While the effective of the big-league bullpen has not gone without praise in 2011, it's still very common for me to mostly skim over relief performances in these reports. Part of this is that it's more difficult for a reliever's performance to stand out from the longer outings in the minors, particularly in a solid system like Arizona's. Additionally, big-league relievers often start out as minor-league starters, so many minor-league relievers don't merit much attention. However, on a day with numerous impressive outings, but none that smacked me in the face as flawless, I decided that it would be a nice day to give a reliever some proper, particularly one with some might fine numbers. Tonight's outing gave today's SotD a 3.14 ERA in 57.1 innings of work in 2011, supported by a 62:14 K:BB ratio and 1.77 GO/AO:
Snakelet of the Day:
Bryan Woodall (Double-A): 1 IP, 3 K (all three swinging), Hold
Triple-A: Reno 1, Oklahoma City 2. (67-57) Starter Gaby Hernandez certainly didn't have his control with him, walking five and hitting one batter over six innings, but escaped with just two earned runs charged to him while striking out five. Hernandez was bested by the RedHawks' pitching, who gave up just four hits and one run, with a double to Angel Berroa and a triple to Evan Frey counting as the two big threats to the Oklahoma City pitching staff. The game had a shockingly high walk total, with a combined ten free passes (walks and HBPs) still resulting in just three total runs.
Double-A: Mobile 6, Jacksonville 2. (73-48) Doubles from Taylor Harbin and Jacob Elmore were the only extra-base hits collected by the BayBears offense, but Mobile's bats collected a total of 12 hits and five walks to grind out six runs. Daryle Ward had one hit and three walks, while both A.J. Pollock and Ryan Wheeler had two hits and a walk, with Pollock also stealing his 30th base of the season for Mobile with just five times being caught, a success rate of 85.7%. I've said it before and I'll say it again - Pollock looks like the leadoff hitter Arizona has wanted since Tony Womack left.
That would prove to be more than enough runs for Mobile starter Jarrod Parker, who keeps getting better for Mobile. Parker struck out six in six scoreless innings, walking three but giving up just three hits, posting a 6:4 GO:AO ratio. It was yet another solid outing for the improving Parker, who has a 2.80 ERA over his last ten outings, spanning 54.2 innings. His season peripherals remain far from stellar - particularly his walk rate - but the steady progress is all we can hope for. The BayBears bullpen was also phenomenal: as mentioned above, Bryan Woodall struck out all three batters he faced - all three swinging, no less - while Clay Zavada gave up two unearned runs, but struck out two with no walks, and Yonata Ortega K'd one in his 1-2-3 ninth inning.
Hi-A: Visalia 10, Bakersfield 2. (57-65) Visalia led another offensive assault on Bakersfield that was reminiscent of the first game of this three-game set, in which Visalia drove 13 runs across the plate. In Wednesday's effort, Visalia was led by leadoff hitter Keon Broxton, whose first three plate appearances resulted in two walks and a home run, although he finished the game by striking out in each of his final two trips to the plate. David Nick went 2-5 with a double, Matt Davidson walked three times (but struck out twice), Bobby Borchering doubled and walked, Mark Reed was a homer short of the cycle, and Brent Greer doubled and walked.
All in all, it was more than enough for the pitching staff to work with, despite some messy peripherals on the night. Eric Smith finally had as many innings pitched as hits allowed (171 hits in 128.1 IP on the year), giving up two runs on seven hits with a 2:4 K:BB ratio. The bullpen did good work, as Adam Worthington struck out two in a scoreless inning of relief, followed by a scoreless inning from Evan Marshall in which the right-handed 2011 4th-round pick worked around a double. Marshall lowered his Visalia ERA to 1.59, and his combined 2011 pro ERA - split between Visalia and Yakima - to a mere 1.16.
Low-A: South Bend 6, Lake County 5. (57-63) Starter Michael Bolsinger was wobbly, allowing seven hits and three runs in five innings, although he did have a solid 4:1 K:BB ratio in his outing. The bullpen would proceed to blow the lead that Bolsinger left them with, but the offense rallied against the Captains' relievers in order to steal a win. Yazy Arbelo, Ender Inciarte, and Gerson Montilla each doubled for the Silver Hawks offense, while Matt Helm singled and walked twice. South Bend drew a total of eight walks, with the only two hitters in the lineup not to draw a free pass being Inciarte and Montilla.
Short-Season-A: Yakima 2, Spokane 9. (23-37) Bears starter Alex Capaul had an otherwise-solid outing ruined by the top of the fourth inning, in which Capaul gave up five runs, all of which were earned. His other five innings of pitching were spotless, though, and he finished the night with a 3:1 K:BB ratio and 10:2 GO:AO ratio. The bullpen and defense did little to help, with Drew Zizinia and Miles Reagan each allowing an earned run in their relief efforts, with two more unearned runs also being charged to Reagan. Offensively, Henry Zabala doubled, singled, and walked, while Danny Pulfer also chipped in a double.
Advanced-Rookie: Missoula 7, Orem 6. (36-19) Tied at 5 apiece going into the eighth inning, Orem struck with a go-ahead run in the top half of the frame. That, however, only served to add drama to the biggest hit of the night, as Ty Linton crushed a go-ahead two-run home run in the bottom half of the eighth inning, and the Osprey held on in the ninth for the win. Eric Groff also homered, while Tom Belza contributed a triple to the Osprey's offensive output. Linton, Belza, Chris Ellison, and Jonathan Griffin each had two-hit games, with Griffin and Belza each drawing a walk to top off their evenings. The comeback saved the bacon of Dexter Price, who gave up four runs in 4.1 innings on the mound, and Victor Lara, who allowed the go-ahead run in the eighth. D.J. Johnson worked a scoreless ninth with a strikeout for his seventh save, lowering the 21-year-old's ERA to 0.47 in 13 games, with a 21:4 K:BB ratio in 19 innings of work.
Low-Rookie: D-backs 10, Royals 3. (15-31) Outfielder Domingo Soriano hit his second home run in as many days - his first two home runs of the season - and added a double, while Ed Rogers had three hits including a double of his own to lead a D-backs' offense that notched 11 hits. Starting pitcher Ross Gerdeman struck out two with no walks in six innings of work, allowing three runs before departing. As you might have deduced, the bullpen followed with three scoreless innings to lock this one down, with Diony Santana and Austin Platt each delivering 1-2-3 frames, with Platt striking out two.