Minor League Team Spotlight: Sacramento River Cats

The Sacramento River Cats, despite a depleted roster, continued their winning ways with a 6-2 victory over the Tacoma Rainiers. Lefty John Rheinecker picked up the victory for the 'Cats.

Lefthanded starter John Rheinecker continued his streak of strong performances with a 6.1 IP, 2 ER outing against the Tacoma Rainiers. Rheinecker picked up his sixth consecutive win to raise his record to 7-4. The River Cats split the series with the Rainiers and avoided losing a series for only the second time all season. Nick Swisher led a balanced offensive attack, crushing a two-run homerun in the bottom of the first to give the ‘Cats a 2-0 lead. The Rainiers rallied for two runs to tie the game. However, Ramon Castro drove in Matt Watson to give Sacramento the 3-2 lead and the ‘Cats added three more runs in the 7th inning to break open the game. The 7th inning rally was highlighted by a two-run triple by Dan Johnson. Swisher finished the game 2-3 with two runs scored.

Notes: Swisher's OBP has risen to an astounding .436, even though his batting average sits at .256. He has walked 72 times this season, while striking out only 53 times. Swisher's slugging percentage sits at a healthy .516, which is third on the team to Matt Watson's .531 and Dan Johnson's .557. Watson, who was acquired by the A's from the New York Mets' waiver wire this off-season, has quietly put together an excellent season, as he is hitting .310/.365/.531 with 9 homeruns and 25 doubles.

Dan Johnson continues to make a strong case for himself as the A's best power-hitting prospect, as he has accumulated 36 XBH this season (17 homeruns, 3 triples and 16 doubles). Johnson is also hitting a robust .306 with a .413 OBP. He has walked 51 times and has struckout only 37 times. Johnson has also driven in a team-high 70 runs. His 17 homeruns and 70 RBIs are in the top five in the league for both categories, as Johnson is making a push for Pacific Coast League MVP or Rookie of the Year.

The River Cats, who currently have the most wins of any team in professional baseball, will host the Tuscon Sidewinders for a three-game set starting on Thursday at Raley Field in West Sacramento. The River Cats have continued to play well despite losing a significant portion of their roster over the past two weeks. During that stretch, the River Cats have lost Mark Teahen (starting thirdbaseman) and Mike Wood (winningest starting pitcher) to a trade, and Justin Lehr (closer), Kirk Saarloos (starter), and Ramon Castro (starting shortstop, although he has since returned) to Oakland, as the big league club has battled injuries.

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