So, are we allowed to call Ryan Franklin’s start “gutty”? I think that’s what announcers would call it. He got hit hard early on, and appeared to be right on the verge of losing it entirely before being saved by a double play in the 2nd. Come to think of it, he didn’t pitch particularly well, but manged to scatter the hits he allowed and hold the White Sox to three runs. Didn’t hurt that he only walked one, either. Oh, I think the other announcer cliche for this type of performance is saying he “kept his team in the ballgame.” All kidding aside, I’m not unhappy with Franklin, and the team certainly needed a solid outing from him tonight.
Minor League Highlights for Thursday, May 8
I’m pinch-hitting for Jason today, which is somewhat akin to the Mabry-Colbrunn fiasco of a few weeks ago. Have no fear, Jason shall return with his blend of witty humor and insight soon.
Tacoma 15, Colorado Springs 10. The Rainiers finally remembered that they were playing at altitude and pulled out the whooping sticks on their way to a five run win. C Pat Borders continues his improbable run with one of the best games of his life, going 6-6 with 2 doubles, a home run, a walk, and 3 RBI. He’s now posting a Ruthian .395/.427/.756 on the season. By the way, he turns 40 in four days. OF Jalal Leach also homered and every starter except OF Jacque Landry had at least one hit. The offense overshadowed another tough outing for RHP Ken Cloude, who gave up 8 runs in the first five innings before departing. His ERA now stands at 6.95. RHP Aaron Looper picked up the win in relief by pitching 2 2/3 innings, and the box score credited RHP Aaron Taylor with his 7th save for pitching a trouble free 9th inning, even though he was protecting a 5 run lead.
The San Antonio Missions game at Tulsa was canceled due to rain, undoubtedly brought on by the prayers of angry Drillers’ fans who were tired of seeing the Missions pound their home team. The Missions return home to host the Midland Rockhounds and send LHP Bobby Madritsch to the hill looking for their 19th consecutive win. Despite a 6.35 ERA, Madritsch is 3-2 on the season. God bless run support.
Inland Empire 5, High Desert 2. The Ryan Ketchner show continued its roll with an easy transition into the rotation. Ketchner earned his 4th win by allowing 2 base hits and 1 walk in 6 1/3 innings, striking out 5. He retired the first 13 batters he faced before giving up a harmless single. After another sterling performance, Ketchner has now walked 5 and struck out 42 in 30 1/3 innings. Together, southpaws Ketchner and Troy Cate have amassed an 11/80 BB/K in 66 innings of work. RHP Mike Steele picked up his 8th save and lowered his ERA to 1.15 after taking over for LHP Russ Morgan in the 9th. 1B John Castellano provided the offense with a 3-3 evening and C Chris Collins took advantage of a chance to play by going 2-3.
Wisconsin 8, Lansing 5. The Timber Rattlers put up a strong offensive show behind OF T.J. Bohn’s 5th home run of the season and 2 doubles from 1B Jon Nelson. CF Gary Harris added to the balanced attack with a 3-5 evening, and everyone in the line-up except LF Dustin Delluchi scored a run. Delluchi simply went 2-4 with an RBI. RHP Juan Sandoval had one of his finer performances of the season, giving up just 2 runs in 5 innings of work. LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith got the win in relief, however, giving up just 3 unearned runs in 3 2/3 innings, walking 2 and striking out 1. His ERA now stands at 0.82 and Rowland Smith is a good candidate to move into the rotation if the T-Rats decide to shake things up. RHP Rich Dorman earned his second save by striking out the only batter he faced to end the game.
I spent 6 years of my youth as a catcher, donning the tools of ignorance and watching the game from behind forty pounds of armor. I played on some truly terrible teams where ace pitchers were hitting 70 MPH with their fastballs and flashing the #2 sign meant throw whatever the heck you feel like. During these years, I learned to love the chess match at the plate. I took it as a challenge to set up the hitters, despite the fact that my pitchers had the stuff of an over the hill church league reliever. Working with guys who simply didn’t have the capability to fool anyone forced us to gameplan, strategize, and simply outsmart the other team. The only way we were going to win is if they couldn’t figure out what was coming next and failed to swing at pitches they could drive with ease.
I have fond memories of sitting in the dugout an hour before the game laying out the first innings worth of pitches. I loved the fact that our pitchers would show up early to come up with a way to circumvent their lack of ability. There wasn’t a lot of talent on those pitching staffs, but we ended up being pretty darn good because we simply outworked every other team in our league. Its amazing what a 60 MPH “changeup” on the inside corner will do a 15-year-old kid when he’s looking fastball. Realizing that we could suceed at this game through work ethic and intelligence is one of the things that caused me to fall in love with baseball.
That is why Freddy Garcia drives me insane. In the land of pitching IQ, he’s an Oompa Loompa. He doesn’t set up hitters. He doesn’t pitch to their weaknesses. He doesn’t change his gameplan for different hitters. He’s the starting pitching equivalent of a professional wrestler. He’s going to flex for a while, strut around the ring, and then try to beat the snot out of you with brute strength. Unfortunately for Garcia, baseball is not a game decided by who has the most testosterone. More often than not, the game is won upstairs. I’m not even sure if Garcia’s house has stairs.
What an ugly game that was. Long, cold, and painful. From a fan’s perspective, Garcia seems to self-destruct so completely it’s difficult to believe. Fans are starting to boo him now, and there were a bunch of fans behind me who carped about him for innings after he left — standard stuff, he’s overpaid, see below, but also that he needs to go to the minors to work things out… which may be something to watch, now that I think about it — the Mariners have a long history of abusing the DL and rehab assignments when they need to make someone disappear and in this case, possibly collect juicy insurance money.
Overheard at Safeco: “Yeah, I never liked Friends after I found out how much they make an episode. And Freddy’s getting six million this year… when did our priorities get so out-of-whack?”
Crack of the Night: After the Mariners gave up 10 runs, the PA dude came on somewhat sheepishly and said
“Fans, step into to the Mariner time machine…” to intro a dumb video segment.
Jill: “Are you going to take us back to the top of the second, when we were winning?”