We have a pitching prospect showdown tonight at Cheney Stadium. Tacoma starts Danny Hultzen, the No. 2 pick in the draft last year, against Sacramento “pop-up prospect” Dan Straily.
Hultzen you know all about – the press has been following him, and we’ve been writing about him here. After dominating at Double-A Jackson, the left-hander makes his fifth Triple-A start tonight. He’s struggled to find consistency in Triple-A, but there have been moments in every game where he has looked outstanding.
Straily is the wild card. He’s what they call a “pop-up prospect” because he wasn’t on a lot of observers radar coming into this season – but he’s got everybody’s attention now. Straily leads all of minor league baseball with 154 strikeouts, and he’s done that in just 118.1 innings.
Straily opened the season with Oakland’s Double-A Midland affiliate, where he made 14 starts and had a 3.38 ERA with 108 strikeouts and 23 walks in 85.1 innings. He was promoted to Sacramento in late June, and in five starts for the River Cats he has a 1.09 ERA with 46 strikeouts in 33 innings.
I asked Sacramento radio guy Johnny Doskow about Straily, and he said he works in the low-90s with his fastball, but can throw four different pitches for strikes in any count.
This is going to be a good one tonight.
Last night Sacramento defeated Tacoma in 13 innings, 9-8. It was the longest game of the season in terms of both innings and time (4 hours, 43 minutes). It was after midnight when I wrapped up the post-game show.
The Rainiers showed a lot of heart in coming up short.
Trailing 7-2 in the sixth inning, the Rainiers rallied and took the lead on Trayvon Robinson‘s three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh.
Sacramento tied the score in the eighth on an opposite-field homer by Collin Cowgill, who had four hits in the game.
The Rainiers missed a scoring opportunity in the tenth when Carlos Triunfel hit a leadoff double and was stranded at third.
After Chance Ruffin delivered three scoreless extra innings of relief, the Rainiers brought in Steven Hensley for the 13th inning – and he allowed a home run to Eric Sogard on the second pitch he threw, giving the River Cats the lead.
I feel awful for Hensley, a first-year Triple-A player who was recently promoted from Jackson. He’s allowed a game-losing home run in extra inning three times in the last five days – something you wouldn’t wish on anybody, even a Reno pitcher! To his credit, last night Hensley regrouped and retired the next three batters he faced.
Hensley has good stuff and should be fine in the long run. He’s just had a tough few days.
Tonight’s game is at 7:05 and can be heard on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here. Tacoma starts LHP Danny Hultzen (1-1, 4.24) against Sacramento RHP Dan Straily (3-2, 1.09).
- We open with the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune.
- The Mariners are on the road, so that means… offense! They beat up local product Jason Verdugo. The Lake Stevens High School product probably never imagined that he would get blown out by the Mariners in his Major League debut.
- Dustin Ackley is making adjustments to try to stay in the big leagues – and things are starting to look positive.
- I’m not really into this whole sensationalism thing (unless it’s for the purpose of humor), but Jay Buhner gave the quote of the year when it comes to Ichiro coming back on a multiple-year contract. The national reaction to this on Twitter yesterday was quite amusing.
- Everett designated hitter Mike Zunino homered twice last night down in Salem-Keizer.
- If you have ever wondered about the professional baseball league in Italy, friend-of-the-blog Ian Miller attended a game this week. (Baseball Prospectus subscription required). Sorry if you can’t access it - one of the highlights is the scoreboard with the innings marked in Roman numerals.
- In the PCL, the Tucson Padres have a lot of big league experience, but that didn’t stop them from getting swept in a doubleheader by Reno last night.
- After a long rain delay, Salt Lake defeated Colorado Springs, 6-4. Really, Sky Sox, an Elvis impersonator?
- Las Vegas topped Fresno at Cashman Field, 5-4. Aubrey Huff is on rehab with Fresno.
- In other Vegas news, the final table of the Main Event at the World Series Of Poker is set. We were in Vegas while the final table was being played the last year it was held at Binion’s, which is right across from our hotel. That was fun!
- Oklahoma City defeated Omaha on a tenth-inning homer by Fernando Martinez.
- Round Rock rallied late to beat Nashville in 11 innings, 5-4.
- The Big Hurt – Frank Thomas – showed up at the Iowa Cubs game and signed autographs while talking about hitting. Cool!
- Memphis pummeled Albuquerque ace John Ely in an 11-4 win.
- The Albuquerque Journal caught up with former Dukes slugger Greg Brock, who is being inducted into the Albuquerque Hall of Fame this weekend. Good stuff here.
Let’s see an awesome pitcher’s duel tonight!