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Saturday Pebble Report:

Colorado Springs: L 4-6

Jason Hirsh gave up all six runs in an uneven outing that saw him allow nine hits and only two walks, but also an HBP and two wild pitches. I was interested to see Jayson Nix dropped to fifth in the batting order in light of his recent homerun surge, although I suppose that might just be a temporary switch to give Clint Barmes more at bats at the top of the order. Nix tripled and walked twice and Christian Colonel homered and singled to be the offensive standouts of this game. Micah Bowie, Cedrick Bowers and Matt Daley combined for three innings of scoreless relief.

Tulsa: L 2-5

EY2, the Jeffs Kindel and Dragicevich and Matt Miller each had two singles, but there were zero extra base hits for Tulsa, which can make run scoring difficult. Casey Weathers pitched two scoreless innings of relief.

Modesto: W 8-2

Todd Ritchie pitched well again and Mike McKenry hit two solo homeruns to help fuel the odd offensive onslaught from Modesto. Actually, McKenry's been ripping the ball pretty well since returning from injury last week, batting a .346/.433/.615 line in seven games in June. Matt Repec also homered, and Michael Paulk had three hits and a pair of RBI. The Nuts as a team are typically over a year older than their opponents, on average, so this is the sort of result we should be expecting more often than not and should have been seeing all along. That the first half of Modesto's season went as abysmally as it did should be a pretty clear signal that there needs to be some culling of the herd at this level. I'm not saying that I held the players to higher "expectations",  I'm just saying that there's ample evidence that pipeline is clogged here and if the Rockies want a steady flow of talent to the MLB squad, they'd be wise to do some pipe cleaning.

Asheville: W 1-0

Speaking of steady flows of talent, as the score would lead most Tourists fans to suspect, Jhoulys Chacin pitched again last night. Chacin allowed four hits and two walks and struck out nine in six innings. He threw two wild pitches and plunked three, so there was some wildness there, but he remains too good for this level. That won't be the case for long though, he's stagnating and everybody else is catching up to him, so pretty soon we'll have just another run of the mill arm. Okay, clearly that's just snarky hyperbole, but I needed to say something as it's getting to be a point of frustration.

In my Modesto comments, I should say that I realize they are loaded with pitching, or obviously Craig Baker would also be there by now.  By pipe cleaning, I was referencing mostly -but not entirely- position players at that level. In Baker's case, I think the blockage is actually in Tulsa and Colorado Springs, where the team is waiting too long for pet projects and other system favorites to show something that's unlikely at this point to materialize. Some of these arms have more limited shelf lives than others, and a couple seem to be near or past the expiration date.  Baker, who struck out all four batters he faced yesterday, himself probably has a fairly limited shelf life due to past arm injuries,and I'm of the opinion that this time for him is no longer well spent in Asheville. He and Chacin can and should both compete at levels better suited to their current abilities.

I should probably get off my soapbox. David Christensen, pinch-running for Darin Holcomb, scored the only run in the eighth inning of a Helder Velazquez single.

Tri-City: W 4-3

Like some sort of Shaolin monk in an old school Kung Fu movie, Leonardo Reyes came back from his pilgrimage to upper levels in the Rockies system to impart his newfound hitting techniques to the rest of the Dust Devils and inflict some punishment on their oppressors, in this case, the Canadians. Reyes went three for five with a double and three RBI out of the leadoff slot to lead the Dust Devils to victory yesterday. The one guy he really needs to teach these new techniques to is Scott Robinson, whose 8 for 13 season line would be stupendous if the 8 we were referring to was hits and not strikeouts. As it stands, though, the talented Mr. Robinson is thus far a pale imitator of his two equally talented outfield mates. Jonnathan Aristil pitched a solid five and two thirds innings, allowing just three hits, no walks and two strikeouts. He did hit hit one batter with a pitch. Austin Chambliss allowed one run on two hits and a walk, but struck out the side in the ninth for the save.

Casper: W 3-2

Matt Baugh, Ethan Hollingsworth and Isaiah Froneberger combined for a very sharp outing for the Ghosts, limiting the opposition to six hits, and having 11/2 ratios with both their K/BB's and their GO/AO. Hollingsworth's professional debut was particularly impressive, although it didn't start off that way. After allowing a walk and an RBI double to the first two batters he faced, Hollingsworth recorded nine straight outs in this fashion: K, GB, PO, GB, GB, K, K, GB, K before being relieved by Froneberger in the ninth.

Carlos Martinez went two for two and walked, and Orlando Sandoval came up with a big two out, two run sixth inning single to tie the game before eighth inning doubles by Nick Valdez and Leuris Gomez provided the winning run.