PBL Scores, 5/31/15

Which teams can close out the month of May on a high note?  Only the scoreboard knows for sure…

Silver City OutlawsJacksonville DragonsSILVER CITY OUTLAWS 8, JACKSONVILLE DRAGONS 6

The Jacksonville Dragons have a fielding problem.

“Our defense is goddamn Swiss cheese,” grumbled Dragons manager Harlan Davidson.  “And not the fancy lacy kind, either.  The old-school kind with the great big holes in it.  That’s us.”

The Dragons were assembled as an offense-first team.  Owner/GM Eric Stetson made no secret of his preference for power, and defensive concerns were secondary from the start.  But the shoddy glove work is threatening to overcome the work of Jacksonville’s bats.  In today’s game, three ugly errors in the late innings sparked rallies that allowed the Silver City Outlaws to walk away with an 8-6 win.

“The first thing you learn in the sandlot in how to catch the damn ball,” said Davidson.  “Our team seems to have skipped right past that step, and it’s costing us.”

The Dragons’ sieve-like defense undermined a fine day by their offense.  Jacksonville hit three homers in this game, one by CF Alfonso Leon and two by LF Willis Parker.  All three blows came against Outlaws starter Pedro Rodriguez.  The 19-year-old lefty, who has been virtually untouchable all season, had an uncharacteristically rough game.  He experienced rare struggles with command, walking four batters and striking out only one.

When Rodriguez departed after 6 innings, the Outlaws trailed 4-3.  But in the 7th, the Dragons handed them a rally.  Starter Samir Khan allowed back-to-back singles to open the inning, then recovered to strike out DH Teddy Olivas.  2B Dominique Barkan, up next, hit a sharp grounder that might have been an inning-ending double play.  But 3B Jake Kapoor let the ball skip underneath his glove, loading the bases with only one out.

Third base has been a major trouble spot for the Dragons this season.  Kapoor is the only one so far to display decent offense at the position.  But his glovework is threatening to make him unplayable.

“It’s frustrating and embarrassing for me, obviously,” Kapoor said.  “I don’t have an excuse for it.  I just need to keep working on getting better.”

After Kapoor’s error, Khan allowed a two-RBI single to SS Carrol Burt, after which Davidson pulled him from the game.  Reliever Carrol Avallone coaxed another potential double-play grounder, but SS Alan Herdt made a poor throw to second, and all hands were safe as another run scored.  Instead of making it out with the lead intact, Jacksonville now trailed 6-4.

The Dragons rallied to tie in the bottom of the inning against Silver City reliever Jamaal Sapp, and the deadlock persisted until the 9th.  The Outlaws pushed the winning runs across, but again with considerable help from the home team.  2B Alexis Popejoy bobbled a grounder, leading to a base runner who eventually scored, and reliever Emilio Abbas forced in the other run with a bases-loaded walk.

“We’re beating ourselves, and that’s the worst part,” said Kapoor.  “We’re not giving ourselves a chance to win these games, and that’s keeping us out of contention.  We’ve got to figure out a way to fix this.”

Outlaws reliever Cliff Humphrey (1-0), who pitched a perfect inning and a third, got the win.  Go Matsumoto worked the 9th for his 15th save of the season.

The Outlaws (30-22) will start right-hander Juan Carlos Lopez tomorrow.  The Dragons (20-28) counter with your fireballer Juan Sarmiento.

 

5/31/2015, SCO15-JAX15, Tesla Field
 
                       1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9     R  H  E   LOB DP
2015 Outlaws           1  0  0  0  1  1  3  0  2     8 11  1    10  2
2015 Dragons           0  3  0  0  0  1  2  0  0     6  7  3     5  0
 
Outlaws              AB  R  H BI   AVG    Dragons              AB  R  H BI   AVG
Barkan            2b  5  1  0  0  .275    Leon              cf  4  2  2  2  .263
Burt              ss  5  1  2  2  .255    Kapoor            3b  4  1  0  0  .326
Brewmaker         3b  5  2  1  1  .266    Teachout          c   3  0  1  1  .371
Wason             rf  4  0  1  1  .299    Hopps             rf  3  0  1  1  .284
Elliott           1b  3  1  1  1  .299    Hartley           dh  4  0  1  0  .242
Ivey              lf  5  0  1  1  .249    Parker            lf  4  2  2  2  .235
Cardona           cf  3  1  1  0  .226    Herdt             ss  3  1  0  0  .247
 Jeffreys         ph  1  0  1  0  .267    Canez             1b  4  0  0  0  .208
 Whittier         cf  0  0  0  0  .400    Popejoy           2b  4  0  0  0  .200
Watson            c   4  1  1  1  .200                         33  6  7  6
Olivas            dh  5  1  2  1  .176
                     40  8 11  8
 
Outlaws                          INN  H  R ER BB  K PCH STR   ERA
Rodriguez                        6.0  4  4  2  4  1  87  51  1.27
Sapp             BS 2            0.2  3  2  2  1  0  17  11  2.70
Humphrey         W 1-0           1.1  0  0  0  0  2  13  10  3.14
Matsumoto        S 15            1.0  0  0  0  0  1  13  10  2.42
                                 9.0  7  6  4  5  4 130  82 
 
Dragons                          INN  H  R ER BB  K PCH STR   ERA
Khan                             6.1  8  6  4  2  2 105  61  5.02
Avallone                         1.1  2  0  0  0  1  35  19  5.30
Rosado                           0.1  0  0  0  0  0   6   4  7.00
Youngblood       L 0-1           0.0  0  1  0  0  0   2   1  8.10
Jackson                          0.2  0  1  1  1  0   7   3  2.16
Abbas                            0.1  1  0  0  2  0  16   6  6.43
                                 9.0 11  8  5  5  3 171  94 
 
SCO: Jeffreys batted for Cardona in the 8th
     Whittier inserted at cf in the 8th
 
E-Rodriguez, Kapoor, Herdt, Popejoy. 2B-Wason(3). HR-Olivas(17), Leon(7), 
Parker 2(3). RBI-Burt 2(19), Brewmaker(37), Wason(49), Elliott(43), Ivey(19), 
Watson(23), Olivas(26), Leon 2(23), Teachout(22), Hopps(38), Parker 2(12). 
SB-Brewmaker(1). K-Burt, Ivey, Olivas, Leon, Hopps, Hartley, Herdt. BB-Wason, 
Elliott 2, Watson, Whittier, Leon, Kapoor, Teachout, Hopps, Herdt. 
GWRBI: Ivey
Temperature: 90, Sky: cloudy, Wind: in from right at 11 MPH.

 

California SharksKnoxville SmokiesCALIFORNIA SHARKS 6, KNOXVILLE SMOKIES 2

California Sharks starter Deke Slater has been looking for some good vibrations.  The right-hander has stumbled badly this season, getting knocked out of games early again and again.  Slater’s seemingly endless struggles have dampened his normally happy-go-lucky demeanor, and he has searched in vain for answers.  Slater has tried yoga, meditation, loud rock music, primal screams, extra practice, no practice, all in search of that elusive groove.

Today everything clicked for Slater as he turned in his finest game of the season, a complete-game gem that allowed the Sharks to secure their first-ever victory over the Knoxville Smokies, 6-2.

What was the secret to Slater’s success?  Letting go.

“All season long, I’ve been trying to force things and control my destiny,” said Slater (3-7).  “But today, I realized that none of us controls our destiny.  It’s all up to the Big Kahuna in the sky.  So I just settled back and let the pitching flow.”

Slater’s pitching flowed beautifully on this day, quieting the often-raucous crowd at Rocky Top Park.  Rather than trying to rack up strikeouts, he let his fielders do the work.  Rather than falling back on his fastball, Slater mixed in his slider and curve much more than usual.  Rather than deciding on the pitches himself, he relied on C Thaddeus Lockley’s calls.

“Just had to get out of my head,” said Slater.  “Our catcher’s a smart dude, so why fight it?  Let him lead the way.  I’m just the instrument.”

Of the seven hits Slater allowed, only two went for extra bases: a double by 2B Jeremiah Campo and a triple by DH Alex Jaramillo.  Even more impressively, neither man scored.

To California manager Eduardo Aponte, the true sign of Slater’s success was the high number of groundball outs.

“The key to Deke’s game is staying low,” said Aponte.  “When he starts to elevate and the hitters are putting balls in the air, I worry.  But today, much of it stayed on the ground.  So I felt it would be a good day.”

While one struggling starter got the turnaround he was hoping for today, the same couldn’t be said from Knoxville starter Yu Chen (1-4).  The Korean lefty has been the subject of trade rumors, always a possibility with the ever-turbulent Smokies.  If Chen is pitching for his future in a Knoxville uniform, he didn’t make much of a case for himself today.

He made a major mistake in the 1st inning, trying to start always-dangerous Sharks LF Kenneth Mader with a center-cut fastball.  Mader crushed it deep over the center-field fence for a three-run homer that would provide California with all the runs it needed.  Chen lasted until the 5th, but departed after allowing an RBI triple to RF Jessie Corona.

The approached employed by Chen and reliever Jerry Tile was vastly different than Slater’s.  The Knoxville pitchers focused on missing bats, to considerable success: Chen and Tile combined to strike out 11 California hitters.  But when the Sharks did hit the ball, they tended to hit it hard.

“I bet their [pitchers] got whiplash watching all those balls flying around,” joked Sharks DH Eddie Nix.

The Sharks (29-20) will rely on the right arm of Brian Goreman tomorrow.  Manager Snuff Wallace would not identify a starter for the Smokies (29-22).  “It depends on some stuff,” he said.

 

5/31/2015, CAL15-KNX15, Rocky Top Park
 
                       1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9     R  H  E   LOB DP
2015 Sharks            3  0  0  0  2  0  1  0  0     6 15  1     6  0
2015 Smokies           0  0  0  1  0  0  0  0  1     2  7  0     8  1
 
Sharks               AB  R  H BI   AVG    Smokies              AB  R  H BI   AVG
Corona            rf  5  2  3  1  .323    Blair             cf  5  0  0  0  .286
Suarez            cf  5  0  2  1  .260    Campo             2b  4  0  1  0  .292
Smyth             ss  5  1  3  1  .385    Bryant            1b  4  0  0  0  .286
Mader             lf  3  1  2  3  .342    Campo             rf  4  0  0  0  .263
Mote              3b  4  0  0  0  .255    Jaramillo         dh  4  1  2  0  .266
Lockley           c   4  0  0  0  .290    Moriarty          ss  4  1  2  0  .269
Oller             1b  4  0  2  0  .323    Carlo             c   2  0  0  0  .167
Nix               dh  4  0  1  0  .305     Gomez            ph  1  0  0  1  .216
Puffer            2b  4  2  2  0  .171    Aceuedo           3b  3  0  2  1  .324
                     38  6 15  6          Sisco             lf  4  0  0  0  .286
                                                               35  2  7  2
 
Sharks                           INN  H  R ER BB  K PCH STR   ERA
Slater           W 3-7           9.0  7  2  2  2  3 111  76  6.47
                                 9.0  7  2  2  2  3 111  76 
 
Smokies                          INN  H  R ER BB  K PCH STR   ERA
Chen             L 1-4           4.0  9  5  5  0  5  52  39  6.60
Tile                             5.0  6  1  1  0  6  68  50  1.46
                                 9.0 15  6  6  0 11 120  89 
 
KNX: Gomez batted for Carlo in the 9th
 
E-Smyth. 2B-Corona(7), Campo(10). 3B-Corona(9), Jaramillo(3). HR-Mader(11). 
RBI-Corona(21), Suarez(35), Smyth(46), Mader 3(47), Aceuedo(24), Gomez(4). 
CS-Mader. K-Suarez, Smyth, Mote 3, Lockley 3, Nix, Puffer 2, Bryant, Carlo, 
Sisco. BB-Carlo, Aceuedo. HBP-Mader. HB-Tile. 
GWRBI: Mader
Temperature: 90, Sky: clear, Wind: out to right at 10 MPH.

 

Jackson HammerheadsSalt Lake SamuraiJACKSON HAMMERHEADS 12, SALT LAKE SAMURAI 3

The Jackson Hammerheads pride themselves on playing small ball.  Unlike some other clubs that live and die by the home run, the Hammerheads are defiantly old-fashioned.  Their throwback approach has propelled them to the top of the Eastern division, and today’s game was a testament to their success.  Despite collecting only one extra-base hit, the Hammerheads slowly but steadily singled their way to a 12-3 blowout of the hapless Salt Lake Samurai.

“That’s the secret to our success,” said Jackson manager Lou Hayes.  “Just take it 90 feet at a time and wear ‘em down.”

The Hammerheads had no problem wearing down Samurai southpaw Jonathan Fernandez (0-7).  The Salt Lake hurler spent weeks in bullpen exile, but after tossing 5 2/3 strong innings in an epic game against Milwaukee earlier this week, manager Johnny Dugan decided to give him another shot.

By the rather dismal standards that Fernandez established before being booted from the rotation, this was actually one of his better starts.  But that’s not saying much.  In 7 innings, Fernandez allowed 13 hits and 8 runs (5 of them earned).

“I really thought I’d figured something out while I wasn’t playing,” Fernandez said.  “And I didn’t give up a ton of hard hits today.  But I did give up a ton of hits, and that’s the problem.  I just don’t know how to shut the faucet off.”

Dugan was more positive about Fernandez’s outing.  “I liked a good bit of what I saw,” said the Salt Lake skipper.  “He was battling out there, that’s for sure.  And some of those hits were just bad luck.  Jon is going to get more chances, I promise that.”

The Hammerheads’ relentless approach was most on display in the 8th inning.  Already ahead 6-3, Jackson sent 10 hitters to the plate in the inning, burning through four Samurai pitchers and putting up six runs.

Fernandez started the inning, allowing a double to DH Erin Arispe and a walk before departing.  Lefty Oliver Jones entered, gave up an RBI single to SS Octavio Westerberg, and was pulled.  Reliable right-hander Miguel Bautista came next.  He went walk-single-walk-single before being yanked.  As the Samurai brought in their fourth pitcher, veteran Rick Wilkins, the Hammerheads had already plated five runs without recording a single out.  Wilkins finally finished the inning, but allowed another run in the process.

“We really kind of wanted to tap out at that point,” admitted Dugan.  “They just wouldn’t let up.  I don’t know if they were making a point or what.”

Meanwhile, Jackson ace Henry Jones (5-3) breezed through 7 solid innings.  The three runs he allowed were unearned, thanks to an error by Westerberg.  Samurai 1B Neal Thomas took Jones deep for his 16th homer of the season.  Five of the six hits Jones gave up were to the middle of Salt Lake’s order: Thomas, LF Chip Sparks, and CF Lee Cosgrove.

“I was throwing free and easy today,” Jones said.  “I probably could have pitched all nine, but Skip wanted to save me.”

Closer Rick Sheen continued the rehabilitation of his season, collecting the final five outs for his eighth save and driving his ERA down to 3.78 for the season.

One bright spot for the Samurai in this game was the return of RF Romeo Martinez.  He had been Salt Lake’s cleanup hitter before going down with a partially torn hamstring three weeks ago.  Although Martinez went 0-for-4 in this game, the team didn’t mind.  “It was just so good to see him back out there,” said Dugan.

The Hammerheads (34-17) have left-hander Kiko Walton ready to go tomorrow.  The Samurai (10-44) are scheduled to start slumping right-hander Logan Morris.

 

5/31/2015, SLC15-JCK15, Cash Carter Downs
 
                       1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9     R  H  E   LOB DP
2015 Samurai           0  0  3  0  0  0  0  0  0     3 10  1     7  2
2015 Hammerheads       0  3  0  0  3  0  0  6  x    12 16  1     9  1
 
Samurai              AB  R  H BI   AVG    Hammerheads          AB  R  H BI   AVG
Whitworth         dh  5  1  2  0  .257    Deason            cf  3  1  1  2  .308
Motonari          ss  4  0  0  0  .244    Westerberg        ss  5  1  3  3  .341
Martinez          rf  4  0  0  0  .283    Fleitas           3b  4  1  0  0  .308
Thomas            1b  4  1  2  2  .248    Wilczynski        rf  5  1  1  2  .288
Sparks            lf  3  1  2  0  .244    Doyle             c   4  3  2  0  .343
Cosgrove          cf  4  0  2  1  .279    Righter           2b  5  1  4  2  .342
Gaytan            2b  4  0  1  0  .236    Battin            1b  4  2  2  1  .247
Davidson          3b  3  0  0  0  .204    Johnson           lf  5  0  1  1  .319
 Parillo          ph  1  0  0  0  .000    Arispe            dh  4  2  2  0  .256
Regner            c   2  0  0  0  .127                         39 12 16 11
 Norden           ph  0  0  0  0  .224
 Turnbull         c   0  0  0  0  .128
 Backus           ph  1  0  1  0  .258
                     35  3 10  3
 
Samurai                          INN  H  R ER BB  K PCH STR   ERA
Fernandez        L 0-7           7.0 13  8  5  2  1 106  67  7.16
Jones                            0.0  1  1  1  0  0   2   1  6.39
Bautista                         0.0  2  3  3  2  0  17   6  3.74
Wilkins                          1.0  0  0  0  1  0  12   6  5.09
                                 8.0 16 12  9  5  1 137  80 
 
Hammerheads                      INN  H  R ER BB  K PCH STR   ERA
Jones            W 5-3           7.0  6  3  0  2  5 103  61  3.51
Sircy            H 1             0.1  0  0  0  0  0   4   3  1.59
Sheen            S 8             1.2  4  0  0  0  1  19  14  3.78
                                 9.0 10  3  0  2  6 126  78 
 
SLC: Norden batted for Regner in the 7th
     Turnbull inserted at c in the 7th
     Parillo batted for Davidson in the 9th
     Backus batted for Turnbull in the 9th
 
E-Thomas, Westerberg. 2B-Sparks(11), Cosgrove(15), Arispe(9). HR-Thomas(16). 
RBI-Thomas 2(38), Cosgrove(20), Deason 2(41), Westerberg 3(33), 
Wilczynski 2(28), Righter 2(29), Battin(28), Johnson(29). SB-Sparks(1). 
CS-Gaytan. K-Motonari, Martinez 2, Thomas 2, Regner, Battin. BB-Sparks, 
Norden, Deason 2, Fleitas, Doyle, Battin. HBP-Arispe. HB-Fernandez. 
GWRBI: Battin
Temperature: 93, Sky: clear, Wind: right to left at 7 MPH.

 

Orlando CalrissiansMilwaukee Bear ClawsORLANDO CALRISSIANS 5, MILWAUKEE BEAR CLAWS 1

Things generally haven’t gone as planned for the Orlando Calrissians this season.  Entering the season with great expectations, the Calrissians have been mired in the basement all season and have failed to produce on both sides of the ball.  While the generally blasé crowds at Bespin haven’t turned on the team, the crowds have been sparser than would make owner Brian Aufmuth happy.

In today’s game against the league-leading Milwaukee Bear Claws, the fans who did show up got a glimpse of how things were supposed to go this season.  Ace starter Nathan Nunb tossed a fantastic game, silencing Milwaukee’s menacing bats, while the offense had a rare explosion of homers.  It all added up to an impressive 5-1 victory.

“In my experience, there is no such thing as luck,” said Calrissians manager Logan Bothan, no doubt pleased to be able to talk about something other than his own job security for a change.  “This was the result of a lot of hard work paying off.  I hope we can build on this.”

Nunb (6-3) has been the shining star in an otherwise underwhelming Orlando rotation.  Apart from Nunb, the starting staff consists of Nate McGowan, who has pitched decently but can’t buy a win, and a rotating cast of underperformers.

“It’s funny that the guy that doesn’t look like an athlete may be the best player on our team,” mused Calrissians pitching coach John Smoltz.  Nunb, who stands only 5’8”, has been described as looking more like a fire hydrant than a ballplayer.  But on this day, he was pitching like the ace he is, carving up the Bear Claws lineup with surprising ease, allowing only five hits.

The only drama surrounding Nunb was whether he would pitch a shutout.  For most of the game, it looked like he would.  But 3B Ikaru Suzuki led off the 9th with a triple, and Milwaukee managed to get him home on a sac fly from DH Gilberto Fleitas.  Despite his shutout being spoiled, the fans gave Nunb a standing ovation as he walked off the field at the end of the game.

“I’m glad they gave him the recognition he deserved,” said Calrissians 3B Curt Figueroa.  “He pitched his butt off today.”

The Calrissians’ often-sickly offense was in rude health today against Bear Claws starter Benicio Torrenueva (4-5).  The big left-hander used a fastball-heavy approach against the Orlando lineup, and they teed off on him.

The Calrissians launched four home runs against Torrenueva.  C Herschel Lesher started the party with a 2-run bomb in the 2nd.  RF Magnus Larson went deep in the next inning.  LF Lauren Hartl added a solo shot of his own in the 5th.  And 2B Erasmo Crofoot brought the curtain down in the 8th with his 22nd homer of the year.

“Who were those guys out there?” joked Bothan.  “That’s more homers than we usually get in a week.”

The fans were surely happy to savor a win for once.  But the question remains whether the Calrissians can, as their manager hopes, build on this.  Can they get going in the right direction, save Bothan’s job, vault into contention, and give the fans a reason to show up other than to drink and gamble?

“Never tell me the odds,” Bothan said.  “We’ve just got to keep fighting and see what happens.”

The Calrissians (16-35) will hope that right-hander Chuck Weaver can duplicate Nunb’s impressive performance tomorrow.  The Bear Claws (36-16) will count on righty Herculez Mendoza to snap their rare two-game losing streak.

 

5/31/2015, MIL15-ORL15, Bespin
 
                       1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9     R  H  E   LOB DP
2015 Bear Claws        0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  1     1  5  0     5  0
2015 Calrissians       0  2  1  0  1  0  0  1  x     5 10  0     6  0
 
Bear Claws           AB  R  H BI   AVG    Calrissians          AB  R  H BI   AVG
Petitt            ss  4  0  1  0  .311    Gilmartin         ss  4  0  1  0  .239
Iddings           2b  3  0  0  0  .254    Hartl             lf  4  1  1  1  .282
Mateo             1b  4  1  2  0  .325    Law               dh  4  0  0  0  .278
Suzuki            3b  4  0  1  0  .297    Larson            rf  4  1  2  1  .264
Fleitas           dh  3  0  0  1  .087    Crofoot           2b  4  1  2  1  .228
Raine             lf  4  0  0  0  .237    Defoor            1b  4  1  1  0  .241
Trumbauer         rf  3  0  0  0  .271    Figeroa           3b  4  0  1  0  .258
McGuigan          c   3  0  1  0  .273    Lesher            c   4  1  2  2  .226
Maxwell           cf  3  0  0  0  .303    Elias             cf  2  0  0  0  .217
                     31  1  5  1                               34  5 10  5
 
Bear Claws                       INN  H  R ER BB  K PCH STR   ERA
Torrenueva       L 4-5           7.2 10  5  5  1  4 128  78  4.42
Juens                            0.1  0  0  0  0  0   3   2  2.08
                                 8.0 10  5  5  1  4 131  80 
 
Calrissians                      INN  H  R ER BB  K PCH STR   ERA
Numb             W 6-3           9.0  5  1  1  1  2 105  69  3.92
                                 9.0  5  1  1  1  2 105  69 
 
2B-Petitt(20), Larson(7), Defoor(11), Lesher(3). 3B-Mateo(6). HR-Hartl(3), 
Larson(10), Crofoot(22), Lesher(7). RBI-Fleitas(18), Hartl(15), Larson(26), 
Crofoot(52), Lesher 2(12). K-Mateo, Maxwell, Law 2, Elias 2. BB-Iddings, 
Elias. SF-Fleitas. 
GWRBI: Lesher
Temperature: 90, Sky: clear, Wind: out to left at 8 MPH.

 

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