Mobile bats silent; Ramos, Hayhurst dealing

There is a huge gulf between the Triple-A team in the Angels system and the Triple-A team in the Padres system. It showed on Saturday. Mobile is the worst hitting team in the league, again. Lake Elsinore continues to get great starting pitching in a split with Cesar Ramos and Dirk Hayhurst strutting their stuff. Fabian Jimenez flashed his dominance for the first time this year.

Portland lost 15-1 to Salt Lake (Angels)

Eric Junge allowed more hits on the night, ten, than he got outs, seven. Junge's night ended with nine runs against, seven earned, in just 2.1 innings. He gave two homers and walked one in taking the loss. The opposition is 6-for-11 off him with runners in scoring position (RISP) this year; last year, the opposition hit .254 off him with RISP.

Erick Burke gave up a homer to the first batter he faced before settling down and pitching out the rest of his inning and two-thirds. Burke went 3-0 with a 2.97 ERA in 32 appearances last season for the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Red Barons of the International League, the Phillies' Triple-A affiliate. He gave up runs in seven of those appearances and has given up runs in two of five this year.

Three Portland baserunners were thrown out by Salt Lake outfielders. Bobby Hill was nailed at home plate in the first inning. He was also thrown out at second base, coming off the bag after a double. Jon Knott was snared at second base trying to stretch a single into extra bases.

Mobile lost 8-1 to Mississippi (Braves)

After ten games, Mobile is the worst hitting team in the Southern League. It is reminiscent of last year when they were light-hitting, ending the season last in the league in batting. But things have been worse this year, at least at the start. They have just 56 hits in 305 at bats, a .184 average. Mobile is scoring just 2.8 runs per game, the lowest total in the league.

Drew Macias has had a sluggish start to the year. After going 2-for-4 to open the season, the outfielder has gone into a 3-for-22 slump. The left-handed hitting Macias has just one RBI ten games into the year. Macias, who put an additional 20 pounds on his frame, hit .289 with 66 RBI's in 128 games for the Storm. Macias did net one of Mobile's five hits on Saturday.

Bobby Basham was pounded on early and often, allowing six runs, five earned, on nine hits and two walks in four innings of work. Basham posted a 2.98 ERA in the Southern League last year and allowed four runs or more in just two of his ten starts. The opposition is hitting .368 off him to begin the year – last year it was .275 in 51.1 innings.

Lake Elsinore split with Visalia (Devil Rays), a 5-4 loss in game one and an 11-1 win in game two

Matt Varner blew the save in the bottom of the seventh of game one. Entering the frame with a 4-2 lead, Varner surrendered three runs on two hits and two walks to take the loss, his first blown save in four opportunities. Varner led the Midwest League last year in saves with 34 but did blow five chances a year ago.

Cesar Ramos was stellar over five innings, his one mistake taken out of the park for a two-run homer. He gave up two other hits and walked one, leaving the game in position to pick up the game one win. Ramos has allowed three runs over his first two starts but does not have a win under his belt to show for it. In ten innings of work, he has given up just seven hits.

Sean Kazmar powered the Storm offense in game two, tripling his RBI total for the year. He went 2-for-4 with a walk, a double, two runs scored and four RBI's. The second baseman has four multi-hit games in his last six contests. His four RBI night set a new career-high for RBI's in a game. His previous high of three was last accomplished on April 14, 1005. Kazmar did commit his second error of the year.

Dirk Hayhurst took the hill for the first time this year as a starter after showing up in relief six days ago. The righty allowed two runs, one earned, on four hits and two walks while striking out six. He did uncork two wild pitches and has ticketed three to the backstop this year. Hayhurst made seven starts last year for the Storm, posting a 5.84 ERA over 37 innings.

"I am having a lot more fun than in the past," Hayhurst said. "I was too serious but am much looser now.

Jodam Rivera made his debut in game two, batting leadoff and playing shortstop. Rivera, who began the year in extended spring training, went 0-for-4 with a walk and a run scored. Rivera played second base and hit .241 in 24 games last season for the Eugene Emeralds.

Fort Wayne won 5-4 over Dayton (Reds)

The Wizards manager just one hit over the first 7.2 innings but exploded with two outs in the eighth, scoring all of their runs.

Fabian Jimenez did not give up a run over five innings, yielding just four hits and two walks while striking out five. The outing was in sharp contrast to his last outing where he gave up six runs in four innings. Amazingly, Jimenez has given up just one hit in 15 at bats with runners in scoring position after six of the nine leadoff men he has faced have reached base.

Neil Jamison struck out the side for the second time this year, recording his third save of the year. The right-handed closer has whiffed nine in four appearances and has given up just one hit in 13 at bats and no opponent has reached second base when he is on the mound.

Brandon Gottier went 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored. He is 5-for-11 to open the year. The catcher did not record his fifth hit of the year in 2005 until his tenth game, batting .138 over that span. He did, however, hit .318 off left-handed pitching. Gottier did have a throwing error trying to catch a runner stealing.

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