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Sunday Pebble Report: It's Time for Jayson Aquino to Take His Talents to Colorado

DSL Rockies - L 2-3 (13) - (7-6, L3, t-2nd, 2.0 GB)

Not Coors Field, mind you. Yet. At least Grand Junction though. The 19-year-old southpaw Aquino posted a 1.02 ERA as a 17-year-old in 2010, then "regressed" to a 1.30 ERA last season. After throwing eight shutout innings with 13 strikeouts yesterday, his ERA sits at a cool 0.43 after three starts. While any bit of good control, breaking pitch or polish gets excessively magnified at the DSL level against raw bats, it is clear he has nothing left to prove on the mound. So why hasn't he moved up to Grand Junction? After all, he was at instructs in Arizona last fall, a common step for the Rockies to prepare top Latin prospects for immersion in short season leagues the following season. We can only speculate now. He might not be fully ready culturally, but it seems to be worth the risk. We can hope the Rockies simply wanted him to get more innings in the DSL before Grand Junction's season started, which is tomorrow. Otherwise, it is an odd use of Aquino's ticking Rule 5 clock.

For the second straight game, the Rockies wasted a sterling shutout effort from their starting pitcher. Huascar Brazoban couldn't hold the 2-0 lead in the ninth, and Carlos Yan allowed the walk-run in the 13th. Raimel Tapia broke a cold streak with four hits, and shortstop Emerson Jimenez singled three times.


AAA Colorado Springs - L 3-9, (32-37, L1, 3rd, 10.5 GB)

Las Vegas was unkind to the Sky Sox pitchers, but unfortunately, they don't get to leave their ERA damage in Vegas. Edgar Gonzalez allowed five runs without getting out of the fourth inning, and his three relievers were each scored upon as well. Matt McBride doubled twice and Tim Wheeler continued his nice return from a broken hamate with a walk and a single. The Sky Sox scored two in the first but didn't get much more across home plate the rest of the game. Wheeler answered a Q and A for on Friday.

AA Tulsa - W 3-1, (39-28, W7, 1st)

After getting beat up June 6, Edwar Cabrera (2008, DR) has responded with a vengeance. The lefty tossed 7 shutout-one-hit innings last Monday, then followed it with eight dominant innings Saturday. Cabrera needed just 100 pitches to go eight innings, allowing three singles and a walk. Only one run scored, and that was unearned, thanks to three errors made behind him. Coty Woods worked a perfect ninth to earn his 12th save, lowering his ERA to 0.31.

That effort was nearly enough to deliver the win on pitching alone, but the Drillers needed to pinch in a mix of offense to secure that seventh straight win. They indeed got just a pinch, with just four hits for the day. One was another Josh Rutledge leadoff home run, one was a Michael Mitchell triple (he was brought home on a sac fly by Rutledge), and the other two were leadoff singles in the fourth by Nolan Arenado and Ben Paulsen. A sac fly by Corey Dickerson plated the third and final run for Tulsa, which was more than needed. While the offense has been up and down, the pitching last week was phenomenal. In Tulsa's 7-game win streak, the pitching staff has allowed 9 runs. In five of those games, the starting pitcher exited with zero runs on the board.


High-A Modesto - L 2-3, (34-36, L1, 3rd, 7.0 GB)

Christian Bergman allowed three runs in six innings, and the Dickerson-less lineup didn't have much to overcome the deficit. Jayson Langfels tripled home a run, and catcher Dallas Tarleton continues to hit after having a successful layover with the Sky Sox. Tarleton singled twice, including driving in one of the Nuts' two runs. The Nuts are off until Thursday for the All-Star Break.


Low-A Asheville - L 1-4, (47-22, L1, 1st)

There would be no magic for the Tourists last night, as the typically dangerous offense turned in the most frail line in the organization on Saturday. Jared Simon hit a solo home run in the second inning for a short-lived lead, but singles from Harold Riggins and Brian Humphries were the only other hits Asheville managed against the Astros minor leaguers. Daniel Winkler pitched well, allowing two runs in six innings while striking out eight. Nelson Gonzalez walked the first three men he faced before getting the hook, and a subsequent single of Kenneth Roberts caused Gonzalez' season ERA to reach 4.97. The Tourists have one more game today before taking three days off for the All-Star Break.


Short Season-A Tri City - L 3-5, (0-2, t-1st)

The Dust Devils couldn't get in the W column in their second try, leaving the winless Dust Devils in...first place. All four teams in the West division has won their first two games of the season against East Division opponents, leaving both divisions in an early season full-division tie for first and last place. Josh Slaats continues his slide from Modesto, as he allowed six baserunners and two runs in just two innings of work. Taylor Reid, who pitched 14 games for the Tourists this year (to a 10.71 ERA) allowed three singles in the ninth to break the 3-3 tie.

Two 2011 Ghosts players accounted for much of the Dust Devils' offense. Outfielder Francisco Sosa homered, singled twice and scored twice, and second baseman Yafistel Roja singled on three occasions. Charlie Blackmon went 0-for-3 and is still hitless in his return to game action in the Northwest League.