to task sometimes for not giving the Tourists' pen its due. I try, check out last Saturday, for instance. Today I definitely want to pay homage to James Burok, who's got a 4/1 GB/FB ratio this season and Tommy Baumgardner, who's 20/4 K/BB ratio in just over fourteen innings is looking very nice.
Michael Paulk doubled and tripled, and Spence Nagy, in his second start in a row, hit two doubles to fuel the offense in the three to one Tourists victory. Asheville's closed to within a game and a half of Augusta for the South Division lead entering a tough eight game homestand that starts tonight against North Division leaders, West Virginia.