Tired of the Star Wars memes floating around the internet yesterday? Me neither. Here's a Star Wars-themed Minor League Recap for you from your "May The Fourth" action.
Oh, cut me some slack. It's like Christmas for Nerds.
AAA Fresno Grizzlies: WON 2-0 over the Reno Aces (ARI)
Brady Rodgers brought balance to the force at Chukchansi Park this night. Rumors held that Rodgers waved his glove while releasing each pitch, muttering "You want to make weak contact."
Rodgers was incredible in this game, to put the shtick on hold briefly and spout bald truths. Only six balls left the infield all night, three of which were fly ball outs. The other three were each singles, and were accompanied by a desperation bunt single in the eighth inning by Sean Jamieson to comprise the only four Reno hitters to reach base. All told, Rodgers recorded nine of his outs via strike out, three outs via very weak infield pop up, the three outfield fly balls, and twelve outs on the ground. Just a truly dominating, shocking performance - and this from a writer who is not down on Rodgers at all. It's only one start, and it lowered Rodgers' ERA to 3.60 for the season so far, but it's not like the Aces lineup is full of non-hitters.
The scoring opened after Matt Duffy laced his only hit of the day, a double that surely had to feel like a breath of fresh midi-chlorians after such a tough spell for him since his demotion back to Triple-A, and Tony Kemp followed two outs later with an RBI single to score Duffy from third. Jake Marisnick followed with a double to force (okay, that one's a stretch) his Triple-A slash line to .185/.214/.259 before being pulled in the fifth inning and (presumably) being informed he was being recalled to Houston by the Astros for the series against the Mariners.
A.J. Reed destroyed another baseball in this game, tattooing (Tatooine? You're welcome) a 3-2 fastball from Matt Buschmann far, far beyond the 51 Fifty sign in right center field to lead off the fourth inning and complete the scoring for the afternoon.
Houston fans might note the approximate location of the home run ball and begin salivating at the idea of eating on the patio in center field in Houston and staying alert for home run balls in the near future.
All in all, it was nearly as feel-good a win as one could hope for from a team that's scuffled, much like their parent club, out the gate this season. Colin Moran was noticeably absent a day after notching two more singles. Max Stassi played his first game back with the club and went 0-3 with a strike out and 0-1 in caught stealing attempts, allowing a stolen base to Reno lead off hitter Jason Bourgeois.
Back to Rodgers briefly...his complete game shut out was the first of his professional career tonight, and he was the first Fresno starting pitcher this year to pitch into the eighth inning, much less the entire game. Even more remarkable, Rodgers threw his complete game gem on just 86 pitches - a full seventy of which were strikes. That's just sixteen balls spread out over 27 outs. A flatly absurd number. He drew praise in bunches on the Twitterverse, but you can imagine this would be the main praise he was interested in, which was spotted after the Grizzlies twitter page retweeted it:
Y'all, my husband just threw a complete game shut out!!!! So proud of y'all! @Rodg_20 @MaxStassi10 @FresnoGrizzlies pic.twitter.com/PIVCj02IbJ— Virginia Rodgers (@vrodgers24) May 5, 2016
Mrs. Rodgers: "I love you."
Mr. Rodgers: "I know."
Oh and, of course, the Grizzlies announced this on May the Fourth:
Check out STAR WARS WEEKEND June 10-12! #LaserLightShow #ForceForTheCure #StarWars Tix: https://t.co/MJmIdewOf8 pic.twitter.com/5HYh1jkJTd— Fresno Grizzlies (@FresnoGrizzlies) May 4, 2016
TB: Hayes; Jamieson; Bourgeois 2.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Borenstein; Jensen.
Team RISP: 0-for-4.
Team LOB: 4.
SB: Bourgeois (3, 2nd base off Rodgers, B/Stassi).
Pickoffs: Buschmann (Singleton at 1st base).
2B: Duffy (1, Buschmann); Marisnick (2, Buschmann).
HR: Reed (6, 4th inning off Buschmann, 0 on, 0 out).
TB: Marisnick 2; Kemmer; Duffy 2; Reed 4; Kemp.
RBI: Kemp (7); Reed (19).
2-out RBI: Kemp.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Singleton 2; Aplin.
Team RISP: 1-for-5.
Team LOB: 4.
PO: Singleton (1st base by Buschmann).
|Matt Buschmann (L, 0-3)||7.0||5||2||2||2||5||1||4.42|
|Brady Rodgers (W, 1-2)||9.0||4||0||0||0||9||0||3.60|
Pitches-strikes: Buschmann 100-62; Drabek 6-4; Rodgers, B 86-70.
Groundouts-flyouts: Buschmann 6-8; Drabek 2-0; Rodgers, B 12-3.
Batters faced: Buschmann 27; Drabek 3; Rodgers, B 31.
Umpires: HP: Clay Park. 1B: Stu Scheurwater. 3B: Bryan Fields.
Weather: 77 degrees, cloudy.
Wind: 8 mph, Out to RF.
First pitch: 6:39 PM.
Venue: Chukchansi Park.
May 4, 2016
AA Corpus Christi: WON 7-6 over the Midland RockHounds (OAK)
Were Yoda to recap this game, it'd read like something along these lines:
"Mmm...much turmoil I sense, yes. Fear and doubt, paths to the dark side, are they. Your training...trust it, you must."
There were a total of five different lead changes in this game. It began in an entirely unremarkable and sneakily dastardly way, much like a Darth Sidious political power play. James Ramsay singled on a sharp ground ball to right field, stole second base, advanced to third on a ground out, and scored on a Mott Hyde single.
And thus, the Trade Federation was dispatched to Naboo.
Top pitching prospect Francis Martes made his fourth start (fifth appearance) and once again failed to look like a top prospect. He wasn't a dumpster fire by any stretch of the imagination, and he suffered a bit from defense behind him (only one run of the two he allowed was earned) in the game, but he still labored through three and two-thirds innings while throwing 82 pitches...only 49 of which were for strikes. He allowed five hits and walked four hitters while only striking out three.
Aaron West struck out three of the four men he faced in a flawless inning and a third of relief before yielding to lefty Brian Holmes, who blew a save and allowed three earned runs but still pitched well enough to earn the win in relief. Brendan McCurry retired the first two men he faced before allowing a solo home run to Viosergy Rosa to draw the RockHounds back to within a run. After enduring a J.D. Davis error that allowed the next batter to reach base, McCurry rebounded to strike out Beau Taylor to end the game and earn his second save of the season.
Chase McDonald, a Wookie of a man, drew a two out walk in the fifth inning before J.D. Davis logged on for his first Double-A home run:
Davis also had a single, his fifth double of the season, and added a walk to his night to bring his times on base to four out of his five plate appearances and his number of total bases to seven. Teoscar Hernandez also had a solo home run.
A moment to highlight a guy who doesn't, in this writer's estimation, get quite enough love for his production: Chase McDonald. The Wookie reached base all five times he came to the plate tonight with a double, his eighth home run of the season, and three walks. Some of his peripherals track a little less favorably so far than Chris Carter's did to this point in his career, and his numbers (including thirty High-A home runs) in 2015 are widely considered a bit of a Lancaster mirage, so it's important not to get too overly excited, but consider this so far in 2016 for him:
McDonald hit his 8th HR in 73 AB, or a home run in 10.9% of his AB for a rough 400 AB pace of 43 HR. He's now hit a home run in three straight games. He's also got a .978 OPS in AA, in the Texas League. Worth noting that he's still striking out 25.3% of the time coming into tonight's game, but that's down a bit from last year despite playing in a much more pitching-friendly league this year. He's also walking significantly better, 12% this season coming into tonight after three straight years as a pro in the 10% range. His .382 wOBA and 142 wRC+ are both very solid, and a BABIP of .227 is skewing his slash line some. So, a bit of a shout out to the Wookie. Well done, sir. Kick back and have a break tonight...you've earned it.
|Corpus Christi Hooks|
2B: McDonald (1, Jensen); Davis, J (5, Cochran-Gill).
HR: Davis, J (1, 5th inning off Jensen, 1 on, 2 out); McDonald (8, 8th inning off Cochran-Gill, 0 on, 0 out); Hernandez, T (2, 9th inning off Doolittle, R, 0 on, 1 out).
TB: Ramsay 2; Davis, J 7; Hyde; Hernandez, T 4; McDonald 6; Vasquez, D; Fisher 2.
RBI: Hyde (3); Davis, J 3 (8); McDonald (18); Ramsay (5); Hernandez, T (7).
2-out RBI: Hyde; Davis, J 2.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Mayfield 3.
Team RISP: 3-for-8.
Team LOB: 8.
SB: Ramsay (1, 2nd base off Jensen/Taylor).
CS: Fisher (4, 2nd base by Wahl/Taylor); Ramsay (2, 3rd base by Cochran-Gill/Taylor).
E: Mayfield (3, throw); Davis, J (2, fielding).
PB: Gonzalez, A (2).
DP: (Davis, J-McDonald-Mayfield).
3B: Sportman (1, Martes); Vertigan (1, Martes).
HR: Brugman (4, 7th inning off Holmes, B, 0 on, 0 out); Rosa, V (2, 9th inning off McCurry, 0 on, 2 out).
TB: Brugman 5; Vertigan 3; Kirkland; Chapman 2; Healy, R; Rosa, V 4; Sportman 4.
RBI: Taylor (9); Brugman (12); Sportman 2 (12); Rosa, V (11).
2-out RBI: Rosa, V.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Rosa, V; Kirkland 3; Chapman; Taylor.
Team RISP: 1-for-11.
Team LOB: 10.
SB: Chapman (3, 2nd base off Martes/Gonzalez, A); Sportman (4, 2nd base off Holmes, B/Gonzalez, A).
|Corpus Christi Hooks|
|Brian Holmes (BS, 1)(W, 1-1)||3.0||4||3||3||1||4||1||4.22|
|Brendan McCurry (S, 2)||1.0||1||1||1||0||2||1||4.30|
|Trey Cochran-Gill (BS, 1)||1.0||4||2||2||0||1||1||3.38|
|Ryan Doolittle (L, 1-1)||1.0||3||2||2||1||0||1||1.46|
WP: Martes; Holmes, B.
Pitches-strikes: Martes 82-49; West 18-11; Holmes, B 49-33; McCurry 20-15; Jensen 96-53; Wahl 24-16; Cochran-Gill 16-10; Doolittle, R 29-19.
Groundouts-flyouts: Martes 5-2; West 1-0; Holmes, B 2-2; McCurry 2-0; Jensen 5-7; Wahl 1-1; Cochran-Gill 0-1; Doolittle, R 1-0.
Batters faced: Martes 21; West 4; Holmes, B 13; McCurry 5; Jensen 23; Wahl 6; Cochran-Gill 6; Doolittle, R 7.
Inherited runners-scored: West 2-0.
Umpires: HP: Reid Gibbs. 1B: Jon Felczak. 3B: Clayton Hamm.
Weather: 85 degrees, clear.
Wind: 5 mph, L to R.
First pitch: 6:33 PM.
Venue: Security Bank Ballpark.
May 4, 2016
High A Lancaster: WON 6-1 over the Inland Empire 66ers (LAA)
Ramon Laureano force-pushed the ball three times to right field for hits, one of them a double, and Nick Tanielu let the force flow through him and blasted a 3-0 Womp Rat of a pitch from his T16 for a two run home run to left field in the third inning.
Bobby Boyd stole his twelfth and thirteenth bases (on his fourteenth and fifteenth attempts, in just seventeen games, which seems downright obscene) after singling to lead off the game. He'd ultimately score on an error to open the scoring immediately in the Jethawks' favor.
Bryan Muniz posted a two run single in the second, and then Tanielu worked his Womp Rat magic in the third. The final run of the game for the 'Hawks came in the seventh inning on a wild pitch.
Joshua James pitched exceedingly well, allowing only five hits and a walk while striking out six and recording four ground ball outs in five innings pitched. He ran into a spot of trouble in the first by allowing two doubles (but somehow no runs, as the first batter ended up on third on the second double) and a hit batsman to load the bases, but was able to work his way out of a jam by inducing a ground out to end the inning. James recovered to roll through his next four innings, scattering the occasional hit or walk.
Eric Peterson allowed the only 66ers run of the game in the bottom of the 8th on a ground out but was otherwise very effective in his two and two-thirds innings of work. Angel Heredia closed the game out with an inning and a third of relief, allowing two hits and a walk and striking out three of the four hitters he retired.
2B: Laureano (5, Llorens).
HR: Tanielu (3, 3rd inning off Klonowski, 1 on, 0 out).
TB: Boyd; Tanielu 5; Reynoso, L; Muniz; Wik; Laureano 4.
RBI: Muniz 2 (4); Tanielu 2 (16).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Ferguson; Trompiz 2; Wik.
Team RISP: 2-for-9.
Team LOB: 6.
SB: Boyd 2 (13, 2nd base off Klonowski/Briceno, J, 3rd base off Klonowski/Briceno, J).
CS: Ferguson (4, 2nd base by Klonowski/Briceno, J).
|Inland Empire 66ers|
2B: Arakawa (6, James); Adams, C (6, James).
3B: Adams, C (5, Peterson).
TB: Boehm; Arakawa 2; Welz 2; Adams, C 5; Strentz; Briceno, J; Nava.
RBI: Briceno, J (11).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Boehm 2; Houchins.
Team RISP: 2-for-8.
Team LOB: 10.
E: Briceno, J (3, throw); Welz (1, fielding).
PB: Briceno, J (3).
|Joshua James (W, 2-1)||5.0||5||0||0||1||6||0||3.57|
|Inland Empire 66ers|
|Alex Klonowski (L, 1-5)||5.0||8||5||4||2||6||1||5.23|
WP: Heredia, A.
HBP: Ritchie (by Klonowski); Strentz (by James).
Groundouts-flyouts: James 4-2; Peterson 3-4; Heredia, A 0-1; Klonowski 4-2; Llorens 2-0; Loconsole 3-0; Molina, J 1-1.
Batters faced: James 21; Peterson 10; Heredia, A 7; Klonowski 25; Llorens 8; Loconsole 3; Molina, J 3.
Ejections: Inland Empire 66ers Manager Chad Tracy ejected by HP umpire Adrian Gonzalez (4th)
Umpires: HP: Adrian Gonzalez. 1B: Aaron Higgins.
Weather: 68 degrees, clear.
Wind: 7 mph, Out to RF.
First pitch: 7:08 PM.
Venue: San Manuel Stadium.
May 4, 2016
Low A Quad Cities: WON 5-3 over the Great Lakes Loons (LAD)
"Who's the more foolish: the fool, or the fool who follows him?"
- Obi Wan Kenobi
Daz Cameron and Kyle Tucker have been (understandably) joined at the hip since being drafted in 2015 by the Astros, until recently. Now, Daz has struggled mightily to begin the 2016 season in Low-A ball and was recently sent back to Extended Spring Training to work his swing while Kyle Tucker is just beginning to heat up.
Over his last two games, Tucker is hitting .500 (5 for 10) with a triple, two doubles, and his seventh stolen base of the season. He also added a RBI sacrifice fly for good measure today.
Brooks Marlow had a double, and Osvaldo Duarte collected a pair of hits.
On the pitching side of the equation, Chris Murphy started and went five solid innings, giving up just two earned runs with three walks in five innings pitched. Matt Bower got a relief appearance and allowed just one run in his two and a thirds innings of work, and Andrew Thome worked a scoreless inning and two-thirds in relief to close the game and earn his fourth save.
|Quad Cities River Bandits|
2B: Marlow (5, Gonzalez, V); Tucker 2 (4, Gonzalez, V, Gonzalez, V).
TB: Goedert; Porter; Tucker 4; Marlow 3; Duarte 2.
RBI: Tucker 2 (11); Goedert (11); Porter (4).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Porter; Goedert 2; Wernes 2.
SAC: Nunez, A.
SF: Goedert; Tucker.
Team RISP: 3-for-11.
Team LOB: 7.
SB: Sewald 2 (10, 3rd base off Brown/Green, 2nd base off Pittore/Green).
CS: Duarte (1, 2nd base by Gonzalez, V/Green).
PO: Correa (2nd base by Pittore).
Outfield assists: Tucker (Kennedy at 2nd base).
DP: (Marlow-Nunez, A-Goedert).
|Great Lakes Loons|
2B: Green (2, Murphy).
HR: Castillo, D (1, 3rd inning off Murphy, 0 on, 1 out).
TB: Dean; Castillo, D 5; Landon; Kennedy; Green 2; Gomez, C.
RBI: Dean (6); Castillo, D (1).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Sandoval, A; Davis; Jones 3.
Team RISP: 1-for-9.
Team LOB: 10.
SB: Landon (4, 2nd base off Murphy/Correa); Castillo, D (1, 3rd base off Bower/Correa); Green (1, 2nd base off Bower/Correa).
CS: Dean (2, 2nd base by Murphy/Correa).
E: Davis (4, fielding); Pittore (2, pickoff).
Pickoffs: Pittore (Correa at 2nd base).
|Quad Cities River Bandits|
|Chris Murphy (W, 2-2)||5.0||4||2||2||3||1||1||3.52|
|Matt Bower (H, 1)||2.1||1||1||1||3||4||0||2.29|
|Andrew Thome (S, 4)||1.2||2||0||0||0||1||0||1.00|
|Great Lakes Loons|
|Victor Gonzalez (L, 1-2)||5.0||6||4||3||2||5||0||4.30|
Game Scores: Murphy 49; Gonzalez, V 44.
WP: Bower 2; Brown.
HBP: Correa (by Pittore); Green (by Murphy); Davis (by Bower).
Pitches-strikes: Murphy 75-48; Bower 62-33; Thome 20-13; Gonzalez, V 91-59; Brown 39-26; Pittore 29-13.
Groundouts-flyouts: Murphy 4-7; Bower 3-1; Thome 2-0; Gonzalez, V 6-4; Brown 1-4; Pittore 2-2.
Batters faced: Murphy 21; Bower 13; Thome 6; Gonzalez, V 23; Brown 8; Pittore 8.
Inherited runners-scored: Thome 2-0; Brown 2-0.
Umpires: HP: Sean Markle. 1B: Luis Hernandez.
Weather: 52 degrees, overcast.
Wind: 4 mph, L to R.
First pitch: 10:38 AM.
Venue: Dow Diamond.
May 4, 2016