Sacramento River Cats Notebook - 7/19/04

<b>This is a free preview of premium content</b><br> The Sacramento River Cats have been experiencing a very unfamiliar phenomenon lately ... losing. The River Cats briefly ended that feeling with a victory on Monday that saw a number of players break individual slumps. Find out who in this edition of the Sacramento River Cats' notebook...

The Sacramento River Cats broke a tough six game losing streak with a solid 3-0 victory over the Salt Lake City Stingers. New acquisition Adam Pettyjohn threw a great game, tossing 6 and two-thirds shut-out innings against the Stingers.

Pettyjohn, a lefty whom the A's picked up from the San Francisco Giants organization on Friday, struck-out five, while walking only two batters and scattering four hits. Chris Mabeus worked a perfect one and one-third inning and Britt Reams worked the ninth for his fourth save of the season. Mabeus, who began the season in Midland and was named to the AA All-Star team, lowered his AAA season ERA to 2.81.

The game was scoreless into the fourth inning, when a scuffling Adam Morrissey tripled down the right field line, scoring Mike Rose. Dan Johnson singled in Mike Edwards from second base in the fifth inning to grow the River Cats' lead to 2-0. Graham Koonce snapped a two for eighteen skid with an RBI double in the seventh inning, scoring Nick Swisher. Koonce's slump has dropped his batting average to .249.

Mike Rouse walked three times, but was picked off once and didn't score. Morrissey went 2-2 with two walks, raising his batting average up to .310. His once PCL-leading batting average had dropped from .361 to .305 before tonight's strong performance. Matt Watson also snapped a prolonged slump (2 for 15 coming into the game) with a double and a walk in three official at-bats. Nick Swisher, still recovering from the effects of having his wisdom teeth pulled, went 0-4, but did score a run after reaching base on an error.

Pending the outcome of the Tucson Sidewinder's game with Las Vegas, the River Cats find their once large lead in the Southern Division of the Pacific Coast League sitting at just 6 games, although the River Cats still own the best record in the league at 56-40.

Before Monday night's victory, the River Cats absorbed their sixth loss in a row on Sunday, as they were drubbed by the Tucson Sidewinders 11-4. Lefthander Mario Ramos took the loss for the struggling River Cats, as he gave up nine runs in only four innings of work. Ramos has seen his ERA balloon to 6.67, as he has failed to recapture the form that made him one of the A's top pitching prospects back in 2002. Ramos allowed a second inning grand slam to Tucson's Andy Green and things just got worse for the River Cats from there.

The team's recent struggles might be attributed in part to the spate of recent promotions of River Cats to the big league club. Over the past six weeks, the River Cats have lost closer Justin Lehr, shortstop Ramon Castro, and starter Kirk Saarloos to Oakland and third baseman Mark Teahen and starter Mike Wood to the Kansas City organization in a trade.

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