One big note on the PCL this season to remember: Offenses are mostly terrible. When John Bowker is the leading vote getter for the All-Star game, you have to figure something's up. Basically it's a lower class of AAAA player that seems to be roaming about. You don't have Terry Tiffee or Micah Hoffpauir or several of the other big threats that pitchers had to face last season. As a result, scoring's off almost half a run a game and it's likely that the Sky Sox themselves have the best collection of AAAA hitters this season with Murton and Ortmeier and McCoy and what have you. So basically what I'm saying is that we get reports of pitchers doing relatively well there, and I just don't know how far to trust them. This goes for Sky Sox pitchers as well as those of opponents.
Enter Franklin Morales, who pitched 5.1 innings last night allowing two runs, both off solo home runs, on six hits while striking out five and walking two. Howie Kendrick didn't hit either of those HR's and he's the big legitimate threat on the Salt Lake roster. So Morales gave up the big knocks to light hitting infield scrubs. He allowed other traffic but worked through it. He did limit Kendrick to relatively weak contact, three GB's, one which found a hole for a single, but I just don't know if I'm signing off on this being a good start for Frankie. Really, I know some people are eager to replace JDLR with him, but look carefully please before making that decision.
A pretty decent hitting infield scrub, and part of that premium AAAA collection we have down there, Mark Bellhorn, hit two home runs himself for the Sky Sox.
Chaz Roe was limited to 75 pitches, and got through five innings with them, allowing just two hits, two walks and he struck out six. In three starts since returning from the disabled list on June 19, Roe has pitched 15 scoreless innings allowing 14 hits with an 11/2 K/BB ratio. While lucky to some degree in that stretch, he's definitely looking like the pitcher we've long been waiting for. Let's stay cautiously optimistic and see where he goes from here.
Cole Garner's solo HR (7th on the season) in the second provided all the scoring that was needed, but Anthony Jackson, who went three for three with a walk, added one more in the sixth. Four Drillers relievers added an inning apiece in the shutout, as Edgmer Escalona picked up his first save by pitching a scoreless ninth. His five scoreless innings since his call-up from Modesto isn't quite as impressive as Roe, but nice to see nonetheless.
Hector Gomez would be one of those other players that did stuff, some serious stuff, and if I was picky about my SEO, I'd have been wise to try and figure out a way to get his name in the title, but sometimes I just get rebellious. A little, I mean I did put Morales and Roe's name there after all.
At any rate, Gomez had another great game going four for five and leading the Nuts to a comeback victory over Bakersfield. Down seven to five in the seventh, he doubled home Rhadames Nazario and later scored the tying run on a double steal breaking for home from third after the Blaze catcher committed to trying to stop Lars Davis from nabbing second. He doubled again to lead off the ninth and scored the winning run on a two out Davis walk-off single. I believe that's the second walk-off hit this year for Davis, he's becoming quite the master of clutch out there. You'll also note from the ModBee recap that he's great with fans.
Parker Frazier picked up the loss to drop to 4-6 on the season, but it was a deep, somewhat encouraging start from him. He went six and two thirds, allowing seven hits and a pair of walks as well as the four runs. Jordan Pacheco, Kiel Roling and Ryan Peisel each had two hits, but most of the other Tourists were cold at the plate.
Sometimes lately it seems like the Dust-Devils are just toying with their opponents, allowing them to get ahead just far enough to feel good about themselves before smacking them back down to reality. Or maybe they're looking for a challenge, like "let's be trailing by three runs in the bottom of the ninth and see if we can score four off this team's closer..."
A Bo Bowman two run single in the bottom of the ninth capped off the four run rally for the D-Devils that saw them also score on an HBP and have a batter reach via error, so just so you know I'm kidding about thinking they actually might have planned this.., I think. Orlando Sandoval hit a two run home run early to put them in the position to rally, and the relief efforts Josh Hungerman, Eric Federico and Rod Scurry kept them in the game after a rough start by Brad McAtee. Ooh, I just remembered that there was a Josh Hungerman article I was meaning to link last month when he signed. I can't remember if I did or not.
Other D-Devils news:
The recap of Wednesday's game at the Tri-City Herald talks to Mashin' Mike Zuanich, as well as mentioning that Scott Beerer's still out with a hip flexor issue.
There's also an article about pitcher Dan Perkins at Delaware Online, who among other things noted apparently pitched against current Dust Devils roommate Rhett Ballard while attending Delaware State.