It's amazing how captivating a hitting streak is. Even though we now are beginning to realize that hitting streaks by their nature are as much a product of good timing and luck as they are of skill (for BABIPy reasons), there's just something enchanting about a double-digit-game hit streak. With a wide variety of solid performances on the farm tonight, though none that separate themselves from the rest in my eyes, I've decided that this is as good a time as ever to recognize an impressive hitting streak going on at the Advanced-Rookie affiliate in Missoula.
The streaker may not be a highly-regarded prospect - it's safe to say that the big leagues aren't in his future - but he reached 20 games on his streak on Wednesday night, and that bears mentioning. He might not have a Hall of Fame career, but today's Snakelet of the Day will be able to tell his grandkids about his 20-game hitting streak in professional baseball, and that's kind of cool to me.
Snakelet of the Day:
Eric Groff (Advanced-Rookie): 2-4. HR, 2 R, RBI, extends hitting streak to 20 games
Triple-A (13 innings): Reno 8, Memphis 7. (-) This was a roller coaster of a game. Reno built a five-run lead after just two innings, scoring three runs in each of the first two frames while Aces starter Barry Enright allowed just a solo home run in the top of the second inning. However, the Aces offense then went M.I.A. for ten frames, while Memphis mounted a comeback off of Enright, putting up a three-run fourth and a two-run seventh off of Barry to tie things up. Enright's final line was disappointing: seven innings, 11 hits, six runs (all earned), 3:0 K:BB, a HBP, and the big killer for Barry: three home runs allowed.
Thankfully, the Aces bullpen held back the Redbirds' bats, with Esmerling Vasquez throwing one scoreless inning, Ryan Cook throwing two scoreless innings, and Jason Urquidez allowing just one run in his three innings of work. That gave the offense enough time to wake up, as an Angel Berroa double was followed by singles from Robby Hammock, Lucas May, and Ryan Langerhans to plate two - one to tie after Urquidez allowed a run in the top half of the inning, and one to notch the walk-off win.
Double-A: Mobile 7, Chattanooga 10. (66-43) Lefty Patrick Corbin had a rough first inning in his outing Wednesday night, allowing five runs despite retiring the first two Lookouts hitters. After the second out, Chattanooga's offense pulled off this impressive sequence: GB single, walk, GB single, LD double, HR, walk, K. Corbin settled down substantially over the next three innings, but his night ended with just four innings pitched and six runs allowed (five earned) on nine hits, a homer, and four walks, while striking out three. The offense did its job, though, led by Marc Krauss, who may be establishing himself as one of those players whose bat really comes along in the later part of the season. Krauss went 2-5 with a homer and a double, although he did strike out twice. Ollie Linton doubled twice, Josh Ford doubled once, and Adam Eaton tripled to provide extra thunder for the offense. I'm not sure why, but Ryan Wheeler left this game after making just two plate appearances, replaced by Kyle Greene at third base.
Hi-A: Visalia 1, Stockton 7. (48-61) Don't blame the starting pitching for this one: David Holmberg was solid for the Rawhide, striking out eight in 6 innings on the mound, allowing three runs while walking just one and allowing a solo homer. However, Mike Belfiore threw a scoreless seventh inning, but allowed the first batter of the eighth inning to reach base, ending his night. Christian Beltre then allowed the run he inherited from Belfiore, along with three runs of his own, to score in the eighth, putting the game well out of reach, particularly with how underwhelming the Rawhide offense was. Visalia managed just six hits off of the Stockton pitching, none of which went for extra bases. Alfredo Marte reached base three times on two singles and a walk, while Brent Greer and Matt Davidson each had a pair of walks.
Low-A: South Bend 1, Lansing 6. (51-56) The night that Casey Lawrence had for Lansing is the type of night that's supposed to accompany the type of ground-ball ratios provided by Jason Marquis earlier today against the Giants. Lawrence threw a complete game against the feeble Silver Hawks offense, allowing just one run on four hits - all singles - and a HBP, while striking out three and posting the most impressive GO:AO ratio I've ever seen - 20:1. Kudos to Lawrence. South Bend starter J.R. Bradley had a rough day, allowing four runs - three earned - in just four innings on the mound while posting a 1:1 K:BB ratio and 6:3 GO:AO ratio. Something tells me that the organization is starting to wind down the innings counts on some of their younger starters, as Bradley has typically gone deeper into games despite occasionally-shaky results.
Short-Season-A: Yakima 4, Everett 3. (16-30) Bears starter John Pedrotty had a good outing, allowing three runs, although just one earned, in 6.1 innings on the mound. Pedrotty struck out only three and walked two, but posted a 12:2 GO:AO ratio. That start would be good enough to get Pedrotty the win, as the Yakima offense did just enough and the bullpen held strong over 2.2 innings of work. The biggest offensive producer was Marc Bourgeois, who tripled and walked twice. Tyler Bream chipped in a solo home run, while Tyson Van Winkle doubled.
Advanced-Rookie: Missoula 6, Billings 2. (27-15) There aren't a ton of top prospects in this Missoula offense, but it's an impressive, balanced offensive attack. The Osprey received homers from Eric Groff - whose hit streak is a Missoula franchise-high - and Ryan Court, and doubles from Tom Belza, Justin Bianco, and Stephen Cardullo. Overall, the offense racked up 10 hits, and also benefited from a pair of stolen bases courtesy of Groff and Belza. On the mound was Enrique Burgos, who put up a quality start of six innings and two runs despite posting a mediocre 2:3 K:BB ratio and allowing a homer, though his 10:4 GO:AO ratio helped.
Low-Rookie: D-backs 0, Cubs 9. (11-24) The offense managed just seven singles and a walk, demonstrating overall futility at the plate against the AZL Cubs' pitching. D-backs starter Bryan Escanio was horrible, allowing nine earned runs in just 2.2 innings on the mound, on nine hits and a 4:3 K:BB ratio. The bullpen was phenomenal, at least, throwing 6.1 scoreless innings of relief. It seems that both teams simply decided to take the game off after the end of the third, as just one of the Cubs' eight extra-base hits came off someone other than Escanio.