Series Preview: M’s at KC
Tue, 5:05p, RHP Garcia vs. LHP George
Wed, 1105a, LHP Moyer v LHP Affeldt
Maybe we’ll see Colbrunn play first on Wednesday — day game after a night game is traditionally a rest-the-regulars day, and they have to head out to Minnesota for the next series. Tuesday’s game could be uuugly, George’s 5-3 record conceals a 5.11 ERA, 8 HR and a runner-and-a-half per inning… he’s a left-handed Franklin. Aaaaaaaaaand then there’s injury candidate/head case Garcia to face off in this pitching duel. On Wednesday, Moyer missed KC in the last homestand, but I think he’ll carve the Royals up. Affeldt’s nothing special, so the M’s should get at least one out win out of this series.
The A’s reverse the M’s roadtrip, heading first to Minnesota for two and then KC for three. It’ll be interesting to watch Halama and see if he gets bumped from their rotation shortly — they’ve got some quality options sitting around and they’ve never been afraid to shake up the rotation when they felt thre was a need.
Some interesting Memorial Day notes:
The Mariners have a lower team ERA on the road (3.74) than they do at Safeco Field (3.96). Before you go assuming that Safeco’s reputation as a pitchers park is undeserved, remember that the M’s are scoring 4.74 runs per game at home with a team OPS of .749. When they leave Safeco, they are averaging 6.04 runs per game and have a team OPS of .843.
Joel Pineiro: .266/.347/.407, .753 OPS allowed (29th among 51 AL pitchers)
Freddy Garcia: .252/.332/.435, .767 OPS allowed (30th among 51 AL pitchers)
Somehow, people have managed to overlook the fact that Pineiro’s been consistently mediocre all year long. His BB rate is up, his K rate is down, and he’s pitching more like a #4 starter than a #1.
Kyle Lohse didn’t just look good against the Mariners on Saturday. He’s looking good against everyone. The AL is posting a .266 on base percentage against him. He’s turning every hitter he faces into Neifi Perez. Gil Meche isn’t the only young AL hurler enjoying a breakthrough season.
Edgar Martinez hasn’t had a multi hit game since the 16th of May. Over his last 8 games, he’s 5-29 with 1 extra base hit, 4 walks, and 7 strikeouts. He’s how hitting .276/.387/.434 at home, but he’ll become a terror on this road trip. His .347/.455/.708 numbers away from Safeco give light at the end of this tunnel.
Minor League Highlights for Sunday, May 25
Tacoma 5, Tucson 2. RHP Ken Cloude got his first win of the year with 5 innings of solid work. He gave up just 4 hits, 2 runs (1 earned), no walks, and 3 strikeouts. RHP J.J. Putz ran his scoreless innings streak to 10 with 3 innings of shutout baseball. Aside from his one hit batter, Putz was perfect, and hasn’t allowed a run since May 10th. RHP Aaron Taylor picked up his 9th save of the year with a shutout 9th inning. SS Mickey Lopez went 3-5 and C Pat Borders went 2-4 with a double to lead the offense.
San Antonio had the day off. LHP Bobby Madritsch will take the hill for the Missions today.
Inland Empire 5, Visalia 1. The Ryan Ketchner Show continued as he took a perfect game into the 6th inning and earned his 6th win of the year. The southpaw tossed 6 shutout innings, gave up 1 hit, walked 2 and struck out 8. His ERA is now 2.77 and his BB/K is now 8/61 in 48 2/3 innings. He’s 4th in the league in ERA, 1st in wins, and 3rd in strikeouts. Ryan’s parents and girlfriend flew from Florida to attend the game, and it was nice that they saw him at his best. RF Cris Guerrero provided the offense with a 2-3 evening, scoring 2 runs, and 1B Jason VanMeetran had 2 hits to raise his average to .250 for the season and 2B Ismael Castro went 2-2 with a walk and a double.
Wisconsin 5, West Michigan 1. LHP Bobby Livingston moved to 7-1 with another solid performance, going 7 innings and allowing just 1 run. He gave up 6 hits, walked 1, and struck out 4. Livingston’s command continues to be impeccable as he’s now walked just 14 men in 10 starts. RF T.J. Bohn hit his 6th home run of the year, 1B Jon Nelson went 2-4, and SS Michael Garciaparra went 2-4 and raised his average to .217. He did, however, make another error, giving him 19 in 43 games.
Minor League Highlights for Saturday, May 24
Tacoma 8, Tucson 3. OF Kenny Kelly came within a single of the cycle and added a walk for good measure, leading the Rainiers offense with a 3-4 evening, scoring 3 times and driving in 4 in his best game of the season. 3B Luis Figueroa and SS Mickey Lopez each had 3 hits as well as the Rainiers got 16 hits the night after getting shut down by the same ballclub. RHP Brian Sweeney earned the win with 6 strong innings. He gave up 6 hits, 2 of which were home runs, and allowed 3 runs, but didn’t walk a man and struck out 5. RHP Scott Atchison got the 3 inning save by striking out 5 of the 10 batters he’d face and allowing just one baserunner.
Round Rock 1, San Antonio 0. RHP Rett Johnson continued to make his case for a promotion to AAA with another dominant outing, but his teammates gave him no run support and he got saddled with a loss. Johnson worked 8 1/3 innings, giving up just 2 hits, 1 unearned run, 1 walk, and 5 strikeouts. After some early season struggles, Johnson has been lights out in May and should get the bump to Tacoma before too long. The Missions managed just 4 hits, all singles, and no one had more than one hit.
Inland Empire 3, Visalia 2. RHP Manny Ulloa continued to shine, giving up just 1 run in 5 innings, walking none and striking out 6. It was RHP Brian Strelitz who got the win in relief, however, with 2 2/3 shutout innings. RHP Mike Steele ended the game with his 10th save, despite giving up a run and making things interesting. 2B Evel Bastida-Martinez made news by actually getting a hit and raising his OPS to a whooping .482. A fine draft pick he was, indeed.
West Michigan 1, Wisconsin 0. 1B Jon Nelson’s 3-4 evening with two doubles wasn’t enough to put a run on the board as the T-Rats were shut out, wasting a good performance from RHP Juan Sandoval. He worked 6 1/3 innings, gave up the lone run in the game, walked 1, and struck out 3. After getting lit up early in the season, Sandoval has turned a corner and tossed some effective games. Wisconsin can take solace in the fact that everyone is getting shut by Jon Connolly this year, as the lefty now has a 0.75 ERA in 59 2/3 innings.
Minor League Highlights for Friday, May 23
Tucson 8, Tacoma 0. C Pat Borders had both of the Rainiers hits in the game and RHP Jeff Heaverlo’s struggles continued as the Sidewinders blanked the Rainiers. Heaverlo gave up 5 runs on 8 hits and 1 walk in 4 innings of work, but he did strike out 4. RHP Aaron Looper gave up 3 more runs in mop-up work before and OF Jacques Landry finished the game with 1 scoreless inning. When you go 2-27 as a team, there are clearly no hitting stars.
San Antonio 7, Round Rock 2. 3B Justin Leone continued his torrid pace, going 3-3 with a home run, a stolen base, and a walk. He scored twice and drove in 3 to pace the offense. SS Jose Lopez also had 2 hits including his 13th double of the year. LHP Matt Thornton made his return to AA a success with 6 innings of 1 hit baseball. He allowed 2 unearned runs, walked 4, and struck out 5. RHP Josue Matos got a 3 inning save by giving up just 1 hit and striking out 4 of the 10 batters he faced.
Visalia 4, Inland Empire 3. The 66’ers continue to provide no run support for great pitching performances, as LHP Troy Cate’s 7 inning, 1 hit performance failed to lead to a win. Cate relieved rehabbing RHP Juan Done in the second inning and allowed just 1 unearned run, walking 2, and striking out 4. RHP Mike Steele took the loss by giving up a run in the 10th inning. OF Cris Guerrero hit his first home run with the organization and the 66’ers racked up 13 hits but couldn’t drive the runs in. Manager Steve Roadcap continued his pace for a world record by managing to say something negative about every player on the club for the 34th consecutive day.
Wisconsin 7, West Michigan 3. 2B Corey Harrington went 3-5 to spark an offensive explosion by the T-Rats standards as they put away the Whitecaps with 4 runs in the 9th inning. RHP Tanner Watson pitched 5 2/3 innings and gave up 2 runs, walked no one, and struck out 6. Relieving LHP Ryan-Rowland Smith got the win, however, as he pitched 3 1/3 innings, gave up 1 run, walked 1, and struck out 4. In other impressive news, SS Michael Garciaparra did not make an error.