Double-A Mobile was just six scoreless outs away from winning the Southern League Championship, but saw a one-run lead collapse in the eighth inning against Tennessee. Things may not have gone as the BayBears club would have hoped, but the D-backs organization is undoubtedly smiling today at yet another dominant performance from the prize of their left-handed pitching prospect group, who ended his season on a spectacular note. Just another special pitching line in a season chock full of them:
BayBear of the Day:
Tyler Skaggs: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R (1 ER), 7:1 K:BB, 5:5 GO:AO
Mobile 2, Tennessee 4. (2-1) Yes, this game was all about Tyler Skaggs in the early going. He needed quite a few pitches to get through his outing, throwing 95 pitches (63 strikes) in just six innings of work, but the end results were just as special as we've come to expect from someone who I would say is of the top 15 prospects in the game. Skaggs kept up his high-strikeout ways, whiffing seven of the 23 batters he faced (30.4%) while walking just one. He was spotted a 2-0 lead by the offense before he had to throw a pitch, and although the BayBears offense wouldn't score again in the game, he departed with the lead intact. The only run he allowed came in the second inning after a lead-off walk was followed by a swinging strikeout of highly-regarded Cubs prospect Josh Vitters, a flyout, and then, unfortunately, a two-out RBI double that would prove to be the only extra-base hit Skaggs allowed all night. The runner did advance to third on the throw home, but the next batter went down swinging to leave the baserunner stranded there.
The Mobile offense sputtered for most of the night, and even their two-run first inning was unorthodox. Adam Eaton led off with a single, then moved up to second base on a passed ball. A.J. Pollock hit a groundout to third base, and after Vitters checked Eaton back to the bag and started motioning towards first, Eaton broke for third on an incredibly ballsy play. That set up the next play, a ground ball fielder's choice hit by Ryan Wheeler to second base that was thrown wide of home plate as the Smokies tried to nail Eaton at home, allowing the run to score and Wheeler to move up to second base.
Marc Krauss struck out, but a wild pitch that the Tennessee catcher couldn't locate during Matt Davidson's plate appearance allowed Wheeler to score all the way from second base. That wild pitch didn't turn out to make much of a difference, as Davidson subsequently doubled on a 3-0 count to deep right-center field, but Davidson was stranded on second as Taylor Harbin flied out. Davidson led the offense with his double and a hit-by-pitch, while A.J. Pollock reached twice on a pair of walks and Josh Ford singled twice. Don't be surprised if Davidson moves up in the order again to the cleanup spot for tonight's game - last night's cleanup hitter, Krauss, went 0-4 with three strikeouts.
Sadly, the bullpen took the 2-1 lead that Skaggs spotted them. Yonata Ortega worked a 1-2-3 seventh inning that put Mobile just two innings away from winning the Southern League Championship, but Kevin Munson came out to begin the eighth and everything went awry. Munson would face five batters, but walked two of them and gave up a pair of hits, including a game-tying solo home run. Billy Spottiswood came on to get the final two outs while letting one of the two baserunners inherited from Munson to score, but the lead was already surrendered and the BayBears couldn't fight back in the ninth.
Trevor Bauer is scheduled to pitch tonight's game, perhaps the last work he'll get in this year. It'll be interesting to see how many innings they limit him to, seeing as how he's already thrown 28.2 innings since signing (including playoffs) and hasn't been too sharp lately.