PBL Scores, 7/26/15

Another full slate of games today.  Who’s up and who’s down?  The answer lies below…

Knoxville SmokiesSalt Lake SamuraiKNOXVILLE SMOKIES 5, SALT LAKE SAMURAI 2

The Knoxville Smokies keep finding ways to win.  Between their unexpectedly effective starting rotation, their rock-solid bullpen, and an offense that gives them just enough runs, the Smokies are a team that’s hard to beat.  That was the case again today, as a tie-breaking 7th-inning homer from DH Malcolm Bryant backing up a strong outing from Jack Jacques in a 5-2 win over the Salt Lake Samurai.

“That’s the way we do it, boys,” said Smokies manager Snuff Wallace.  “Just the way we drew it up.  I’m thinking about getting me some of those victory cigars like Red Auerbach used to smoke.  I’d have fired me up one as soon as Bryant’s ball went over the fence.”

Bryant’s three-run blast brought an end to a tough day for Samurai starter Logan Morris (5-11).  The right-hander suffered uncharacteristic struggles with control, issuing six walks and notching only one strikeout.  Knoxville had runners in scoring position in virtually every inning, but until the 7th, Morris was able to wriggle out of those jams again and again while suffering minimal damage.

“It was a tough loss, but I really appreciated the way Logan battled,” said Samurai manager Johnny Dugan.  “He definitely didn’t have his best stuff, but he hung in there and found ways to get guys out.  He ran out of rope at the end, but I give him a lot of credit for his effort.”

It’s astounding how close Morris came to escaping even his 7th-inning predicament.  LF Ezra Sisco knocked a one-out single that inning, but was thrown out trying to steal second.  CF Joe Blair then pounded a double off the wall in right center that almost certainly would have scored Sisco if he’d stayed put.  Morris uncorked a wild pitch that moved Blair to third on his way to walking 2B Jeremiah Campo on four pitches.

“I probably should have gone and gotten him at that point,” admitted Dugan.  “But I wanted to give him a shot to finish the inning.”

Morris worked an 0-2 count on Bryant, then tried to finish him with a changeup on the outside corner.  The pitch caught more of the plate than Morris intended, and Bryant pounced and launched a high fly ball that landed three rows deep in the left-field bleachers.

“The pitch before that was right in my wheelhouse, and I fouled it off,” said Bryant.  “So I was already kind of pissed at myself, and I was looking for a pitch I could drive.  When it came in, I muscled up and planted it.”

Meanwhile, Jacques (11-5) pitched another strong game for Knoxville.  He faced a sticky situation in the 1st, when Salt Lake loaded the bases with only one out.  But Jacques managed to work out of it while allowing only one run, and generally breezed until allowing a solo homer to Samurai 1B Neal Thomas in the 6th.

“Jack’s a killer,” said Wallace.  “Cold-blooded SOB.  He’s been huge for us.”

After Jacques worked 8 innings, reliever Rick Wilkins worked the 9th for his third save.  Wilkins has been appearing in a number of closing situations recently, while incumbent closer Charlie Pasternak has rarely been seen.  Wallace declined to confirm that he’d made a closer switch, saying only, “I’m just tryin’ some stuff.  You get bored in mid-season and want to keep things fresh, that’s all.”

The Smokies (59-38) can sweep the series tomorrow behind their ace, Elicio Santana.  The Samurai (28-70) will send diminutive righty Davey Skargard to the hill.

 

7/26/2015, SLC15-KNX15, Rocky Top Park
 
                       1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9     R  H  E   LOB DP
2015 Samurai           1  0  0  0  0  1  0  0  0     2  8  2     8  2
2015 Smokies           0  1  1  0  0  0  3  0  x     5  6  1     5  0
 
Samurai              AB  R  H BI   AVG    Smokies              AB  R  H BI   AVG
Motonari          ss  5  0  1  0  .249    Blair             cf  3  1  1  0  .282
Whitworth         dh  4  1  2  0  .273    Campo             2b  2  2  1  0  .306
Cosgrove          cf  2  0  0  0  .272    Bryant            dh  4  1  1  3  .303
Martinez          rf  4  0  2  0  .265    Campo             rf  3  0  0  0  .290
Thomas            1b  3  1  1  2  .220    Moriarty          ss  3  1  1  2  .283
Sparks            lf  4  0  0  0  .251    Battin            1b  2  0  1  0  .299
Turnbull          c   4  0  0  0  .155    Bossard           c   4  0  0  0  .225
Gaytan            2b  4  0  0  0  .243     Carlo            c   0  0  0  0  .161
Davidson          3b  4  0  2  0  .198    Aceuedo           3b  3  0  0  0  .288
                     34  2  8  2          Sisco             lf  3  0  1  0  .289
                                                               27  5  6  5
 
Samurai                          INN  H  R ER BB  K PCH STR   ERA
Morris           L 5-11          6.2  5  5  5  6  1 111  57  5.16
Okamura                          1.1  1  0  0  0  0  19  11  4.24
                                 8.0  6  5  5  6  1 130  68 
 
Smokies                          INN  H  R ER BB  K PCH STR   ERA
Jacques          W 11-5          8.0  7  2  2  2  5 126  73  4.20
Wilkins          S 3             1.0  1  0  0  0  1  15  10  2.64
                                 9.0  8  2  2  2  6 141  83 
 
KNX: Carlo inserted at c in the 9th
 
E-Motonari 2, Aceuedo. 2B-Whitworth(9), Blair(16). HR-Thomas(26), Bryant(20), 
Moriarty(12). RBI-Thomas 2(62), Bryant 3(61), Moriarty 2(65). SB-Campo(9), 
Campo(8). CS-Motonari, Sisco. K-Motonari, Thomas, Turnbull 2, Gaytan, 
Davidson, Bossard. BB-Cosgrove 2, Blair, Campo 2, Campo, Battin 2. SF-Thomas, 
Moriarty. WP-Morris 2. 
GWRBI: Bryant
Temperature: 101, Sky: clear, Wind: in from center at 10 MPH.

 

Silver City OutlawsJackson HammerheadsSILVER CITY OUTLAWS 9, JACKSON HAMMERHEADS 2

Silver City Outlaws left-hander Pedro Rodriguez is having a very impressive rookie season.  The 19-year-old came blazing out of the gate, putting together an unbelievable string of starts and showing a poise that belied his age.  His numbers sagged a bit at midseason, a combination of fatigue on his young arm and a lack of support from Silver City’s streaky offense.  Today, though, Rodriguez was back to his early-season form, carrying a shutout into the 9th inning and finally getting some runs from his offense, as the Outlaws prevailed in a 9-2 laugher over the Jackson Hammerheads.

“Sometimes I just have to rub my eyes, because I don’t believe what I’m seeing,” said Outlaws manager John Jarha.  “How is it that this kid’s only 19 and he’s doing all this?”

Rodriguez (9-5) featured the overpowering fastball that’s fueled much of his success, racking up 12 strikeouts in his complete-game effort.  “I tip my hat to the kid; his fastball was really working today,” said Hammerheads 3B Kim Fleitas.  “Sounded like it, anyway.”

Through the first 8 innings, Rodriguez limited Jackson to four hits, all singles, while allowing no runs.  He tired as his pitch count climbed in the 9th, finally surrendering a couple of meaningless runs, but held on to finish it out.

“I asked Pedro if he wanted me to bring somebody in for the 9th,” said Jarha.  “He stared right through me and said, ‘No.  My game.’  So I let him have it.”

Hammerheads lefty Kiko Walton (9-5) continued his up-and-down season with another clunker, coughing up seven runs in 5 2/3 innings.  Unlike yesterday, when there were an unusually high number of homers for Cash Carter Downs, the Outlaws scored their runs in the traditional way today, clustering their hits in a timely fashion.  They put up three in the 2nd, following CF Javier Cardona’s leadoff homer with a double, a triple, and an RBI groundout.  Then in the 6th, they put up four more runs on three singles, a double, and a walk, chasing Walton in the process.

“Apart from those two innings, I was killing it,” said Walton.

The starting rotation remains the biggest obstacle separating the Hammerheads from the division title.  Their lineup generates plenty of runs, and the bullpen has stabilized after a rocky start.  But Jackson continues to search for stability in its rotation.  Ace Henry Jones has been good and getting better, and fifth starter Jordan Bergman has piled up a gaudy record despite average numbers.  But Walton has seesawed between awesome and awful, third starter Jason Wallace just lost his rotation spot, and fourth starter Yu Chen has been a flop since arriving in a midseason trade.

“If we can’t find some more steady starting arms, we’re sunk,” said Hammerheads manager Lou Brown.  “At this point, I’m tempted to bring Eddie [Harris, pitching coach] out of retirement.”

The Outlaws (49-48) will try to capture the series tomorrow behind righty Linus Pauling.  The Hammerheads (54-43) welcome left-hander Luke Danton, Wallace’s replacement, back to the rotation.

 

7/26/2015, SCO15-JCK15, Cash Carter Downs
 
                       1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9     R  H  E   LOB DP
2015 Outlaws           0  0  3  0  0  4  2  0  0     9 12  2     6  0
2015 Hammerheads       0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  2     2  7  3     9  1
 
Outlaws              AB  R  H BI   AVG    Hammerheads          AB  R  H BI   AVG
Barkan            2b  5  1  3  2  .276    Deason            cf  4  0  0  0  .308
Brewmaker         3b  5  0  0  1  .254    Westerberg        ss  5  0  1  0  .357
Jeffreys          c   4  1  0  0  .201    Fleitas           3b  4  0  0  0  .282
Wason             rf  4  1  2  0  .300    Jaramillo         dh  4  0  0  0  .238
 Watson           ph  1  0  0  0  .189    Doyle             c   4  1  1  0  .321
Elliott           1b  4  0  1  0  .285    Righter           2b  3  1  1  0  .357
 Cipolla          ph  1  0  0  0  .161    Wilczynski        1b  2  0  1  0  .246
Whittier          lf  5  1  2  2  .261     Walcott          ph  1  0  0  0  .241
Hintz             dh  3  1  0  0  .200     Thomasson        1b  1  0  1  1  .238
Cardona           cf  4  2  2  2  .230    Johnson           lf  4  0  1  1  .325
Burt              ss  4  2  2  2  .210    Arispe            rf  3  0  1  0  .254
                     40  9 12  9                               35  2  7  2
 
Outlaws                          INN  H  R ER BB  K PCH STR   ERA
Rodriguez        W 9-5           9.0  7  2  2  3 12 140  88  2.38
                                 9.0  7  2  2  3 12 140  88 
 
Hammerheads                      INN  H  R ER BB  K PCH STR   ERA
Walton           L 9-5           5.2  8  7  7  1  3  93  57  5.07
Seeman                           2.1  4  2  2  1  2  43  26  5.97
Turnbull                         1.0  0  0  0  0  0   9   6  3.91
                                 9.0 12  9  9  2  5 145  89 
 
SCO: Watson batted for Wason in the 9th
     Cipolla batted for Elliott in the 9th
     Watson moved to rf in the 9th
     Cipolla moved to 1b in the 9th
JCK: Walcott batted for Wilczynski in the 7th
     Thomasson inserted at 1b in the 8th
 
E-Barkan, Burt, Deason, Westerberg, Wilczynski. 2B-Wason(11), Cardona(17), 
Burt(10), Righter(10). 3B-Barkan(8). HR-Cardona(15). RBI-Barkan 2(19), 
Brewmaker(59), Whittier 2(23), Cardona 2(50), Burt 2(30), Johnson(69), 
Thomasson(3). CS-Wilczynski. K-Barkan, Brewmaker 2, Wason, Elliott, Deason 3, 
Westerberg, Fleitas, Jaramillo 2, Doyle 2, Johnson, Arispe 2. BB-Jeffreys, 
Hintz, Deason, Righter, Arispe. PB-Jeffreys. WP-Rodriguez, Seeman. 
GWRBI: Cardona
Temperature: 86, Sky: clear, Wind: out to left at 5 MPH.

 

Milwaukee Bear ClawsJacksonville DragonsMILWAUKEE BEAR CLAWS 5, JACKSONVILLE DRAGONS 3

In today’s game, the Jacksonville Dragons launched three home runs.  RF Roderick Hopps went deep twice, and 1B Jake Kapoor hit it out once.  Ordinarily, three longballs in one game would equal victory for the Dragons.  But all three were solo shots, and they were the only runs Jacksonville scored as they fell short against the Milwaukee Bear Claws, 5-3.

“Okay, so the winning streak is officially dead and buried,” said Dragons manager Harlan Davidson.  “Are we gonna have to lose 10 in a row now to balance it out?”

Optimism was running high in the home dugout after Kapoor and Hopps launched back-to-back jacks in the 1st against Bear Claws starter Herculez Mendoza.  But that early hope flickered and died as Mendoza (5-4) didn’t allow another hit until the 5th inning and didn’t give up another run until Hopps’ 6th-inning blast.

“I thought we got off to a great start,” said Kapoor.  “Too bad we couldn’t get any sustained rallies going.  Mendoza’s a tough guy to hit.”

Milwaukee equaled the Dragons’ run total for the day with their 3rd-inning outburst against Jacksonville starter Randy Cannon (8-8).  Bear Claws RF Wally Trumbauer opened the inning with a solo shot, followed by a triple from C Frances McGuigan.  CF DeRonde Maxwell’s groundout brought the Milwaukee catcher home.

SS Red Petitt then generated a run out of speed and daring: he beat out a bunt for a single, bolted for second base, scooted on to third when C Jan Esquivel’s throw skipped away, then raced home on a fly to center, challenging Dragons CF Alfonso Leon’s arm and winning.

“Red’s a daredevil,” cackled Bear Claws manager Poss Horton.  “God, I love watching him scamper around out there.”

Petitt later drove in Milwaukee’s other two runs with a single in the 5th and a groundout in the 7th.

The Dragons had a shot at a comeback when Mendoza hit the wall in the 8th.  With one out, Jacksonville loaded the bases on two singles and a hit batter.  But Horton called on closer Oscar Buenaventura, who got SS Alan Herdt to ground into a double play to end the inning.  Buenaventura set the Dragons down in order in the 9th to notch his 27th save.

“I love being able to put Bunny in there,” said Horton.  “Just wind him up and turn him loose, and he gets the job done every time.”

The Bear Claws (65-33) can complete the sweep tomorrow behind left-hander Zack Perriman.  The Dragons (44-51) will start righty Samir “King” Khan.

 

7/26/2015, MIL15-JAX15, Tesla Field
 
                       1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9     R  H  E   LOB DP
2015 Bear Claws        0  0  3  0  1  0  1  0  0     5  7  0     3  1
2015 Dragons           2  0  0  0  0  1  0  0  0     3  7  1     7  0
 
Bear Claws           AB  R  H BI   AVG    Dragons              AB  R  H BI   AVG
Petitt            ss  4  1  2  2  .311    Leon              cf  4  0  0  0  .245
Iddings           2b  3  0  0  1  .254    Kapoor            1b  4  1  1  1  .308
Mateo             1b  4  0  0  0  .358    Hopps             rf  3  2  2  2  .291
Suzuki            3b  4  0  0  0  .305    Hartley           lf  1  0  0  0  .249
Mealey            lf  3  0  0  0  .296     Parker           lf  3  0  1  0  .206
Raine             dh  4  0  0  0  .238    Esquivel          c   4  0  2  0  .266
Trumbauer         rf  4  2  2  1  .246    Canez             dh  3  0  0  0  .214
McGuigan          c   4  2  2  0  .295    Herdt             ss  3  0  0  0  .219
Maxwell           cf  3  0  1  1  .312    Taliaferro        3b  4  0  1  0  .257
                     33  5  7  5          Popejoy           2b  2  0  0  0  .222
                                           Gajewski         ph  1  0  0  0  .200
                                           Mount            2b  1  0  0  0  .212
                                                               33  3  7  3
 
Bear Claws                       INN  H  R ER BB  K PCH STR   ERA
Mendoza          W 5-4           7.1  7  3  3  3  9 141  87  4.82
Buenaventura     S 27            1.2  0  0  0  0  2  13   9  1.57
                                 9.0  7  3  3  3 11 154  96 
 
Dragons                          INN  H  R ER BB  K PCH STR   ERA
Cannon           L 8-8           8.0  7  5  4  1  6 116  76  3.99
Corridon                         1.0  0  0  0  0  1   7   6  5.15
                                 9.0  7  5  4  1  7 123  82 
 
JAX: Parker inserted at lf in the 2nd
     Gajewski batted for Popejoy in the 7th
     Mount inserted at 2b in the 8th
 
E-Esquivel. 2B-Taliaferro(10). 3B-McGuigan(5). HR-Trumbauer(12), Kapoor(15), 
Hopps 2(22). RBI-Petitt 2(53), Iddings(51), Trumbauer(47), Maxwell(38), 
Kapoor(60), Hopps 2(68). SB-Petitt(24), Trumbauer(6), Herdt(3). K-Mateo 2, 
Mealey 2, Trumbauer 2, McGuigan, Leon 3, Kapoor, Canez, Herdt, Taliaferro 2, 
Parker 2, Mount. BB-Mealey, Leon, Hopps, Herdt. SF-Iddings. HBP-Canez. 
HB-Mendoza. WP-Mendoza. 
GWRBI: Iddings
Rob Hartley was injured for this game only
Temperature: 70, Wind: none.

 

California SharksOrlando CalrissiansCALIFORNIA SHARKS 7, ORLANDO CALRISSIANS 2

“What rocks about this game is that it puts you in touch with childhood,” said California Sharks starter Deke Slater.  “You get to play out in the grass, and it’s okay if you get dirty.  The best part is that you get paid for it!”

The Sharks’ righty was in a cheerful mood after another successful start, tossing 7 solid innings in California’s 7-2 thumping of the Orlando Calrissians.

“I always think about that when I have a bad start and I start getting down,” said Slater.  “I just think about the fact that I’m getting paid to play outside in my pajamas.  Plus, it lets me support my surfing habit.  Beats pumping gas on the corner, dude.”

Slater (8-8) kept the Calrissians off the board until the 5th, when he walked in a run.  Orlando LF Lauren Hartl laced a triple in the 7th and scored on 1B Brooks Defoor’s groundout.  Those were the only runs Slater and the Sharks allowed in the game.

“I was glad to see Deke win again,” said California manager Eduardo Aponte.  “He deserves the success after all the struggles he endured early in the season.  I would like to see him be a little sharper at times, but overall I am pleased.”

The Sharks hitters shredded slumping Orlando ace Nathan Nunb (8-9).  CF Santiago Suarez got things started in the 3rd when he scalded a two-out single through the right side, then stole second and came home himself on SS Rubin Smyth’s single.  A pair of homers gave California ample breathing room: a solo shot in the 4th by 2B Johnie Oller, and a two-run tater in the 7th from Smyth.

“I don’t know what’s been going on with me lately,” said Nunb, who departed without recording any outs in the 7th.  “I feel like I’m pitching the same… release point’s the same, velocity’s the same, but the results are different.  It’s really kind of strange.  I can’t put my finger on it.”

Nunb’s recent decline raises questions about the effectiveness of Calrissians pitching coach John Smoltz.  The Hall of Famer was hired in May to fix a stumbling pitching staff that had posted a team ERA of 6.08 to that point.  But the staff has recorded virtually the same mark under Smoltz.

Nunb had been one of Smoltz’s few success stories, as the ace learned a new slider grip from his coach and enjoyed a run of success that he credited to Smoltz.  But as he’s backslid, Nunb has received little feedback or assistance from Smoltz.  In fact, sources close to the team say that Smoltz has been increasingly distant from the team, missing practices and even games and often spending time arranging personal business ventures instead of working with players.

Was Smoltz’s hire a promotional gimmick that backfired?  (Attendance at Bespin hasn’t picked up, apart from a brief surge when Smoltz was first hired.)  Calrissians manager Logan Bothan denied that the pitching coach was shirking his duties.  “John’s been great,” said Bothan.  “I know there have been rumors flying around, but if you’re not with the team, you don’t know.  It’s not John’s fault that we’ve been struggling.  We’ve got a young staff that’s still learning. We’re not exactly the ’95 Braves here.   John Smoltz isn’t a miracle worker.”

The Sharks (57-37) hope that righty Brian Goreman can deliver a sweep tomorrow.  The Calrissians (30-66) look to right-hander Chuck Weaver to salvage the final game of the series.

 

7/26/2015, CAL15-ORL15, Bespin
 
                       1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9     R  H  E   LOB DP
2015 Sharks            0  0  3  1  0  0  2  0  1     7 12  0     8  1
2015 Calrissians       0  0  0  0  1  0  1  0  0     2 10  1    11  2
 
Sharks               AB  R  H BI   AVG    Calrissians          AB  R  H BI   AVG
Corona            rf  4  1  2  0  .298    Hartl             lf  4  1  3  0  .282
Suarez            cf  5  2  1  2  .232    Defoor            1b  5  0  1  1  .233
Smyth             ss  5  1  2  3  .366    Buendia           ss  4  0  1  1  .282
Mader             lf  4  0  2  1  .331    Law               rf  5  0  0  0  .288
Mote              3b  3  0  1  0  .221    Figeroa           3b  3  0  2  0  .269
Lockley           c   5  0  1  0  .284    Crofoot           2b  4  0  0  0  .208
Oller             2b  4  1  1  1  .296    Nabors            dh  4  0  1  0  .188
 Puffer           2b  0  0  0  0  .134    Elias             cf  3  1  2  0  .183
Nix               dh  2  1  0  0  .334    McCormack         c   3  0  0  0  .178
Gerke             1b  3  1  2  0  .189                         35  2 10  2
                     35  7 12  7
 
Sharks                           INN  H  R ER BB  K PCH STR   ERA
Slater           W 8-8           7.0  8  2  2  3  4  91  56  4.84
Bond                             0.0  1  0  0  0  0   3   2  5.91
Arzola                           2.0  1  0  0  1  2  28  16  1.08
                                 9.0 10  2  2  4  6 122  74 
 
Calrissians                      INN  H  R ER BB  K PCH STR   ERA
Numb             L 8-9           6.0  8  6  5  4  3 108  65  5.03
Filippi                          2.2  3  1  1  1  0  35  23  3.12
Turbeville                       0.1  1  0  0  0  0   4   4  7.46
                                 9.0 12  7  6  5  3 147  92 
 
CAL: Puffer inserted at 2b in the 8th
 
E-Crofoot. 2B-Corona(15), Defoor(19), Buendia(11), Elias(7). 3B-Hartl(3). 
HR-Smyth(15), Oller(20). RBI-Suarez 2(62), Smyth 3(75), Mader(74), Oller(72), 
Defoor(54), Buendia(54). SB-Suarez(16). CS-Lockley, Gerke, Hartl. K-Smyth, 
Mote 2, Defoor, Law, Crofoot, Nabors, Elias, McCormack. BB-Mader, Mote 2, 
Nix 2, Buendia, Figeroa, Elias, McCormack. SH-Corona. HBP-Gerke, Hartl. 
HB-Slater, Numb. 
GWRBI: Suarez
Temperature: 70, Wind: none.

 

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