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Saturday Pebble Report: Only Asheville Avoids Losing

Fewer walks please.
Fewer walks please.

AAA Colorado Springs – W 12-4 & L 11-2, (29-32, 3rd, 6.5 GB)

The Sky Sox played a double header at Security Service Field yesterday and as is so often the case, they split the two contests.

The first game, a 12-4 thumping for the Sky Sox, was actually close into the 7th when Colorado Springs used four singles, a double, a triple, two walks, a hit by pitch, and a Sacramento error to score seven times and bust the game wide open. They might have done even more damage if Chad Tracy didn’t ground into an inning ending double play. Every Sky Sox starter had at least one hit while # 20 PuRP Tommy Field, Hernan Iribarren, Chad Tracy, Jimmy Cesario, and Brandon Wood all had multi hit games. The only really bad thing that happened offensively in this game for the Sky Sox was Tim Wheeler striking out four times.

Things didn’t go quite as smoothly for the Sky Sox starting pitcher in this game as Tyler Chatwood only lasted 3.1 innings. He did hold the River Cats to two runs, but he walked three and only struck out one, bringing his total in the last four starts to ten walks and only six strikeouts. Perhaps equally as disappointing is that Chatwood has only lasted more than four innings once all season.

In the second game, starters Drew Pomeranz and A.J. Griffin traded zeros until #1 PuRP Pomeranz and his defense derailed in the 6th inning as three hits, two errors, and a walk would doom the Sky Sox chances of victory. For Pomeranz, it’s his third straight loss and fifth straight outing in which he’s failed to get through six innings; he’s also walked ten in his last two starts. Results wise anyway, Pomeranz has regressed since being sent down to the Springs.

AA Tulsa – L 5-1, (32-27, T-1st)

The Drillers season continued to unravel last night as #18 PuRP Joe Gardner failed to back up his excellent outing in Midland with even a decent one before the largest crowd in the history of ONEOK Field. Tulsa’s starter got pounded the second time through the lineup as he left far too many pitches up in the zone. There were moments in this game where he looked good, but as is so often the case with Gardner, when he did give up hits, he gave them up in bunches. His line on the night: 6.1 IP, 8 hits, 4 ER, 2 K's, and 1 BB.

Meanwhile, the Drillers offense was completely stymied by Trevor Rosenthal who only surrendered three hits all night. The Cards starter mixed heat that at times touched 97mph with off-speed stuff that sat in the low 80’s. Rosenthal’s ERA is now just 1.45 in his last 31 innings.

With the loss, the Drillers no longer hold first place alone. An 8-15 record in their last 23 games has allowed Northwest Arkansas to catch them after their brilliant 24-12 start.

High-A Modesto – L 6-5, (30-32, 3rd,6.5 GB)

This game must have driven both starting managers insane. The two teams combined to walk 17 batters while both offenses left at least ten men on base. Amid the chaos though, Bakersfield’s bullpen combined to throw six shutout innings and ended what looked to be a promising offensive night for the Nuts offense.

It was still a solid game for #7 PuRP Kyle Parker as he was on base twice with a hit and a walk and #19 PuRP Cory Dickerson who was on base three times with a hit and two walks.

Low-A Asheville – W 7-6 – 11 innings, (42-19, 1st)

The Ashville Tourists’ starter Ben Alsup gave up ten hits, the Ashville Tourists’ offense left twelve men on base, and the Ashville Tourists as a team trailed by four runs in the third inning, but when you’re playing .688 baseball, as the Ashville Tourists are, things like this often don’t matter. Teams as good as Ashville usually find other ways to win, and last night was no exception.

Five shutout innings from the bullpen, ten walks by the offense, multi hit games from Sam Mende and Brian Humphries, and a home run off the bat of Harold Riggins, got the game to the bottom of the 11th tied. After the inning started off harmlessly with #12 PuRP Trevor Story flying out to center and Sam Mende grounding out to second, Harold Riggins got a base hit to extend the frame. #21 PuRP Will Swanner then hit a ball to shortstop that should have sent the game to the 12th, but Alen Hanson made an error giving a good team an extra out to play with, and as you would expect from a good team like Ashville, they made West Virginia pay for their mistake. Taylor Featherston, the next batter, grounded an RBI base hit to center that gave the Tourists the walk off win.

DSL RockiesL 7-2, (3-3)

18 year old Joel Payamps got the start and he wasn’t bad giving up two runs in five innings of work. The bullpen and defense (the DSL Rockies made four errors in this game) however allowed the game to get out of reach.

At the plate, third baseman Wilson Soriano had the only multi hit game for the Rockies.

Looking Ahead: Tonight, the enigma that is Tyler Matzek will take the mound for the Nuts. Nothing would surprise me.