With the continued struggles of Josh Collmenter to command the ball on the edges of the strike zone with the D-backs, there's a sense that every start made by one of our top prospects at Double-A Mobile is a sort of audition to be the one to be next in line should Arizona eventually decide to make a move. Patrick Corbin was on the stage for his callback on Tuesday afternoon in Mobile, and he once again dominated for the BayBears, lowering his ERA in his fourth outing of the season to a scant 1.67 in 27 innings of work, with a 25:8 K:BB ratio. We all know that Corbin has established himself as a Gibby Favorite (TM), but will it lead him to the Show?
Snakelet of the Day:
Josh Bell (Triple-A): 2-4, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 R, BB
Patrick Corbin (Double-A): 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 5:2 K:BB, 10:5 GO:AO
Triple-A: Reno 10, Sacramento 12. (6-14) Starting the game for Reno was right-hander Conrad Flynn. Who's Conrad Flynn, you ask? Well, Flynn spent last year at Rookie-level Missoula after being signed by Arizona as an undrafted free agent, splitting time between the rotation and the bullpen for the Osprey. He started 2012 in Extended Spring Training, and was called on to make an emergency start for the Aces, filling the void in the rotation left by Joe Martinez being called up to the major leagues and Tom Layne being used in relief on Monday night. The start went about as expected, with Flynn allowing six runs - five earned - across three innings of work, walking two and allowing a home run, though on the plus side, he did strike out a solid prospect in Grant Green.
On in relief of Flynn came Victor Capellan, another guy just brought up from Extended Spring Training to fill the void in the bullpen caused by both Jonathan Albaladejo and Mike Zagurski being snatched up by the big-league club. Capellan, who has spent the last three years splitting time between South Bend and Visalia, managed to work three scoreless innings, striking out three and walking two. Pretty impressive for a guy just up from EST. The combined work of Flynn and Capellan, while not pretty, did keep Reno in this game, as the Aces bats clawed their way back in the bottom of the seventh to actually take a 7-6 lead. Unfortunately, Mike DeMark and Jason Lane both scuffled, each allowing three earned runs in a combined two innings of work, and Reno was left scrambling for pitching, eventually throwing infielder Taylor Harbin on the mound for what, surprisingly, was a scoreless inning of work.
It was a truly nutty game for the Aces yet again, and while the pitching was rough around the edges, the bats had another good day. New addition Josh Bell cranked a pair of home runs and walked, driving in five on the day. Ryan Wheeler hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth to bring the game to within two, and Adam Eaton had a double among his four hits and stolen base. One last nutty fact: when Harbin transitioned from shortstop to pitcher, he actually stayed in the lineup, thus meaning that the new shortstop who replaced him - Tommy Manzella - replaced the designated hitter, Konrad Schmidt, and the Aces effectively lost their DH.
Double-A: Mobile 4, Jacksonville 1. (11-9) This game was dominated from the get-go by Corbin, who has shined ever since his stellar Spring Training with the big-league club. Corbin surrendered just three hits over seven shutout innings in this outing, walking two and striking out five while generating 10 ground ball outs. With Corbin's rotation schedule lined up perfectly with Collmenter's, it wouldn't take a lot of effort to make the switch should Arizona decide to stir things up. Eury De La Rosa threw a scoreless eighth - after spending most of last year at South Bend, the 22-year-old De La Rosa has now worked 7.1 scoreless innings to begin 2012, with a 6:2 K:BB - and Evan Marshall allowed one run in the ninth but sealed the BayBears victory. Marc Krauss led the way on offense, hitting a sac fly, drawing a walk, and hitting a solo home run off of Jacksonville starter Omar Poveda. Daniel Kaczrowski had a two-hit day with a walk.
Hi-A: Visalia 1, Modesto 3. (7-12) Visalia starter Anthony Meo continued his string of short outings in his first exposure to full-season pro ball, working just 4.1 innings in this game and not throwing more than five innings in any of his four starts for the Rawhide thus far. Meo continues to miss bats, striking out seven of the 21 batters he faced, but has struggled with walks, and this game was no exception. Meo walked four Nuts hitters while surrendering five hits - including a home run - and two earned runs before departing. The bullpen trio of Patrick Schuster, Bradin Hagens, and Diogenes Rosario shut things down from there, allowing just one unearned run the rest of the way, but Modesto starter Christian Bergman was too good for the Rawhide hitters to catch up. The Rawhide managed just four hits off of Bergman over Bergman's eight innings of work, two of them coming from third baseman Eric Groff and one them coming in the form of a Jonathan Griffin double - the only extra-base hit Visalia managed on the night.
Low-A: South Bend 10, Wisconsin 4. (11-8) It's funny what happens to home games in South Bend once the weather warms up and it stops raining, snowing, hailing, sleeting, and/or cats-and-dogs-ing during games. It's no coincidence that the offense has suddenly warmed up in the past week or so, with tonight's game being no exception to this. Marc Bourgeois hit his third home run for the Silver Hawks, all of which have come in his last four games of action. Bourgeois, Tom Belza, Gerson Montilla, and Matt Helm each had two-hit games, with Belza adding a triple, Montilla adding a double, and Ender Inciarte doubling and drawing a pair of walks. The offense was more than enough for starter Jesse Darrah, who allowed just one unearned run in six innings on the bump, striking out one with no walks and allowing just three hits. Reliever Willy Paredes threw another scoreless inning of relief with a strikeout, dropping his ERA on the year to 1.13 in eight innings of work with nine punch-outs and one walk. Keep an eye on Paredes - he could be in the big leagues in 2013.