Sorry about the absurdly late posting: I was almost through with the first five games this morning and was going to have it posted before the GDT, then my computer screen died and I had to restart, losing everything, and wasn't able to finish before errands struck. I was, needless to say, not happy. Neither was my head, which I unwisely hit against the cinder-block wall behind me.
Seven affiliates combined to play a total of 81 innings on Saturday, including a 15-inning game, a pair of seven-inning double-headers, and an 11-inning game. I was in Michigan at one of the Great Lakes beaches yesterday afternoon, but had I stuck around South Bend, I could have seen this gem of a performance:
Snakelet of the Day:
Michael Bolsinger (Low-A): 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 7:0 K:BB, 9:3 GO:AO
Triple-A (15 innings): Reno 3, Tucson 4. (73-62) In a marathon game, the Aces offense took the lead in the bottom of the ffifteenth inning after being held scoreless since their one-run eighth - which had tied the game at 2 - only to see that lead slip away in the bottom of the fifteenth. After Alberto Castillo, Sam Demel, and Ryan Cook each threw a scoreless inning of relief and Jeff Bennett worked four shutout innings in extras, Kam Mickolio couldn't retire a single batter when he was brought out to secure the victory in the bottom of the fifteenth. Instead, Mickolio allowed three hits, including a pair of doubles, to both give up the lead and give up the game. No Aces batter had an extra-base hit in the game, although both Cole Gillespie and Evan Frey reached base twice, on a pair of singles and a pair of walks apiece. Angel Berroa had an ugly 0-7 game.
Double-A (game one, seven innings): Mobile 4, Chattanooga 5. Starter Jarrod Parker didn't have the game he was hoping for, striking out just four of the 27 batters he faced in six innings of work, and allowing five runs. Still, Parker did walk just one hitter and posted a solid 7:3 GO:AO ratio, so there's no reason to panic. He threw tons of strikes (63), built up another high pitch count (95), and still has Jarrod Parker-level stuff. It's also worth remembering that Parker still is just 22 years old - he has time to refine his command in the minors before hitting his peak years. The offense received a couple of nice performances at the top of the lineup, with Ollie Linton going 2-3 with a walk and a stolen base, and Jacob Elmore going 2-3 with a double and a walk, but getting picked off/caught stealing once.
Double-A (game two, seven innings): Mobile 4, Chattanooga 3. (80-52) The filler pitching trio of Bryan Henry, Clay Zavada, and Billy Spottiswood did its job, allowing just two earned runs in seven innings despite a 3:3 K:BB ratio and a pair of home runs allowed. That would be just good enough for the offense, which plated four runs despite no extra-base hits due to the persistence of the eight-, one-, and two-hitters in getting on base. Elmore, in the eight hole for the second game, walked twice and singled, leadoff man Adam Eaton singled, walked, and stole a base, and Linton, hitting in the two-hole, collected a single, a walk, and a sac fly.
Hi-A (game one, seven innings): Visalia 5, Modesto 6. Infielder Matt Davidson had an awesome game against a good pitching prospect in Rockies right-hander Chad Bettis. Davidson started the game with a three-run homer in the first, then doubled off of Bettis in his next plate appearance to drive in another run. Davidson was helped by David Nick's two-hit game, although Keon Broxton went 0-4 with four strikeouts in the leadoff spot - not exactly where you want to see a Golden Sombrero in the lineup. Jon Mark Owings added a solo home run, but it wouldn't quite be enough due to some shaky pitching, as there wasn't a single clean outing between starter Diogenes Rosario (5.1 IP, 3 R, 2 ER), Kevin Munson (1 IP, 2 R, 1 ER), or Evan Marshall (0.2 IP, 1 R, 1 ER).
Hi-A (game two, seven innings): Visalia 6, Modesto 1. (61-71) Davidson was utterly dominant in the first half of the double-header, but Bobby Borchering did his best in the second half of the double-dip to follow suit. Borchering singled, walked, stole a base, and launched his 23rd home run of the season in the second game to lead the Visalia offense. He was helped by another two-hit game from Nick, as well as a single and a walk from Alfredo Marte. Unlike the first game, though, the Rawhide received a dominant starting pitching performance, as left-hander Dan Taylor gave up just one run in five two-hit innings on a solo homer, striking out seven and walking just one. I think it will always be curious why Taylor started off the year a) not in the rotation, and b) at South Bend, but the 24-year-old left-hander has shown himself capable of dealing with the Cal League this year, and could make a decent bullpen lefty if quickly pushed through the system.
Low-A: South Bend 3, Lake County 0. (64-67) The Silver Hawks received another dominant outing from starting pitcher Mike Bolsinger, who shut out the Captains in seven innings, giving up just three hits and striking out seven with no walks and a 9:3 GO:AO ratio. Bolsinger's work in the South Bend rotation has seen him emerge as a legitimate back-end starting pitching prospect, as the 23-year-old has shined in both relief and starting roles, posting a 2.57 ERA and 26:8 K:BB ratio in 28 innings out of the 'pen and a 2.79 ERA and 58:16 K:BB ratio in 67.2 innings as a starter. Jeremy Erben finished off the Captains with two scoreless innings, fanning two. Even South Bend's occasionally-underwhelming offense couldn't botch up that kind of pitching performance, as Yazy Arbelo hit his 30th home run of the year to go with doubles from Roberto Rodriguez, Gerson Montilla, Niko Gallego, and Jhoan Pimentel.
Short-Season-A (11 innings): Yakima 6, Everett 5. (30-40) Yakima stormed out to an early lead with a one-run first and a three-run second, then added another in the fifth to lead 5-0, looking to shut down the Aquasox behind a spectacular start from Alex Capaul. Capaul worked seven innings, allowing just three hits and no runs with a 4:0 K:BB ratio and 10:5 GO:AO ratio. Unfortunately, as soon as Capaul left the game, things went terribly, terribly wrong. Relievers Michael Blake and Victor Acosta combined to give up five runs in the eighth inning while recording just two outs total before Justin Albert, came in. Albert proceeded to lock down Everett again for the next 3.1 innings, keeping Everett scoreless and giving the Bears the opportunity to steal back the win.
The offense received triples from Danny Pulfer and Justin Hilt, while Raul Navarro, Steven Rodriguez, and Jimmy Comerota each doubled. Comerota and Navarro led the Bears by reaching base three times apiece, with each of them knocking a pair of hits and drawing a walk. In a strange box score quirk you don't see everyday, Pulfer was caught trying to steal home plate. Believe it or not, the win put Yakima in tie for first place in the NWL second-half season standings. Their overall season record simply stands as a testament to how awful this club was in the first half of the short-season schedule.
Advanced-Rookie: Missoula 1, Ogden 5. (39-26) One day after obliterating homers left and right, the Osprey received just one, a solo shot from Stephen Cardullo in the second inning, before the offense went totally quiet. Cardullo and Chris Ellison each doubled, but Cardullo was the only Missoula bat to record a multi-hit day, and the Osprey collected just six hits overall. However, that total beat the Ogden total of just four hits translating into five runs due to a pair of home runs given up by starter Dexter Price and the five free passes handed out to the Raptors. Price gave up four runs in five innings with a 4:3 K:BB ratio and the aforementioned two home runs allowed.
Low-Rookie: D-backs 7, A's 1. (-) The D-backs received a pair of home runs, one apiece from Wagner Mateo - his sixth of the year - and Joseph Weik, as well as a double from Jose Alegria. Alegria and Socrates Brito were the only two D-backs bats to record multi-hit games, but every player in the lineup reached base at least one time, and the balanced D-backs offense came back from a 1-0 deficit after two innings to make this one an easy victory. Starting pitcher Ross Gerdeman's performance certainly helped, as the 21-year-old right-hander allowed just five hits and one run - on a solo home run - through eight innings of work, posting a 4:1 K:BB ratio and a 9:5 GO:AO ratio.