Down on the Dodger Farm May 31

Mama might not have told you they'll be days like this. Not unless Mama knows something about the perils of pitching. Days when you go to the mound with less than your best stuff so you depend upon the defense. And if they betray you, well, we'll get 'em next time.

Monday was one of those days when pitchers who collectively have been throwing some of the best ball in the Dodger system had nothing but a litany of woes for their efforts. T. J. Nall, Steve Schmoll, Julio Pimentel and Marcos Carvajal among others all had to feel like phoning home after generally unpleasant afternoons.

Consider- Nall, who has been by far the most consistent starter for Jacksonville, lost for the first time this season as he was victimized by two crucial errors that led to four unearned runs in a 9-5 loss to the Greenville Braves.

Schmoll had a string of 22 innings without giving up a run come to a crashing halt as shoddy fielding led to three runs that carried the Daytona Cubs past Vero Beach in a game of come-from-behind, 12-10.

But nowhere did the defeat sting more than at Columbus where the biggest Catfish winner, Pimentel was hammered for nine hits followed by two unearned tallies off Carvajal to give Charleston, S.C. ((Devil Rays ) a 6-5 win in a battle for the division lead. A victory in that game would have brought the Fish to within one game of Charleston in the SAL South. Instead, they not only are three out but fell into a tie for third with Capital City as Rome moved into second a half-game ahead of them.

Pimentel, now 4-4, couldn't blame his defense for the three runs he gave up but only one of the three off Carvajal, normally a very reliable middle man, was earned .And those were enough Charleston to hold on when Mike Nixon jolted a three run shot in the ninth, his second of the year. Chin-Lung Hu had also homered (No. 4) in the first and Jereme Milons stroked two hits and stole his 10th base.

Two-out miscues by James Loney and Reggie Abercrombie in the second inning led to Nall's downfall. He wound up being touched for six runs on six hits in his five innings and is now 4-1.. Jason Repko came off the disabled list to rap a triple and single but the setback cost the Suns a chance to move into a first-place tie in the Southern League East. As it is they remain a game out.

Vero had rallied from four and five-run deficits to finally assume the lead when Scott Gillitzer golfed his second home run of the season over the right field fence at Holman Stadium. However, the lead didn't last when a key single fell in the outfield and a two-out wild throw by second baseman Delwyn Young allowed the winning runs to romp home.

Gillitzer had a big evening with two singles tacked on. Joel Guzman put his 10th on the berm in left, a two-run blast in the first and Martin did the same for his seventh two batters later ..But the Cubs were merciless to starter Mike Rodriguez, getting to him for seven runs although the rallies took him off the hook. Instead ,Schmoll was pinned with the loss, his second in three decisions.

Vero is seven back in the Florida State East.

At Las Vegas, though while the pitching was anything to smile about, the hitting certainly was as Koyie Hill continued his relentless assault with his 14th double and a pair of singles to lead the 51's past Tacoma (Mariners) 11-9. A fourth-inning bases clearing double by Rick Bell proved to be enough to hand his first victory to reliever Troy Brohawn after three losses.

Newly acquired Roy Smith, an 11-year minor league veteran, started for the 51's and went four, yielding five hits and three runs. Vegas remains seven back in the PCL South.

Correction--How many T. Piazza's can there be in the minors? Clearly, one more than I knew about. For the record, the one who doubled against Columbus for Capital City two nights ago was Tony from Cody, Wyoming, not Mike's brother Tommy who is still very much with the Dodgers in the extended camp. Such is the result of not doing enough investigating, something I learned long ago but ignored in this instance. My apologies to all.