The Rainiers are turning into somewhat of a teeter totter lately. Up and down, up and down. A five-win stanza in week two was followed up by a 3-3 output this past week, alternating wins and losses. In the three wins Tacoma scored 22 runs and smacked six long balls. In the three defeats, just seven runs and one big fly.
Offensively, InsidethePark.com Player of the Week Justin Leone led the way for the Rainiers, bashing three home runs and collecting eight hits and five RBI to spark a then-struggling Rainiers lineup. Bucky Jacobsen, the teams DH, hit two home runs Tuesday versus Las Vegas to raise his season total to four.
Tacoma ended the week ranking sixth in the league in hitting (.272), second in home runs (21), and fifth in runs scored (92). The Rainiers lead the PCL in stolen bases with 21.
Right-hander Clint Nageotte (3-0) tossed six no-hit innings last Tuesday to ignite a two-game streak where the pitching staff allowed just two earned runs. Travis Blackley (0-2) turned in his best effort of the season, allowing just one earned run in six innings of a 1-0 loss.
Left-hander Bobby Madritsch finally failed to go five innings or more, surrendering five earned runs in four innings of work. Madritsch, 27, did strike out 10 batters and ranks third in the PCL with 25 punchouts on the season.
Tacoma currently ranks ninth in the league with an ERA of 4.35, and leads the league in saves with seven. Tacoma also ranks atop the PCL with 151 strikeouts. The Rainiers are now 9-8 on the year and sit just 1.5 games behind Edmonton (Expos) and Salt Lake City (Angels) in the PCLs Northern Division.
April 26- Travis Blackley (0-2) at Edmonton
April 27- Craig Anderson (0-1) at Edmonton
April 28- Cha Seung Baek (1-2) at Edmonton
April 29- Bobby Madritsch (1-0)at Edmonton
April 30- Clint Nageotte (3-1) at Salt Lake City
May 1- Travis Blackley (0-2) at Salt Lake City
May 2- Craig Anderson (0-1) at Salt Lake City
Double-A San Antonio Missions, Texas League:
The Missions did their best impersonation of the 2003 squad, winning five of seven games this past week. Even considering the offensive inconsistencies that produced an average of just .251, the Missions scored runs when they needed them most and outscored their opponents 25-18 in seven contests. The Missions used five home runs and stellar pitching to make the past week a success.
The offense was led by the bats of Shin-soo Choo (2 HR, 5 RBI), Greg Dobbs (.474, HR) John Lindsey (.391, HR, 5 RBI), and Greg Jacobs (.333, 2 RBI, 4 runs). San Antonio used the hot bat of Dustin Delucchi, who went 9-27 with a home run and five runs scored, to light the fire. Delucchi's recent hot streak has earned him the new nickname of The Mission Ignition. The 25-year-old outfielder ranks sixth in the league in hitting at .353 and has his 10-game hitting streak snapped on Wednesday. Delucchi has hit safely in 16 of 17 games this season and is clearly the catalyst to the San Antonio lineup.
Lindsey and Choo each rank second in the league with four home runs and rank fourth and sixth in slugging percentage. Lindsey also ranks third in hitting with a sweltering .367 average.
Dobbs ranks fourth in the Texas League with a .364 average after nine hits in 19 at-bats. Jacobs average actually plummeted to .436 after eight hits in 24 at-bats during the past week. The line drive machine has been hot all season and continues his torrid April.
Ace left-hander Troy Cate tossed two strong outings during the seven game stretch and picked up his first win of the year. Cate enters Tuesdays play with a 2.45 ERA and has pitched six full innings in each of his past three starts.
Right-handed reliever Emiliano Fruto is settling into his middle-relief role and pitched four shutout innings over two appearances this past week. Fruto allowed just one hit and struck out three.
Gustavo Martinez tossed seven shutout innings in his only start, allowing four hits and striking out four. Martinez ranks second in the TL with a 1.10 ERA in 16.1 innings pitched.
Saves king Jared Hoerman kept up his end of the bargain, saving games in all three of his appearances. The closers six saves ranks him second in the league.
Chris Buglovsky continues his solid season, lowering his ERA to 1.80 after five frames versus Midland resulting in four unearned runs.
The Missions rank third in the league with a .277 team average and lead the TL in home runs with 18. With three players in the top six in hitting its clear to see how the Missions rank third in the league in runs scored.
The San Antonio pitching staff returned just two pitchers from last years roster but remain near the top in the league in ERA at 3.71. The Missions are second in strikeouts (133) and saves (8) and have three starters in the top ten in ERA.
San Antonio is now 11-6 on the season and sits in second place, 1.5 games behind Round Rock in the Texas Leagues Western Division.
April 27- Chris Buglovsky (1-1) at Wichita
April 28- Gustavo Martinez (1-0) at Wichita
April 29- Elvis Perez (1-2) at Wichita
April 30- Juan Done (1-1) at Wichita
May 1- Troy Cate (1-0) at Tulsa
May 2- Chris Buglovsky (1-1) at Wichita
Advanced-A Inland Empire 66ers, California League: The 66ers had a tough go of it in week three, finishing with three wins in seven games. Inland began the week being swept in a four-game set at Lancaster. The defending California League Champs turned right around and won the first three games of the home and home rematch versus Lancaster at Aarowhead Credit Union Park in San Bernardino.
The Sixty-sixers played six one-run games during the seven-game week, winning three of them. Inland has won six of eleven one-run games this season.
The bats went silent in a few games for the Inland Empire who hit .257 with just three home runs for the week. Averaging 4.9 runs a game on the season is sufficient considering the starting rotations talents but for as good as the starters have been, the bullpen has been twice as inconsistent forcing the offense to play add-on for nine innings a night.
Ismael Castro kept his solid season afloat with nine hits that included two home runs. Castro drove in six runs and scored five more in seven games played. The 20-year-old 2B is hitting .303 with ten RBI on the year.
Outfielder Gary Harris went 9-23 (.391) with four RBI. The 24-year-old collected three multi-hit games including a three-hit performance Wednesday at Lancaster. Harris is hitting .323 with a team-leading 12 RBI for the season.
Utility-man Matt Rogelstad caught fire and went 7-12 (.583) with his first home run of the year in his limited playing time this past week. Rogelstad improved his season-average to .327.
Center fielder T.J. Bohn has been solid in the field all season and continued his strong offensive showing with eight hits in 23 at-bats this past week. Bohn, 24, added five walks and five runs scored to his .348 week-long average. The right-handed hitting Bohn is hitting .333 on the season with a team-leading .412 on-base percentage.
Castro is fourth in the Cal League in doubles with seven, while outfielder Jon Nelson and infielder Michael Garciaparra are tied for the second most triples with two each.
The staff of 13 pitchers has compiled a solid 3.98 ERA for the week, but the bullpen has surrendered leads in half of the 66ers games this season. Inland lost three consecutive games in the bottom of the ninth inning at Lancaster and had leads in all three of them. Still, the starters carried the team, along with a few clutch relief appearances along the way.
Bobby Livingston won his second Pitcher of the Week award for his two superb starts during the week. Somehow the left-hander was able to lower his ERA to 0.65 in his 13 innings pitched.
T.A. Fulmer put up yet another magnificent outing, going 6.1 innings and allowing one earned run on four hits. The right-hander struck out six and walked three.
Relievers Melvin Pizarro and Ryan Rowland-Smith were the lone bright spots for the bullpen this week, combining for nine scoreless innings. Pizarros two appearances yielded just two hits and produced five strike outs in five innings. Rowland-Smiths four shutout innings earned him his first save of the year. The Aussie-born left-hander strruck out four and allowed only two hits.
Livingston ranks first in the league in ERA (0.65) while Fulmer currently sits in the third spot at 1.00. Livingston also leads the league in innings with 27.2.
The 66ers sport a team ERA of 2.68 and are the only team in the league to have four different pitchers to have recorded a save. The five starters - Livingston, Fulmer, Dorman, Hernandez, and Sandoval - have a combined ERA of 1.97.
The Inland Empire 66ers are now 11-6 on the year and sit in a dead heat for first place in the Cal Leagues South Division with the Lancaster Jethawks (Diamondbacks).
April 26- Felix Hernandez vs. Lancaster
April 27- T.A. Fulmer at Visalia
April 28- Rich Dorman at Visalia
April 29- Juan Sandoval at Visalia
April 30- Bobby Livingston at Rancho Cucamonga
May 1- Felix Hernandez at Rancho Cucamonga
May 2- T.A. Fulmer at Rancho Cucamonga
Intermediate-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers:
The Timber Rattlers offensive woes sent them into a tailspin that resulted in a 2-5 week. Scoring 23 runs in seven games wasnt too bad considering they only had five home runs all season heading into week three. But five losses and just one home run later, the T-Rats are in dire need of a spark to jump-start their offense while the pitching staff remains a constant thorn in the side of opposing hitters.
The bats were led by outfielder Josh Womack. The 19-year-old lead off hitter went 6-20 with his second home run of the season. The San Diego native added four RBI, two doubles, a triple, and five runs scored in six games. Womack has raised his average .058 points in his last 23 at-bats.
The Rattlers hit just .223 with one home run for the week, which is right on par with their offensive accomplishments thus far this season. Wisconsin does not have a single hitter that ranks in the top 50 in batting average. Womack leads the team and ranks 57th.
The arms continue to give the Timber Rattlers a fighting chance with a sparkling 3.22 ERA led by left-hander Thomas Oldham (1-0, 1.42 ERA) and righty Michael Moorhead (2-0, 0.00 ERA). Moorheads streak of consecutive innings without allowing an earned run has reached 18.1 innings over the span of three starts.
Oldham went 10 strong innings in two starts during the week, allowing 13 hits but just three earned runs. The Creighton product struck out seven and walked two.
Moorhead took a shutout through 7.1 innings before reaching his pitch limit. The former closer struck out a career-high nine batters and walked just one.
Ryan Feierabend, only 18, had his best outing as a pro as he tossed a complete game seven- inning shutout in game one of a double-header versus Burlington. The left-hander struck out three in the 4-0 victory.
Oldham ranks tenth in the Midwest League with a 1.42 ERA and Moorhead is eighth in strikeouts with 25.
April 26- Michael Moorhead at Beloit
April 27- Ryan Feierabend at Beloit
April 29- Nibaldo Acosta at Fort Wayne
April 30- Eric OFlaherty at Fort Wayne
May 1- Thomas Oldham at Fort Wayne
May 2- Michael Moorhead at Fort Wayne
Jason resides in Tacoma, Wash., where the UP Tides are heavy Vegas favorites to beat the Seattle Mariners in a three-game series this week. Jason continues his hatred for all things Yankee and despises the slider-speed bat. He does, however, ask one question of anyone who might know; How big is Kevin Menchs head anyways? Whoa! ---- Feedback is always encouraged at JasonAChurchill@InsidethePark.com