Matt Murton broke the Colorado Springs record longest hitting streak in fine fashion with a two for four day that included a double, a homerun and three RBI. Murton's accomplishment overshadowed a solid start by Franklin Morales, who went six innings giving up just one run on four hits, although the one walk might be a bit deceiving as far as his command is concerned as he also plunked three batters. Chris Frey was the only other Sky Sox batter with multiple hits, collecting three.
Jhoulys Chacin continues to rebound after a weak start to his 2009 campaign, pitching seven plus innings and allowing just one run on five hits and a walk. The hits were mostly well struck line drives, including three doubles, but Chacin's shown an adaptability in the ways he limits damage with runners on or in scoring position, inducing GIDP's, pop-ups, strikeouts and one pick-off in those situations yesterday. The offense, meanwhile, was pretty balanced and more effective than the four runs might indicate. Six different Drillers collected two hits each, including Anthony Jackson, Danny Sandoval, Jeff Kindel, Darin Holcomb, Rex Rundgren and Michael Paulk and only Ryan Harvey was held hitless among Tulsa starters. Paulk had the Drillers only homerun, his third of the season.
This win was provided by a five run first and Cory Riordan's great start to back it up. Riordan nearly got a complete game, pitching one out into the ninth and gave up two runs on eight hits while striking out six. The Nuts five runs in the first were in part thanks in part to a two run triple by Maikol Gonzalez but also in part to ineffective catching by the opponent: one passed ball, two wild pitches, and two successful stolen base attempts in the inning suggest that Lancaster isn't the Astros equivalent of catching Mecca Modesto, where Rockies catchers are sent to prevent disasters like that. Speaking of catchers, Nuts backstop Lars Davis did have an error himself, but also collected two hits.
The Tourists were the only Rockies affiliate to collect an L yesterday, this T's team has been adding up plenty of them thus far this season. The Tourists were one hit by Rays prospect Nick Barnese. Beau Seabury collected that single and also walked, Jordan Pacheco was the only other Tourist to get on base with another walk. A nice, seven inning three hit performance by Dan Houston went for naught.
So what we're looking at with Asheville is a bit troubling with both offense and pitching. Asheville leads the SAL in batting average at .265, but thanks to the second fewest walks in the league, drops to tenth place when it comes to OBP at .319, meaning this team is making far more outs than it should be.
On the other end, the pitchers have given up the second most runs in the SAL. With Christian Friedrich moving up, the team is left with one above average starter in Ethan Hollingsworth, one average one in Houston, and three that haven't lived up to their potential in Parker Frazier, Robinson Fabian and Jonnathan Aristil. Frazier's still pretty young and should be able to turn things around, the other two are certainly running out of time.
I try and tell people to be aware of when the Dust Devils are playing in Boise and realize that the offensive levels of production you see there aren't going to be typical for a variety of reasons including the altitude, stadium and the fact that the Cubs tend to stock the Hawks pitching staff with some of their really young pitchers. So while Tri-City has racked up 26 runs in two days, it really doesn't tell us much so far. The Dust Devils actually have an "old" NWL team this year, and the difference will only increase when the trio of Cal State Fullerton seniors arrive, so lots of wins should be expected against inexperienced foes. For this reason it's going to take awhile to get a read on this team for prospect purposes and know when to get excited, but if they don't go around clobbering opponents like schoolyard bullies as they have in Boise, we can be disappointed.
So on to the game, nearly 27 year old Scott Beerer had three more hits and is now batting .778 (Asheville could probably use him, Rockies org). 24 year old Bo Bowman also had three more hits and is batting .600, 23 year old Orlando Sandoval had a pair of hits and is batting .500. Joe Sanders is actually a decent age for the league at 21, he also had two hits as did Matt Sanders in the romp.