Archive for the ‘Pacific Coast League’ Category

It’s A Beautiful Day, Isotopes Fans – Let’s Turn Three

The front page of MiLB.com has a note that Albuquerque turned a triple play in Game One of its playoff series yesterday against Memphis.  I wanted to see how it happened, so I went to the game recap and found this description:

  • Brian Barden walks.
  • Mark Shorey singles on a line drive to third baseman Blake DeWitt. Brian Barden to 2nd.
  • Matt Pagnozzi grounds into a triple play, shortstop Chin-lung Hu to first baseman Hector Luna to shortstop Chin-lung Hu. Brian Barden out at 3rd. Mark Shorey out at 2nd.

Call me crazy, but I found it impossible to make any sense out of that.  Good thing there was link to a game story:

Memphis added another run in the fifth and looked poised for more in the sixth until some defensive wizardry by Chin-Lung Hu got the ‘Topes out of a jam. With Brian Barden on second and Mark Shorey on first, Pagnozzi sent a grounder to short, allowing Hu to tag Barden, who was moving on contact off second, for the first out before stepping on the bag to force out Shorey and completing the third triple play in Isotopes history with the turn to Hector Luna at first.

Okay, that makes more sense.  The recap didn’t make it clear that Hu handled the first two outs on his own before throwing to first for the rare (I imagine) 6-3 triple play.  Too bad second baseman Tony Abreu wasn’t involved – Hu-to-Abreu-to-Luna has a nice ring to it.

Now Batting For The San Francisco Giants…

Actually, “Now Batting For” might not be the best description for Buster Posey’s next few weeks with the Giants.  “Now Coming In As A Defensive Replacement And Occasionally Starting If Bengie Molina Can’t Play” is probably a more apt, though much wordier, option.

Posey was called up on Wednesday, capping off a remarkable season that started in the Class A Advanced California League and saw a promotion to Triple-A Fresno.  The 22-year-old catcher out of Florida State hit .325 with 18 homeruns and 80 RBI in 115 games between those two stops.

Chances are that Posey won’t get a lot of starts – the team didn’t even want to bring him up this season; Bengie Molina is still the top dog behind the plate, although he’s fighting an injury right now – but this will give him a chance to see the game from a major league dugout, which is important, I think.  Kinda like a young quarterback watching from the sidelines until he gets his bearings.

Giants fans are happy about the fact that Buster is coming to town.  And they’re doing a great job of keeping their expectations reasonable:

So welcome, Buster (nickname: Bustery Poseyey). No pressure. Just rescue the Giants’ offense while you’re up. Oh, and teach the rest of the team how to work the count. Also, dispel the myth that rookie catchers cause entire pitching staffs to implode. Also, I’d like a glass of iced tea.

That really doesn’t seem like too much to ask.

The Package of Pitching Prospects…

You’re a major league baseball team. Maybe you’re in the midst of spitting hot fire. Maybe you’re in the midst of crawling out from the wreckage of fail that an internet punster would deign to deem epic. But you have several highly touted young studs. And a source like Baseball America would deem that these kids are more than all right.

In fact, these kids are aces. 

And people who need something to hope for and something to hold on to? They get fired up. Because the future’s coming. And it’s going to be awesome.

Let me just tell you whippersnappers, not so fast.

Mention to a learned Oakland fan the four aces, and you will get a convulsion. You have David Zancaro, Kirk Dressendorfer, Don Peters, and the immortal douchebag that is Todd Van Poppel. And you have the best success being when Todd Van Poppel reinvented himself as a journeyman Chuck Crim among a set of broken dreams.

Nobody’s going to say that Jason Isringhausen has not culled himself a nice career. But he was the front man of Izzy, Pulse and Paul. They were a prog rocking power trio who were supposed to save the Mets. And while Izzy carved out a solid solo career as a closer? Paul Wilson was somebody who John Sickels called the perfect pitcher…before he started having shoulder troubles.

And we still don’t know whatever happened to Bill Pulsipher. I think he’s in Mexico. Or Alaska. He just wants me to leave him alone. Sorry.

And this is where we cross paths with today’s context. In the middle of the decade, the Rangers actually were filled with hope. Hope and Pitching. Pitching in the form of a very special DVD.

But John Danks had to go. They wanted to challenge the White Sox to a pitching prospect trade. Brandon McCarthy was what they got back. They immeadiately regretted that decision.

Edinson Volquez got fed to Dusty Baker. Josh Hamilton’s one spectacular half and moments of brilliance beyond the politics of his falling off the wagon was the return. But there was a third. The end of the DVD so to speak.

His name was Thomas Diamond. He was the 2004 1st round Pick. He fell off with shoulder injuries. Now, he’s off the Rangers 40-man roster. He deserves your sympathy. Expectations that most shoulders could not bear have fallen upon him.

Chris Carter Knows How To Celebrate

Monday afternoon, Chris Carter won the Texas League’s Most Valuable Player Award.  It was a well-deserved win, but one could argue that he had already received the best possible reward for his stellar play: a promotion to Triple-A Sacramento, with a September appearance in Oakland not out of the question.

So Monday night, he went out there for Sacramento and celebrated in style, crushing three homeruns and driving in seven as the River Cats beat Reno, 17-6.

Carter hit a three-run homer in the first, a solo shot in the fifth, and another three-run bomb in the ninth.  They were the first three Triple-A homeruns for the 22-year-old prospect and bumped his RBI total from five to twelve in six games.  He nearly had a chance at a fourth homerun when Sacramento batted around in the ninth, but ended the game in the on-deck circle when Tommy Everidge flied out and Aaron Cunningham grounded out.

For the season, Carter now has 27 homeruns and 108 RBI in Double- and Triple-A.

Pacific Coast League All-Stars Announced

The Pacific Coast League’s postseason All-Stars were announced earlier today:

Catcher: John Hester, Reno Aces
First Base: Randy Ruiz, Las Vegas 51s
Second Base: Eric Young, Jr., Colorado Springs Sky Sox
Third Base: Esteban German, Oklahoma City Redhawks
Shortstop: Alcides Escobar, Nashville Sounds
Outfield: John Bowker, Fresno Grizzlies
Outfield: Terry Evans, Salt Lake Bees
Outfield: Matt Miller, Colorado Springs Sky Sox
Designated Hitter: Mitch Jones, Albuquerque Isotopes
Right-Handed Pitcher: Bud Norris, Round Rock Express
Left-Handed Pitcher: Lenny DiNardo, Omaha Royals
Relief Pitcher: Scott Strickland, Albuquerque Isotopes

The four major awards – Rookie of the Year, Pitcher of the Year, Most Valuable Player, and Manager of the Year – will be announced, in that order, over the next four days. Randy Ruiz was my pick for MVP but may be harmed by the fact that he has missed the last three weeks after being called up by the Blue Jays.

Back-to-Back-to-Back-to-Back

August has featured a number of exceptional pitching performances, so it was nice to look through some box scores tonight and see something impressive on the offensive side of things for a change.

Heading into the top of the eighth inning against the Round Rock Express, the Memphis Redbirds held an 8-6 advantage.  With the 2-3-4 hitters coming up, the Express brought in newly acquired Armando Benitez to make his 2009 affiliated debut.

The first two batters, Tyler Greene and Nick Stavinoha, were retired harmlessly.  Then, as often happens when Benitez is on the hill, all hell broke loose.

Troy Glaus hit his second homerun of the year to left…Allen Craig hit his 23rd homerun of the year, also to left…Mark Hamilton hit his sixth homerun of the year, once again, to left…and Daniel Descalso hit his second homerun of the year, mixing it up by taking it over the wall in right-center field.  Every infielder except the shortstop (Greene) went deep in the inning.  Both corner outfielders also hit homeruns in the game: right fielder Stavinoha in the first and left fielder Craig in the eighth.

Four consecutive homeruns by one team has been accomplished six times at the major league level (in two different clusters: 1961-64 and 2006-08), most recently by the Chicago White Sox on August 14, 2008.

Another No-Hitter

The bats are still tired.

Four Colorado Springs pitchers combined to no-hit Oklahoma City tonight.  The starter was one of Eric’s favorites, Jhoulys Chacin, a fixture on the Z-Meter before his promotion to the majors late last month.  He appeared in five games with the Rockies before being sent back to Triple-A when the team called up Adam Eaton.

Tuesday’s start was his first since returning to the minors and his first at the Triple-A level.  He started off on the right foot, pitching into the sixth, walking three, and striking out three.

Chacin was relieved by Joel Peralta (0.2 innings), who was relieved by Juan Rincon (2.0 innings), who was relieved by Randy Flores (1.0 innings).  None of the relievers allowed a baserunner – 4.1 innings of perfect relief.  And that’s how you build a no-hitter.

(Fun fact that may only interest me: Chacin is 21 years old.  The three pitchers who followed him into this game are 33, 30, and 34, respectively.)