It's the first Pebble Report of the season (and my first Pebble Report ever), wherein we here at Purple Row give a short report on the Rockies' minor league affiliates. Yesterday was Opening Day for the Rockies' AAA (Colorado Springs Sky Sox), AA (Tulsa Drillers), High A (Modesto Nuts), and A (Asheville Tourists) affiliates. It was a big day for pitching as top prospects Jhoulys Chacin, Christian Friedrich, and Juan Nicasio took the mound.
Here's how they did:
The Sky Sox got runs in the second and fifth (on a sac fly and a groundout), and that was all they would need to win their opener at Tacoma. Chacin (1-0) was excellent in his 2010 debut, going five scoreless innings (83 pitches), allowing only a hit and a walk along the way, striking out 6 and getting a majority outs in play via the ground ball. The Sky Sox bullpen was excellent as well, striking out five as a unit over four innings and giving up only three hits, although closer (!!!) Juan Rincon walked three in the ninth before converting the save opportunity.
Tulsa's opener did not go so well, as the offense was unable to give any support a very solid outing by Friedrich (0-1), who went six innings (77 pitches) and gave up one run on four hits, striking out five and walking two. Once Friedrich was pulled, the Tulsa bullpen fell apart, giving up three runs in the seventh (Andrew Graham) and eighth (Alberto Alburquerque) innings. Offensively outfielder Scott Beerer had two of the team's five hits.
Modesto won their opener against the Giants' affiliate behind a good outing from Nicasio (1-0), who went 5.2 IP and gave up two runs (one ER) on five hits, striking out five and walking one. Like Chacin, Nicasio recorded the majority of his outs in play via the ground ball. The Nuts scored in the first, second, fifth, and seventh innings--the highlight of which was a home run by 2009 first rounder Tim Wheeler in the seventh.
The Tourists almost overcome an early eight run deficit, but ultimately fell short. Wes Musick (0-1), a ninth rounder in 2009, had a rough outing, giving up seven runs on five hits in the first and getting only two outs (that's a 94.50 ERA). In all Lakewood got eight runs in the inning. Asheville fought back with two runs in the fourth and four runs in the fifth thanks in large part to a two run home run by 3B Joseph Sanders (2009 fifth round) and a three run shot by DH Mike Zuanich (2008 28th round), but just didn't have nearly enough offense to pull out the victory.