Rainiers Split With Kitties

April 21, 2014

Tacoma and the Sacramento River Cats split a doubleheader on Sunday afternoon, with the Rainiers winning the opener 1-0 and dropping the nightcap 8-3.

Jordan Pries tossed a gem in his Triple-A debut for Tacoma, not allowing a hit until there were two outs in the sixth inning. Since it was only supposed to be a seven-inning game, thoughts of a no-hitter were dancing in my head. Shane Peterson broke it up with a clean single through the left side of the infield.

Tacoma has not pitched a no-hitter or been victim of one since 2003, when the Rainiers were involved in a flurry of no-hitters over a three-year span: they pitched two and were no-hit three times from 2001 to 2003.

THE 2001-2003 NO-HITTER FLURRY

PITCHED BY TACOMA

July 3, 2001 – Brett Tomko at Oklahoma

July 7, 2001 – John Halama vs. Calgary (perfect game)

PITCHED AGAINST TACOMA

May 1, 2001 – Micah Bowie, Sacramento (game two, seven innings)

May 14, 2002 – Junior Herndon, Portland (game two, seven innings)

June 12, 2003 – Lindsay Gulin, at Las Vegas

The opening game ended up going extra innings, with Leury Bonilla connecting for the game-winning hit in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Game two was Sacramento Ugly, with the PCL’s most-walked offense drawing seven free passes over the first four innings on the way to an 8-3 win. They drew eight walks total in the game, with four of the walked batters scoring runs.

The positive for Tacoma in game two was that Cole Gillespie had three hits and a homer, after going hitless in three straight games. He’s batting .364 with four homers and 13 RBI.

The Rainiers have now won seven of the last nine games, and Sacramento has won eight of its last ten. Game three of the series is tonight.

Monday’s game starts at 6:05 – the Alaska Airlines Pregame Show begins at 5:50 on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here. Tacoma starts LHP Anthony Fernandez (0-1, 3.77) against Sacramento RHP Zach Neal (1-0, 3.00).

Bob Robertson joins me in the booth today, because it’s a Monday home game and he is awesome. Tune in!

Links:

  • We start with the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune, which focuses on the start made by Jordan Pries.
  • Bob Dutton has an update on the condition of Hisashi Iwakuma and Taijuan Walker. It still looks like Iwakuma is in line for a rehab start with the Rainiers on Tuesday.
  • Brandon Maurer‘s spot-start on Sunday went better than anyone expected, Ryan Divish writes.
  • Still, the Mariners lost their sixth in a row and fell to 7-11 on the year. Now they return home to face the lowly Astros – a team that gave them fits last year. My opinion: this series is going to tell us a lot about the 2014 Mariners.
  • Rainiers reliever Stephen Pryor answered a lot of questions for Lookout Landing readers.
  • In the PCL, Albuquerque scored 11 runs in the top of the first inning and still needed to add two more for a 13-12 win in Salt Lake City.
  • San Francisco pitching prospect Edwin Escobar delivered seven shutout innings, but his Fresno Grizzlies lost to Reno 2-1. Nick Ahmed hit a two-run homer in the eighth for Reno.
  • Las Vegas starter Jake deGrom once suffered an injury that was, shall we say, a little unusual. The 51s pummeled El Paso yesterday, 11-4. Bobby Abreu homered and was promoted to New York, which sent down Andrew Brown. Seems like that roster move helps Las Vegas, doesn’t it?
  • Colorado Springs lefty Christian Friedrich was dealing and the Sky Sox shut out New Orleans, 2-0. Washington State product Adam Conley took the tough loss for the Zephyrs.
  • Meanwhile, the art of pitching apparently took a few steps backwards in Omaha’s 7-6 win over Nashville yesterday.
  • St. Louis Cardinals prospect Oscar Taveras hit a walk-off RBI double and Memphis beat Oklahoma City, 5-4.
  • Javier Baez struggled in his return from the disabled list, and Round Rock’s Nick Tepesch shut down the I-Cubs.
  • Here’s your Baseball America minor league round-up from the weekend.

See you at the park!


Near No-No For Noesi

August 19, 2012

Wow, what a start to the final homestand of the year!

Hector Noesi carried a no-hitter until there were two outs in the eighth inning, and Mike Wilson hit a huge home run as Tacoma won the opening game against Reno, 2-0.

Operation: Spoiler is off to a strong start. Colorado Springs beat Salt Lake and pulled within four games of first-place Reno with 16 to play. Tacoma has three more games against Reno to try to help out the Sky Sox.

The story was Noesi. This was easily his best start all season.

Noesi had darting movement on his fastball, which ranged from 91 to 94 miles per hour on the scoreboard radar gun all night. His best pitch might have been his change, which seemed to consistently arrive at 86 mph with big sink to it.

Noesi struck out 11 batters in 7.2 innings – the most strikeouts by any Tacoma pitcher in a game this year.

He had thrown a season-high 107 pitches when he took the mound for the eighth. He struck out the first two batters, but an error extended the inning. With first baseman Alex Liddi holding the runner on, Adam Eaton bounced a grounder through the right side of the infield on Noesi’s 121st pitch for the only Reno hit of the game.

It’s fitting that Eaton ended the no-hit bid. He leads all of minor league baseball with 189 hits – and he also leads all of the minors in numerous other categories, including batting average (.385). If you come out to one of the Reno games, keep an eye on Eaton – he’s going to be a big leaguer.

The sad part is that Noesi didn’t get the win. It was 0-0 after Eaton’s hit, and Shawn Kelley came in from the bullpen to finish the inning. Kelley ended up getting the win when Wilson crushed a two-run line drive homer to left field off Reno reliever Sam Demel with one out in the bottom of the eighth.

Tacoma faces Reno in game two on Sunday at 1:35. Tacoma starts LHP Danny Hultzen (1-2, 4.71) against Reno RHP Daniel Cabrera (first PCL appearance this year). Cabrera is a former Baltimore Orioles starter the Aces added to help for the stretch run. Catch the broadcast on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here.

Links:

  • We start with the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune. Writer Tyler Hemstreet spoke to Hector Noesi and Daren Brown for the story – they say aggressiveness was a big factor.
  • Franklin Gutierrez started his rehabilitation assignment with the Rainiers last night. If all goes well, look for him to be with the club until rosters expand on Sept 1.
  • My weekly Minor League Notebook for the TNT answers the question, who the heck is Yoervis Medina and why is he on the Mariners 40-man roster?
  • Justin Smoak powered up and the Mariners defeated the Twins last night, 3-2. Seattle is 21-13 since the all-star break – they’re getting better, you guys.
  • Every now and then, even the best columnist in the Northwest has to write the obvious: John McGrath says that the idea of the Mariners trading Felix Hernandez is ridiculous. Of course, Mac takes a few shots at New Yorkers (and Canadians) along the way.
  • We have Larry Stone’s Sunday baseball package: a column on the sudden prevalence of no-hitters and perfect games, some fun notes on the Rays unique ability to get perfect-gamed, power rankings (Yankees haters will really enjoy #2), and thumbs up-and-down.
  • Jeff Tedford has a lot of nice things to say about a local kid in this Cal football preview from the Seattle Times.*
  • In the PCL, pennant races are heating up big-time. The Sky Sox are within four games of Reno after their 9-8 win at Salt Lake last night.
  • Holy smokes: Las Vegas outfielder Ricardo Nanita hit three home runs against Sacramento – at Raley Field, not Cashman – in the 51s 10-4 victory last night. Vegas is now 4.5 games behind Sacramento and probably needs a four-game sweep to have any real hope of running down the River Kitties.
  • Omaha clinched the American-North, becoming the first team to lock up a playoff spot this season. The defending PCL champions will go for a repeat.
  • Big showdown in the American-South, where Albuquerque beat New Orleans 3-1 in the opening game of a four-game series, expanding its lead to three games over the Zephyrs. It was a John Ely special – Ely can go ahead and put the PCL Pitcher of the Year award on his mantle right now; he’s far-and-away the best candidate. To put up those numbers in a launching pad like Isotopes Park – wow.
  • Fresno star outfielder Justin Christian was the big winner in the Melky Cabrera suspension mess. The big loser? Well, Melky of course – but also the Fresno Grizzlies. Nonetheless, Fresno topped Tucson last night, 5-3.
  • Iowa topped Memphis, 3-2, and the Des Moines City Council approved $1.2 million in minor stadium improvements – once again setting an example on how to keep a 20-year-old ballpark sparkling and up-to-date.

That’s it for today – see you at the park!

* sorry, had to sneak that one in there. After sitting through “Paint The Park Purple” night and “Color Cheney Crimson” night, I feel like I earned it. My bad.


Perfection!

August 16, 2012

The Rainiers picked up a 7-6 victory in Nashville on Wednesday night, getting a game-winning home run from Carlos Peguero to erase a rather poor performance up to that point.

I’m not going to write about that here today – you can get all of the details in the Rainiers game story link down below.

What we are talking about today is perfect games, and the tangential role Tacoma has played in them.

Felix Hernandez pitched the 23rd perfect game in Major League history yesterday, and we couldn’t be more proud of the former Rainiers star.

Felix opened the 2005 season in Tacoma’s starting rotation, when he was only 18 years old – he turned 19 the first week of the season, on April 8.

All eyes were on Felix that season. It was well-known that he was not only the top prospect on the team (a team that also included Shin-Soo Choo, Mike Morse, Jose Lopez, Yuniesky Betancourt, and Asdrubal Cabrera), but he was the top pitching prospect in Minor League Baseball at the time.

There was a season-long debate about when he would be ready for the majors. The gist of the argument was this: “He has major league stuff! Yeah, but he’s just a child – he’s 19 years old for crying out loud!”

By August, the time had come. We haven’t seen Felix in Tacoma since, and I sure hope we don’t see him again – unless he comes down for a public appearance or something.

In the years since 2005, Felix Hernandez has become the face of the Seattle Mariners franchise. Not just as the star of the big league team – it’s much deeper than that.

Signing Felix is the crowning achievement of the Mariners international scouting department. They spotted him in his early teen years in Venezuela, and forged relationships with his family to sign him when he became a free agent at age 16.

The Mariners player development staff hangs their hat on Felix as well. They nurtured him along his path to the majors leagues, helping him develop into a star. Both Daren Brown and Dwight Bernard – Tacoma’s manager and pitching coach – worked with Felix at Class-A Inland Empire in 2004.

The whole Mariners organization was grinning from ear-to-ear when Felix finished off the Rays yesterday.

Felix became the first *former* Tacoma player to pitch a perfect game in the majors.

One pitcher came to Tacoma and played *after* throwing a perfect game in the majors: Don Larsen pitched the most famous perfect game of them all, for the Yankees in the 1956 World Series.

At the end of his career, Larsen tried to get back to the majors with the Chicago Cubs organization. He has a brief stay with the 1968 Tacoma Cubs, pitching in six games as a reliever before hanging up his spikes.

As for minor league perfect games, Tacoma’s John Halama pitched the first nine-inning perfect game in Pacific Coast League history on July 7, 2001 at Cheney Stadium, against the Calgary Cannons.

This could be a one-of-a-kind situation, but it hasn’t been fully researched yet:

On May 29, 2005, Tacoma played at Fresno. The starting pitchers in that game were Felix Hernandez and Matt Cain. Both went on to become one of 23 pitchers to throw a perfect game in the majors.

Was this the only time in baseball history that both starting pitchers in a minor league game would go on to pitch perfect games in the majors?

We don’t know for sure, but it seems possible.

As for that day in Fresno: each pitcher went five innings. Felix left trailing, 2-0. The Rainiers rallied against the Fresno bullpen and tied it up. In the bottom of the ninth, Mickey Lopez – a former Rainiers and Mariners infielder playing for Fresno – hit a walk-off three-run homer. Here is the box score.

We have a Rainiers game tonight in Nashville at 5:05 (Pacific). Tacoma starts RHP D.J. Mitchell (0-2, 3.63) against Nashville RHP Wily Peralta (6-10, 4.95). The broadcast airs on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streams online right here.

Felix Hernandez Perfect Game Links:

Non-Felix links:

  • Here is my Rainiers game story from The News Tribune, about how Carlos Peguero and the Rainiers bullpen turned a potentially ugly loss into a 7-6 win over Nashville last night.
  • The Albuquerque Isotopes have a new name: the Albuquerque Sons Of Major Leaguers. They beat the Sky Sox yesterday, 11-5.
  • Round Rock crushed Reno, 14-1, as Leonys Martin had four hits. The Aces are struggling and have lost five in a row.
  • Is Salt Lake back in the race? The Bees won at Memphis, 5-2, and have won 11 of the last 13 games to pull within six games of Reno.
  • The Las Vegas 51s edged Omaha, 3-2. The paper focused on Omaha second baseman Johnny Giavotella.
  • Elih Villanueva and the New Orleans Zephyrs shut out Sacramento, 3-0.
  • Tucson outfielder Blake Tekotte is trying to find his swing, and the Padres were shut out by Iowa.
  • Ex-Rainiers abound in the latest round of Baseball America’s minor league transactions: Tampa released Matt Mangini and the Reds signed him, the Rockies signed Jeff Marquez, and the Mariners released Matt Fox and Ralph Henriquez from Double-A Jackson.
  • Funny how fate won’t let us bask in only the good news. Today also includes an update on the Greg Halman trial.

It’s heating up in Nashville – we’ve been lucky with the weather on this trip up until now.


Rainiers Suffer Crushing Loss

June 9, 2012

On a day when the Mariners were celebrating a combined no-hitter, and Double-A Jackson was watching another dominant outing from Danny Hultzen, the Rainiers suffered their most crushing defeat of the year.

Erasmo Ramirez had his no-hit bid broken up with two outs in the eighth inning, and then allowed a homer on the very next pitch resulting in a 2-0 loss to Salt Lake on Friday night.

Tacoma’s anemic offense was once again the culprit. The Rainiers had just three hits in the game, marking the fourth time in the last five games that Tacoma has been held to four hits or less in a game. The team is batting .143 (26-for-182) over the first six games of the current eight-game homestand.

Because of Ramirez, Tacoma actually out-hit Salt Lake in the game. It felt like a no-hitter was going to happen.

Ramirez coasted through six no-hit innings, with nothing more threatening than a couple of not-very-hard liners to outfielders. Perfection was never an issue – he hit the second batter of the game, and ended up walking two – but Ramirez set down 15 in a row at one point.

In the seventh, a one-out walk put a runner at first base for Salt Lake’s Luis Jimenez. Ramirez got Jimenez to ground to first base, and the Rainiers turned a tight 3-6-3 double play.

Ramirez got the first two batters out in the eighth inning, and was right at the 100-pitch mark when Doug Deeds grounded an infield single up the middle to end the no-hit bid. Second baseman Scott Savastano made a diving stop of the grounder, but he had no chance of throwing out Deeds at first base.

The very next pitch was a fastball down the middle to #9 hitter Drew Heid, and the Gonzaga product (from Yakima) launched it over the right field fence for a two-run homer – his first Triple-A home run.

It was a devastating loss for a Tacoma team that has dropped five in a row, and nine of the last ten games. Wasting a brilliant pitching performance like that brings down the whole club – I heard it was a pretty somber clubhouse after the game.

Oh, well – back at it today. Gotta forget it and move on. Tacoma hosts Salt Lake tonight at 7:05, and the broadcast is on 850 AM and streaming online right here. Tacoma starts RHP Andrew Carraway (2-1, 3.16) against RHP Matt Shoemaker (4-5, 5.30). Shoemaker leads the PCL in home runs allowed – which seems to be exactly what the Rainiers need right now!

Links:

  • We’ll start with the Todd Milles penned Rainiers game story from The News Tribune. Salt Lake has shutout the Rainiers two days in a row – the first time in the team’s 19-year franchise history they have pitched consecutive shutouts.
  • The Mariners pitched a six-man no-hitter last night, with Stephen Pryor earning his first major league win. Starter Kevin Millwood left after six innings with a strained groin – if he has to miss a start, we might lose Erasmo Ramirez to the Mariners.
  • ESPN’s Jim Caple was there – he wrote about the Mariners motley crew of relievers.
  • Larry Stone looks at all ten combined no-hitters in MLB history.
  • At Double-A Jackson, Danny Hultzen was dealing again. Why he is still there is a complete mystery – he’s pitched 21.2 consecutive scoreless innings and he leads the Southern League with a 1.28 ERA. He’s allowed just 34 hits in 70.1 innings this season – opponents are batting .145 against him, the lowest in all of professional baseball.
  • Ryan Divish has a notebook item on Double-A shortstop Nick Franklin and his lopsided platoon splits.
  • In the PCL, Trevor Bauer struck out 11 over seven shutout innings and Reno won its fifth in a row at Tucson, 5-0.
  • Colorado Springs and Sacramento battled the elements and split a doubleheader. Manny Ramirez played in the second game, going 2-for-4 with an RBI double while grounding into two double plays.
  • Fresno had two home runs from rehabilitating Pablo Sandoval in a 5-4 win over Las Vegas.
  • Rehabbing Royals catcher Salvador Perez went bannanas for the Omaha Storm Chasers last night: 5-for-5 with four runs scored.
  • Outfielder Scott Van Slyke is back in Albuquerque, and he homered in the ‘Topes 12-0 shutout of Memphis.
  • Oklahoma City finally lostGaby Sanchez and New Orleans got ‘em last night, 6-1, ending the RedHawks nine-game winning streak.
  • Two of the top relievers in the PCL were called up: Tucson’s Brad Boxberger went to San Diego, and the Rangers grabbed Tanner Scheppers from Round Rock.

It seems like a good time to go all Harry Caray on you: let’s get some runs!


On Hits – Or The Lack Thereof

April 22, 2012

The Rainiers had one hit in a 12-0 loss to Fresno on Saturday night.

And that was one more than the Mariners had earlier in the day, when Phillip Humber of the White Sox threw baseball’s 21st perfect game against them.

The Mariners and their Triple-A affiliate combined to go 1-for-56 on the day, for a miniscule .018 batting average.

The man with the hit was Luis Jimenez, who singled with two outs in the fourth inning at Cheney Stadium.

Facing Fresno starter Brian Burres, Jimenez hit a low line drive over second base and cleanly into the outfield for the day’s Big Knock.

It was a thing of beauty, because it was the only thing we saw like it all day. (Unless you count Fresno’s 19 hits).

It’s weird how the top two clubs in the Mariners organization could get shut down so emphatically on the same day.

I posed the question on Twitter, which would you rather do, lose 4-0 in a perfect game, or lose 12-0 and get one hit? More people though the second option was worse, because you don’t get the history of the perfect game. At least a perfect game is something to remember and talk about for years to come.

Personally, I’ll never forget John Halama‘s perfect game against Calgary at Cheney Stadium on July 7, 2001. I can still vividly picture the final out, a hot grounder to first base that Todd Betts speared, and tossed to Halama covering first to complete the first nine-inning perfect game in PCL history.

Mariners fans had something to remember yesterday. Rainiers fans are going to forget about yesterday’s game as quickly as possible.

Today’s game is at 1:35, and you can hear it on 850 AM in Tacoma and streaming online right here. Tacoma sends LHP Mauricio Robles (0-1, 3.95) to the mound against Fresno RHP Eric Hacker (3-0, 2.00).

It’s looking like it’s going to be a beautiful day in Tacoma. After the game today, kids can run the bases and get a free t-shirt from Olympians supporting Walk To London 2012.

Links:

  • We’ll start with the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune, which features one lonely quote from Daren Brown, who was one lonely man coaching third base last night.
  • Here is my Sunday Minor League Notebook from the TNT. I lead off with an item on Fresno’s Todd Linden, who is a local guy.
  • Here is Larry LaRue’s story on the perfect game, and John McGrath was there to write about it, too – it was the first no-hitter or perfect game he had ever seen in person.
  • The Mariners wanted to go down swinging.
  • John Sickels wrote a career profile on Phillip Humber.
  • The Sunday baseball package from Larry Stone is here: a column declaring the best team in baseball, his notebook wonders if Bryan LaHair is trade bait, and we have power rankings, and thumbs.
  • Things are not looking good for former Rainiers pitcher Michael Pineda. We hope he gets healthy soon.
  • In the PCL, Reno was shut out by Sacramento, 6-0. It appears that Sacramento starter Jarrod Parker is going to the big leagues – he was pulled after 2.2 shutout innings.
  • Las Vegas topped Colorado Springs in 10 innings, 9-8. It was a wild scoring sequence.
  • Las Vegas catcher Yan Gomes is from Brazil.
  • Pitching led the way for New Orleans once again – this time it was from the bullpen.
  • The Iowa Cubs have had so many transactions early they can’t keep the roster straight.
  • Alex Castellanos homered twice and Albuquerque won in Oklahoma City.
  • Omaha beat Nashville in the 13th inning when Jarrod Dyson singled in the winning run off a position player through a five-man infield – or was it a six-man infield? Just read the story.
  • More good stuff from that game: Dyson was caught stealing by a catcher for the first time in two years and 55 stolen bases. “I got hosed,” he said.

That’s all I have time to get to this morning – come out to the ballpark, it’s a great day!


Let’s Play Two

July 21, 2011

Actually, we’re going to play one and 17/18ths.

We’ll pick up the action from yesterday’s suspended game in the bottom of the first inning, no score, no outs, bases loaded for Tucson and a 1-2 count on Kyle Blanks.

Tacoma is going to change pitchers and will bring in a long reliever. Look for manager Daren Brown and pitching coach Dwight Bernard to change the starting rotation after today, and get Nate Robertson back out there soon.

Tucson is going to turn things over to Samuel Deduno, who was scheduled to start today originally.

Tacoma’s scheduled starter is Luke French – he will start the second game.

Game one is nine full innings, game two will be shortened to seven innings.

The whole marathon begins at 5:30, and we’ll have it on South Sound Sports 850 AM and streaming online right here. The big question is: while I still be on the air at midnight? Remember, there will be 30 minutes between games, and a 15-minute post-game show…

The Pacific Coast League office reviewed the video and overturned the official scorer’s decision on Luis Mendoza’s disputed no-hitter in the Omaha at Memphis game on Monday night. They have credited Tyler Greene with a hit, and taken away the no-hitter.

This really was simple once the video was reviewed. It’s too bad that the situation had to some to this.

We had a roster move today. Short on pitching for the first time all season, the Mariners called up Josh Lueke and optioned Kyle Seager back to Tacoma.

Seager was just 3-for-22 (.136) in his initial major league experience. His .455 PCL batting average is waiting for him here in Tacoma.

Seager will meet the Rainiers on Friday in Salt Lake City.

Links:

That’s it for now – I need to prepare myself for six hours of talking.

* someday I’ll have to post my “he’s weaving a tapestry” story. But it might be one of those “you had to be there” tales…


Eight Is Not Enough

July 20, 2011

The Rainiers had an eight-run lead at the seventh inning stretch last night in Tucson – and it wasn’t enough, as Matt Clark and the Tucson Padres came storming back and defeated the Rainiers in 11 innings, 15-14.

Alex Liddi and Johan Limonta hit three-run homers in the top of the seventh to give the Rainiers a 14-6 lead. Liddi had tripled twice earlier in the game, and he had six RBI.

It really felt like a safe lead. Obviously, it wasn’t.

Clark hit a three-run homer to make it 14-9, then he hit a three-run double to make it 14-13, and then he scored the tying run on Sean Kazmar’s error and it was 14-14 in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Clark is a first-year Triple-A player who will be in the running for the PCL Rookie of the Year Award*. He went 4-for-6 with 8 RBI yesterday, and he has 20 homers and 64 RBI on the year, to go with a .319 average. He’s a 25-year-old left-handed corner outfielder/first baseman, and he does not have a weakness against left-handed pitching.

The Rainiers missed a great scoring opportunity in a somewhat confounding top of the tenth inning, and then Tucson won it in the 11th when Eric Patterson hit a one-out triple and scored on James Darnell’s grounder through the drawn-in infield.

So Tacoma is back under .500, at 48-49. One of these days we’ll get over the hump.

Tonight’s game is at 7:00 and you can hear it on South Sound Sports 850 AM, and streaming online right here. Tacoma starts LHP Nate Robertson (3-2, 6.33) against Tucson LHP Wade LeBlanc (9-1, 4.02). LeBlanc leads the PCL in wins and ranks sixth in ERA.

Links:

  • Leading off is the Rainiers game story from The News Tribune. No quotes since the game ended at 11:00 – thirty minutes after the paper’s print deadline, yikes!
  • The Mariners scored five runs, Mike Carp had three hits, and they still lost.
  • It looks like Erik Bedard is going to be on the disabled list through the July 31 trade deadline, virtually eliminating any chance that he will be traded.
  • We now have video of the controversial official scoring decision in Luis Mendoza’s “no-hitter” on Monday: this is a hit all the way, in any ballpark, and it’s obvious. Not taking anything away from Mendoza’s great game, but this is not a no-hitter.
  • The Memphis Redbirds are officially appealing the scoring decision. In this story, the official scorer speaks and sounds reasonable. Still, if you can watch that video and argue that it should be an error, please feel free to do so in the comments.
  • Reno just won’t lose. That’s eight straight wins, the best record in the PCL, and the second-best record in Triple-A.
  • Here in Tucson, we have more drama regarding the future of the franchise: if no stadium deal is completed soon, the team will be sold. Hey, I have an idea: somebody in Portland, Oregon should build a baseball stadium!
  • Colorado Springs swept a doubleheader from Las Vegas. Kyle Drabek keeps getting lit up.
  • Salt Lake had a stirring come-from-behind victory over Sacramento.
  • The Iowa Cubs are getting younger, and that’s by design according to Chicago GM Jim Hendry. The I-Cubs visit Cheney Stadium soon.
  • What a difference an affiliation change can make: Round Rock has won more games this year than they did all of last year.
  • More independent baseball follies: the lawsuits of the Newark Bears.

Some of you will not be surprised to learn that I stayed up all night watching the live World Series Of Poker coverage on ESPN2 (here are the final nine). It’s the first year they have had live coverage, of all of the hands, and they did a great job with the presentation. It’s very different from televising athletic sports and the producers had to overcome a lot of challenges to keep it interesting. I was riveted – well done!

* right now, without a full study of the candidates, I think I would vote for Reno’s Collin Cowgill for both the Most Valuable Player and the Rookie of the Year awards.


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