Minor League Roundup

During the past seven days the Seattle Mariners organization witnessed some well-played baseball in their minor league system. That was especially true of the Double-A San Antonio Missions, who were undefeated.

In the Midwest League, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers had a fantastic week by going 5-1-1 as they climbed to within one game of first place in their division with a 35-24 record. Wisconsin dominated their opponents, outscoring them 47-21 with the combination of good pitching and solid offensive production. Outfielder Gary Harris and 3B Matt Hagen led the team offensively and starter Bobby Livingston continued to pave the way on the mound.

California League Inland Empire 66ers at San Bernardino had a bit of a rough week, going 1-5 and scuffling to hang on to second place in their division. The pitching was not to blame however, posting a 3.63 ERA in six games. The bats went silent, scoring just 22 runs and hitting a mere .243 in those six games. Inland did have a few shining stars in 2B Ismael Castro, OF Shin-Soo Choo, 1B/DH Greg Jacobs, and on the hill, closer Matt Steele, who leads the league in saves with 16.

Triple-A Tacoma continued it's up-and-down season by going 3-3 for the week. The Rainiers fell to last place in the PCL's Northern Division but are just four games back. Tacoma's inconsistent play cannot be blamed on the starting pitching. Rafael Soriano and Brian Sweeney had very strong six and seven inning starts allowing just one earned run between them. They were outgunned by lefthander Craig Anderson's five-hitter on Saturday, a 1-0 Tacoma win.

I bet some are wondering why I skipped over Double-A San Antonio and moved right to Triple-A Tacoma. I simply saved the best for last. The Missions had a perfect week. Seven games. Seven wins. San Antonio's 44-19 win-loss record leads the Texas League and several Missions are in the league leaders in many offensive and pitching categories. This week the starting pitching was nearly unhittable. The 49.2 innings pitched by Missions starters this week yielded a stingy 1.27 ERA, 25 hits, 32 strikeouts and just 11 walks, while producing three shutouts. Led by lefty's Matt Thornton and Travis Blackley and right-hander Rett Johnson, San Antonio outscored their opponents 28-8. The offense was paced by top middle-infield prospect Jose Lopez, and 1B AJ Zapp. San Antonio has won eight games in a row.

Overall, the Seattle Mariners farm system compiled a win-loss record of 16-9-1 for the week.

Jason resides in North Tacoma, WA, where his father is his best friend, his mother has a better fastball than he does, and his nephew is the only person better suited for stardom. Feedback is always welcome at JasonAChurchill@cs.com.

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