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Wednesday Pebble Report: Tyler Matzek K's Eight, Hits 97mph

Yes, you read that right.  The Rockies' former top prospect was left for dead by many just a month ago, but that potential in him didn't disappear.  After a month with his amateur pitching coach, the southpaw has given Rockies fans something to hope on after two starts.  Yesterday, he came out throwing 94mph in the first inning, peaking at 97 with several pitches over 95mph according to the Asheville Tourists' radio announcer.  He struck out a season-high eight batters in five innings, walking three and allowing four hits in getting his first win of the season.  Of those hits, all were singles, three on the ground.  He had a 5/2 GO/AO ratio, and was charged with two runs, both due to wild pitches. Overall, very solid.  It remains to be seen where he goes from here, but this is a substantially big step.

AAA Colorado Springs - W 6-5 (48-54, 3rd, 13.5 GB)

The Sky Sox scored in the first four innings against old friend Sam Deduno to take an early lead they would not surrender.  Alfredo Amezaga (2011, MiLB FA) had two doubles and drove in two, and every hitter in the line-up recorded a hit except Scott Beerer (2003, 2nd round).  Alan Johnson (2005, undrafted) got the win, scattering nine hits well enough over seven innings to allow four runs.  #29 PuRP Edgmer Escalona (2006, VZ) worked a perfect ninth for his first save.


AA Tulsa - L 1-10 (15-15, t-2nd, 1.0 GB)

To balance out the universe, one very encouraging start from a top lefty prospect was balanced out by a very poor one.  The Royals farm team thrashed #9 PuRP Christian Friedrich (2007, 1st round), scoring nine runs on eight hits, three walks and two home runs off the Eastern Kentucky product.  Friedrich retired just seven batters.  The earned run, walk and home run totals were the highest of any start this season.  He had held his opponents to 3ER or less in 15 consecutive starts.  

#10 PuRP Tim Wheeler's (2009, 1st round) bid to join Jose Bautista as the only professional baseballers with 30 HR ended before the game even started, as Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt hit his 30th for Mobile earlier in the day.  Wheeler went 1-for-4 against lefty Chris Dwyer, which would seem poor, but other than Wheeler's hit, the Drillers only managed singles from #30 PuRP Mike Zuanich (2008, 28th round) and #27 PuRP Thomas Field (2008, 24th round) off the Royals prospect.

High-A Modesto -  Off Day (16-15, 3rd, 4.0 GB)

The Nuts had an off day after a fun series in High Desert.  They will open a home series in Modesto against Bakersfield tonight at 8:05 MDT with Parker Frazier (2007, 8th round) on the hill.


Low-A Asheville - W 12-4L 3-5 (18-15, t-2nd, 3.5 GB)

Game 1:  Tyler Matzek's start gave the Tourists every chance they needed to win the first game of the double-header, but the offense had no troubles either.  #3 PuRP Kyle Parker (2010, 1st round) hit a 400-foot home run to dead center field, walked twice and was hit by a pitch.  Mark Tracy (2010, 22nd round), Avery Barnes (2009, 11th round) and Joey Wong (2009, 24th round) each had three hits.  Six Tourists registered an extra base hit.

Game 2:  Matzek's rebound isn't the only one of his kind.  Like Matzek, Nick Schnaitmann (2008, 22nd round) was demoted from Modesto mid-season after a horrendous tenure there (10.29 ERA, more walks than strikeouts).  After six shutout innings with zero walks in his first start in Asheville July 21, the right-hander allowed just three hits and two walks, while striking out eight.  The offense was asleep until they faced Michael Brady in the final inning, owner of a 0.69 ERA coming in.   The Tourists scored three times, highlighted by a #25 PuRP Cristhian Adames (2008, DR) double and #12 PuRP Rafael Ortega (2008, VZ) triple.  Barnes grounded out to end the game, representing the tying run.


Short Season-A Tri-City - W 6-3 (1-0, 1st)

The Dust Devils cannot lose.  They won their fifth straight last night, improving to 12-3 in their last 15 games.  Tyler Gagnon (2009, 15th round), a name worth filing away, worked six shutout innings for the win.  He has allowed 1 ER or less in 7 of his 8 starts and has permitted just 1 ER total in 18.2 IP over his last three starts.  Brian Humphries (2011, 14th round), Tyler Massey (2008, 14th round), David Hernandez (2009, undrafted) and reigning Northwest League Player of the Week Jared Simon (2010, 6th round) each had multi-hit games.


Rookie Casper -  W 13-7  (10-25, 4th, 11.0 GB)

It seems lately as if the Ghosts need divine intervention to find victory, as they came into last night riding a seven game losing streak.  When you bring the offense that Casper did last night to Helena though, you don't need godly mercy.   They were craving offense, and they did go forth and provide it, all but burying the Brewers in baserunners.  Trevor Story (2011, sandwich pick) hit his second professional home run as part of a 3-hit-4-RBI night, David Kandilas (2009, Australia) had four hits, Julian Yan (2009, DR) had three hits, and Casper got solo home runs from Matt Argyropoulos (2011, 27th round) and Will Swanner (2010, 15th round) as well.


DSL Rockies - W 15-7   (30-19, 2nd, 1.0 GB)

Offensive explosions are rare in the Dominican Summer League, but the Rockies were on the good end of one yesterday, bursting for 18 hits on the day, including a 13-run 4th inning that burned through four Cubs pitchers.  Every member of the lineup recorded a hit and reached base at least twice.  Johendi Jiminian (2010, DR) got the win despite getting touched up a bit himself, allowing six runs (5 earned) in six innings.  With the win, the DSL team moved into second place and one game behind first place in an eight team division.