This one could also very easily have been titled "Destroyed Edition." The three D-backs affiliates in the post-season got swept on Sunday by a combined score of 32-5, with the least-gruesome loss coming in Double-A Mobile's 7-1 defeat at the hands of Birmingham. Additionally, there is much ado about what should be done with Trevor Bauer, or, perhaps more accurately, what should have been done with Bauer a couple weeks back. My two cents on the team's top prospect (yes, he's still the team's top prospect - don't be so silly as to knock him for two bad outings late in the year with how heavy of a workload he's endured) follow the jump, as well as all the bitter details.
Snakelet of the Day:
Ryan Wheeler (Double-A): 2-3, 2B, BB
Triple-A: Reno 2, Sacramento 13. (2-3) The Aces were eliminated on Sunday, turning a 2-0 series lead into a 2-3 series defeat at the hands of the RiverCats. Reno actually took an early 2-0 lead over Sacramento in the top of the second off of a two-run home run by Ryan Langerhans, but recorded only three hits (and three walks) in the entire contest - Langerhans' bomb and two doubles, one apiece from Mark Hallberg and Cody Ransom.
Things went horribly wrong in the bottom of the third, as starter Tom Layne collapsed, allowing three runs to score while notching just one out before leaving the game, with Kyler Newby allowing a pair of inherited runners from Layne to also cross the plate. Newby would work just an inning and two thirds and give up two of his own runs before departing, bringing in Michael Bolsinger. Bolsinger was scored upon for the first time since being called up from South Bend, allowing three runs (one earned) to score while walking three in another inning and two thirds. Kam Mickolio joined the fray at that point, and was also promptly torched, giving up three runs in 1.1 innings, though he at least did strike out three of the ten batters he faced. Mike DeMark worked the final inning, putting together the only scoreless appearance by the pitching staff in this horrific contest.
Double-A: Mobile 1, Birmingham 7. (2-2) Let's begin with Trevor Bauer. The team's prize right-hander was lit up for the second straight outing, working just three innings and surrendering seven hits, three walks, and seven runs while striking out only two of the 19 batters he faced. Undeniably a bad outing. Great, glad we have that out of the way. Now, repeat after me: Trevor Bauer is no different than he was two weeks ago. Might he be tiring and seeing his stuff fade? My guess is no, because I don't think he would have hit a wall this quickly due to simple arm fatigue - remember, he went from dominant to awful in five days. Might he be seriously hurt? One word: No - if you think the organization didn't make absolutely sure that he was physically okay after his outing against Chattanooga, you're out of your mind.
I think it's probably one of three things. First, it's possible that Bauer pulled something slightly and is trying to pitch through it, which is a bit silly, but isn't something I'm going to freak out about. After all, if he tweaked a quad, he's got an entire off-season to get it right, and injuries like that don't have long-term ramifications. Second, I think it's possible that some late-year tiredness may have gotten his mechanics a bit out of line. Bauer's delivery is, to put it lightly, complex, and something not being right could really wreak havoc on his command, which would explain how hittable he's been. This is perhaps a tad more worrisome than a small little muscle pull, but I think an off-season of recovery and film will have him right back to where he needs to be.
Finally, let's not all forget that there's a serious chance that he's simply going through one of the most absurd stretches of bad luck he'll have in his career. Yeah, the strikeout rate is low, but that BABIP is enormous. For people to think it's a given that all of hits must be his fault seems a bit hasty. Really, in any of these three cases, I'm not freaking out about Bauer, and I'm not putting Skaggs above him on my spreadsheet. Trevor Bauer is still a pitching machine, and I fully expect him to be a revelation for us in 2012.
After Bauer departed, Clay Zavada and Bryan Woodall each worked three shutout innings, with Zavada posting a 4:1 K:BB and 3:0 GO:AO while Woodall was slightly less impressive with a 2:2 K:BB ratio and 4:3 GO:AO ratio. Ryan Wheeler had another solid day at the plate with a double, a single, and a walk, but the offense remained by-and-large punchless once again. Right-hander Charles Brewer will be on the mound for Mobile in game five, looking to seal the series for the BayBears. Not a bad fifth starter for the Double-A playoffs, if I say so myself.
Advanced-Rookie: Missoula 2, Great Falls 12. (1-2) Osprey starter Raymond Hernandez has also been slowing down as of late, and he hit a wall in the fifth inning of this one. Hernandez departed the game after 4.2 innings, posting a 4:1 K:BB ratio with six hits, a home run, and four runs (three earned) allowed. He gave way for Seth Simmons out of the 'pen, but Simmons promptly allowed a single and a walk, getting pulled after two batters for Keith Hessler, who allowed both of Simmons' runners to score.
Hessler would give up another three runs in his two innings on the mound, D.J. Johnson was tagged for two runs in 1.1 innings of work, and Robby Rowland gave up one more run in the ninth, though he did strike out two of the five batters he faced. The Osprey bats weren't punchless, as Chris Ellison tripled to go with doubles from Tom Belza, Jon Griffin, and Ryan Court, but Missoula notched just six hits and one walk, failing to make their extra-base hits count.