Midland Notebook: Snyder Slams Slump

Third baseman Brian Snyder only had one at-bat last season, so he can be forgiven for being a little rusty to start the year. After a disastrous first eight games of his AA career, Snyder has put up big numbers on consecutive nights. We have the details of his performance and the performance of the suddenly red-hot Rockhounds inside…

When most teams fall behind by four runs in the fifth inning, they hang their heads a little bit. When the defending Texas League champion Rockhounds fall behind by four runs, they just get offensive. Down 7-3 in the fifth, Midland exploded for seven runs in the bottom of the inning to take a lead they would never relinquish. They would go on to beat Corpus Christi by a score of 12-9. The win is Midland's fourth in a row and it moves their record to 7-4. They have a two-game lead over second-place Corpus Christi for the South Division title.

The Rockhounds feature some of the best offensive prospects in the A's system, including second baseman Kevin Melillo, left-fielder Danny Putnam, first baseman Brant Colamarino, catcher Kurt Suzuki, corner infielder Vasili Spanos and third baseman Brian Snyder. With such a stocked line-up, the team was expected to score often.

Despite all of that talent, the Rockhounds offense took a little time to get going this season. Through their first nine games, Midland had scored in double-digits only once (the second game of the season) and the team was 5-4. Over the last two games, Midland has scored 32 runs and has pounded out 37 hits.

One of the Midland hitters who took the longest to get going was Snyder, who was coming off of a leg injury that kept him out most of last season. Through his first nine games, Snyder looked a bit lost at the plate, collecting only three hits in 24 at-bats (.115) and striking out 11 times. On Easter Sunday, Snyder and the Rockhounds returned to Midland for the team's home opener and the home cooking appears to have awaken Snyder's potent bat.

On Sunday, Snyder chipped in two hits and a walk to the Rockhounds' 20-run scoring barrage. One of the hits was a double, only Snyder's second extra-base hit of the season. On Monday, Snyder did himself one better, collecting two loud extra-base hits. He went 2-4 with a two-run triple and a grand slam (his first homerun in AA) to lead the Rockhounds to their come-from-behind 12-9 win. Snyder finally has his average back to .200 and he now has 10 RBI in 10 games played (good for second on the team behind Danny Putnam's 14). Snyder's six RBIs are a team-high for a single game from one player.

Outfielder Jason Perry and second baseman Kevin Melillo were the offensive stars on Sunday, as both had career nights. Perry went 4-6 and hit for the cycle, driving in four runs. Melillo, acting as the team's lead-off hitter, went 6-7 to raise his average to .429. He went 0-3 with a walk on Monday, but is still hitting .400 on the season.

Catcher Kurt Suzuki continued the torrid start to his season on Monday, going 2-4 with two runs scored and a double. He also walked once. Suzuki has hit safely in all nine games that he has played in this season. He has five multi-hit games and he has walked ten times. Suzuki has yet to strike out and is hitting .417 with a .583 OBP.

As a team, the Rockhounds are hitting .301 with 78 runs scored in only 11 games played. They have posted a .394 OBP and a .457 SLG. On the pitching-side, Midland has been inconsistent. No one has been more inconsistent then Jason Windsor, who has alternated bad and good starts thus far. On Monday, Windsor allowed six runs (five earned) in only four innings of work. He is 1-1 with a 5.28 ERA in three starts this season. Fellow starters Brad Knox (7.84 ERA in two starts) and Ben Fritz (6.75 ERA in two starts) have not fared any better. Brad Ziegler has been the star of the staff, going 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA in two starts.

As a staff, the Rockhounds has a 4.53 ERA in 11 starts. They have been controlling the strike zone well, however, striking out 83 and walking only 27 in 95.1 innings pitched. Windsor leads the staff with 15 strike outs in 15.1 innings pitched.

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