Mike Ekstrom no luck; Luke Steidlmayer likes Cali

Brian Sweeney with another solid outing. Juan Ciriaco and Jordan Pickens returned from injury and Luke Steidlmayer returned to Lake Elsinore – a place he calls comfortable. One run allowed over eight and no win for Mike Ekstrom. Ben Krosschell was rocked pretty hard. Chad Steiner is on the scene in Arizona.

Correction:

We erroneously reported that Brent Carter hit two batters yesterday. He actually didn't hit a soul, except the catcher's mitt. The opposing team also had a pitcher named Carter and he was the man who hit two Emerald players. So, Brent actually allowed just the one hit in his six innings of work.

Portland lost 3-1

Brian Sweeney went 6.2 innings, allowing two runs on seven hits while striking out eight. Both runs scored in the seventh inning. Sweeney has a shot at finishing among the ERA leaders in the PCL. His earned run average is 3.15, which would be third in the league if he had enough innings to qualify. By season's end, a pitcher needs 115 innings to be eligible. Sweeney has thrown 85.2 innings entering tonight, and needs 29.1 more. If the rotation stays the same, he'll get five more starts -- including the final day of the season -- and will need to average six innings per outing, while keeping his ERA down. (He's thrown six or more innings in nine of his 13 starts.)

Brad Baker came on with two runners on base and kept both of them from scoring. The former closer then proceeded to allow a run of his own in the following inning on two hits and a walk. Baker has given up ten runs in his last eight outings, spanning eight innings. His ERA since the start of July is 6.92 and the opposition is hitting .302 off him with runners in scoring position (RISP).

Mobile had the night off

Lake Elsinore lost 8-2

Two players returned to the Storm lineup on Thursday. Juan Ciriaco returned from a twisted ankle and went 0-for-4. Jordan Pickens came back from a broken toe and went 2-for-5 with a double and a run scored. Pickens, ironically, was ejected earlier this week on his way to the first base batter's box to lend support to his teammates while he was on the disabled list. Pickens made a beautiful catch in the first inning but did have an error.

Luke Steidlmayer was also back in Lake Elsinore but he took a different journey. Steidlmayer went 0-3 with a 6.22 ERA in three Mobile starts but he gave up two runs, one earned, over 5.1 innings in his last start for the BayBears. The right-hander, back in the California League, went six innings and gave up three runs on five hits. He did allow two homers and has given up seven over the last six games.

"The Cal League is fun," said Steidlmayer. "I have a brother and sister that live down in San Diego and my parents love coming to the game – friends from school – it is fun to be back home and get some fan support. A comfortable surrounding for sure."

Fort Wayne lost 2-1 in 12 innings

Mike Ekstrom lit it up over eight innings, allowing just one run on six hits and two walks in a no-decision. It is the 17th time in 24 starts that he has given up two runs or less. Ekstrom has given up one run in his last 15 innings of work, posting a 2.70 ERA over his last eight starts. The run against Ekstrom scored in the third inning – his worst inning this year. He has given up 18 third inning runs and just 18 runs in the first, second and fourth combined.

Despite playing a few extra frames, the Wizards managed only three hits and Sean Kazmar notched two of them. Kazmar extended his hitting streak to nine games in the process and homered for the second game in a row. Kazmar has four homers in the last seven games and eight runs scored in the last seven. He is 15-for-34 over the streak, raising his average from .260 to .275. Kazmar has also drawn a walk in five straight.

Eugene lost 9-1

Ben Krosschell suffered his worst outing of the year on Thursday, getting tagged for seven runs on nine hits, both season-highs, in four innings of work. He dropped his fifth straight decision. It is the fourth time in ten starts that he has failed to make it through five innings. The opposition is hitting .316 off him with RISP and two outs. The homer he surrendered was a solo shot and the third he has given up on the year. All, coincidentally, have been solo homers.

William Ponce gave up one run on four hits in his two innings of action. The righty has given up a run in three straight games, six over that time span. And over the last seven games he has given up 18 hits and four walks in 9.1 innings. The opposition is batting .478 off him with the bases empty and his lone saving grace is a .250 average against with RISP. Right-handed hitters are also batting .378 off him.

AZL Padres lost 15-5 on Wednesday

Chad Steiner recorded his first three-hit game of the year and scored two runs. It was the first time he has scored more than once in a game. Three of his four doubles on the year in 19 games with Peoria have come over the last four contests. He is 6-for-15 over his last four games with four runs scored. Steiner is hitting .222 with runners in scoring position.

Cesar Rojas was touched up for seven runs, six earned on ten hits – all season-highs – in five innings of work. He has lost his last three decisions. In his last six games, Rojas has given up four runs or more four separate times, raising his ERA from 1.29 to 5.49. Despite allowing ten hits, he has limited the opposition to a .235 batting average for the year. They are, however, hitting .333 off him with RISP.

Patrick Clayton allowed two runs, one earned, on one hit and four walks in his two innings of work. Clayton also tossed two wild pitches – and the team had six wild pitches in the game. Clayton has now walked four in three of his last four games and has issued a free pass to 15 batters over the four game stretch, spanning six innings. He consequently has allowed ten runs during that time.

AZL Padres lost 7-1

Scott Fogleson made his debut with the team on Thursday, tossing two innings of scoreless ball, striking out four. He faced the minimum six batters in his outing. He went 8-5 with a 3.39 ERA with Emporia State, striking out 84 in 82.1 innings of work. A 24 year old left-hander, Fogleson held the opposition to a .238 average against and was used mainly as a starter.

On a day that Billy Killian's 11-game hitting streak came to an end, Javis Diaz recorded two of the three hits Peoria amassed on the night and reached base three times. He went 2-for-3 with a walk and also added a stolen base, his ninth of the year. Through 23 games, Diaz is hitting .341 with 29 hits – just two of those going for extra bases. He has also drawn ten walks for an on base percentage of .411. In the seven games he has led off he is hitting .393.

Josh Howard came into the game with a hit in every game he had played in Arizona Rookie League ball. That ended on Thursday when he went 0-for-3 but he did reach base safely via a walk. Howard entered the game with a .423 average through his first six games with 11 hits in 26 at bats. Through seven games he has stolen four bases, equaling the amount of times he has whiffed on the year.

Have a question about a prospect in the San Diego Padres' system. Send Denis an email at denis@sandiegosports.net. Some questions will be forwarded and answered on air during MadFriars.com weekly segment on the flagship station for San Diego Padres' baseball, The Mighty 1090. The show airs each Friday at 10:35 AM PST with Brian Wilson and Ernie Martinez.


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