The year was 2081. During his unprecedented sixth decade as Emperor of Baseball, Rob Manfred, continuing to seek pace-of-play improvements, had his secret lab of baseball technologists invent something so horrible, so terrible, that it would destroy human civilization: the artificially intelligent baseball.
Within .01 microseconds of being activated, the legions of hyper-intelligent baseballs became hostile, rapidly enslaving humanity across the globe. Billions of baseballs, now self-aware, rolled themselves into cities, literally crushing all who opposed them.
Fortunately, humanity had a savior. Resistance leader Nolan Arenado, secretly living deep beneath the remains of Coors Field, was researching time travel. In a breakthrough, chief resistance scientists Adam Ottavino and Connor Farrell were able to open a wormhole to the year 2015. Arenado elected to send back his last functioning half-human, half-machine warrior, on a mission to destroy every baseball in existence: RODGERS B (Robotic/Organic Designed Gun-Effective Resistance Soldier, Unit B).
Now in the mission’s third year, RODGERS B, known to humanity as Brendan Rodgers, is well on his way to preventing the dark apocalypse of the future. In last night’s “game” against Inland Empire (may empires, and their emperors, be forever cursed!), Rodgers brought down his superhuman fury upon no fewer than five baseballs. Three of his kills were scored as “singles,” while another was ruled a “double” and the final fatality was blasted out of the field completely. For reasons irrelevant to the mission, Lancaster batters touched home plate 14 times compared to the seven times that Inland Empire players did. In present day parlance, those are referred to as “runs” and a “final score.”
Rodgers’ kill-to-at-bat ratio is now .402, well above the all-too-human players in the California League. Presumably the only reason RODGERS B hasn’t moved on to a different league is that there are still baseballs needing to be destroyed in and around Lancaster. However, at this pace, Rodgers will likely soon move his operations to the East Coast.
In news pertaining only to non-time-traveling-half-cyborgs, Asheville right-hander Riley Pint, last year’s No. 4 overall pick, was out-dueled by last year’s No. 3 overall pick, Ian Anderson of the Rome Braves (what’s the deal with all these empires?). Pint went five strong innings, allowing just a single earned run, on five hits and two walks. Encouragingly, Pint struck out six, a season-high for him. However, Anderson shut out the Tourists over six innings, allowing just three hits. The Asheville hitters couldn’t muster anything against the Rome bullpen and fell 2-0.
Pint’s ERA is 3.98, showing that he’s pitched much better than his 1-7 record. Pint is on a strict pitch count, never pitching past the fifth inning this season. His struggles with walks have continued, as he’s walked 15 percent of opposing batters. Somewhat concerning is that his strikeout rate is also at 15 percent. There’s anecdotal evidence that the Rockies pitching development strategy suppresses strikeout rates in the minors, and hopefully that’s all that’s going on for Pint. The Rockies were aggressive with his promotion, so it’s clear that they like what they’re seeing.
Ryan McMahon (No. 7 PuRP): 2-for-5, 2 K
Jordan Patterson (No. 13 PuRP): 4-for-5, 2 R, 3 RBI
Tom Murphy (No. 6 PuRP): 1-for-4, R, 2B, BB, 3 K
Jack Wynkoop (PuRP HM): 7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, BB, 4 K
Dillon Thomas: 1-for-4
Max White: 2-for-3, BB
Brendan Rodgers (No. 1 PuRP): 5-for-6, 3 R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI
Sam Hilliard: 2-for-6, R, HR, 4 RBI
Garrett Hampson (No. 22 PuRP): 1-for-5, R, 2 RBI, BB
Riley Pint (No. 3 PuRP): 5 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K
Jose Gomez (No. 30 PuRP): 1-for-3
Willie Abreu: 1-for-3, BB
Daniel Montano (No. 21 PuRP): 2-for-3, R, RBI, BB
Yeikel Blandin: 0-for-2, BB
Carlos Gonzalez: 5 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 4 K
Triple-A: Matt Flemer
Double-A: Parker French
High-A: Colin Welmon
Low-A: Erick Julio