Regular season ends; Playoffs for Storm & Wizards

This is the end, my only friend the end. . .of the minor league season. We will, of course be covering the playoffs (Fort Wayne and LE) and off-season, after a deserved day off for We now get to head into our scouting reports, top 50 Padres' prospects, top five per position, best tools series and more. By the way, the interviews with prospects will never end. They are the lifeblood and if we don't talk to them can we really say we know anything about their makeup and drive?

Among the many things we will look at include disappointments, surprises, best of the best, where we look at specific tools (outfield arm, slider, baserunning), and the direction of each player in the system as well as the organization as a whole with changes coming to the Arizona Rookie League.

Some sixty players will be at Instructional League ball in October, including the entire Dominican Summer League Padres. We will detail that as clearly as possible and the Arizona Fall League is sending some top talent again.

Baseball, and scouting, is a year-round spot. Therefore, after our day off, we will bring you news and notes every single day of the year.

Portland won 2-0

Tim Stauffer pitched a complete game three hitter on Monday, in the season finale for the Beavers. His three hits allowed were a season-low and his nine strikeouts a season-high. The right-hander came into the game with a 10.97 ERA over his previous six starts, leaving some doubt to his mental toughness after being sent down from San Diego. He came back with a vengeance in his final start of the year and left a solid taste in his mound for the off-season. The opposition hit .407 off him during the month of August but the shutout on Monday was his third of the year and second that he pitched nine innings in.

Jon Knott and Greg Sain homered for the only runs of the game. Knott hit his 25th homer of the year and 50 percent of his hits went for extra bases this year (63 of 126). Sain went 3-for-3 on the day and the homer was his eighth with Portland and 13th on the year over two leagues. Sain had entered the game in a 1-for-17 slump after swatting .310 in August.

Mobile lost 5-2

Mobile Manager Gary Jones admitted he was disappointed in the season before the finale on Monday. "It is disappointing in terms of wins and losses, but I was impressed with how the guys went about their business every day."

Brian Whitaker ended his year with a loss, his 13th, giving up five runs on nine hits and four walks over six frames. The right-hander has given up eight hits or more in 12 of his 27 starts. It was also the eighth time he has walked three batters or more. His best inning of the year with Mobile was the fourth – he allowed just two runs in 24 games where he pitched through the fourth. His worst innings were the first, second and fifth where he gave up 14, 16, and 15 runs, respectively.

Joe Gerber had just five hits in 46 at bats with Portland to begin the year and was the forgotten man. Given a second chance to perform in Mobile, the first baseman hit .277 with 16 homers, including one on Monday. Eight of his homers came since the start of August. And 11 of his homers came with the bases empty. Gerber batted everywhere but leadoff and the three-hole for Mobile with his best spot being sixth in the order. He hit .314 from that position in the lineup.

In one of the strangest occurrences, perhaps of the year, Jack Cassel came on to pinch hit for Dale Thayer in the ninth inning and was hit by a pitch.

Lake Elsinore lost 15-4

Cesar Carrillo was supposed to have gone down a league to help the Storm in the playoffs but he is getting pounded in his second tour through Lake Elsinore. The right-hander says he is not tired but one has to doubt that claim after giving up seven runs on six hits and five walks in 2.1 innings on Monday. His two-game total of 13 runs in 4.1 innings are quite a bit more than the seven runs, six earned, over his first 20.1 innings with the Storm. Carrillo will get his normal four day's rest before starting the playoff opener in Lake Elsinore on Saturday.

Juan Ciriaco went 2-for-3 with two walks and an RBI to end his regular season. The shortstop owns a six game hitting streak, going 9-for-27 with six runs scored and seven RBI's. He did commit his 45th error of the year, giving him the second most errors among all shortstops in the minor leagues. Ciriaco is actually better with the glove this year as opposed to last. He had 44 errors in 98 games with Fort Wayne and had 45 in 119 games with Lake Elsinore.

Fort Wayne lost 5-3

Joel Santo matched his season-high in hits allowed with ten and surrendered five runs over three innings. Two balls left the yard off Santo for the second time this year in 27 starts and he took his 11th loss of the year. The right-hander pitched 140.1 innings this year after never exceeding the 57 inning mark in three previous years within the Padres' system. He managed to pitch in 49.1 innings in 2004 and had just seven starts above Rookie League ball.

Kyle Stutes is back on track after allowing his first multi-earned-run game of the year on August 26. He went two innings and gave up three hits while striking out two to give him a scoreless streak of 6.2 since that fateful night. He did, however, allow two inherited runners to score in his last outing. Stutes more than doubled his appearance total from last year when he worked 20 games for the Rookie League club and his ERA never once went above 3.00.

Eugene lost 4-2 in ten innings

Steve Delabar rebounded from his two worst outings of the year to give up one run on three hits and two walks while striking out five in five innings. After giving up 15 runs over his last 3.2 frames, Monday was a welcome way to end his year on a high note. It was the tenth time in 16 starts that he has given up two earned runs or less but because of several terrible outings his ERA is skewed at 4.76 for the year. It is also the third time this year the only run he has given up has come on a solo homer.

Brandon Higelin has had an interesting year. He tossed an inning of scoreless ball on Monday, stranding one inherited runner. While he has been steady at preventing inherited runners from scoring, he has had trouble with his own men. Higelin has held the last five inherited runners and check and officially he is credited with holding 13 of 15 runners on the year – although that number is off because in two games he did not get credited with an out and still had officially tallied a stranded runner in his books. The lefty also owns a 5.29 ERA for the year with runs of his own allowed in ten of 21 relief appearances.

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