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Old 01-11-2020, 04:58 PM   #21
Ruwisc
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Interlude:

The draft pool was revealed on Saturday as well, the day of our first game vs. Hartford. The downside of a big league is that draft picks come very far apart, and so the Bees won't pick until pick #47. After the sandwich round, our second pick won't come until #127 and our third won't be until #191! I was scouting the draft pool, especially for starting pitchers, and found a number of names that I liked only to discover that they're expected to be picked in the top ten. :/

The top ten players are listed as follows:
1. Dan Long, RHP, St. John's
2. Jon Green, RHP, Oregon State
3. Miguel Arteaga, 3B, HS (Streator, IL)
4. Thomas Knotek, CF, Univ. of Alabama
5. Bobby Padin, RHP, Troy University (AL)
6. Kelly Richman, SS, HS (Hudson, NY)
7. Chris Grubb, RHP, Georgia Tech
8. Richard Hilton, RHP, Houston Baptist U
9. Bruce Hallman, LHP, HS (Goose Creek, SC)
10. Brent Whiting, RHP, Univ. of the Pacific (CA)

The players that really impress me are ranked 2 through 5, but it's Padin that I like the best. Anyway, no chance any of them will fall down to me, so I'm off to search for some lower-ranked gems. The draft is still about a month away.
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Old 01-12-2020, 03:12 PM   #22
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Week 7: May 8-14, 2023



This is going to be an awfully difficult series of games, I worry. New York and Ottawa would both be opening the playoffs at home if they began today, and while Houston is roughly even with us, they kicked our butts in Salt Lake when we played them in April. (It is definitely too early to be looking at who's in or out of the playoffs, but for those wondering we start the week a half-game out of the final wild-card spot.) The only solace is that we'll play both the Burros and Lynx at home.

May 9-10: Bees (20-17) vs. New York Burros (24-14)
Actually, there's one more piece of good news, and that's that the Burros are playing like absolute donkeys at this point. They have lost 5 of 6 on this current road trip of theirs, splitting a series with Louisville but losing pairs in Baltimore and San Francisco. While they're a pretty well-rounded team and have been playing exceptionally (+63 run differential in 38 games, compared to our +36) there's some evidence that maybe their pitching staff isn't as good as they've been so far. I've got to start the game now before I get too overconfident; this is still a team that went to the playoffs last year.

Before the first game of this series, I made a trade with Syracuse, acquiring RHP Paul Goodwin in exchange for 1B Jerry Callejas and OF Jason Welch. Callejas and Welch were spare parts for me (and getting rid of Callejas actually saves me a couple mil), and Goodwin is a promising young pitcher that could make it as a starter or a reliever. He can touch 101 with his fastball & gets a ton of grounders. I'd like to use him out of the bullpen, but we'll see if Matheny respects my wishes. To even out the roster numbers, RHP William Gonzalez went back to AAA Hawaii and OF Gabriel Perez was recalled. Perez is a toolsy 21-year-old from the D.R. who can play top-notch defense across the outfield and has blazing speed to go with a decent ability to hit for contact. 21 is young for sure, but he doesn't have hardly any developing left to do. When he gets into a game it'll be his Major League debut.

Game 1 - Jack Flaherty (3-2, 4.63) vs. Danny Duffy (4-0, 4.76)
NYB: SS Hinds, 1B Carpenter, LF Frisch, RF Springer, 2B Walker, C Dillard, 3B Valbuena, CF Anderson, P Duffy
SLC: CF Mesa, 2B Phyo, 3B Guerrero, RF Robles, 1B Ishihara, C Phegley, SS Mota, LF Perez, P Flaherty

Gabriel will actually get into this game from the jump! I'm excited to see how it goes. Duffy is coming off of a no-decision last Tuesday in Baltimore, so it's been a whole week since he pitched. Flaherty is going on normal rest, having thrown 8 strong innings in Sacramento on Thursday... a frustrating start for the Bees offense - we managed to load the bases without a hit via 2 HBP and a walk, but could not get the knock that would score a run... Perez's first MLB at bat would end in a fielder's choice following Mota's leadoff single in the second, with again no score. That's 4 LOB in two innings for those scoring at home... Flaherty allowed only two baserunners in the first four innings, and one of those came on an error by MK Phyo... in the fourth, we would again make a major threat without the benefit of a hit. Phegley walked, and after a passed ball advanced him, Perez was intentionally walked to get to Flaherty with two out. This time, though, we would convert! Our only hit of the inning was a double into the gap by our pitcher, scoring Phegley to give us the 1-0 lead... Jack would finally bend a little in the sixth. Consecutive singles by Daniel Frisch, George Springer and Neil Walker tied the game... more trouble in the 7th. Valbuena (RIP) led off with a solo HR to right, and Jordan Anderson's triple was converted to a run by pinch-hitter Thomas Keehn's hit. Flaherty got the next man out but would exit after 6.1... we would again leave the bases loaded in our half of the 7th, this time the fault of Ishihara flying out to center... Jonathan Holder would allow the game to slip further away in the 8th, Valbuena and Anderson cracking back-to-back home runs... but in the bottom of the 8th, we showed life. Mota singled with one out, and then with two out, pinch-hitter Travis Maezes was hit, Mesa doubled both runners home to make it 5-3, then Phyo's single made it 5-4... Jared Miller got through the 9th unscathed, and then the tough Archie Bradley came on to get the save for the Burros, facing 4-5-6 for us. Robles struck out, but Ishihara singled into the right-field corner. Winning run now at the plate, Phegley also struck out for the second out, and Mota put a lazy fly ball into left that ended the game.


PotG: Luis Valbuena

A difficult result. We left 12 men on base (the box score clearly gets this wrong and I don't know why - "Team LOB" is listed at 11) and only lost by a run. Stranding the bases loaded twice is not a fun way to lose a game.

Game 2 - Joey Lucchesi (3-3, 5.14) vs. Alejandro Chacin (2-2, 5.46)
NYB: SS Hinds, 1B Carpenter, LF Frisch, RF Springer, C Dillard, CF Dickerson, 3B Keehn, 2B Benes, P Chacin
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, C Cottam, CF Mesa, LF Granite, 2B Maezes, P Lucchesi

Chacin is a pitcher with IRL MLB experience, although I'll forgive you for not remembering him - he was a September callup for the 2017 Reds and pitched in six games, allowing 7 runs in 6 innings. He's still just 26 IRL, but he threw for the Lancaster Barnstormers of the Atlantic League in 2019 so maybe an extended ML career isn't in the cards... here, though, he's put together a nice career as a swingman. He actually has black ink on his résumé, leading the NL with 88 relief appearances in 2021. He started this year in the bullpen but jumped to the rotation in early April... the Burros get two singles in the top of the first, from Rece Hinds and Daniel Frisch, but thanks to a double play come up empty... we got runners to 2nd and 3rd in the bottom of the second with an Ishihara single, a Cottam walk and a wild pitch, but no dice for us either... both pitchers set down the 3rd inning in order, including striking each other out... not much going on until we come up in the fifth. Maezes singled with one out, and Lucchesi successfully bunted him up. That was a perfect stage for Mota to deliver an RBI single to open the scoring! Robles followed with a double for good measure, which doubled our lead... Chacin would be done after 5, a nice start for him (2 runs on 4 hits, 5 K vs. 2 BB) but still possible he could get the L... Lucchesi, for his part, would exit after 6 shutout innings having struck out 8... Alexander Hermeling would escape trouble in the 7th, though maybe not through his own power. With two out and Shane Benes on first, Hinds singled through the hole at short. For whatever reason, Benes saw fit to try to go first-to-third on a five-time Gold Glover in Zack Granite, and would not be rewarded... we used the power of nature to assist us in the 8th. A rain delay was called with Robles on first and no out for us, and when we returned an hour later, reliever Dan Gray (who was pitching well) was replaced by Diego Tamariz, who did get Guerrero but walked Ishihara, served up a two-run triple to Mesa and another triple to Granite, increasing our lead to 5-0... New York would get one back in the ninth on a sac fly by Jordan Anderson, and with a bit of a jam it would actually become a save situation for Jared Miller, but he put the fire out.


PotG: Joey Lucchesi

We needed that one, definitely. Both New Mexico and Houston swept their series to start the week, so we fell a bit behind yesterday but kept pace today. Now the team with the best record in all of MLB comes to Salt Lake for a Thursday-Friday pair:

May 11-12: Bees (21-18) vs. Ottawa Lynx (27-13)
If there's any time to catch the powerful Lynx, I guess it's now? They just finished up an 8-game homestand on which they only went 4-4, and are coming off a loss yesterday to Oklahoma in which their powerful bullpen blew the save. Still, this is a pretty excellent team that excels at everything and any win we can get over them is precious. I'm scared to see how well their offense does at altitude.

Michael Pineda's DL timer ends today, as does Will Shirah's suspension, so very glad to have those two guys back. Griffin Canning is racking up some frequent flyer miles, he's headed back to AAA Hawaii. We also signed free-agent OF Ben Gamel to a minor-league deal and sent him to Hawaii - we'll probably see him with the big club pretty soon.

Game 1 - Michael Pineda (3-1, 3.00) vs. Cullen Dana (2-2, 6.62)
OTT: 3B Valenzuela, RF Fletcher, LF Fisher, C Langeliers, SS Davidson, 1B Toral, CF Cordero, 2B Weber, P Dana
SLC: CF Mesa, 2B Phyo, 3B Guerrero, RF Robles, 1B Ishihara, C Phegley, SS Mota, LF Granite, P Pineda

Despite Ottawa's rotation stats being quite good, we'd be facing the two starters with the highest ERAs, so a bit of luck there. Dana, who is a real Padres prospect, here made the 2021 Lynx out of spring training and has been in their rotation ever since. Last year was his better of the two, at 8-11, 4.34, but the Lynx are a much better team now than they were last year... it couldn't have been a better start for us - Pineda got the Lynx in order, and then two batters into our half we had a 2-0 lead! Mesa led off with a single, and Phyo muscled a ball over the left-field wall for his first home run of the year! Pineda would retire the first 6 Ottawa hitters in order, but they would put together a little small ball in the third. Franchy Cordero singled on the first pitch he saw, and then went to third base when Phegley put his caught stealing attempt into the outfield. With the pitcher up, Pineda uncorked a wild pitch allowing Franchy to score... in the fifth inning, the pitcher Dana would drive in a run for real, his single scoring Alex Toral to tie the game... Dana would be done after 6 innings, and Pineda after 7, so each would get a no-decision and both would lower their ERA... Holder would be a culprit in the bullpen again today, this time allowing singles to Andy Weber and Sahid Valenzuela before a Dominic Fletcher double scored one to give Ottawa the lead... but in the bottom half, Ottawa's fabled bullpen would take another hit to their reputation. Off of Josh Carver, Phyo led off with a single, Guerrero followed with a hit as well, and then Robles hit a ball to Valenzuela at third that he booted to load the bases. Ishihara next, and BANG! Ishi goes oppo-taco for a grand slam home run, his 9th HR of the year and a one-run deficit turns into a 6-3 lead! Riley Ferrell, not Jared Miller, came in for the save and got it 1-2-3! (Not a closer controversy, it seems... Miller had just pitched in both games vs. the Burros)


PotG: Min-Kyu Phyo

Game 2: Will Shirah (2-2, 6.58) vs. Brandon Finnegan (3-1, 6.02)
OTT: 3B Valenzuela, 2B Weber, C Langeliers, LF Fisher, 1B Uehara, RF Fletcher, SS Davidson, CF Cordero, P Finnegan
SLC: CF Mesa, 2B Phyo, 3B Guerrero, RF Robles, 1B Ishihara, P Shirah, C Phegley, LF Granite, SS Mota

It's especially fun to get to use Shirah against an AL opponent, since it's like we're turning the whole DH thing around against them. We get to use our "DH" in the #6 spot while their pitcher Finnegan never bats in a normal circumstance... emblematic of what it's like to pitch for this Ottawa team, Finnegan got the win last time out despite a subpar start, because his teammates gave him 19 runs of support... Shirah would have a tough first inning, walking three. The last of those, a walk to Fletcher, scored Weber who had singled... we left two men on in the third, but got our just due in the second. Shirah led off with a single, stole second, and then had that not matter when Granite cranked his first HR of the year... Shea Langeliers and Yukio Uehara would both get on in the 3rd, but no score for Ottawa... not too much happening in the middle innings... both starters would exit after five innings. In the 6th, we extended our lead to 3-1 via a Mesa sac fly which scored Granite... the Lynx would cut that lead straight back down to 3-2 on an RBI double by Austin Wilson (batting #9 after a double switch)... Sam Bennerman would load the bases after that but keep the lead alive... Ottawa would again leave the bases loaded in the 8th on consecutive singles by Logan Davidson, Franchy Cordero and pinch-hitter Alex Toral, but Valenzuela grounded out to end the threat... Toral stayed in the game, entering in RF, but almost immediately injured himself... we would get two men on in our half of the 8th but wouldn't score either...finally, Miller on for the save, 2-3-4 coming up for the Lynx...Weber strikes out, but Langeliers cracks a base hit through the left side... Fisher comes up and hits a nubber that nearly becomes a game-ending 1-6-3 double play, but beats it out at first for a fielder's choice... Miller gets Uehara to strike out, though, and complete a huge sweep!


PotG: Zack Granite

I definitely didn't think we'd win both games, but there you have it! Unfortunately, during our 3-1 stretch this week, New Mexico was 3-1 and Houston was 4-0, so we haven't gained any ground. In fact, that's extra bad news considering who's up next on our schedule.

On Saturday morning, we did recall OF Ben Gamel from Hawaii, and sent back down OF Gabriel Perez. I like that Gamel's a lefty, that'll be a help for us off the bench.

May 13-14: Bees (23-18) @ Houston Astros (24-18)
Houston has had it pretty easy this week, winning four straight from the Blackbirds and Cubs at home. Their pitching staff has been torn apart by injury - I mentioned they'll be without Kyle Grana and Felix Hernandez the whole season, and reliever Andrew Kittredge's 2023 is now over (also covered below) and Carlos Rodon has been out a couple of weeks as well (he won't be back until early June). After this weekend, 6 of their next 7 opponents are AL teams.

Game 1 - Paul Goodwin (2-2, 4.42) vs. Mark Leiter Jr. (0-1, 6.98)
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, LF Shirah, CF Mesa, C Cottam, 2B Phyo, P Goodwin
HOU: SS Irizarry, 3B Hartung, LF Martinez, RF Gutierrez, C Posey, 1B Bird, 2B Vaughn, CF DeLoach, P Leiter

Leiter is probably not MLB rotation quality, but he has been needed with all the Astros' pitching injuries. He replaced Felix in the rotation a couple of weeks ago and is making his 4th start. Last time out, he allowed 5 runs over 5.2 innings in Albuquerque, and got a no-decision as the Astros won in 10 innings... Goodwin goes into the rotation after all. That may be the right move ultimately by Matheny, but Paul's only got 45-rated stamina. Higher than Holder's, at least... It was an eventful top of the first inning. Mota hit a leadoff home run for his second dinger of the season, a real cheapie into the Crawford boxes, and after a Guerrero single and two outs, Shirah followed with a two-run blast to make it 3-0... Houston would get one in the bottom half, on consecutive singles by Tim Hartung, JD Martinez and Ramon Gutierrez... both teams were quiet in the second but loud again in the third. It was Mota starting us off again in our half, doubling to lead off and scoring on Guerrero's double. Looks like Vlad may have found his groove again... Buster Posey came up with an RBI single in the 3rd to make it 4-2, Hartung having scored both Houston runs... Goodwin would be done after 4, makes sense given he hadn't started a game for Syracuse yet this season. Gotta stretch him out a bit... Gamel would make his Bees debut pinch-hitting for Goodwin to lead off the fifth, and he drew a walk. Robles singled, putting two men on for Guerrero, but neither Vlad Jr. or Ishi could bring the runners home... The Astros would get within 1 on a Martinez sac fly in the 7th... we would answer with a sac fly of our own in the 8th, Cottam driving in Guerrero to make it 5-3... but pinch-hitter Chase Strumpf came up with an RBI single in the bottom of the 8th to make it 5-4. On to the ninth, and Matheny surprisingly puts Nolan Blackwood out for the save opportunity. Miller pitched yesterday but he's not too tired to be out there today, and his left-handedness is seemingly an advantage against this lefty-heavy lineup... Blackwood came into this year as just another guy out of the bullpen, a character I felt like I had about 15 of, but he's really maybe been our best pitcher, so it's not totally undeserved. Nolan coerces a 3-0 groundout from Martinez, strikes out Gutierrez and gets Posey to ground to short for the W!


PotG: Mark Leiter Jr.

Big division win for us. New Mexico also lost in Detroit, so we're just a half-game behind the Suns going into Sunday.

Game 2: Jack Flaherty (3-3, 4.58) vs. Yoelvis Guedez (3-1, 4.23)
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, LF Shirah, CF Mesa, C Cottam, 2B Phyo, P Flaherty
HOU: SS Irizarry, 3B Hartung, LF Martinez, RF Gutierrez, 2B Vaughn, 1B Bird, CF DeLoach, C Campbell, P Guedez

Yoelvis Guedez is an interesting character. Only 22, he seems to have already fully actualized himself as a back-of-the-rotation starter. He made a nice breakthrough as a member of the Houston rotation in 2022, and is pitching decently here in 2023, but doesn't really look like he's gonna get any better... a big fly ball pitcher doesn't seem like a great recipe for success at Minute Maid Park so maybe we can crack a couple of soft ones over that inviting LF wall... Guedez allowed four runs over 5 innings in Monday's win over West Texas, improving to 3-1 but raising his ERA above 4... Flaherty took the loss on Tuesday against the Burros, our lone loss so far this week, when our comeback charge came up one run short... not much going on early. The biggest threat in the first three innings came from us in the top of the third, when Flaherty and Mota each reached with one out but were stranded... two singles would become a run for the Stros in the fourth, when Flaherty's pickoff attempt on Andrew Vaughn was wild. DeLoach would drive him in seconds later... we would not wait long at all to tie the game. The first pitch of the fifth inning was pulled by Cottam into the Crawford Boxes! Later in that inning, we'd get three straight singles from Mota, Robles and Guerrero to put us up 2-1... That'd be the final inning for Guedez, who allows 2 runs over 5 and strikes out eight Bees... Flaherty would retire the final 7 batters he faced, finishing with just the 1 run allowed over six innings... we'd extend the lead to 3-1 in the 7th on a sac-fly from pinch-hitter Maezes... Bennerman gave us 1.2 innings and was shaky, allowing two baserunners in each frame, but no runs to speak of... we would pile on in the 9th. Mesa and Cottam began the frame with singles, and pinch-hitter Ben Gamel's second appearance in a Bees uniform became an RBI single. Mota's walk loaded the bases and Robles drove in two runners with a hit to make it 6-1. After a pitching change, in which noted reliever Max Scherzer came on, Guerrero made it 7-1 with a sac fly... Kenen Irizarry would get a solo home run off Wilson in the 9th but that would be all the scoring!


PotG: Jack Flaherty

What an incredible week for us! This was our toughest week yet and yet we went 5-1. We also got a bit of revenge for Houston winning both games in Salt Lake back on April 6-7. New Mexico won to split their series with the Tigers, so we finish the week a half-game out of first place and in possession of the third and final wild card spot in the NL.

Bees' Player of the Week:
A lot of nice whole-team performance this week with not a huge individual standout, but I think the player of the week is SS Luis Mota. He was a sparkplug for us in a lot of ways, leading the team in hits and runs scored and cracking a leadoff home run in Houston that set the table for that pair of games.

On the Leaderboard:
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.: 1st in average (.374), T-1st in RBI (44), 5th in OBP (.428), 5th in slugging (.615), 3rd in OPS (1.042), 4th in WAR (2.2), 2nd in hits (67), T-3rd in total bases (110)
Victor Victor Mesa: 8th in average (.350), T-6th in hits (62), T-3rd in runs scored (38), T-3rd in stolen bases (11)
Jack Flaherty: T-2nd in innings pitched (59.0), 9th in K/BB (4.4), 1st in QS (8)

Minor League Bees:
AAA Hawaii had their worst week yet, which for them means they were just 4-3. The Islanders have a 4-game lead on second place Hollywood (Dodgers)
AA Monterrey was 5-2 this week to maintain their half-game lead on Monclova (Oilers). They're back up to 1st in the Mexican League power rankings
A Burlington split their week 3-3, losing a series at Kane County (Flyers) but rebounding to take two of three from West Michigan (Tigers). They fell to 3rd in the Midwest League power rankings

Standings:



League News:
May 11: Houston reliever Andrew Kittredge will miss at least a year with a torn rotator cuff, suffered in Monday's win over the Blackbirds. Kittredge is/was a pretty minor player in the Astros bullpen, but I mention it because they're a division rival and we saw them this week.
May 14: Las Vegas 1B Rhys Hoskins' hitting streak reaches 25 games

Players of the Week:
San Bernardino DH Juan Soto - 13-26, 1 HR, 11 RBI. San Bernardino has been a massive disappointment so far, in last place after being predicted to finish first in the AL West, but Soto has been quite good.
New Mexico LF Jonny DeLuca - 14-24, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 6 R

Power Rankings:
It was a big week for us going 5-1 over some top teams, and as a result we shot up eleven places in the rankings, to 8th this week from 19th last time.
1. Las Vegas Scorpions (30-14)
2. Columbus Explorers (29-15)
3. Oklahoma Oilers (28-16)
4. Louisville Colts (29-15)
5. Baltimore Orioles (28-15)
56. Boston Red Sox (14-29)
57. Cleveland Indians (14-30)
58. Chicago Cubs (17-28)
59. Colorado Rockies (14-30)
60. St. Louis Cardinals (16-28)

Next Week: the road trip continues in El Paso as we meet the West Texas Blackbirds for the first time this season, then interleague stops against the Newark Cherries and Oklahoma Oilers!
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Old 01-14-2020, 01:40 AM   #23
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Week 8: May 15-21, 2023



Before we get into our first series, RP Alexander Hermeling cleared waivers on Monday and was optioned to AAA Hawaii. SP Griffin Canning was recalled, and he'll take Goodwin's place in the rotation. This is definitely a better overall staff than we had previously.

May 16-17: Bees (25-18) @ West Texas Blackbirds (19-25)
What a strange team WTX is. I covered this in their preview, but with updated numbers: this is a team with a payroll of $80.3 million, and they're spending $45.5 million on Mike Trout. That's over 56% of the team payroll! Trout's two highest-paid teammates are minor league relievers who are pulling in around $1.5 million each this year. It's truly baffling that he'd agree to sign with a team that can barely afford him like this, and with $45.5 million being the price tag he's very difficult to trade. This is Trout's 5th year in El Paso (he played 2018 for the Royals) and each year they've been worse than the Troutless 2018 Blackbirds were. He's the best player in the league bar Harper and the early frontrunner for NL MVP (Guerrero would probably be 2nd if voting were today) but has absolutely no help that isn't on the major league minimum. To the Blackbirds' credit, they've been able to find some decent hitters to pair with him (3B Jordan Verdon, CF Jordan Prendiz and RF/closer Chad Keenan are all capable and cheap) but as soon as they get into their second year of arbitration they're too expensive!

Game 1 - Joey Lucchesi (4-3, 4.39) vs. Eric Walker (2-5, 6.95)
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, LF Shirah, CF Mesa, C Cottam, 2B Phyo, P Lucchesi
WTX: CF Prendiz, SS Alexander, LF Trout, 1B Baca, RF Keenan, C Norris, 3B Moniot, 2B Wawoe, P Walker

Walker is, theoretically, the Blackbirds' ace, but has yet to have a start this season with fewer than two earned runs. Last Tuesday (so, seven days ago) he took the loss in Houston, allowing every run in a 6-2 loss while going just 4.1 innings... Joey, meanwhile, is coming off one of his best starts of the year, six shutout innings in our win against the Burros... it didn't take long for Trout to make his impact felt - he hit a looong home run to dead center in the first inning, his league-leading 16th of the season... and the Blackbirds' supporting cast is making me eat a little crow as well. In the second, Travis Moniot doubled with one out and scored on a hit by Gianfranco Wawoe. Jordan Prendiz would then come up with a two-out RBI triple to make it 3-0... Cottam and Mota both singled in the third inning, but no scoring from us still... there was a total of one hit through the 4th, 5th and 6th innings, and when Ishihara got it he was immediately erased on a double play by Shirah... WTX would knock out Lucchesi in the 7th with Blaze Alexander's two-run double that made it 5-0... we finally got one back in the 8th when Mota drove Maezes around with a triple... but that'd be it.


W: Eric Walker (3-5) L: Joey Lucchesi (4-4)
PotG: Eric Walker

I think the West Texas players heard me bad-mouthing them here, and went out wanting to prove me wrong. Hopefully they're a bit nicer on Wednesday.

Game 2 - Michael Pineda (3-1, 2.68) vs. Cole McKay (2-3, 3.59)
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, CF Mesa, C Cottam, 2B Phyo, LF Granite, P Pineda
WTX: CF Prendiz, 3B Verdon, LF Trout, 1B Baca, RF Rizer, SS Alexander, 2B Merrill, C Barraza, P McKay

McKay is an interesting pitcher, one who would be really good if he could get his walks down. He was thrust into a starting role as a 21-year-old by Nashville in 2018, and it wasn't pretty. After years in Nashville and Jacksonville, he didn't accrue a positive WAR total until last season, split between Austin and West Texas. This is looking like his best season by far at age 26 - he has probably been the Blackbirds' best starter... Pineda got a no-decision against Ottawa last Thursday in the first game of that pair... again, West Texas would strike in the first, but this time without Trout's involvement. Instead, he was the out as they loaded the bases with one out, and singles by Johnny Rizer and Blaze Alexander scored a pair of runs. And to make matters worse, Pineda picked up another minor injury, already his third of the year, and would exit for Perez... we would have at least a hit in each of the first four innings against McKay, but nothing to show for it... Perez pitched very well, getting us through five with no runs allowed, but we were still down 2-0... Jose Barraza smashed a two-run homer off of Nolan Blackwood in the sixth to double the WTX lead... just seems like we don't have it today. After the 4th, we wouldn't have a runner reach base until the 9th. McKay was stellar, racking up 10 K in 7.1 innings, and allowing just 5 hits... Jordan Verdon would tack on a two-run single in the eighth.


W: Cole McKay (3-3) L: Michael Pineda (3-2)
PotG: Cole McKay

Blech. We just got flat dominated today. We're now 2 1/2 games behind New Mexico, since they won two games from a down 66ers team. Michael Pineda's injury is an oblique strain - not a major one, but I'm gonna use this opportunity to give another kid a shot. Our AAA team is so good that almost every player on it would probably be above replacement level for us, and this time I'm gonna give SP Ryan Kirchner the call. He has pitched a bit for us the past two seasons, both in the rotation and the bullpen, but this'll be his first time up this year.

May 18-19: Bees (25-20) @ Newark Cherries (24-22)
The Cherries have been an up-and-down team in 2023, but right now they're up. They've won five of six against a set of middling competitors (Syracuse, Vancouver, Memphis) and with Ottawa slipping (you're welcome), they suddenly find themselves only 4 games back. They are really missing 3B Jonathan India right now, and he won't be back until next week, so we caught a break there.

Game 1 - Will Shirah (3-2, 5.81) vs. Daniel Lynch (2-0, 3.16)
SLC: CF Mesa, 2B Phyo, 3B Guerrero, RF Robles, 1B Ishihara, DH Cottam, C Phegley, SS Mota, LF Granite
NEW: SS Cordoba, LF Collard, RF Kelenic, 1B Segedin, C Krennrich, DH Harrer, CF Coulter, 2B Hebert, 3B Salcedo

Ironic that Shirah's turn in the rotation comes up as soon as we're hitting in an AL ballpark, so he won't be in the lineup. We're playing 4 games this week with the DH, so it would've been nice if we could pitch him yesterday, but no dice... Lynch only got a shot in the Cherries' rotation starting May 1, this being start #4... last time out, he was handed a win on a silver platter. When he made his last pitch, Newark trailed Syracuse 5-2, but the Cherries' offense came out strong and scored 7 runs the next inning to make him a winner... within three pitches, we had a lead. Mesa smashed a 1-0 pitch to the wall in left-center for a triple, and Phyo hit a slow grounder to first on his first pitch that scored Mesa. Newark wasn't too slow in getting it back, though, because by Shirah's ninth pitch we were trailing. Allen Cordoba was hit by a pitch, and Jarred Kelenic took him deep, a ball hit down the line the other way... Guerrero would come up with an RBI double in the third, though, scoring Phyo to tie the game at 2-2... we would take the lead in the fourth on an RBI groundout by Granite and single by Mesa, scoring Phegley and Mota to make it 4-2... another run came in in the 5th, Cottam's RBI single scoring Robles. That'd be the last inning for Lynch, 5 runs allowed over 5... Shirah would also exit after 5, with 5 hits and 2 runs allowed... Blackwood was tagged for two runs in the sixth on back-to-back RBI doubles by Edward Salcedo and Allen Cordoba making it 5-4... Justin Wilson was effective for us today, bailing out Blackwood and then pitching a scoreless seventh... Jared Miller on for the save, and things get interesting. With two outs (shocker), Kelenic singled and so did Rob Segedin, putting runners at the corners. Jared then walked Brandon Krennrich on four pitches to load 'em up and put the winning run in scoring position. Up comes the DH Justin Harrer, and he... smacks a ground ball right at Phyo to record the final out. Phew!


W: Will Shirah (4-2) L: Daniel Lynch (2-1) S: Jared Miller (9)
PotG: Jarred Kelenic

Back on our feet, at least. The Suns lost in a 15-11 shootout to Tucson, so we're back to within 1 1/2.

Game 2 - Griffin Canning (2-1, 5.12) vs. Tyler Myrick (4-3, 4.53)
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, LF Shirah, CF Mesa, DH Gamel, C Cottam, 2B Maezes
NEW: SS Cordoba, LF Collard, RF Kelenic, DH O'Neill, 1B Segedin, C Lueck, CF Coulter, 2B McFarland, 3B Salcedo

Myrick is a tough customer. He threw a no-hitter at Yankee Stadium in the season's opening weekend, really dampening the atmosphere on the defending champs. He's a real up-and-comer, a short 24-year-old righty with a nasty changeup in his 4th full MLB season. IRL, he's entering his junior season with the FIU Golden Panthers and so is draft-eligible this year... Canning's last start with the big club was back on May 6, a no-decision in our 2-1 win over Hartford... Myrick may have no-hit the Yanks, but he sure won't be no-hitting us. Mota hit the first pitch of the game over the shortstop's head for a single. After an out, Guerrero hit another single, and Ishihara did as well, which scored a run for us. Mesa reached on a two-out error by 2B Chris McFarland to load the bases, and Ben Gamel made them pay, pulling a ball just inside the first-base line for a two-run single and a 3-0 Bees lead! Newark would have a man on third base with no out after a Cordoba double and a wild pitch, but Griffin Canning was able to keep him there, helped by a caught stealing of Jarred Kelenic! Ballsy of Cottam to make that throw with a man on third base, but he got him... The Cherries would get one on the board in inning number 2. Segedin led off with a hit and was scored on a double by Jim Coulter... they got another in the third, Kelenic driving in Cordoba on a groundout... a worrying streak came to an end in the fifth inning, when Guerrero hit his first home run in about 3 weeks! This was a 2-run shot to score Robles and extend our lead to 5-2. When he hit his 10th, he was the NL leader in the category, but now at the time of his 11th the league lead is 16 or 17 HR... a 12-pitch walk to Mesa in the 6th definitely helped us get Myrick out of the game, as he'd be done after that inning... the lead went up to 6-2 in the 8th on Kole Cottam's sixth home run, but down to 6-4 in the bottom half. Rob Segedin and pinch-hitter Josh Bowman had RBIs in that inning. Kelenic would again reach with two outs in the ninth off of Miller but the rally would go no further!


W: Griffin Canning (3-1) L: Tyler Myrick (4-4) S: Jared Miller (10)
PotG: Griffin Canning

A really nice series from us overall, and a big rebound after two frustrating games in El Paso. Now, our longest road trip of the season so far concludes in Oklahoma City. Whatever happens there, we've at least clinched a .500 road trip (4-2 so far)

May 20-21: Bees (27-20) @ Oklahoma Oilers (31-17)
To conclude our week, we're running in to one of the best teams in the league, at their ballpark, and doing it while they're on a pretty incredible hot streak. This Oklahoma team has won 8 of 9 and 10 of 12, and sit tied with division rival Las Vegas for the AL's best record. They're doing this without 2B Ketel Marte as well. No doubt, the Oilers are a two-man show: SP/RF Shohei Ohtani and 3B Alex Bregman. We'll also be facing the two best Oklahoma starters this weekend, Ohtani and Sam Tuivailala. Luckily we're sending our top two guys to the bump as well - let's get to it!

Game 1 - Jack Flaherty (4-3, 4.27) vs. Shohei Ohtani (4-4, 5.37)
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, LF Shirah, CF Mesa, C Cottam, 2B Phyo, DH Granite
OKC: CF Moritz, 2B Lewis, 3B Bregman, DH Pasquantino, 1B Cuellar, RF Zabala, SS Bracho, C Dalesandro, LF Sniatynski

Despite his high ERA, Ohtani has been quite a good pitcher this year. He's fighting a career-worst BABIP of .362 against & has struck out more than a batter per inning... last time out snapped a string of three straight losses for Shohei, when they beat the Rockies 11-2... it's not necessarily unlucky that we're encountering Ohtani on one of his pitching days, because he can't/doesn't hit on these days. The Oilers' lineup is probably weaker without him compared to the benefit he provides pitching... Flaherty beat the Astros on Sunday to put his record back above .500, allowing just 1 run in 6 innings... both teams went down in order in the first, so when Ishihara led off the second inning with a home run it was the first hit of the game... that's Ishi's 10th, and neat that he gets the better of his countryman... both teams would also go down in order in the 3rd... two Oilers would single off of Jack in the 4th, but no scoring... a two-out rally sparked something for us in the sixth. Robles, Guerrero and Ishihara all singled, the last producing a run... Flaherty was now through six innings with just three hits allowed, and working on a string of 7 straight retired... Jack allowed a single in the seventh that was erased on a double play, and a double in the 8th that would be stranded... in the top of the 9th, we would get a big insurance run on Cottam's 7th home run, and second in as many games... Riley Ferrell came on for the save - Miller had saves in both games against the Cherries and so wasn't fully rested today - and he got them out 1-2-3!


W: Jack Flaherty (5-3) L: Shohei Ohtani (4-5) S: Riley Ferrell (4)
PotG: Jack Flaherty

Masterful from Flaherty today - 8 shutout innings, 5 hits, no walks and 5 K.

Game 2 - Joey Lucchesi (4-4, 4.72) vs. Sam Tuivailala (4-0, 2.67)
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, LF Shirah, CF Mesa, DH Gamel, C Cottam, 2B Phyo
OKC: CF Moritz, 2B Lewis, 3B Bregman, RF Ohtani, LF Zabala, 1B Cuellar, SS Bracho, DH Schwellenbach, C Martorano

These Oklahoma lineups have had some names that are tough to type accurately, names I haven't seen before... Martorano, Pasquantino, Bracho, Schwellenbach, Sniatynski... anyway, this lineup looks a lot scarier with Ohtani in than it did without... Tuivailala was a successful closer for the Oilers in the first four years of this save (led the AL with 40 saves in 2021) but last year made a just as successful transition to the rotation. With that accomplished, he cashed in in a big way, signing a long-term deal that will keep him an Oiler until he's 37. Well, they don't regret the deal yet, two months in, but there's six and a half years to go, so we'll see. Tui has a perfect record this year, as noted above, and hasn't allowed more than 4 runs in any single start all year. He even had a perfect 5-0 record in spring training, so he's been locked in since mid-February! Lucchesi took the loss on Tuesday in El Paso, but has alternated wins and losses his last five starts, so a good sign? Who knows... We let a golden opportunity slip away in the first inning. Oklahoma made two errors allowing Mota and Ishihara to reach (by the 2B, Jason Lewis, and the 3B Alex Bregman) but we couldn't bring them in. Mota, though, would get an RBI the hard way in the second inning. Mesa singled, and Gamel and Cottam both drew walks. After Phyo made an out, Mota was plunked by a 3-2 pitch to score the game's first run... Lucchesi had a good first hour on the mound, allowing just a hit and a walk through three frames... two hits and a walk in the fourth, though, would load the bases ahead of Aaron Bracho's sac fly that tied the game at 1-1... Tuivailala walked Robles to lead off the fifth and that was surprisingly it for him - 2 runs on just 1 hit over 4 innings, but more than 80 pitches needed to do it... Guerrero singled off of Julian Smith, and then in a lefty-lefty matchup, Ishihara yanked a double inside the first base bag to score both runners! That made it 3-1, but Andrew Moritz homered off Lucchesi to get one back in the bottom half... Lucchesi would be done after 5 innings, 2 runs allowed on 4 hits... Out for his second inning of work in the 7th, Bennerman would run into trouble. Spencer Schwellenbach led off with a triple, Brandon Martorano walked, and though Bennerman got the next two on Ks, Bregman came up with a clutch two-run double to turn the lead around and make it 4-3 Oilers... we had 3 hits in the 8th off of Felix Diaz but because of a double play, no runs to speak of... Oklahoma closer Kevin Milam on for the save, facing Guerrero, Ishihara and Shirah, and Mesa if someone reaches... Milam catches Guerrero looking... gets Ishihara to hit one right at Enmanuel Zabala for out number two... but walks Will Shirah on five pitches to bring up the go-ahead run. After 3 pickoff attempts, Mesa slaps the first pitch he sees into left for a base hit and the two-out rally is maybe under way? Gamel next, in the position to really endear himself to his new team... Ben instead passes the envelope down the line, not even taking the bat off his shoulder in drawing a walk! Cottam now... and a 2-0 pitch goes straight back at Milam for a ground ball out.


W: Felix Diaz (2-0) L: Sam Bennerman (0-2) S: Kevin Milam (10)
PotG: Alex Bregman

Bleh. A disappointing ending to a medium week. Can't sweep every road series, though, especially against a team that looks like they're going to the playoffs. 3-3 overall this week, which actually means we keep pace with the Suns, who were swept by the White Sox this weekend.

Bees' Player of the Week:
No obvious candidate so I'll take SP Jack Flaherty, who threw a spectacular game in our Saturday win over the Oilers.

On the Leaderboard:
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.: 3rd in average (.360), 2nd in RBI (47), 9th in slugging (.591), 4th in OPS (1.005), 8th in WAR (2.2), T-4th in hits (73), 5th in total bases (120)
Victor Victor Mesa: T-7th in hits (68), T-5th in runs scored (40), T-8th in stolen bases (11)
Jack Flaherty: 4th in pitcher WAR (1.6), 2nd in innings pitched (67.0), 4th in K/BB (4.8), 6th in BB/9 (1.6), 1st in QS (9, of 11 starts)

Minor League Bees:
AAA Hawaii lost 2 of 3 at Iowa (Cubs) but won their other three games, 1 vs. Calgary (Athletics) and two vs. Kelowna (Cascades). The Islanders are 29-9, two games up in the PCL's Pacific Division.
AA Monterrey swept Durango (Suns) but lost two of three at Aguascalientes (Cascades). The Sultanes are 28-15, first in the Mexican League.
A Burlington lost two of three at Cedar Rapids (Twins) but swept River City (Rangers). The Baby Bees are 27-11, good for a 1-game lead atop the Midwest League West Division.

Standings:



League News:
May 16: A marquee series at Camden Yards is more than a sweep for the Orioles, it also means the end of Rhys Hoskins' hitting streak at 25. That's the longest one this year, but it falls short of the longest seen in this save, 38 games accomplished by Colorado's Eudor Garcia in 2021.
May 16: In a rare three-game series caused by a makeup game, the Yankees salvage a win in the final game against the lowly Red Sox, but achieve something bigger when SS Mikey Perez hits for the cycle! Perez, last year's World Series MVP, got his triple in the 7th and double in the 8th, so he left it late.
May 18: Dodgers SP Kenta Maeda is done for the year - the 35-year-old suffered a torn rotator cuff and will miss not only all of this season but about half of 2024 too. Lucky him, though, he's under contract through 2025 at $18 million per.
May 19: White Sox SS Andrelton Simmons was suspended 3 games for going after an umpire in yesterday's loss to the Giants
May 19: Oakland SP Zack Greinke is done for the year, torn UCL. This may have been his final act - at age 39 he's not under contract for next season, which he'll miss the first two months of even if signed. He had been 3-3 in his second season with the A's
May 21: Buffalo Beacons LF Travis Swaggerty hit for the cycle as his team destroyed the Red Sox 17-1. He didn't finish it until a meaningless 8th-inning double put the 17th run on the board, so good news for the fans who stuck around.
May 21: A crushing blow for San Antonio - 1B/SP Triston Casas is done for the season, after tearing a flexor tendon in his pitching elbow during Saturday's win over the Monarques. Casas was the Marshals' best player by far, & this is going to be extremely tough for San Antonio without him.
May 21: The fire sale is on for Boston, as the Sox ship closer Evan Rutckyj to the division rival Cherries in exchange for three hitting prospects. The best of those players looks like 3B/SS Jason Willow

Players of the Week:
NY Yankees SS Mikey Perez - 15-29, 4 HR, 9 RBI. Not only did Perez hit for the cycle Tuesday, he blistered the whole week. He tripled his season HR total from 2 to 6, and raised his OPS by more than 100 points with this week's performances!
Columbus LF Kameron Misner - 12-25, 5 HR, 17 RBI, 9 R. Columbus now has the best record in the league - huge from a team predicted to finish 5th in the NL North - and Misner's a good reason why.

Power Rankings:
A 3-3 week for us, but we played a couple of really good teams on the road so not a big drop. Last week we were 8th, now we're 11th.
1. Columbus Explorers (34-16)
2. Toronto Blue Jays (29-21)
3. Las Vegas Scorpions (33-17)
4. San Diego Padres (31-17)
5. Oklahoma Oilers (32-18)
56. Milwaukee Brewers (20-30)
57. Boston Red Sox (17-33)
58. Washington Nationals (19-31)
59. Arizona Diamondbacks (17-33)
60. Colorado Rockies (15-35)

Next Week: We'll play our whole next homestand, against Vancouver, Minnesota and San Diego. Two division leaders in that bunch, so there'll be some tough games!
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Old 01-16-2020, 05:31 PM   #24
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Week 9: May 22-28, 2023



On Monday, All-Star voting opened up! This year's game will be played on Wednesday, July 19. All-Stars are hard to come by in this save, because all 60 teams will be represented. (I've definitely had years where a Bees player did not play in the game, but we're all represented.) There are 40 players selected per league, and of course 30 teams in each league, so getting more than two all-stars is pretty hard. Still, I think we have three good candidates - 3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr., CF Victor Victor Mesa, and SP Jack Flaherty are all clogging up the leaderboards to some extent. I haven't voted in the past & have just let the AI pick the teams, but I may take some time to vote at some point and show you who I think is deserving.

May 22-23: Bees (28-21) vs. Vancouver Cascades (28-22)
Not much was expected of Vancouver this season - they were picked to finish just under .500, and 5th in the 6-team NL West. But they've benefitted from a good bit of luck and are tied for 2nd at the moment. The Cascades have been outscored by nearly half a run per game (12th in the NL in runs scored, 28th in runs allowed) but are six games above .500, which means they've outperformed their Pythag record by 5 games! In other words, they've probably overachieved in winning a lot of close games, which might normally be an indicator that they have a great bullpen, but this team's bullpen is awful so maybe they've just been a bit lucky. The star of the Vancouver team thus far has to be Korean 3B Hyun-Jun Nho, who's hit 17 HR (tied with Mike Trout for the MLB lead). They're on a bit of a hot streak right now, winning five of six last week No relation between Bees SP Griffin Canning and Cascades CF Gage Canning, from what I can find.

Game 1 - Will Shirah (4-2, 5.50) vs. Jackson Kowar (3-2, 3.30)
VAN: 2B Palacios, SS Lugo, LF Winker, CF Canning, 3B Nho, C Meyer, RF Orr, 1B Becker, P Kowar
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, P Shirah, CF Mesa, 2B Phyo, LF Granite, C Phegley

For some unknown reason, Matheny is going with Will Shirah on short rest tonight even with Kirchner available. Shirah has done a nice job over the last few weeks, though. He's won two straight starts and 3 straight decisions, and has actually lowered his ERA each of the last five times he's pitched. Last time out, he allowed two runs over 5 innings as we beat the Cherries 5-4... Kowar is the Cascades' ace, a real life Royals' prospect who pitched for the Florida Gators. A ground-baller with no exceptional strengths or weaknesses, he's probably not the centerpiece of a superstar rotation but almost any team would take him, mine included... both pitchers got through the first in order, and Shirah hit a man in the 2nd but got through otherwise... Mesa singled and stole 2nd in our half of the second, but was stranded there... 3 up, 3 down for Shirah in the 3rd as well... we would break the ice in our half of the 3rd. Phegley was hit by a pitch and Robles singled with two out, setting the stage for a two-run triple from Guerrero to get us up 2-0... Will Shirah would finally allow his first hit in the 4th, but no scoring. Thanks to AI Mike's decision to put him in on short rest, though, that'd be it for him. 4 innings, just 50 pitches, just 1 hit allowed, and he was hitting fifth in our lineup today. Seems like a waste... Martin Perez pitched an easy fifth, but allowed a sac fly from Jesse Winker in the sixth, scoring Richie Palacios... we would make up for it, though, in the bottom half, when MK Phyo muscled a 2-run home run over the wall in left-center, his 2nd of the year, to make it 4-1... Vancouver loaded the bases off of Jonathan Holder in the 7th, and we were lucky they only scored once. Palacios delivered the RBI in this case, scoring Nick Meyer... we would make two uncharacteristic outs on the bases in the 8th, wasting an opportunity to add to our two-run lead... Miller on for the save. Laney Orr strikes out. Luke Becker strikes out as well, but reaches on a passed ball! Jeez... pinch-hitter Braden Zarbnisky makes the second out on Miller's 3rd K, but AI Mike ruins his chance at a 4-K inning by going to get Justin Wilson for the final out. Dunno why, Wilson's been just meh for us and both he and Miller are lefties with normal splits... anyway, Wilson does get Palacios to strike out to end the game, so we accomplished it as a team at least.


W: Martin Perez (3-0) L: Jackson Kowar (3-3) S: Justin Wilson (2)
PotG: Jackson Kowar

That's OOTP's decision on the player of the game, if you couldn't tell - Shirah definitely gets the title for me, it ain't his fault that Matheny played this game really strangely from a strategic perspective. We pulled even with the idle Suns atop the NL Central!

Game 2 - Ryan Kirchner (0-0, 0.00) vs. Tim Herrin (4-2, 4.71)
VAN: 2B Palacios, SS Lugo, LF Winker, CF Canning, 3B Nho, C Meyer, RF Thomas, 1B Becker, P Herrin
SLC: CF Mesa, 2B Phyo, 3B Guerrero, RF Robles, 1B Ishihara, LF Shirah, C Phegley, SS Mota, P Kirchner

First start with the big club this year for Kirchner, who worked stretches out of the bullpen for us last season but hasn't appeared in a Matheny starting lineup since 2021. Ryan's made six starts for the AAA Islanders after starting the year injured, and has pitched pretty well down there. At just 23, I don't know if he's a future star but he's a major leaguer... the 26-year-old Herrin is a pretty average starting pitcher to be honest, very little remarkable about him besides his overall low velocity and pretty good changeup... well, it wouldn't be a great first act for Kirchner today. His first pitch plunked Palacios, and he then allowed Matthew Lugo to single and Winker to drive both men in. Nho would make it 3-0 with a sac fly... in the third, it all went to hell. The Cascades loaded the bases with one out, and Meyer scored two with a double. That'd be it for Kirchner, done after 2.1 innings... Paul Goodwin came in to clean up but only made it worse. Alek Thomas scored two more with another double, and he was later driven in by the pitcher Herrin to make it 8-0... we'd get on the board in the 4th, Ishihara's RBI double scoring Robles and Ishi coming in to score on a double play that Phegley hit into... but Vancouver would get 3 in the 5th off of the Goodwin/Martin Perez combo on a Palacios RBI groundout and Lugo 2-run homer... Guerrero drove in Mesa with a 5th-inning double... two more in the 6th for the Cascades, though, Thomas with two more RBI on a single... no more I want to talk about from this game, except Guerrero would drive in one more meaningless run in the 9th.


W: Tim Herrin (5-2) L: Ryan Kirchner (0-1)
PotG: Alek Thomas

Couldn't have gone much worse as a season debut for Kirchner, and pretty rough for us to get the same number of hits as Vancouver yet lose by 9. Hat tips to Sam Bennerman, though, who soaked up the final three innings for us, all scoreless.

May 25-26: Bees (29-22) vs. Minnesota Twins (27-24)
Minnesota is leading the AL North at the moment, but as you can see their record isn't spectacular. That's the worst record of any team currently sitting in a playoff spot, and 5 of the 6 teams in that division are within 2 1/2 games of each other, so hopefully we can chase the Twins out of town in a worse position than they came in with! In terms of results, they've been an average pitching and average hitting team, that looks a bit like its hitters have gotten unlucky but its pitchers have gotten lucky. Minnesota's lost three straight coming in, dropping the last three of a homestand against Vancouver and Baltimore. This is the start of a road trip that'll see them play a whole week of games in NL parks without their DH - they go to Memphis and Cincinnati after finishing with us.

Game 1 - Griffin Canning (3-1, 4.62) vs. Keith Rodriguez (1-3, 3.93)
MIN: SS Tuero, 3B Bogaerts, RF Mazara, LF Beer, 1B Freeman, C Barnes, CF C. Rodriguez, 2B Cabrera, P K. Rodriguez
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, LF Shirah, CF Mesa, C Cottam, 2B Phyo, P Canning

Minnesota certainly wins for having the most recognizable names in the lineup of most of the teams we've played thus far - that's Asdrubal Cabrera at second base, and you can probably guess who a lot of these other folks are. They've also got Adam Eaton, Matt Adams and Yolmer Sanchez on the bench... the pitcher Rodriguez, though, is fictional. A Michigan kid, he was the first-round pick of San Bernardino in 2018, and really came into his own with the 66ers last year, making 28 starts and putting up 3 WAR and an 8-7 record. Despite that, he was dumped off by San Bernardino in a December trade in which the biggest prospect is likely to only be a fourth-outfielder type. The Twins' gain, I guess. His ERA is down about three-quarters of a run this year, but his strikeouts are too so who knows how he's really doing... Canning got the win in last Friday's triumph over the Cherries, spinning another quality start... we small-balled Rodriguez to start the first. Mota walked on four pitches, stole second and then scored when the next pitch was rifled for a Robles single. Victor himself would steal second and score on an Ishihara single... the Twins would attack Canning in a more traditional way in the 2nd. Seth Beer doubled, Freeman was hit by a pitch, and Austin Barnes got to within 2-1 with an RBI single. Cabrera would double in Freeman, and Luis Tuero's single would score both runners still on to make it 4-2 Twins just like that... after a quick turnaround, in which Rodriguez retired us on six pitches, four consecutive hits would produce two more runs for Minnesota. The last was not allowed by Canning, but by Justin Wilson coming in to save him. That's 2.0 innings for Canning and six runs allowed. Not good for the ol' ERA or, uh, continued employment... we brought the tying run to the plate in the bottom half, loading the bases with one out for Mesa, but VV hit into a double play... Wilson allowed two more hits while getting two out in the 4th, but Brad Hand rescued him... in the 5th, we went back to work. Mota and Robles started the inning with two hits, Ishi drove one in with a single, and then Shirah crushed one to left-center field for a three-run game-tying home run! 6-6! The homer would be Rodriguez' last pitch, so both starters will get NDs today. Even after that triumph, we'd find room for disappointment, loading the bases again but remaining tied... held off the board in his first three AB, Guerrero would get into the plus column with an RBI single in the 6th giving us a 7-6 lead. Several batters later, we'd get another when Phyo was walked with the bases loaded... Minnesota CF Carlos Rodriguez cut the lead back in half with a single in the 7th... both teams were pretty quiet in the 8th... Miller on for the save against this lefty-heavy lineup. Freeman strikes out... Barnes strikes out... Carlos Rodriguez grounds the first pitch to first! And exhale.


W: Nolan Blackwood (1-0) L: Tim Masters (0-1) S: Jared Miller (11)
PotG: Victor Robles

Offense did a much better job converting hits into runs today, helped by that early pair of stolen bases from the top of the lineup.

Game 2 - Jack Flaherty (5-3, 3.76) vs. Adrian Alderson (4-2, 4.20)
MIN: SS Tuero, 3B Bogaerts, RF Mazara, LF Beer, 1B Freeman, C Barnes, CF C. Rodriguez, 2B Cabrera, P Alderson
SLC: CF Mesa, 2B Phyo, 3B Guerrero, RF Robles, 1B Ishihara, LF Shirah, C Phegley, SS Mota, P Flaherty

Alderson was the last pitcher to pick up a win for Minnesota, on Saturday at home against Vancouver (it's now Friday). In that game he tossed 6.1 scoreless and had 10 strikeouts, a really stellar game. A fictional player originally from Houston, Adrian is an interesting pitcher that doesn't throw a 4-seamer but can get his cutter up to 96. He seems to have a problem keeping the ball in the ballpark, but has been pretty good otherwise... Flaherty also last pitched Saturday, in the game we won vs. Oklahoma, and it was his best start of the year (8 scoreless). He's pitched a quality start in all but two of his appearances this year (did I just jinx it?)... the Twins would strike for one in the top of the first, Seth Beer driving Mazara around from first with a double, but Beer would suffer an injury while getting to 2nd base, and would have to be replaced by Griffin Conine in the outfield... Mesa walked, Phyo and Guerrero both singled, and just like that we had tied it back up without making an out. Alderson then balked, allowing Phyo to score, and Shirah would later drive Guerrero in with a single to make it 3-1 Bees, still in the first... Mota would score in the second, singling and going to second on a bunt, third on an error and home on a groundout... in the third, we opened up even further. Ishihara and Shirah reached to start, Mota singled to load the bases, and then Alderson walked Flaherty with 'em loaded to score a run and end his day after 2.1 innings. All three of those runners would score, first on a wild pitch by Jayson Schroeder, then a single by Mesa and then a double by Phyo scoring Flaherty. Guerrero would tack on one more with a sac fly to make it 9-1... Carlos Rodriguez had an RBI for the Twins in the 4th... it was 3 more for us in the 5th. Guerrero drove one in with a double, and he and Robles both came in later on Shirah's single making it 12-2... Flaherty would indeed get through six innings, so another quality start for Jack... Luis Tuero had an RBI groundout in the 7th off of Perez... the capper was Shirah's meaningless 3-run homer in the 7th, his eighth HR of the year... Perez would finish things off for an unlikely save.


W: Jack Flaherty (6-3) L: Adrian Alderson (4-3) S: Martin Perez (1)
PotG: Will Shirah

A gigantic offensive series, we've now put up 46 hits in our last three games. These guys are rollin'. New Mexico swept their series in Nashville so we remain a half-game behind.

We're now halfway done with interleague play, having played 12 of the 24 games we're gonna play, and we have a 10-2 record against the AL! Of course, that means we're 21-20 against the NL, which might be a bit worrying. Our remaining interleague games will come in June against Tampa, Oakland, Colorado, Cleveland, Texas and New Orleans.

May 27-28: Bees (31-22) vs. San Diego Padres (35-18)
The Padres are a team that is absolutely feelin' it. They actually started the year off 1-5, but since April 1 have a blistering 34-13 record. Zooming in a bit, though, is even hotter, since the Friars have won 3 straight and 10 of 12, and just swept Toronto, one of the AL's hottest teams. They find themselves tied with Oklahoma for the best record in all of MLB at the moment, although we played the Oilers last week at their place and managed a split. If there's any solace for us to take, it's that we'll be seeing the bottom of their rotation, but all their pitchers have been good. All their players have been good, really.

Game 1 - Joey Lucchesi (4-4, 4.61) vs. Matt Cronin (4-0, 3.42)
SDP: 2B Frank, SS Correa, C Bart, 3B Gallo, CF Hernandez, RF Outman, 1B Gonzalez, P Cronin, LF Frazier
SLC: CF Mesa, 2B Phyo, 3B Guerrero, RF Robles, 1B Ishihara, C Phegley, SS Mota, LF Granite, P Lucchesi

A pair of lefties match up on this Saturday afternoon in Salt Lake City. Cronin has been on fire lately, allowing just one run in his last three starts combined! As you would guess, he won all three of those games. San Diego is 7-1 in his 8 starts this year... Lucchesi got a no-decision Sunday in Oklahoma City, in the game that we lost... we took advantage of some early shakiness by Cronin - his first nine pitches were balls! He would rebound to get Guerrero out, but a Robles single loaded the bases and we scored one when Ishihara flew out deep to left for a sac fly... Lucchesi was through three innings without allowing a hit, but there had been three Padre baserunners, on two walks and an error by Phyo... Adrian Hernandez would get the first Padres hit in the fourth but be put out on a fielder's choice hit into by James Outman. Outman himself would be stranded... in the bottom half of the fourth the Bees would have a little fun. Cronin loaded up the bases without us having to swing the bat - walks to Phegley and Granite sandwiching a HBP of Mota - but then Joey Lucchesi helped his own cause in a major way, shooting the first pitch he saw the other way and sneaking it right inside the third-base bag for a two-run double! Mesa's groundout would score Granite, and Lucchesi would come home on a wild pitch. We would actually add two more in the inning, on RBI doubles from Guerrero and then Ishihara. Cronin would be finished after 3.1 innings, responsible for all seven runs! He allowed only 4 hits but walked 6 and hit a man, a tough day for the former Arkansas Razorback... we would tack on three more in the 7th. A triple by Granite scored two runs, and he would come around on a sac fly by pinch-hitter Ben Gamel... the Padres had began the sixth with two straight hits by Carlos Correa and Joey Bart, but a Joey Gallo double play sapped their momentum and those two hits would be the last baserunners they'd get in the game. Lucchesi would be done after 7, a marvelous outing, and Paul Goodwin got six outs in turn!


W: Joey Lucchesi (5-4) L: Matt Cronin (4-1)
PotG: Joey Lucchesi

Not too often that you can straight-up dominate one of the top teams in the league but we barely put a foot wrong today. That puts us to 10 games over .500 for the first time this year at 32-22, and vaults us ahead of New Mexico into 1st place.

Game 2 - RAINED OUT - game has been rescheduled for Friday, September 8. We previously had a scheduled off day between our stops in San Francisco and Cincinnati, but we'll stop home on the way to play one more with the Dads. They themselves will head out to San Francisco for a Saturday game so it's good timing.

An anticlimactic end to a pretty nice week - I'd have liked to get another game in because we're playing quite well. In fact, I had the game and the lineups all loaded up, had a whole thing written about Padres starter Mark Green, but then I left the game to go get details about how SD had acquired him and when I went back into the game it'd been cancelled. That's weird IMO.

Bees' Player of the Week:
I'll take LF/SP Will Shirah this week. Will was 6-15 at the plate, including two of our only 3 home runs on the week (pretty low considering our hefty offensive outputs) and threw 4 shutout innings in the weird situation with Vancouver on Monday when he went on short rest.

On the Leaderboard:
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.: 2nd in average (.362), 1st in RBI (56), 5th in slugging (.598), 4th in OPS (1.015), 9th in WAR (2.5), 3rd in hits (81), 5th in total bases (134)
Victor Victor Mesa: 9th in average (.336), 9th in hits (75), T-7th in runs scored (45), T-6th in stolen bases (12)
Jack Flaherty: T-4th in wins (6), 5th in pitching WAR (1.9), T-4th in innings pitched (73.0), 5th in K/BB (4.9), 6th in BB/9 (1.6), T-1st in quality starts (10)

Minor League Bees:
AAA Hawaii was 5-2 overall, including series wins over Chula Vista (Padres) and Fort Collins (Suns). It's a 2-team race in the PCL Pacific Division between our team and Hollywood (Dodgers).
AA Monterrey had a tough 3-4 week, losing three of four games to Union Laguna (Blackbirds) but beating Tijuana (Saguaros) two of three.
A Burlington continues to roll going 6-1 this week. They won a series against Washington (Explorers) and swept Beloit (Monarques).
We had two minor leaguers win their league's respective Player of the Week Award - OF Andy Pages won the Mexican League award with 11 hits in 7 games, and OF Dylan Cloonan won the Midwest League award by blistering the competition for 13 hits, including 3 HR and 15 RBI!

All-Star Voting Update:
Three Bees appeared in the top 3 of their position for the first week of All-Star balloting. Kole Cottam is the 2nd-ranked catcher, Morio Ishihara is the #3 first basemen and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is the top vote-getter at third, and second only to Mike Trout in overall NL voting. Here are the leaders so far:

C: Buster Posey, Astros
1B: Cody Bellinger, Cardinals
2B: Brad Martin, Silver Sox
3B: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bees
SS: Francisco Lindor, Cubs
LF: Mike Trout, Blackbirds
CF: Jake McCarthy, Mets
RF: Koshi Higuchi, Silver Sox
SP: Lance McCullers Jr., Dodgers
RP: Durbin Feltman, Suns

And in the AL:

C: Gary Sanchez, Navigators
1B: Rhys Hoskins, Scorpions
2B: Jose Altuve, Rays
3B: Rafael Devers, Yankees
SS: Allen Cordoba, Cherries
LF: Andrew Benintendi, 66ers
CF: Nick Schnell, Scorpions
RF: Bryce Harper, Scorpions
DH: Corey Seager, Mariners
SP: Noah Syndergaard, Yankees
RP: Corey Knebel, Lynx

Standings:



League News:
May 25: Orioles 3B Anthony Rendon, who had been set to be a free agent at season's end, signs a 3-year extension with a team option for 2027 that will pay him $37 million per season! I can't tell if Rendon is aging horribly or if my scout just has a terrible opinion of him, but I'm inclined to lean towards the latter. In 52 games this year Rendon is hitting .306/.372/.553 and just won a Gold Glove last year at third, the first of his career. This new deal comes with $118 million in guaranteed money, counting the buyout he'd be due in 2027 if Baltimore doesn't pick up the option.
May 26: As we were musclin' up, putting 15 runs on the Twins, Buffalo scored 22 against the Silver Sox, including a 14-run fourth inning! LF Travis Swaggerty, the rare power-hitting leadoff left-fielder, highlighted the day going 5-5 with a double, two homers and six runs scored.
May 28: Reno has traded SP Brett Graves to Montréal in exchange for two prospects, most notably 22-year-old 3B prospect Angel Tiburcio. May be a signal that the Silver Sox are giving up, because their pitching staff has been dreadful. Just in the past two weeks they have had games that they lost 15-5, 22-4, 15-3, 13-0 and 22-2... in total, their pitching staff has allowed 42 more runs than any other NL team, and we've only played about 55 games per team at this point. Well, their staff will be even worse now with Graves as a Monarque. Nice move for Montréal to boost a medium-level rotation at the back-end.

Players of the Week:
Astros RF Ramon Gutierrez - 13-24, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 1.384 OPS. Gutierrez is a 33-year-old Cuban who defected this past offseason, and is already looking like a heavy contender for NL Rookie of the Year.
Violets LF Adam Wesche - 15-28, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1.302 OPS. Austin is not very good this year, but Wesche's current 20-game hit streak is a bright spot.

Power Rankings:
We had a nice 4-1 week against some good clubs, so I thought we'd crack the top 5, but we just missed out! If we'd been able to play Sunday and beaten the Padres I think we mighta nudged them out of the top 5. Instead, we went from 11th last week to 6th this week.
1. Baltimore Orioles
2. Oklahoma Oilers
3. San Diego Padres
4. Louisville Colts
5. New Orleans Crescents
56. Boston Red Sox
57. Hartford Oaks
58. Milwaukee Brewers
59. Arizona Diamondbacks
60. Colorado Rockies

Next Week: we go out on the road, in a pretty OOTP-style road trip that takes us first to LA to see the Dodgers, then we start the month of June in Tampa and Oakland in that order.
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Old 01-18-2020, 07:41 PM   #25
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Week 10: May 29-June 4, 2023



Five of our next seven opponents will be from the American League, but we start things off with a trip to Dodger Stadium. Monday morning, though, we got some news that SP Michael Pineda will be out a bit longer than expected with his oblique strain. Pineda has been more a hassle than anything this year with all his nagging injuries, but when he has been able to get out there he's been effective, and Kirchner got shelled last time out so I would like to get him back before too long.

May 29-30: Bees (32-22) @ Los Angeles Dodgers (29-27)
The Dodgers are in a bit of a rut at the moment. Predicted to win the NL West, they've had a terrible time trying to score runs, especially recently. They are 4th from the bottom in NL run-scoring overall. That has turned into quite a few Ls recently, as they haven't won any of their last 7 series & have lost four games in a row, all at home. By all accounts this should be one of MLB's five best teams, so it won't be that surprising if they put it together against us here to end May, but we're playing pretty well at the moment so who knows. The Dodger pitching has lived up to its reputation, so at the very least it'll be strength vs. strength this week in LA.

Game 1: Will Shirah (4-2, 4.95) vs. Trevor Bauer (3-3, 3.62)
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, P Shirah, CF Mesa, C Cottam, 2B Maezes, LF Granite
LAD: CF Cole, 2B Eikhoff, LF Acuña, 3B Sano, SS Mondesi, RF Puig, C Barnhart, 1B Doolin, P Bauer

Bauer is every bit as good here with the Dodgers as he is IRL. He signed a big contract with LA going into 2021 after starring with the rival Padres for the first three years of this game, and in 2021 he lived up to the hype, making his first All-Star team and finishing 2nd in Cy Young voting behind Houston's Clayton Kershaw, but last year he missed a bunch of time due to injury. He was still excellent, but limited, and lost his only postseason start as the Dodgers were upset in the first round by Buffalo... Shirah pitched last Monday on 3 days rest, and now thanks to the rainout is pitching on 6 days rest the next time out. Hope he doesn't care too much about his routine... it was a repetitive first few innings. By that, I mean Bauer and Shirah did the same thing each time. Unfortunately for us, Bauer retired us 1-2-3 in the first three innings, but better was that Shirah at least matched him with zeroes on the scoreboard. The Dodgers had exactly one two-out baserunner each stanza. Ronald Acuña Jr. singled in the first, Tucker Barnhart reached on a Ishihara error in the second, and Nate Eikhoff doubled in the third, but no further... we'd finally get through to Bauer in the fourth in our second try through the lineup. Mota and Robles both singled, Ishihara drew a 4-pitch walk, and Shirah helped his own cause with a two-run single! After a second out, Cottam doubled to the wall, scoring both runners that were still on to make it 4-0... in the 6th, the Dodgers finally got a baserunner before two outs, and I think that's why they scored. Eikhoff singled, went to second on a Cottam passed ball, and scored on Acuña's single. We'd jump back on Bauer the next half-inning, though, Mota driving Maezes in with a hit, and Guerrero driving in Granite, to make it 6-1... LA must have been really desperate for innings, because they sent reliever and former Bee Trevor Rosenthal up to hit for himself in the 8th. Fictional Bees fans everywhere will primarily remember this Trevor Rosenthal for blowing Game 7 of the World Series in 2019, the only time I've made it through the second round of the playoffs with this team. We had a 6-3 lead in the bottom of the 9th in Toronto but he let the championship slip away... anyway, Shirah overwhelmed him with a fastball and he grounded out to short. The rest of the game was uneventful and scoreless!


W: Will Shirah (5-2) L: Trevor Bauer (3-4)
PotG: Will Shirah. 7.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 6 K; 1-4, 2 RBI, R

Really nice game from Will. He's really becoming comfortable on both sides of the ball; this is his first full season in MLB after all, so maybe not surprising that he would start slow? Too many plate appearances to still be considered a rookie, but he wasn't a permanent MLB fixture until I acquired him from the Beacons last July in a minor deal (along with the current Midwest League player of the week, OF Dylan Cloonan).

Game 2 - Ryan Kirchner (0-1, 27.00) vs. Ethan Hankins (1-4, 4.21)
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, CF Mesa, C Cottam, 2B Phyo, LF Gamel, P Kirchner
LAD: CF Cole, 2B Eikhoff, LF Acuña, 3B Sano, SS Mondesi, RF Puig, C Barnhart, 1B Hanson, P Hankins

Hankins is a future All-Star for sure, but he's in a bit of a slump at the moment. IRL, he was a first-round pick by Cleveland in 2018 out of a Georgia high school. Here, he was rushed to the majors a bit by the 2019 Dodgers, and though he did well, he was just 19 and probably coulda used a touch more seasoning. Now 23, he's got three plus pitches and can spot them decently well. Buuuut, he's allowed at least three runs in five straight outings, and LA has lost five of his last six... we might need him to allow more than that if Kirchner can't improve on his outing from last Tuesday, where he allowed 7 runs while getting 7 outs (hence, the 27 ERA) in our only loss last week... we loaded the bases in the top of the first without scoring, and then LA went to work. Acuña singled with two outs, and Miguel Sanó smashed a line drive over the left-field wall, 2-0 Dodgers... Kirchner was actually getting worse on the fly. He got Toby Hanson to start the second, and then things started spiraling when he walked the opposing pitcher Hankins. 4 batters later, it was 6-0 and he was done. Not to be outdone, Martin Perez would allow his inherited runner to score, and then two more of his own, and it was 9-0 after two innings. We got 1 in the third, an RBI fielder's choice for Mesa scoring Robles, but they got one as well on a sac fly by Adalberto Mondesi... threats on both sides, but no more runs until LA brought out Brian Gadsby, who we traded for Brad Hand in April, and we crushed his spirit. Mota walked, and Joe Breaux singled as a PH. Ishihara brought them both in alongside him with a 3-run shot, his 11th. Mesa would later be singled in by Cottam, and we were suddenly within sight of them at 10-5... the sum total of the 8th inning, for both sides, was completed in eight pitches. 3 for LA's Gregory Infante, 5 for former Dodger Hand... we got two runners on in the ninth but never really threatened once we got to 5.


W: Ethan Hankins (2-4) L: Ryan Kirchner (0-2)
PotG: Ronald Acuña Jr., 4-4, 2B, BB, 2 RBI, 2 R

I dunno if this is an overreaction, but I'm gonna have to send Kirchner down just to clear out his head! He's given up 14 runs in a total of 3.2 innings now. RHP William Gonzalez comes back up.

We have Wednesday the 31st off, so this brings the month to an end! We were 15-10 through the month of May, and find ourselves in first place atop the NL Central, 1 1/2 games ahead of New Mexico. (The Suns have played 3 more games than we have, but with 3 more losses.) We have the 4th-best record in this 30-team National League, 3 games behind the current #1 seed San Diego.

Monthly Awards
Batter of the Month:
Nashville 1B Justin Bour - .360, 12 HR, 26 RBI, 26 runs. Bour had 31 hits in 24 games, and 19 of those hits went for extra bases. The 2021 World Series MVP with Milwaukee, Bour's in his first season with the Sounds and doing really well. Nashville had an excellent month of May as a team going 17-9 as well, shooting up to 3rd in the AL South
Columbus LF Kameron Misner - .350, 10 HR, 31 RBI, 20 runs. The Explorers have been without C Nick Fortes and 1B Alec Bohm for almost the whole season but it hasn't mattered with Misner carrying them. Cbus has a 6 1/2 game lead on the Reds and Pirates in the NL North.

Pitcher of the Month:
Sacramento SP Dinelson Lamet - 5-0, 3.44 ERA, 34.0 IP, 50 K. The Solons were 6-0 in his May starts and find themselves in first place in the AL West. Right now he's working on a string of 4 consecutive double-digit strikeout games.
Salt Lake SP Jack Flaherty - 4-1, 1.83 ERA, 34.1 IP, 27 K. Jack has been a rock for us since the last week of April, and he's gotten 6 wins in 7 starts over that period while lowering his season ERA by about 2 and a half runs.

Rookie of the Month:
Austin LF Adam Wesche - .430, 4 HR, 19 RBI, 23 runs. Wesche just won the AL Player of the Week award for the last week of May, so no real surprise I guess. Austin is still not very good, but they played above .500 ball in May so not all is lost. The AL Central is actually in exactly the order that was predicted in the preseason (Las Vegas-Oklahoma-Tucson-Austin-Texas-Colorado).
West Texas LF Miguel Baca - .303, 7 HR, 22 RBI, 21 runs. Baca played 1B in both our games in El Paso a few weeks ago, but he's in LF, and Mike Trout in CF, with Jordan Prendiz out with an injury. He was the 9th overall pick in 2020.

Apparently, this is the first Pitcher of the Month award any of my players have won, which is surprising. I had Yu Darvish as an ace for several years, and I always felt like he had stretches more dominant that Flare is on right now, but just never won it.

In addition, members of our AAA team in Hawaii won both the PCL Batter and Pitcher of the Month Awards! CF Andy Shadid and SP Santiago Elizondo were winners. Shadid really isn't a prospect - he's already 26, and before hitting .354 in May with 9 HR he hit .105 in April, but Elizondo will be a part of our team in the future, this September at the absolute latest. We took him in the inaugural fantasy draft in 2018, honestly well after I had stopped paying attention to who we were drafting, but he's still just 23 and has an 8-0 record with a sub-2 ERA in AAA right now!

Alright, back to the games!

June 1-2: Bees (33-23) @ Tampa Bay Rays (31-27)
The Rays drew a strange straw on the schedule front - they are playing just about all of their interleague games in a row. They didn't play their first game vs. the NL until May 18th (we started on April 24th) but from then until June 18th they will play all 24 of their interleague games and just 4 games vs. the AL. They just got back from a nice long road trip that took them to Newark, Washington, El Paso and Charlotte, where they went 4-4. Overall not the strongest group of teams they've been playing, but a .500 road trip is probably good for anyone a lot of the time. They'd been forced to go without a DH over the past week, meaning that either regular DH Yuli Gurriel or regular 3B Nolan Gorman was on the bench for each of those games. Overall, this is a team that was predicted to earn a playoff spot, and has each of the last two years, but is struggling offensively this year. Star SS Osiris Johnson is on the IL and won't play in this series, and overall there just hasn't been a lot of help around Jose Altuve.

Game 1 - Jack Flaherty (6-3, 3.70) vs. Trey Benton (5-2, 2.94)
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, LF Shirah, CF Mesa, C Cottam, 2B Phyo, DH Granite
TBR: CF Gray, RF Eads, 2B Altuve, LF Donnarumma, C E. Rodriguez, DH Vaughn, 3B Gorman, SS R. Rodriguez, 1B Rivas

Benton is a really nice looking pitcher, a current real-life East Carolina Pirate who, thanks to the structure of the fantasy draft I ran in this world, became a pro in 2018 instead and made the majors by 2020. Due to injury, his first full year in the Rays' rotation was last season (2022) but he is having his coming out party right now. He's pitching deep into games, striking more guys out, and keeping the ball in the ballpark. He's always had good control too, and even defends his position well. I haven't even seen him pitch but I'm already a fan. He's still just 23 too... though, we've got quite the pitcher going today as well, the guy who was just announced this morning as NL Pitcher of the Month for May! Flaherty was the beneficiary of our offensive explosion last Friday against the Twins, though he also pitched well, scattering seven hits over 6 innings, giving up 2 runs in a 15-3 win... we were set down in order in the first inning, and then Tampa went up in their half on a solo HR by Steve Eads... We finally got our first baserunners in the third, two hits and an error loading the bases for Robles but we couldn't convert... Ishihara led off the 4th with a double, and Shirah singled him around to tie the game... MK Phyo doubled later in the inning to score Shirah and give us the lead... but we would lose the lead in the bottom half. James Donnarumma came in to score on Flaherty's wild pitch, and Gorman followed with a sac fly to make it 3-2... Steve Eads came up again in the 5th with a man on and went long again, making it 5-2 and ending Flaherty's day. That snaps a streak of 6 straight quality starts... the 7th and 8th were pretty quiet... in the 9th, with Tampa's Dovydas Neverauskas on for the save, Phyo and Granite reached on hits before Mota had an RBI groundout. When Robles hit an infield hit, it brought the go-ahead run to the plate in the form of Guerrero... who struck out. Close but no cigar.


W: Trey Benton (6-2) L: Jack Flaherty (6-4) S: Dovydas Neverauskas (15)
PotG: Steve Eads

Bleh.

Game 2 - Joey Lucchesi (5-4, 4.07) vs. Hugo Beltran (2-4, 5.47)
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, LF Shirah, CF Mesa, DH Gamel, C Cottam, 2B Phyo
TBR: CF Gray, RF Eads, 2B Altuve, SS R. Rodriguez, LF Donnarumma, 3B Gorman, DH Allred, 1B Rivas, C Rosica

Another promising young Rays starter, but this time one who's had a bit less success so far this year. Beltran was worth 3 wins as a swingman last year, making 21 starts and 30 bullpen appearances for this Tampa team. This season, though, has been a little less successful fully in the rotation. Last time out he was shelled by the Blackbirds in El Paso, getting the loss and not making it through five... Lucchesi was the star of our lone game against San Diego before the rainout, throwing seven shutout innings... we got to Beltran in the first. Mota and Robles each singled, Ishihara drew a walk and Shirah scored two runs with a single. Lucchesi only allowed two baserunners in the first three innings, one hit and one walk... the top of the 4th was a veritable parade of Bees hitters. Cottam single, Phyo walk, Mota single, Robles RBI single, Guerrero K, Ishihara 2-RBI double, and then a pitching change. That's 3.1 innings for Beltran, another rough outing for him... now off of Nathan Eovaldi, Shirah 2-RBI double, Mesa RBI single (but an out on the bases), Gamel walk and Cottam 2-run homer! That's eight runs in the 4th. Following that, Phyo came up with the longest at-bat I've ever noticed in an OOTP game: 17 pitches! He made Eovaldi really work, but it would end in a ground ball to first... After all that, Lucchesi got through his next inning on just 6 pitches... he'd allow one hit each in the fifth and sixth but no further damage... in Joey's final inning, the 7th, he allowed a solo HR to Ronny Rodriguez... Martin Perez soaked up the final two innings, allowing a two-run double to Jose Altuve in the 8th but nothing further.


W: Joey Lucchesi (6-4) L: Hector Beltran (2-5)
PotG: Joey Lucchesi

A nice solid team win to earn a split. On to Oakland!

June 3-4: Bees (34-24) vs. Oakland Athletics (30-30)
.500 for Oakland is better than expected - this team went to the playoffs in 2019-2021, but fell back last season to below .500 and were expected to be worse this year. Well, bolstered by a fairly weak AL West, they're making a couple of waves at least. LF Nick Decker is probably their top hitter (though they do have some big names) but he's struggling right now, and the A's have lost 3 straight games, including just being swept by the lowly Anchors at home. The A's are also missing a couple of starting pitchers - Zack Greinke is out for the year, and Jon Gray has been out since late April.

Game 1 - Griffin Canning (3-1, 6.26) vs. Luke Weaver (5-2, 3.65)
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, CF Mesa, C Cottam, DH Gamel, 2B Phyo, LF Granite
OAK: LF Decker, CF Toles, DH Jimenez, 3B Arenado, 1B Thames, RF Hernandez, C Childers, SS Waddell, 2B Doney

Luke Weaver is proving himself to be pretty valuable here in a contract year. He's got more than 5 strikeouts for each walk, is keeping the ball down and mixing 4 good pitches in well. Last time out he dominated the Brewers at Miller Park, going 7 innings with 1 run allowed in a 3-1 win... Canning was shelled by Minnesota in his last start, but was bailed out by the offense (we came back from 4 runs down to win 8-7)... we scored a run on a wild pitch in the first, Robles coming in to make it 1-0... but Oakland would get it straight back, benefitting from a Phyo throwing error to get an RBI single from Eloy Jimenez... in the second, it all went to hell. Two walks and two hits produced a run, an RBI hit by Nick Decker, and then Andrew Toles delivered a sac fly to make it 3-1 before Jimenez walked loading the bases again. On a 1-1 pitch, Canning allowed his fourth and final hit of the game. Unfortunately, it was a Nolan Arenado grand slam that knocked him out after just 1.2 innings. We're gonna need that comeback magic again... Paul Goodwin came in to rescue Canning, but himself had to leave in the 3rd with a shoulder injury... Weaver was working well, not allowing a baserunner in the 2nd, 3rd or 4th... not much doing until the 7th. The Bees had three extra-base hits in the inning to produce two runs, a Phyo RBI double and a Granite RBI triple... but the A's got them right back in their seventh, back-to-back RBI singles by Colin Doney and Decker... a fielder's choice would get us 1 more run in the ninth but we never really made a serious threat.


W: Luke Weaver (6-2) L: Griffin Canning (3-2)
PotG: Luke Weaver

Paul Goodwin's injury doesn't appear to be major - he will be D2D for about a week.

Game 2 - Will Shirah (5-2, 4.37) vs. Yordy Cabrera (3-1, 2.28)
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, CF Mesa, C Cottam, DH Gamel, 2B Phyo, LF Granite
OAK: LF Decker, CF Toles, DH Jimenez, 3B Arenado, 2B Flores, 1B Thames, RF Hernandez, SS Waddell, C Baldo

Cabrera was a starter for the A's last year as a debutant, but began this year in the bullpen... until the team was torn apart by pitching injuries. He entered the rotation in early May and has been pitching pretty incredibly, with a 1.53 ERA out of the bullpen and a 2.61 in 5 starts to date. The A's 4th-round pick in 2019 from a community college in south Florida, Cabrera makes up for his iffy stuff with quality control... Shirah, theoretically, should do well in this Oakland ballpark with his tendency to induce a lot of popups... he got the win in LA on Monday, allowing just 1 run over 7.1... Shirah had a very difficult first inning. Decker, Toles and Jimenez all reached with hits, scoring one run, and Arenado scored a second run with his grounder. Wilmer Flores followed with an RBI single to make it 3-0, but Will settled down and finished the inning... the Bees put together a two-out rally in the second but were held off the board... Yordy Cabrera actually had to leave the game with an injury in the 3rd inning, same as Paul Goodwin yesterday, so a golden opportunity for us to get a good starter out of the game... Luke Waddell added a sac fly for them in the 3rd to make it 4-0... in the 5th, Teoscar Hernandez hit a solo HR off of Shirah, his 7th of the year, making it 5-0. That'd be all for Will, going just 4.1 innings with 5 runs allowed... Goodwin actually came in first out of the bullpen, so it looks like Matheny isn't concerned about his injury. Problem was, he walked Omar Baldo and allowed a further home run to Decker to make it 7-0... we would get off the schneid in the 6th, Guerrero scoring on a wild pitch from reliever Raudel Lazo... but that was pretty much the last interesting thing that happened in this game. We only had one baserunner the final three innings.


W: Aaron Moore (1-0) L: Will Shirah (5-3)
PotG: Nick Decker

We've gotta pitch better, for sure. We finish the road trip 2-4 - I'm definitely ready for us to get back home to Utah.

Bees' Player of the Week:
C Kole Cottam - 10-26, 2 2B, HR, 5 RBI, .962 OPS.

On the Leaderboard:
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.: 5th in average (.340), 2nd in RBI (57), T-5th in hits (85), T-6th in total bases (139)
Morio Ishihara: T-8th in RBI (50)
Victor Robles: 9th in runs scored (48)
Victor Victor Mesa: T-2nd in triples (6), 8th in stolen bases (13)
Zack Granite: T-6th in triples (5)
Jack Flaherty: T-7th in innings pitched (77.1), 4th in K/BB (4.8), 5th in BB/9 (1.6), T-1st in quality starts (10)

Minor League Bees:
AAA Hawaii was just 3-3 this week, winning a vital series against Hollywood (Dodgers) but losing two of three at Boise (66ers). They're now tied with Hollywood atop the PCL Pacific.
AA Monterrey lost every game this week! That's shocking considering how good they've been, and they have actually slipped all the way to 3rd in the Mexican League, 6 games behind Monclova (Oilers)
A Burlington, contrarily, swept their whole week with sweeps over Erie (Blue Jays) and South Bend (Cubs). They have won an astonishing 10 in a row and 15 of 16 to sit at 39-12, which from what I can tell is the best record in affiliated ball right now.

All-Star Voting Upgrade:
No update, really - all of our players on the leaderboard remained where they were. Cottam is in 2nd place among catchers, and Ishihara in 3rd place among first basemen (but likely to rise now that San Antonio's Triston Casas is out for the year). Guerrero is still running away with the vote at 3B, but has slipped to 4th in overall votes among the NL behind Trout, Posey and Bellinger. New players in bold:

C: Buster Posey, Astros
1B: Cody Bellinger, Cardinals
2B: Brad Martin, Silver Sox
3B: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bees
SS: Francisco Lindor, Cubs
LF: Mike Trout, Blackbirds
CF: Jake McCarthy, Mets
RF: Koshi Higuchi, Silver Sox
SP: Jose Quintana, Nationals
RP: Durbin Feltman, Suns

C: Brad Debo, Scorpions
1B: Rhys Hoskins, Scorpions
2B: Jose Altuve, Rays
3B: Rafael Devers, Yankees
SS: Allen Cordoba, Cherries
LF: Andrew Benintendi, 66ers
CF: Nick Schnell, Scorpions
RF: Bryce Harper, Scorpions
DH: Corey Seager, Mariners
SP: Noah Syndergaard, Yankees
RP: Corey Knebel, Lynx

Standings:



League News:
May 31: Tough news from Tucson; Saguaros CF Adam Frazier has a broken elbow and will probably miss the rest of the season. An All-Star in 2020, Frazier will finish the 2023 season with a negative WAR
May 31: The Diamondbacks have fired manager Don Mattingly. This was his first season at the helm in Phoenix, having been the bench coach for the prior three years, but he lasted just 58 games in charge. Arizona quickly hired on Nick Hird (fictional) as his replacement.
June 1: Astros reliever Patrick Corbin is done for the year with a torn flexor tendon in his elbow. Corbin had signed for just 1 year and $2.2 million, so he will be without a team at season's end and unable to pitch again until July/August of 2024. Another in a long, long list of Houston pitching injuries.
June 3: I just last post mentioned Anthony Rendon's new contract. Well, the Orioles' 3B signed it at the perfect time, because he will miss three months with a nerve issue.
June 4: Sacramento SP Mike LoPresti has one of the season's best individual performances in a win at San Diego. Not only did he throw a two-hit shutout, he also hit a home run, his first major league hit! Some call this a True Win, a game in which the pitcher beats the other team entirely on his own. A pretty great accomplishment for an American League pitcher!
June 4: In a really weird trade, the Red Sox (one of the league's worst teams) give up RHP James Dykstra and a prospect in order to acquire 37-year-old Yoenis Cespedes from the Braves. Cespedes is a roughly league-average hitter, he's a free agent after this season and Boston has no chance of going anywhere in 2023 so this is an odd one.

Players of the Week:
Colorado 1B Eudor Garcia - 12-25, 5 HR, 15 RBI. The Rockies are still the worst team in the league, but Garcia is a good player. I've mentioned before, but he holds the hitting streak record in this reformed MLB, a 38-game streak he put together two years ago. We'll see the Rox come to Salt Lake for a kind of interleague rivalry series next Thursday and Friday.
San Francisco 2B Spencer Torkelson - 10-24, 4 HR, 10 RBI. We haven't played the Giants yet (we play them at home at the end of this month, then at SF in September) so not a lot of time devoted to Torkelson here, but he's definitely a quality player and every bit as good as he is currently expected to be IRL. I'm hoping he is the #1 pick in this year's real MLB draft, but that's partly because Arizona State is my college team & I'm a big fan of Tork's.

Power Rankings: we had a tough 2-4 week, so it's not surprising that we fall, but I didn't think we'd fall this far. Last week we were 6th, but now we are 17th.

Next Week: the draft is on Monday, so the next post will focus entirely on that. But then, we have one of our (theoretically) easier homestands, with the Blackbirds, Rockies and Indians coming to town. Those three teams are a combined 42 games below .500 at the moment.

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Old 01-18-2020, 11:52 PM   #26
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2023 Draft

I mentioned a few players that I really liked when the pool was revealed, with my favorite player of all being SP Bobby Padin. I dunno why I even bothered TBH, since our first pick in the draft is at #47. The top ten went as follows:

1. Colorado Rockies: SP Bobby Padin, Troy University
2. Nashville Stars: CF Thomas Knotek, Univ. of Alabama
3. Arizona Diamondbacks: SP Brent Whiting, Univ. of the Pacific
4. Los Angeles Angels: SP Andrew Perry, William & Mary
5. Boston Red Sox: CF Mike Cornwell, Texas A&M
6. Hartford Oaks: RP Alex King, Univ. of Portland
7. Austin Violets: 3B Miguel Arteaga, Woodland HS (IL)
8. Portland Beavers: RP Rodger Rivera, Stephen F. Austin
9. Tucson Saguaros: SS Kelly Richman, Maple Hill HS (NY)
10. Syracuse Blizzard: SP Dan Long, St. John's

Padin, Knotek and Arteaga were all players I had identified from the draft pool, and my other favorite, SP Jon Green, was drafted 14th by Reno. Alex King is a fascinating player at #6 with Hartford... my head scout already views him as a 4-star reliever, with potential to be one of the all-time great closers, but it's always hard to pick a guy that you know is gonna be in the bullpen long-term since that limits value a lot. Gonna have to track him as the years go along - there's a possibility he skips the minors entirely, although Hartford doesn't have a ton to play for here in 2023.

Enough about players I didn't pick, and on to the ones I did! There were still a lot of pitchers still on the board that I liked at #47, and I selected 21-y.o. SP Michael Ross from Mercer University in Georgia. He looks like he'll have the ability to really stick a plus fastball, curveball or forkball exactly where he wants it.

Our next few picks were:
R2 (#127): SP Malik Davis, Collinwood HS (TN)
R3 (#191): SS Eric Atwell, Boylan HS (IL)
R4 (#252): 3B/OF Theo Bender, East Lansing HS (MI)
R5 (#312): RP Kevin Cramer, Cal State-Fullerton
R6 (#372): 1B Jeremy Currier, Joshua Christian HS (TX)
R7 (#432): CF David Crocker, Oregon State
R8 (#492): RP Eric Youngquist, Michigan
R9 (#552): CF/RP Rob Wall, Palatine HS (IL)
R10 (#612): CF John Allen, South Shore HS (IL)


Quite happy with this haul overall. I had only identified about 20 players that I was really, really intrigued by, but Ross, Davis and Atwell were all on that list.


Time will tell if we can sign all of these fellas - Youngquist was very highly rated but may not be signable, for example. If there's a late-round gem in this bunch, it'll be 3B Jared Jones out of the University of Miami. He was listed as a pitcher in the draft list so everyone passed over him many times, including myself - I grabbed him in the 17th round. We're gonna see if he can learn to play 2B - his defensive ratings fit the 3B archetype but there's no real path for a 3B in this organization at the moment, understandably. Funnily I found out he's a real kid, but instead of going to Miami he's actually a freshman at the University of Texas.

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Old 01-19-2020, 02:34 PM   #27
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Week 11: June 5-11, 2023



With the draft all done, let's get into Monday's game, which is (I guess) happening simultaneously with the draft.

June 5-6: Bees (34-26) vs. West Texas Blackbirds (29-33)
WTX embarrassed us in El Paso a few weeks ago, so I hope our boys are ready for revenge now that we're on our turf. This is the middle series on a 6-game road trip for them - they just split a series in Newark and will head to face the White Sox after, so it's a really tough group of games for them. CF Jordan Prendiz is injured at the moment, so the Blackbirds are using a pretty different defensive alignment, with Trout in CF, usual 1B Miguel Baca in left and usual 3B Jordan Verdon at first.

Game 1 - William Gonzalez (0-2, 5.40) vs. AJ Jones (3-2, 4.24)
WTX: SS Alexander, 1B Verdon, CF Trout, LF Baca, RF Rizer, 3B Rahier, 2B Merrill, C Barraza, P Jones
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, LF Shirah, CF Mesa, C Cottam, 2B Maezes, P Gonzalez

Jones was a rather unsuccessful Pirate for a few years before being acquired by West Texas in May 2021. As a Blackbird he's been quite a bit more successful, at least in the job of actually staying in the majors. He's not that interesting as a pitcher overall, but now has a positive record at least, thanks to his three wins in May. Last time out, though, was a lucky no-decision. He didn't get through the 5th inning against the Marlins on Tuesday, allowing 5 runs, but the offense bailed him out by tying the game even though they'd go on to lose... our first time seeing William in a Bees uniform since he lost to Hartford on May 7. He was actually not starting in Hawaii, which is interesting - wonder if I brought up the wrong guy. We're certainly not hurting for slightly-better-than-replacement-level pitchers... we got to Jones in the first inning by starting his day with three hits and a Guerrero RBI. Shirah added a sac fly later to make it 2-0... but West Texas would tie things up shortly. Johnny Rizer hit a solo homer, and Tanner Rahier walked and scored on an RBI hit from the pitcher Jones... Travis Maezes answered with a solo HR in our second, his 4th of the year, to make it 3-2 Bees... Gonzalez suffered an injury in the 4th and had to leave the game, so maybe he wasn't stretched out enough. Maybe I really did call up the wrong guy... at any rate he pitched well today for the time he had, but in comes Perez to soak up some innings... in the 6th we'd knock Jones out for good. Ishihara doubled and was followed by a Shirah walk, and that was all for AJ. Mesa singled off of Noel Rodriguez to load the bases, and although Cottam hit into a fielder's choice at the plate and Maezes struck out, pinch-hitter Zack Granite struck gold with a two-run single. Mota followed with an RBI single of his own and it was now 6-2... it became silly in the 7th. Cottam had an RBI single to score Ishihara, and Maezes yanked a ball out to right field for a 3-run shot, his second on the day and 5th of the year to make it 10-2... Trout would pad his stats out with a meaningless 2-run home run in the ninth.


W: Martin Perez (4-0) L: AJ Jones (3-3)
PotG: Travis Maezes

Gonzalez isn't gonna be out super long (about two weeks), but that's enough for an IL stint. I'm going to call up SP Ray Gaither, who will make his Bees debut when he appears - we acquired him along with Te'Kwaan Whyte in December in exchange for OF Mike Spooner.

Going into Tuesday, we found out that most of our draft class had already agreed to their bonus offers and signed on! In fact, it's just 2nd-round pick Malik Davis and 5th-round pick Kevin Cramer, both pitchers, whom we are waiting on.

Game 2 - Jack Flaherty (6-4, 4.07) vs. Bill Winchester (2-0, 7.88)
WTX: SS Alexander, 1B Verdon, CF Trout, LF Baca, RF Rizer, 2B Merrill, 3B Moniot, C Norris, P Winchester
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, LF Shirah, CF Mesa, 2B Phyo, C Phegley, P Flaherty

Winchester is a really highly-regarded prospect who hasn't found MLB quite as welcoming as he'd hoped. He grew up in Austin and went to school at Texas State in San Marcos, so when he was drafted 6th overall by this El Paso outfit in 2021 it was probably quite exciting. Didn't take him long to make the big leagues - his debut was this April, and he won his first two starts against two decent teams in New Mexico and Pittsburgh, but he's now gone six straight starts without a decision and hasn't finished the fifth inning in any of them. He's got pretty good stamina so not sure what's up there... Flaherty was a bit roughed up in his last start, allowing two home runs and getting the loss against the Rays... the Blackbirds got to him in the first, somewhat unusually doing so without Trout's help. Jordan Verdon doubled, Miguel Baca reached on a Phyo error, and Johnny Rizer singled, making it 2-0... it's two days, two starting pitching injuries, but it ain't us this time. Winchester left in the bottom of the second with a shoulder tweak. Jeff Riedel came in for him with a man on first, and we got going then. Mesa walked, and Phyo singled to score Shirah and make it 2-1... Flaherty helped himself by leading off the 3rd with a double pushed down the right field line, and Robles put us ahead by stroking his 6th home run... Flaherty escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fourth inning, with a relief pitcher coming to the plate at just the correct time... in the fifth inning, MK Phyo was knocked over by a baserunner and landed right on his elbow. Maezes had to come in to replace him... the second half of the game was rather boring, I think. Each team had a total of two baserunners from the 5th to the 8th innings... Miller on for the save, crucially not facing Trout's part of the lineup... Ryan Merrill strikes out... Travis Moniot hits a lazy fly ball to center, and Derek Norris hits a ball near the line in right, just where Robles can run right onto it. Ballgame!


W: Jack Flaherty (7-4) L: Jeff Riedel (3-5) S: Jared Miller (12)
PotG: Jack Flaherty

MK Phyo will be out for six weeks with an elbow sprain! Why is it that guys are still getting injured by sliding baserunners? We find ourselves in need of another middle infielder all of a sudden, so IF Te'Kwaan Whyte is back up from Hawaii.

June 8-9: Bees (36-26) vs. Colorado Rockies (21-43)
I wish OOTP allowed us to guarantee these sorts of series - an interleague rivalry! It's fun to have Salt Lake City and Denver battling it out for mountain supremacy, but I can't ensure it unless I come up with a schedule where we always play every AL Central team. (Which, to be fair, I could; I just haven't.) The Rockies have the worst record in the American League, but come into Utah having matched their longest win streak of the season at 3 games. They've beaten Milwaukee once and Sacramento twice, all three games at home and all won by exactly two runs. There's no sugar-coating it though - this team is freakin' awful. Worst in the AL in both scoring runs and preventing them, and there is no major offensive category in which they're outside the bottom quarter of AL teams. They also might be the league's worst defensive team, painfully enough.

Game 1 - Joey Lucchesi (6-4, 3.78) vs. Blake Adams (0-0, 5.73)
COL: 2B Guerrero, 1B Garcia, RF Austin, LF Allen, 3B D. Perry, CF C. Perry, C Alfaro, P Adams, 2B McCullough
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, LF Shirah, CF Mesa, 2B Maezes, C Cottam, P Lucchesi

Adams was the 20th overall selection by Colorado in 2019, and by 2021 was a fixture in the Rockies' bullpen. This is just his 2nd career start, though, and the first of this season. In fairness, he's expected to be a starter long-term, but he is not used to doing that at this moment in time... Joey Lucchesi celebrated his 30th birthday on Tuesday, so he's making the first start of a new decade for him. He finished his 20s with a pair of wins, beating the Rays last time out... this game started shakily for Joey. Luis Guerrero, Eudor Garcia and Tyler Austin all singled, and a fielder's choice brought in a run to make it 1-0 Colorado... we scored more efficiently, I'd say. With two outs, Adams walked Guerrero on four pitches and Ishihara took the first pitch to him over the wall in right for a two-run shot! Expedited that one... they'd get right back to a tie game, though, in the second. Jorge Alfaro singled, and went to second on Adams' bunt, to 3rd on a passed ball and scored on a grounder by Morgan McCullough... but no worry, we'd restore the lead immediately. Mesa and Maezes were on ahead of Kole Cottam's three-run blast in the 2nd to make it 5-2... when the first two Bees also reached to start the 3rd, Blake Adams was done. Just 2.0 innings for him today... off of reliever Brendan Spagnuolo, Mesa singled to load the bases, and Maezes' double then scored 2 runs. Cottam followed with a sac fly and Mota drove in Maezes with a hit to make it 9-2... Maezes would go deep his next time up, leading off the 5th, to put us in double digits... Lucchesi was done after 5 - no real need to push him with a big lead... Guerrero added an RBI single in the 7th, which completed the scoring.


W: Joey Lucchesi (7-4) L: Blake Adams (0-1)
PotG: Travis Maezes

CF Joe Breaux was hardly playing up here, and he cleared through waivers on Thursday, so we sent him back down to AAA Hawaii. Up in his place comes OF Willie Joe Garry Jr., who is a plus-plus defender all across the outfield and is finally showing himself at the plate. Don't know if he supplants Shirah or how much playing time he really will get in the outfield under Matheny, but I think it's time for him to get a shot. It'll be his major league debut when he gets into a game.

Game 2 - Griffin Canning (3-2, 7.76) vs. Miller Hogan (1-4, 7.49)
COL: SS Guerrero, 2B McCullough, LF Taylor, 1B Garcia, RF Allen, CF C. Perry, 3B D. Perry, C Alfaro, P Hogan
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, C Cottam, 2B Maezes, CF Garry, LF Granite, P Canning

So Garry actually gets into a game right away, at Mesa's expense, and I now find myself hoping that Victor Victor Mesa hasn't found himself in AI Mike's accidental doghouse... Miller Hogan was claimed off of waivers from the Dodgers in the season's first week, and he now finds himself in the AL for the first time. Like Blake Adams, he didn't start out in the Rockies' rotation, instead "earning" that role by accumulating a 11.88 ERA in the bullpen. Hogan has been slightly better in the rotation, it seems, but his last start was his worst: a week ago today, he was blistered by the Saguaros, giving up 8 runs in an eventual 15-4 loss... Canning hasn't been super great either of late, giving up 6 runs in back-to-back starts... it was a difficult first inning for Griffin. McCullough doubled and was driven in by Kennie Taylor, so 1-0 Rox right away. Connor Perry later made it up with the bases loaded and drew a walk to make it 2-0... Hogan got through the first inning in order unscathed, but very much did not do so in the second inning. Ishihara singled, Cottam walked, Maezes fouled off six pitches in a row before walking, and then Garry comes up for his first MLB plate appearance... and crushes the first pitch he sees in the bigs for a grand slam!!!! Wow! I know it's been done before by a couple of players (Kevin Kouzmanoff, Daniel Nava both did the same in their debuts) but that's pretty amazing. After a pair of outs, Mota follows with a home run of his own, his 3rd of the year; Robles is hit by a pitch and Guerrero singles. That'd be the end of the day for Miller Hogan, who lasts just 1.2 innings... Matt Barnes comes in to put out the fire, but Morio Ishihara has other plans, and ambushes his first pitch for another long home run! Just like that, it's now 8-2... Canning was really settled after that. The Rockies had a singular hit in each of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th but no scoring... we would add on in the 4th. Guerrero had a hit to score Mota, and both Robles and Guerrero would score on Cottam's later RBI single to make it 11-2... the game was well and truly settled at that point. Canning was done after 6 innings, a nice turnaround by him giving up 2 runs on 7 hits. The last real action would come in the 8th, when four singles produced an additional 2 runs for us.


W: Griffin Canning (4-2) L: Miller Hogan (1-5)
PotG: Luis Mota

Honorary PotG goes to Willie Joe Garry, who did something really special tonight in the 2nd inning (but didn't get on base at all the rest of the night). Overall, nice to get in a couple easy days at the office.

Saturday morning we heard back from our 2nd-round pick, Malik Davis, who signed his contract and has reported to our rookie ball team in Fountain Hills, AZ. The rookie leagues' seasons will start on June 20th (10 days from now), with our first series being against the rookie Mariners. We're in a division with the Cubs, 66ers, Blackbirds, A's and Saguaros. Gonna comb through the rookie roster over the next few days and hopefully make about 20 cuts - we have 86 players on that team right now! Every team's organization is pretty bloated at the moment so I think I'll be adding some minor leagues to the mix next offseason.

June 10-11: Bees (38-26) vs. Cleveland Indians (26-40)
Now that we're done playing the worst team in the AL, we move on to the third-worst. I mentioned in the season preview that this team was patiently waiting for Anthony Rizzo's contract to expire after the season (at $49 million, he's the highest-paid player in MLB). That's still true, but he's still a productive player - just ain't worth all that cash, more like... a third of that. The Cleveland offense has been alright as a whole. Rizzo and Paul DeJong have hit well, and the team has a breakout star in 28-year-old catcher Gage West, who in his 3rd year as the full-time starter has finally put it all together and become one of the league's 10 best catchers, and maybe the team's all-star representative. But the pitching staff is pretty bad overall, and they just traded probably their top starter, Chun-Mei Sun, to the Beavers.

Game 1 - Will Shirah (5-3, 4.88) vs. Adam Conley (4-5, 6.67)
CLE: LF Rivers, 2B Liput, 1B Rizzo, SS DeJong, C West, RF Fowler, CF Smith, 3B Thomas, P Conley
SLC: CF Mesa, P Shirah, 3B Guerrero, RF Robles, 1B Ishihara, C Phegley, LF Garry, 2B Maezes, SS Mota

An interesting lineup we're icing today. Love seeing the pitcher in the 2 spot... Conley has become a proper journeyman here at the age of 33. In the six years of this save, he has pitched for the White Sox, Rockies, Twins, Angels, Violets and now Indians (coincidentally, all AL teams, so we haven't seen him much). He began this year in Austin but was acquired in late April via the waiver wire. He's 3-3 with Cleveland in 7 starts. Another strange coincidence - this is his 5th consecutive start that's been an interleague matchup, so he's had the bat in his hands a few times. Last time out, he allowed 4 runs over 5 innings in a 6-4 loss to the rival Reds... Will took the loss in his last start, Sunday in Oakland, giving up 5 runs in 4.1 innings as we lost 7-1... the first few innings were rather quiet. Cleveland didn't record their first hit until the pitcher Conley singled with 1 out in the third, and he was left standing there at first... we only had 1 hit ourselves at that point, a first-inning Guerrero double, to go with a couple walks but nothing to show for it... by the fourth, it was clear we had an unexpected pitcher's duel on our hands. Shirah walked West with two outs but held them, and Conley similarly held us after Ishihara singled... for the first time all game, we had two runners get on base in the 6th, on back-to-back walks, but again we were held off the scoreboard. That's just two hits per side through six... Shirah would exit there, two hits and three walks scattered over 6 innings, alongside 7 K. Jonathan Holder pitched a scoreless 7th in his stead, but got a lot of help from his defenders. With one out and Dexter Fowler on second, Mallex Smith strokes a hard single into left field... Garry comes up throwing, though, and nabs Fowler at the plate to keep the game scoreless! Following that, Smith was thrown out trying to steal by Phegley... Conley walked two more in the 7th, his final inning, but again we wouldn't score... he walked 5 but also only allowed two hits... Ben Gamel led off the 8th with a pinch-hit single for us, and though Guerrero and Robles struck out, we finally broke the ice here late when Ishihara went up and out for a clutch home run! On comes Miller for the save against the heart of the order... Rizzo strikes out... DeJong strikes out... West walks, and so does Fowler, putting the tying run on. Is this another two-out implosion? No, it isn't - pinch-hitter Jose Pirela strikes out to end the game!


W: Jonathan Holder (3-1) L: Kyle Dietlein (1-2) S: Jared Miller (13)
PotG: Will Shirah

Not at all how I thought that game would go - in the preview it had all the looks of a 9-5 type of game. Let's go on to Sunday!

Game 2 - Ray Gaither (0-0, 0.00) vs. Samuel Coronado (1-4, 5.05)
CLE: LF Rivers, 2B Liput, 1B Rizzo, SS DeJong, C West, RF Fowler, CF Smith, 2B Thomas, P Coronado
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, LF Shirah, 2B Maezes, C Cottam, CF Garry, P Gaither

AI Mike seems intent on getting Garry into the lineup - he's now started all three games since I called him up. We have another debutant in the lineup today, not making his MLB debut but making his Bees debut, it's Ray Gaither! Ray was the Rockies' 2nd-rounder in 2019, and made his MLB debut with our rival Astros in 2021. We had a glut of MLB-capable outfielders at the end of last season, and we sent one of them (Mike Spooner) to Houston for Gaither and Te'Kwaan Whyte... Samuel Coronado seems like he should be a really good pitcher, and I can't quite figure out why he isn't. Last time out, he only made it through 3 innings against the Dodgers, but didn't give up anything besides a solo HR, but he's not really lacking for stamina so I'm still lost... Gaither made it through his first Bees inning fine, thanks in part to a nice play by Shirah in left, pegging Griffin Rivers at second trying to stretch his single... the 2nd inning, less so. West led off with a walk, Mallex Smith singled, Toby Thomas walked, and Rivers/Deacon Liput put together a pair of hits that scored four runs. 4-0 Cleveland... we got one back in the second, Cottam delivering an RBI hit that scored Ishihara... Gaither worked around more trouble in the 3rd, a Fowler double and Smith walk not leading to anything more... Ray would eventually get through 5 innings, only allowing 1 additional hit over those two innings, so not an awful debut all things considered. We couldn't seem to get anything else past Coronado, as he held us in check through the middle innings... thankfully, he'd be done after the 6th. We have some regrets about our half of the 7th. With one out, Garry doubled off of new pitcher Noel Ortiz, but was then immediately caught stealing third base with us down by 3 runs! A textbook rookie mistake, as we went on to score two runs in the inning, but we didn't end up tying the game. Both runs scored on a double by Robles... we got the tying and go-ahead runs on base in the 8th but were held off by reliever Drew Parrish... In the ninth inning, though, we wouldn't even really get a chance at a comeback. Justin Wilson was on to pitch for us, and the Cleveland batters went single, sac bunt, single, RBI double, groundout, two-run home run to put four runs on the board and make it 8-3. The home run by Gage West was his 14th of the season... we also had Riley Ferrell leave with an injury, still unclear on how long that'd put him out for... with Wilson now out, the Tribe would actually get one more on the board, Smith driving in Fowler... we went quietly in the ninth.


W: Samuel Coronado (2-4) L: Ray Gaither (0-1)
PotG: Samuel Coronado

A frustrating 9th inning, but maybe I was getting greedy thinking we'd go 6-0 on the week. 5-1 is something I'll take any time. Perhaps more importantly, that 5-1 week means we pulled ahead a bit in the division. Houston was 3-3 and New Mexico 2-4, so we are now four games ahead of both of those teams!

Bees' Player of the Week:
I'm giving co-player of the week honors to 1B Morio Ishihara and 2B Travis Maezes. Both guys had 3 HR this week, Ishi having more hits overall but also more times at the plate. Maezes was huge this week with Phyo going on the IL.

On the Leaderboard:
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.: 8th in average (.338), 3rd in RBI (60), 7th in hits (92), 9th in total bases (147)
Morio Ishihara: T-6th in RBI (57)
Victor Robles: T-4th in runs scored (53)
Victor Victor Mesa: T-2nd in triples (6)
Jack Flaherty: T-4th in wins (7), 8th in pitching WAR (1.9), 5th in innings pitched (84.1), 7th in K/BB (4.4), 7th in BB/9 (1.8), T-1st in quality starts (11)
Joey Lucchesi: T-4th in wins (7), 9th in pitching WAR (1.9), 8th in FIP (3.84)

Minor League Bees:
AAA Hawaii was 4-3 on the week. They won 2 of 3 from Edmonton (Beavers), lost 2 of 3 at St. Paul (Twins), but rebounded to win the series opener from Tacoma (Mariners). At 41-17 the Islanders are a game ahead of first-place Hollywood (Dodgers).
AA Monterrey saw their awful losing streak reach 13 before rebounding to win the final three games of a four-game set with Saltillo (Beavers). The Sultanes are in fourth place in the Mexican League.
A Burlington was 4-3 on the week. They finished a sweep of Peoria (Royals) before losing two out of three to Lansing (Blizzard) and splitting a pair with Lake County (Indians). The Baby Bees are 43-15 and have a four-game lead atop the MWL West.

All-Star Voting Update: no update, really. All Bees players were in the same spot they were last week, and the front-runners at each position in both leagues were identical. I'm guessing those are the lineups we're going to see when the game comes around on July 19.

Standings:



League News:
June 8: Reno continues to sell off assets, sending CF Charlie Tilson to Cincinnati for three prospects. None of the three players look like world-beaters, but then again neither is Tilson.
June 8: In a more minor trade, the Portland Beavers acquire SP Chun-Mei Sun from Cleveland in exchange for 3B Du-Yang Tao, a rare straight-up swap of Taiwanese players. Sun pitched the night before this trade was completed and the Cleveland bullpen blew a game that would've been his 5th win of the year, so he might be happy to find greener pastures in Portland.
June 9: The hitting streak of Braves SS Cooper Swanson reaches 25 games. I always double-take when I see the Braves playing Swanson at SS and having it not be Dansby (who is with Milwaukee). Similarly, I have to double-take whenever I see Corey Seager, not Kyle, is an important player for the Mariners.
June 11: Another hitting streak reaches 25 games, this time Yankees SS Mikey Perez. Perez has already hit for the cycle this season, and now we'll have to watch to see how long he can stretch this streak for. Cooper Swanson's streak, though, comes to an end at 26 games with Atlanta's loss in Portland.

Players of the Week:
Violets LF Adam Wesche - 13-26, 2 HR, 9 RBI. Wesche did not break camp with the Violets, and in fact didn't make his Major League debut until being called up on April 20 with the team languishing at 6-16. Since then he's made himself into an All-Star, most likely (no other obvious candidates on this Austin team) and the obvious front-runner for AL Rookie of the Year, all in a span of just 45 games. He was also AL player of the week two weeks ago. This strong week pushed him above a .400 batting mark for the season.
Silver Sox LF Connor Scott - 15-31, 1 HR, 6 RBI. On a team with two true superstars, Scott is... not that, but a capable leadoff man ahead of the two-headed monster of Brad Martin and Koshi Higuchi. Reno actually went just 2-4 on the week, but Scott had multiple hits in 5 of those games, and 3 or more hits in three of them.

Power Rankings:
It was a really good 5-1 week for us, but I guess because it happened against sub-par competition, we don't get the huge boost in the weekly Power Rankings that we otherwise might have. We were 17th last week, and we now find ourselves ranked 13th.

Next Week: we play the first six games of an eight-game trip. First, to Arlington for our final road interleague series of the season (Rangers), then finally our first matchup with San Antonio, and a weekend set in Hartford. Actually, between now and July 7, we'll play more games in Texas than we do at home (8 vs. 6).
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Old 01-20-2020, 10:31 PM   #28
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Week 12: June 12-18, 2023



Something strange I noticed while checking out the standings page: we have not played a single extra-inning game this entire season as we're nearing the halfway point. Every other team's played at least one, almost everyone's played at least four, and the Orioles have played eleven games decided in extras. Pretty weird! Anyway, by saying that I'm sure I've jinxed us and we'll play 3 or 4 of them this week, but let's get right into the games:

June 12-13: Bees (39-27) @ Texas Rangers (33-35)
The Rangers are red-hot here in the month of June, with an 8-2 record this month. For them, this is the final series in a stretch of 8 interleague series in a row, and as part of that they swept their most recent road trip against the Mets, Giants and Silver Sox. They also just won their two most recent games, against the division-leading Beacons, so gotta watch out for this team on a hot streak. RF Aaron Judge is out injured at the moment, suffering an abdominal strain about two weeks ago, but right now Ranger fans are in a tizzy over the play of SS Tim Fox, who has now played 5 major league games and has already recorded 10 hits. He was Texas' first-round pick in 2021 (21st overall) out of LBSU.

Game 1 - Jack Flaherty (7-4, 3.74) vs. Kolby Kubichek (1-1, 4.15)
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, LF Shirah, C Cottam, 2B Maezes, DH Gamel, CF Garry
TEX: RF Franklin, 2B Merrifield, C Torres, SS Fox, LF Pham, DH Seager, 3B Forsythe, 1B Belt, CF Robinson

Kubichek, the Rangers' 9th round pick in 2021, was rushed to the majors last year following his development at the University of Texas. Results have been mixed so far, but he's got the potential to be a decent starting pitcher. His best pitch is his curveball, which he seem to try to throw more for whiffs than for ground balls. Last time out, he did just enough to help the Rangers beat Reno on Wednesday allowing 4 runs on 10 hits over 5 innings as the offense carried the team the rest of the way... Flaherty made a nice rebound on Tuesday as he got the win against the Blackbirds, allowing only two unearned runs in a 3-2 win... we drew two walks against Kubichek in the first but only put the ball in play once, popping up, and striking out twice... a second-inning double play didn't phase us, since Gamel followed with a walk and Willie Joe smoked a double just inside the first base bag to get Ben all the way around and put us up 1-0... consecutive hits by Maezes and Gamel in the 4th weren't enough to produce anything more... through three innings, Flaherty had allowed just a hit-by-pitch, but Raymond Torres got the Rangers' first hit with 1 out in the 4th. Tommy Pham also singled in the inning but we kept Texas off the board... in the 6th inning, Travis Maezes continued his hot streak with another home run, his seventh of the year but 4th in the last 7 days... Flaherty continued to roll, getting into the 7th inning still having allowed just 2 hits, but his pitch count crept over 100 so he exited after 6.2... Jonathan Holder faced four batters and retired them all... our lead was extended in the 8th on Ben Gamel's first home run as a Bee. He had just 7 with Nashville last season... Jared Miller is on for a 9th-inning save, but his first pitch was smashed by Christian Franklin off the wall in right field for a double. His second pitch was flied to center for an out by Whit Merrifield... Torres hit a ball that was booted by Guerrero, and Tim Fox walked on four pitches. Suddenly, the winning run was coming to the plate, and AI Mike went to the pen, probably the same time that I would've, to get Nolan Blackwood. Nolan allowed a sacrifice fly, hit by Tommy Pham, to score 1 run, but that seemed like a net positive... and then Kyle Seager hit a lazy fly ball to right. Ballgame!


W: Jack Flaherty (8-4) L: Kolby Kubichek (1-2) S: Nolan Blackwood (2)
PotG: Jack Flaherty

Spectacular from Jack, but also pretty good from the bullpen.

On Tuesday morning, we finally got some bad news, and it's another piece of bad injury luck. RP Riley Ferrell, who left Sunday's game with a mysterious injury in the 9th inning, has a torn UCL and is done for the season. Tough one because he was handling the 8th innings for us pretty well. He finishes 2023 with a 3.12 ERA, a 2-0 record and four saves in his 25 appearances for this year's Bees. We have him under contract for 2024 with a team option for 2025, so we'll see him back. Hopefully he'll be able to get some games in spring but the timetable for his recovery is theoretically right around Opening Day of next year. RHP Ben Parks has been recalled from AAA Hawaii to take his place on the roster - we drafted Ben in 2018, the first year of this save, and he debuted last season, making 40 appearances out of the bullpen.

We also finally heard back from our final remaining unsigned draft pick, RHP Kevin Cramer, who we drafted in the 5th round, and he signed his deal as well. So that was easy - every one of our draft picks is now part of the system, and we're ready for when the rookie ball season starts one week from today.

Game 2 - Joey Lucchesi (7-4, 3.77) vs. Odrisamer Despaigne (4-5, 5.55)
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, LF Shirah, C Cottam, 2B Maezes, CF Garry, DH Whyte
TEX: RF Franklin, 2B Merrifield, SS Fox, LF Pham, C Torres, 3B Forsythe, DH Grenier, CF Robinson, 1B Belt

Despaigne is in his second season with Texas, after time spent with Reno, Syracuse and Montréal over the previous few seasons. Last time out he was a really hard-luck loser, picking up the L against his former team, the Monarques, when his Texas teammates couldn't provide him any run support in a 3-0 loss. He has a terrible time with left-handed hitters, so we've stacked our lineup with six of them (well, four plus two switch-hitters) - only Robles, Guerrero and Cottam hit strictly right-handed... Joey has won three straight starts, but we've also given him great run support each time. They're wins by scores of 10-0, 10-3 and 11-2... the Rangers threatened first in the bottom of the first frame. Fox and Pham singled on consecutive pitches, but Torres struck out ending the tension... Ishihara had our first hit in the second inning, but otherwise Despaigne was cruising, setting down the other six batters to start... in the third, though, we also got singles on consecutive pitches from Te'Kwaan Whyte (making his first start of the season), and Luis Mota, followed by a two-run triple from Robles and then an RBI groundout by Guerrero! 3-0 for the good guys... through the first three innings, Texas had gotten multiple runners on base each time but failed to score, leaving 6 on in total... Shirah led off the fourth with a home run, his ninth, to make it 4-0... Guerrero smashed a two-run shot in the fifth, his first home run in nearly a month, to make it 6-0... in the sixth, it all went south. Raymond Torres singled, and so did Logan Forsythe. Cadyn Grenier's RBI double was the end of Joey's day. Martin Perez in, though, and it would get worse. Kristian Robinson singled in a run, Brandon Belt made the first out, but then the next four batters all also hit RBI singles and another run scored on a wild pitch. Bam, 7-6 Texas just like that... Jonathan Holder had to come in to put out that mess... Our guys showed some resilience in the next half-inning, though... Te'Kwaan Whyte led off with a triple, Mota and Robles both drew walks to load the bases for Guerrero... and what looked like a grand slam off the bat ended as a game-tying sacrifice fly. Still good I guess, but the inning fizzled out when Robles was caught stealing... The eighth inning was pretty dull for both sides... Whyte led off the ninth against Texas' closer Edwin Diaz, but beat him for a home run, his first in a Bees uniform and just the second of his MLB career! Mota singled right after him and some insurance was coming, in the form of Morio Ishihara's 15th home run of the season to make it 10-7 Bees... It was Paul Goodwin, not Miller, who wound up with the save tonight with a pretty uneventful bottom of the ninth!


W: Sam Bennerman (1-2) L: Edwin Diaz (0-3) S: Paul Goodwin (1)
PotG: Te'Kwaan Whyte

Pretty cool for Whyte, who was really just in there because Despaigne so hates facing lefties, but he came through in the clutch tonight against Billy Burwell and Edwin Diaz both. Gutsy team win overall, the sixth inning could easily have been a backbreaker but it didn't break these guys.

June 14-15: Bees (41-27) @ San Antonio Marshals (33-37)
With only 8 games against each divisional opponent, there can sometimes be long stretches where you don't play one of your rivals. We're breaking one of those stretches right now, meeting the Marshals for the first time all year! (We'll go even longer without seeing Omaha - we have not played them since April 2 and won't until August 7.) Maybe lucky for us, because San Antonio's a pretty talented team that has just been absolutely ravaged by injury. Superstar two-way player Triston Casas is done for the year, as are starters Lupe Chavez and Tim Perez, probably their two best pitchers overall. There are only a couple of hitters on this team worth being scared of, 2B Tyler Malone and RF Jimmy Herron, and Herron's banged up right now. Looks like he'll play in this series anyway, but slightly limited by an elbow injury.

Game 1 - Griffin Canning (4-2, 6.94) vs. Andrew Eppenbach (5-7, 5.27)
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, C Cottam, 2B Maezes, CF Garry, LF Granite, P Canning
SAN: SS Hamilton, 2B Malone, RF Herron, 1B Woodall, 3B Wofford, CF Cruz, C Plawecki, LF McIlwain, P Eppenbach

I can't see a single interesting thing to say about Eppenbach. His ratings are average in nearly every way. He doesn't throw very hard, I guess, but that's not so weird. His Pitcher Type is listed as Normal and his personality blurb is "Personable, if a bit dull." It's his 4th season with the Marshals & he's been a pretty average pitcher that entire time... Canning got the win on Friday as we pummeled the Rockies 13-2... with two out in the first, Guerrero got on with a double. It'd be real, real nice if he was back to his normal self now. The very next pitch was an RBI single by Ishihara getting us up 1-0... two singles by Brody Wofford and Fadriel Cruz put runners at the corners for Kevin Plawecki in the 2nd, and he came up with a sacrifice fly to tie things at 1... Garry picked up his second outfield assist already in the 3rd, nailing Jimmy Herron trying to go first-to-third on a hit... he also scored the go-ahead run in the fifth, singling, then going to second on a Granite walk, third on a Canning sacrifice, and scoring on a wild pitch... the Marshals, though, would come up with two runs in the 6th on Plawecki's 4th home run of the year to go in front 3-2... that'd be Canning's last inning, but his offense got him a going away present. After a walk and single by Maezes and Garry to start the 7th, Eppenbach was removed from the game - 6.0 innings for him. So average. Then Mesa, pinch-hitting for Granite, reached on an error, and Gamel hit an RBI single while pinch-hitting for Canning to tie the game at 3, and the bases were still loaded with no out. Luis Mota hit the next pitch for another single to put us up, and we'd add another run when Guerrero was walked with the bases loaded. All that would put Canning in line for the win... two walks in the eighth became two more Bees runs eventually. Maezes and Garry started it again - they were singled over by pinch-hitter Te'Kwaan Whyte, and scored on a Mota hit and Robles sac fly, respectively... Plawecki would drive in another run in the 8th on a double, making it 7-4 with all four RBI being his...in the 9th, the rout was on. Phegley had an RBI off the bench to score his positionmate Cottam, and Mota's triple to follow scored both Garry and Phegley. That'd be all.


W: Griffin Canning (5-2) L: Andrew Eppenbach (5-8)
PotG: Kevin Plawecki

We had some good performances in this one - Mota drove in 4 runs, and Garry scored 4 runs. Guerrero also got on base three times - I'm ready to see him go on another tear.

Game 2 - Will Shirah (5-3, 4.37) vs. Kyle Marman (1-1, 3.81)
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, P Shirah, 2B Maezes, C Cottam, CF Garry, LF Granite
SAN: SS Hamilton, 2B Malone, RF Herron, 1B Woodall, 3B Wofford, C McCann, LF Nelson, CF Cruz, P Marman

Interestingly, "C McCann" for San Antonio refers to neither Brian nor James, but Kyle McCann, a real A's catching prospect who was drafted in the 4th round in 2019 from Georgia Tech, making him an actual former teammate of Will Shirah's. He made his MLB debut on April 20 and has basically been the starter since, getting the start today even with the lefty Shirah on the mound... Marman has been a plug-in starter for the Marshals with all their injuries, and had been pitching as a long man out of the bullpen primarily before the start of June. Not a total newcomer to the position though, this'll be his 30th career start in four years with this San Antonio team... Shirah deserved a win on Saturday against Cleveland, but our offense left it too late & only won 2-0 on that late HR by Ishihara... it was a tough outing for Will this time, though. Malone singled ahead of Kevin Woodall's two-run homer in the first, and Drevian Nelson came around to score thanks to a bit of small-ball in the second. When 4 straight Marshals came up with hits in the 3rd, making the score 5-0, Shirah was done after just 2.1 innings and 9 hits allowed! Martin Perez in for the cleanup... we had three hits in those first three innings, but nothing to show for it... David Hamilton made it 6-0 in the fifth with an RBI double... we finally got one in the 6th on a pinch homer by Gamel, but gave it back in the bottom half when Cruz hit a bases-loaded single off of Goodwin to score two more... we had four hits in the 7th inning, though, to score two runs on RBI singles from Robles and Guerrero and make it 8-3... follow that with three more runs in the 8th, scoring on Kole Cottam's 10th home run, and we suddenly have a game! 8-6 now... Blackwood pitched a 1-2-3 eighth, and now the closer Joey Gerber is on for the Marshals, facing 2-3-4 in our order... Robles starts the inning off with a stand-up double! Guerrero strikes out... Ishihara grounds to third... pinch-hitter Whyte shoots a ball into the gap, scoring a run and putting the tying run in scoring position for Maezes... but Travis can't close the deal. Too little too late for us tonight.


W: Kyle Marman (2-1) L: Will Shirah (5-4) S: Joey Gerber (17)
PotG: Kevin Woodall

We don't have much business winning games where we allow 17 hits, but it would've been a pretty spectacular comeback and we almost got there.

Friday is an off day for us, and SP Michael Pineda is also apparently recovered from his oblique injury. He has literally suffered four different injuries already this season, though this is the one that's kept him out longest (nearly a month), so I am losing my patience a bit but he's still better than a couple of the starters we're throwing out there, so... SP Griffin Canning is going back to Hawaii.

June 17-18: Bees (42-28) @ Hartford Oaks (25-47)
Hartford is pretty bad right now and the previous series was a low point. They just faced the Memphis Lions at home on Thursday and Friday, welcoming a team into Hartford that had lost 13 consecutive games at the time, but the Oaks allowed Memphis to break their streak and beat them twice. Hartford is now 2-12 in the month of June, a far cry from early May when they came into Salt Lake City on a hot streak and split with us. The Oaks' offense, as a whole, is absolutely dreadful - they do hit a high number of home runs, but it hasn't been enough to get them out of last place in runs scored league-wide. Collectively, their hitters have been worth 0.2 WAR - compare to our 12.9, 3rd-best in the NL - but their pitching staff is alright, so who knows, we might get a fight this weekend.

Game 1 - Michael Pineda (3-2, 3.13) vs. Argenis Liriano (6-4, 4.41)
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, LF Shirah, 2B Maezes, C Cottam, CF Garry, P Pineda
HFD: CF Albert, RF Heyward, LF Chigbogu, 1B Byler, 3B Aiello, C Arroyo, SS Lookout, 2B Thomas, P Liriano

We last saw Pineda on May 17, when we were swept by the Blackbirds in El Paso. We had a pretty sterling 17-8 record in his absence so hopefully he feels ready to contribute... it's surprising that Liriano has a winning record, since I don't really see anything to him that screams "really effective major league pitcher". But it's working for him right now - maybe my scout just hates him. He's gone 6 innings in seven of his last eight outings, with no more than 4 runs in any of them and five wins to boot. He's got one of the two Hartford wins this month... the Oaks had a hit and a walk in the 1st, but Pineda kept them fully off the board... meanwhile, Liriano set down the first 6 Bees hitters... we finally got a hit in the third via Cottam, but couldn't score... finally, in the fourth, we broke the ice. Maezes' single scored both Guerrero and Ishihara to make it 2-0 Bees... the next half-inning, though, saw Hartford get one back when John Aiello scored on a wild pitch... we left men on second and third in the fifth, and the Oaks would capitalize and take the lead shortly after. An RBI single by Justin Chigbogu scored Reese Albert to tie the game, and later Aiello would double home Chigbogu and Jason Heyward to put the Oaks up 4-2... That fifth inning would be Pineda's last, though the offense would bail him out of the L column for sure. Cottam scored on an RBI single by pinch-hitter Ben Gamel, who later scored on a hit by Victor Robles to tie the game at 4... Hartford retook the lead on Albert's RBI single in the 6th, scoring Ako Thomas... Liriano finished with 6 innings and 4 runs allowed, another outing to add to his "yeah, actually kinda decent" pile... in the 8th against Yeuris Jimenez, Garry led off with a single and went to third on Mota's hit, ahead of a monster home run by Victor Robles to put us back into the lead! His 7th home run this year... Jared Miller on for the save, facing their 2-3-4 hitters, all lefties so the platoon advantage at least is hugely in our favor. Heyward hits a ball hard to right, but in a place where Robles can get to it, Chigbogu is caught looking, and Austin Byler hits an easy grounder to short!


W: Sam Bennerman (2-2) L: Yeuris Jimenez (0-2) S: Jared Miller (14)
PotG: Victor Robles

Game 2 - Jack Flaherty (8-4, 3.46) vs. Zach Zientarski (2-4, 2.25)
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, LF Shirah, CF Mesa, 2B Maezes, C Cottam, P Flaherty
HFD: CF Albert, 2B Thomas, LF Chigbogu, 1B Byler, 3B Aiello, SS Story, RF Adorno, C Arroyo, P Zientarski

Zientarski is on his third team of 2023. He didn't make the Brewers out of Spring Training, but was claimed by the Diamondbacks on waivers and made a few starts for them. We just missed facing him when the D'Backs came through Salt Lake the first week of the season - he pitched the next day when they were in Montréal. He was on waivers by mid-April, though, and landed in Hartford and wound up in their bullpen, only to move to the rotation about three weeks ago... he's been really good for the Oaks but he has the look of a guy who might have a really hard time keeping the ball in the ballpark... Flaherty now has eight wins all in his last ten starts and hasn't had a no-decision since mid-April in Pittsburgh... we went down in order in the first, and Flaherty worked around a leadoff single in the bottom half... we really got after it in the second, though. Ishihara and Shirah singled, and Mesa scored the game's first run on a sac fly. Maezes followed with another single, and Cottam hit a ball deep into the Hartford night for a 3-run shot! Not to be outdone, Jack Flaherty worked a long at bat right after Kole's blast and shot a ball to right field that got out as well! That's his first major-league home run and it's 5-0! In the 3rd, Guerrero led off with a home run of his own, and one batter later Zientarski was out. The Oaks would get two back in the third. Two hits and a walk loaded the bases; Austin Byler singled in Reese Albert, and Trevor Story's sac fly scored Chigbogu... Both teams had runners in scoring position in the fourth but no scoring... Ishihara hit the Bees' fourth home run of the day leading off the fifth, but Tony Adorno hit one for them in the 6th to make it 7-3... Flaherty had exited after five, and the Bees' bullpen ran into real trouble in the 7th under Brad Hand's control. Ako Thomas singled, Chigbogu walked and Aiello doubled them both home. Story followed with another double to make it 7-6, and Arroyo singled off of Holder later in the inning to tie the game at 7-all. Yowza... We had both Robles and Ishihara reach base in the ninth in a tie game, but couldn't bring them in. In the bottom half, we got Miller in to try to take us to our first extra-inning game of the season, but it wasn't to be. Trevor Story sent the home fans home happy with a walk-off solo home run.


W: Marcos Garcia (1-1) L: Jared Miller (1-4)
PotG: Kole Cottam

A bummer. When Flaherty exited the game we were up 7-2 - the bullpen had been really quite good over the past few weeks so it ain't the end of the world but we oughta be winning these sorts of games. We finish the week 4-2 and head to Albuquerque to finish the road trip starting Monday.

Bees' Player of the Week:
Some good candidates & it's hard not to pick Flaherty (11.2 IP, 2 runs and hit a HR) but the player of the week is OF Willie Joe Garry Jr.! He was 8-18 with 3 walks, 6 runs scored and he had three outfield assists on the week as well.

On the Leaderboard: Guerrero's extended slump is really starting to show - he's fallen off almost every leaderboard.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.: 4th in RBI (67)
Morio Ishihara: T-8th in RBI (61)
Victor Victor Mesa: T-2nd in triples (7)
Jack Flaherty: T-3rd in wins (8), 4th in pitcher WAR (2.4), 4th in innings pitched (96.0), 6th in K/BB (4.6), 7th in BB/9 (1.8), 7th in WHIP (1.15), T-1st in QS (12)
Joey Lucchesi: 9th in FIP (3.86)

Minor League Bees:
AAA Hawaii had a rare down week, being swept by Colorado Springs (Rockies) and going 2-4 overall. The Islanders are tied for the PCL Pacific lead with Hollywood.
AA Monterrey was 5-1 this week, making a strong rebound from their terrible losing streak. They won two of 3 against Dos Laredos (Marshals) and swept Saltillo (Beavers). The Sultanes are in a third-place tie right now, 7 games behind top rated Monclova (Oilers)
A Burlington was 3-3 on the week, which qualifies as a down week for the Lil' Bees. They won two of three at Evansville (Colts), though, and still have a six-game lead in the MWL West. The MWL All-Star Game is this week as well, and we've got six players who are representing the West in that game.
The Rookie Bees are beginning play this week! The season begins Tuesday with four games against the Rookie Mariners at our complex in Fountain Hills and then a series with the Rookie Rangers out in Surprise.

All-Star Update:
No real changes this time either, with all our guys holding firm in their positions in the voting. Looking like Guerrero will be the NL's representative at 3B. There was one change in the AL though - Oklahoma's Alex Bregman surpassed the Yankees' Rafael Devers as the leading vote-getter at 3B in the Junior Circuit.

Standings:



League News:
June 12: Well, that was quick. Yankees SS Mikey Perez had his hit streak snapped at 25 games on Monday, right after the point where I start covering them. Perez was held hitless, an 0-5 day, despite New York winning 7-0 in Syracuse.
June 13: Phillies SP Matt Logozzo throws a two-hit shutout in an 11-0 win at Charlotte. Logozzo is already the fourth pitcher this year to record multiple shutouts, with the Yankees' Noah Syndergaard, Washington's Jose Quintana and San Bernardino's Rob Kucera being the others.
June 13: A high profile series between the Beacons and Scorpions, which many expect could be a World Series preview between the best team in the league and the defending NL champs, ends in a split, but the second game is a resounding result for Buffalo. They put up nine runs in the 1st inning en route to a 15-2 win led by LF Travis Swaggerty, who reached base six times
June 16: Memphis was absolutely wrecked by a 13-game losing streak that just ended, but that stretch might well have ended the playoff hopes of a team that was predicted by OOTP to win their division. (I didn't agree with that prediction, but this isn't the time for me to gloat, lol.) They're selling off, shipping CL James Pazos to Anaheim and the Angels. He might be a scapegoat for the Lions - Pazos blew three save opportunities during the streak - but he was also probably their best player. I considered making this trade myself but couldn't quite agree with the Memphis GM. The return, though, is really light: I don't see either prospect as a future big league regular.
June 16: Not the only trade on the docket this Friday, and this one is pretty interesting. A rare trade that both teams might benefit from immediately. Seattle acquires OF Nick Williams from the Royals in exchange for SP Tyler Glasnow and a 2B prospect. Both guys are rentals. I really like this trade for the Royals - they probably needed a rotation upgrade to make a real playoff threat, and they could afford to deal from their stronger outfield. They save a bit of money as well. At time of writing, Seattle is in a playoff spot, and KC is below .500 but only 4 1/2 games behind Indianapolis in what has turned out to be the league's weakest division.
June 18: A trade that might affect us pretty soon. The Suns have traded 1B Luke Mangieri to the Rangers for SP Johnny Cueto and a small bit of cash. No word on whether Cueto will pitch for the Suns against us this week. Mangieri was the team's starting first baseman last season but had fallen behind Tyler White on the depth chart.
June 18: Hartford continues to shed some salary, sending SP Tyler Skaggs to Oakland for a minor pitching prospect.

Players of the Week:
Violets 3B Chris Antrim - 16-28, 2 HR, 6 RBI. Third time in four weeks that Austin boasts the AL Player of the Week, but they're still under .500. (Seven straight wins, though!) Antrim is a bigger star than LF Adam Wesche, the winner last week.
Silver Sox 2B Brad Martin - 14-32, 3 HR, 15 RBI. Martin, RF Koshi Higuchi and 3B John Valente have made a really nice trio this year, but it's a shame Reno doesn't have any other, uh, good players. Anyway, Martin had five multi-hit games this week.

Power Rankings:
We're up from 13th last week to 8th this week.
1. Louisville Colts (48-26)
2. Las Vegas Scorpions (49-25)
3. Sacramento Solons (47-27)
4. Ottawa Lynx (45-29)
5. San Diego Padres (45-27)
56. Cleveland Indians (29-45)
57. Arizona Diamondbacks (26-48)
58. Colorado Rockies (25-47)
59. Norfolk Navigators (28-46)
60. Hartford Oaks (26-48)

Next Week: after a big series in New Mexico against the Suns, we head home to play the Suns and Crescents, the latter of which will be our final interleague series of the year.
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Old 01-22-2020, 09:32 AM   #29
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Week 13: June 19-25, 2023



Before getting into this week's games, I did a little bit of minor league overhauling. As I played through this season I noticed two things:
- every team has a somewhat bloated minor league system, with about 40-50 too many players, and we could all stand to benefit from an additional minor league team
- and because our AA team was located in Mexico in an all-Mexican league with 7 other teams, there was a preference for the AI teams and my own to try to only play Hispanic players. That isn't really the focus of the AA level

So, I've created a new set of rookie leagues called the Pan-Am Leagues, with ten teams each located in Mexico, Panama, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Puerto Rico. Each team gets an affiliate assigned at random (our team is in Puerto Rico). This is basically meant to be the equivalent of the current Dominican and Venezuelan Summer Leagues.

I also moved the AA teams out of Mexico, and put them in the general Four Corners area in a new made-up league called the Desert League. Our AA team is now known as the Cedar City Bees, representing us in the southern parts of Utah.

So, both sets of rookie-ball leagues get under way this week - we have one team in Arizona and another in Puerto Rico.

June 19-20: Bees (43-29) @ New Mexico Suns (38-36)
The Suns have been really struggling. When we visited Albuquerque the first time, at the beginning of May, they won both games from us, pulling into the division lead in the process. They were then in first for almost the entire month of May before we finally pulled back ahead in the last couple days of the month. In June, though, they're fallin' apart. They're 5-10 in June coming in and haven't won a series since sweeping Nashville on May 25-26. CL Roberto Osuna is still injured, although Durbin Feltman has filled in admirably and is probably on his way to the All-Star Game, in fact. SP Tristan Beck is on the mend as well, and NM will be without him for another month or so.

Game 1 - Joey Lucchesi (7-4, 3.87) vs. Andrew Quezada (2-4, 5.02)
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, LF Shirah, 2B Maezes, C Cottam, CF Garry, P Lucchesi
NMS: SS Turang, 1B White, 2B Fitzgerald, LF DeLuca, 3B Hicks, CF Deveaux, C Kahle, RF Pompey, P Quezada

An odd lineup for New Mexico today, I thought, until I remembered that we have a lefty going. A number of the Suns' regulars are left-handed hitters, or in the case of regular catcher Cal Raleigh, switch-hitters who have dreadful splits anyway... Quezada, I think, is the first starting pitcher that we're seeing for the second time. We smoked him on the first Sunday of the season in Salt Lake City, as he gave up 6 runs (4 earned) in just 2.2 innings... last time out he had a tough-luck no-decision against the Giants despite pitching quite well... Lucchesi left his last outing with a bitter taste in the mouth, in the middle of a 7-run inning we allowed to the Rangers that evaporated our 6-0 lead, though we did eventually win... with two outs in the first, we struck off Quezada. Guerrero singled, Ishihara drew a walk and Shirah connected with a 1-2 pitch out to deep right for a 3-run shot! The next two reached as well with hits but it remained 3-0... a bit of small-ball for the Suns in the first. Brice Turang walked and went to second on a grounder, and scored on Scott Fitzgerald's hit... our second began with three straight singles producing a run, Robles driving in Lucchesi... Jonny DeLuca had an RBI single in the 3rd to make it 4-2... teams keep trying to run on Garry! In the 4th, he nailed Trent Deveaux trying to go 1st-to-3rd... that neutered a Suns rally in which they had three hits but couldn't score... Shirah led off the 6th with a homer, and stole second and went to third when Nick Kahle's throw flew into center field. But the steal wouldn't matter, because Travis Maezes crushed a home run into the right field seats that ended Quezada's day and made it 6-0! Lucchesi would exit after 6.2 innings, giving up just the two runs... in the 8th, the Suns' manager for some reason brought in a right-handed pitcher to replace his lefty, specifically for lefty pinch-hitter Ben Gamel, who went deep as well with Garry aboard to make it 8-2... they'd put a scare into us in the 8th. Christian Hicks homered off of Martin Perez, and later in the inning, pinch-hitter Maikel Franco hit a two-run double that made it 8-5... they didn't make any threat in the 9th, though.


W: Joey Lucchesi (8-4) L: Andrew Quezada (2-5) S: Sam Bennerman (2)
PotG: Will Shirah

Game 2 - Ray Gaither (0-1, 7.20) vs. Blair Calvo (3-2, 3.83)
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, LF Shirah, 2B Maezes, CF Garry, C Phegley, P Gaither
NMS: 2B Watts, C Raleigh, SS Turang, 3B Hicks, LF DeLuca, RF Reddick, 1B White, CF Deveaux, P Calvo

Unlike Quezada, we have not yet seen Calvo pitch this year. He's been in and out of the bullpen and rotation, but avoided us in both series so far. This is his ninth start, and third since returning to the rotation... Gaither allowed 4 runs over 5 innings in his Bees debut against Cleveland, but was skipped the last time through the rotation due to the timeliness of Pineda's return from injury... we got through Calvo in the top of the first with 3 singles, the last from Shirah driving in Mota, but New Mexico responded via a Turang home run in the first... we began the 2nd inning by making two outs, but Gaither hit a ball that just snuck by Hicks at third, and then the merry-go-round began. Mota walked, Robles had an infield hit that loaded the bases, and then Calvo threw eight consecutive balls to Guerrero and Ishihara, walking in two runs. Then, after a ninth straight ball, he got Shirah to a 1-2 count... and boom! A grand slam! Shirah's second home run in the series, and 11th of the year, exploded the score to 7-1... that seemed to tucker everyone out. Neither team had a baserunner from then until the fifth, when Ishihara led off with a double. We did see the newly-acquired Johnny Cueto come in to make his Suns debut, and his first pitch in that red uniform was hit out of the ballpark by Maezes, his second HR of the series as well! Gaither had a slip-up in the 6th, allowing a single and then 2-run homer by Cal Raleigh, but those were the Suns' first hits since the first inning... there would be another two-run homer in the 8th, this one by Christian Hicks against Ben Parks... the bottom of the 9th would be... interesting. Bennerman came in for the final inning, and got two men out, but then as rallies so often have been this year, they got started at that point. Fitzgerald singled, Mike Watts walked, and Raleigh singled off of new pitcher Jared Miller to load the bases. Miller then walked in a run, which brought the winning run to the plate in the form of Hicks, who'd just homered an inning ago, but he popped up to first to end the game!


W: Ray Gaither (1-1) L: Blair Calvo (3-3) S: Jared Miller (15)
PotG: Will Shirah

Big series from Shirah - he was 4-8 with a walk, 2 HR and 8 RBI across two games. Good also to get Gaither his first W in our uniform. The series win extends the Suns' losing skid to 5 games, and they're now at .500 and eight games behind us.

June 22-23: Bees (45-29) vs. Charlotte Flyers (35-40)
The Flyers were expected to be absolutely awful in 2023, so the fact that they're basically an average team is a big win. When we won our series in Charlotte at the end of April (by a combined 20-4 over two games), they were 12-20, but 23-20 since to vault themselves into 3rd place, well behind the stellar Colts but in a respectable spot. SS Addison Barger was missing at the beginning of the year, and still out when we visited them, but he came back in early May and has elevated their offense, and 22-year-old Mack Anglin has made a big difference in the rotation.

Game 1 - Will Shirah (5-4, 4.95) vs. Logan Gilbert (3-5, 3.53)
CHA: 2B Wade, LF Abraham, SS Barger, 1B Olson, RF Myers, CF Jones, 3B Steel, C Hedges, P Gilbert
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, P Shirah, 2B Maezes, C Cottam, CF Garry, LF Granite

We faced Gilbert back on April 30 in Charlotte, where he held us to three runs on 3 hits over five innings in a game where we poured it on late and won 8-0. He was an All-Star in 2021 and is really quite a bit better than a 3-5 record would indicate... Shirah was deposed in the 3rd inning last Thursday against San Antonio, and is pitching on six days rest today thanks to an off day and Pineda's return from injury... the first action of note was in the bottom of the 2nd. With two out, Maezes hit a sharp single to center, and Cottam crushed the next pitch way out to left for a two-run homer... Shirah only allowed a single through 3 innings, but the fourth was a bit dicey. Ryan Abraham and Addison Barger singled to start, but Will powered through getting the next three men in order... in the 5th, Cottam singled. After a fielder's choice, Granite tripled into the right-field corner allowing Garry to score, and Mota followed with an RBI single to make it 4-0... Shirah had probably his best game ever on the mound. Just 6.1 innings, but only three hits allowed, no walks, no runs and 12 strikeouts! Spectacular from Will. 91 pitches in total so we'll have to work on him working more efficiently but a really good game out of him... Nolan Blackwood came in to replace him and retired all five batters he faced. Nolan is definitely our breakout contributor out of the bullpen this year, I've been impressed with him... Holder allowed two hits in the ninth inning, which created a save situation for Miller to come in and clean up, and he did.


W: Will Shirah (6-4) L: Logan Gilbert (3-6) S: Jared Miller (16)
PotG: Will Shirah

12 K isn't just a career high for Shirah, it's the most K he's recorded as a professional! His previous high was 10, which he did while pitching for Buffalo's AAA team before we acquired him. Also his third PotG award in a row - he's put the team on his back this week in a major way.

Game 2 - Michael Pineda (3-2, 3.61) vs. Willian Soto (2-4, 4.25)
CHA: LF Abraham, 2B Wade, SS Barger, 1B Olson, RF Guimbarda, CF Jones, 3B Talley, C Hedges, P Soto
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, C Cottam, 2B Maezes, CF Garry, LF Gamel, P Pineda

Soto hasn't actually played affiliated ball since 2017 IRL, but here he caught on with more opportunities available, even making a half-season worth of starts for Charlotte in the first year (2018). Last year he finally seemed to take the leap, winning 12 games and being a rotation mainstay, but this year hasn't been quite as good. Last time out, he allowed 3 runs in 5 innings as the Flyers came back late to win in Oakland... Pineda pitched well last week in Hartford, but came out with a no-decision when we won late... the first inning was paved with disappointment for Charlotte. Robles walked with 1 out, and Guerrero just barely beat out what would have been a 6-4-3 inning-ending double play. Ishihara then walked on 4 pitches, before Cottam became the third Bee this week to homer in back-to-back games. That made it 3-0... Ryan Abraham led off the game for Charlotte with a single, but Pineda would retire every batter until Abraham came up again to record his second hit... in the fifth, the Flyers would finally score their first runs of the series. JaCoby Jones hit Pineda's first pitch of the inning out to left-center for a home run, and Austin Hedges got in scoring position ahead of Abraham's 3rd single of the day, which made it 3-2...Ishihara added a solo homer in the 6th to double our lead... Pineda was done after 6, another quality outing from Mike. The bullpen would make things interesting, as they sometimes do... in the 7th, a hit and two walks loaded the bases for Tyler Wade, who singled in two runs to tie the game... next half inning, though, Maezes led off with a solo HR to put us back in front. Back to a lead, with the only change being Pineda's not in line for the win anymore. We would put reliever Juan Carlos Medina through a lot in that inning, though. Gamel singled, Shirah walked while pinch-hitting, Robles singled, Guerrero walked and Ishihara had a two-run single that finally made it 8-4. In all Medina had thrown 44 pitches and only gotten two outs, including 8 pitches on Garry's groundout, 11 to Robles and 9 to Guerrero... Jones hit his 2nd homer of the day in the 8th, a two run shot to get Charlotte within two... Miller came on to pitch a 1-2-3 ninth, though.


W: Sam Bennerman (3-2) L: Juan Carlos Medina (3-3) S: Jared Miller (17)
PotG: Morio Ishihara

Nice gut-it-out win for us, these are the games you gotta win to be a playoff team. We sweep the season series from Charlotte, which you love to see; fun fact, in all four games both teams scored an even number of runs (12-4, 8-0, 4-0, 8-6). Time to move onto the weekend and our final interleague series of the year!

June 24-25: Bees (47-29) vs. New Orleans Crescents (44-33)
We have definitely enjoyed playing against the American League this season, going 16-6 so far, so it's a bummer that these are our final two interleague games. (The last group of interleague games are all being played this weekend.) The Crescents are playing really good ball, though, coming in riding a 4-game win streak all on the road. They're coming in thinking they might sweep the road trip, so hopefully we can put a pin in that. New Orleans currently find themselves in sole possession of the final American League playoff spot. It's almost the time of year to start paying attention to that - we're basically at the halfway point.

Game 1 - Jack Flaherty (8-4, 3.47) vs. Elieser Hernandez (6-3, 4.81)
NOR: CF Jones, 1B Lockhart, RF La Madrid, 3B Candelario, LF Theisen, 2B Moncada, SS Howell, C Susi, P Hernandez
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, LF Shirah, 2B Maezes, C Cottam, CF Garry, P Flaherty

Elieser Hernandez hasn't won any of his last six starts, and in 4 of them has given up 5 or more runs in fewer than 5 innings, so he can be gotten... last year was his best season, with a 2.50 ERA, but I wouldn't say he's been terribly bad this year... Flaherty took a no-decision on Sunday when we were walked off by Hartford... Hernandez retired the first two Bees he faced, but we really got rolling then. Guerrero walked, and an Ishi single and Shirah double put a run on the board and two men in scoring position. Maezes walked to load 'em up, and Cottam put a ball into the left field corner that scored all three runners! 4-0 Bees! Flaherty allowed a hit to Lael Lockhart in the 1st but retired the next 10 Crescents... Ishihara had an RBI single in the 4th to make it 5-0... in the 6th, things got dicey. Brock Jones, Lockhart and Matt Theisen all singled, scoring 1 run, but then Yoan Moncada crushed a ball 416 feet to right-center for a 3 run shot that brought New Orleans within a run... Justin Wilson came on to pitch the 7th, and immediately plunked two straight batters. Luckily Paul Goodwin was able to rescue us... a badly-needed insurance run came home in the 8th, Robles doubling Mesa around from first... Jared Miller was unavailable today, having gotten the save in the last three games, but I was still surprised that AI Mike chose to go with Brad Hand for the save against a not-particularly-left-handed part of the order. He walked both Korry Howell and Kevin Maldonado, and here we go, I guess. That put the tying runs on base. Thankfully, pinch-hitter Xavier Edwards hit into a clutch 6-4-3 double play. Clutch for us, I mean. Finally with the matchup advantage in his favor, Hand gets Brock Jones to... hit a run-scoring double off the wall, putting the tying run now in scoring position. Sigh... my most mortal fears turned out to be unfounded, though, when Hand struck out Lockhart to preserve the W for good.


W: Jack Flaherty (9-4) L: Elieser Hernandez (6-4) S: Brad Hand (1)
PotG: Kole Cottam

Game 2 - Joey Lucchesi (8-4, 3.78) vs. Thomas Spinelli (3-3, 5.47)
NOR: 2B Maldonado, 1B Lockhart, RF La Madrid, 3B Candelario, LF Theisen, CF Jones, SS Howell, C Susi, P Spinelli
SLC: SS Mota, LF Shirah, 3B Guerrero, RF Robles, 1B Ishihara, C Phegley, 2B Maezes, CF Mesa, P Lucchesi

Spinelli has wholly average numbers on the year, but last time out he was magical, taking a no-hitter into the 8th inning at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday. He hadn't made it through the fifth inning of any of his previous three starts, so this guy's maybe a Jekyll-and-Hyde type... the Crescents' 6th-round pick in 2019, he finally cracked the big-league roster at age 24 last year... Joey got the win on Monday in Albuquerque, scattering 9 hits over 6.2 innings in a game we'd eventually win 8-5... We had the bases loaded and no out in the first inning but could not score. You wonder if that might turn into an omen for the day... Mota had the game's first RBI in the 2nd, hitting a triple that Mesa circled the bases on. That made up for Lucchesi's failed bunt attempt earlier, which had been caught on the fly... No matter, the Crescents didn't get their first hit until Zac Susi singled in the third... the 4th was interesting for Lucchesi on both ends. First, he got out of a bases-loaded jam in the top half, and then had an RBI infield single in the bottom half, scoring Maezes who had reached on an error by Matt Theisen in left... Lucchesi exited after 6.1 innings, scoreless with only 4 hits allowed. After two batters, Sam Bennerman had spoiled the shutout. Susi singled and Yoan Moncada had a pinch double... Jeimer Candelario tied the game in the top of the 8th with a solo homer, ruining Joey Lucchesi's shot at his 9th win of the year. It'll be a no-decision... Morio Ishihara started the 8th with a single off Hunter Gaddis, and Phegley came up next, smashing a two-run homer to put us back in front! Later in the inning, Mesa was hit by a pitch, moved up on a wild pitch and scored on a pinch hit by Gamel. 5-2 now... Miller on for the save. Kevin Maldonado grounds to 3rd... Lael Lockhart Jr strikes out... he does walk Alexis La Madrid, and now AI Mike is gonna go take the ball. I guess he wants to turn around Candelario and... have him bat from his stronger side? And put Jonathan Holder into the game? OK Mike... Anyway, Holder validates that decision in every way by striking Candelario out!


W: Paul Goodwin (1-0) L: Hunter Gaddis (3-2) S: Jonathan Holder (1)
PotG: Joey Lucchesi

Some close fought games this week... but we won them all! We actually swept the week! This was our first win on a Sunday since May 14, but it comes at a great time.

Bees' Player of the Week:
Gotta go with LF/SP Will Shirah, who was 6-18 with 2 HR and 9 RBI, and threw his best game of the season on Thursday against the Flyers with 12 K.

On the Leaderboard:
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.: 4th in RBI (68)
Morio Ishihara: 8th in RBI (66)
Victor Victor Mesa: T-5th in triples (7)
Jack Flaherty: T-3rd in wins (9), 4th in pitcher WAR (2.5), 4th in innings pitched (102.0), 6th in K/BB (4.6), 5th in BB/9 (1.8), 6th in WHIP (1.15), 2nd in QS (12)
Joey Lucchesi: T-6th in wins (8), 5th in pitcher WAR (2.4), 9th in RA9-WAR (2.9), 7th in FIP (3.84)

Minor League Bees:
The AAA All-Star Game was this week, and a ton of our players ended up featuring. We had two starters: CF Gabriel Perez, who's spent a little time with the big club this year, and SP Santiago Elizondo, who will be up in September for sure. Elizondo pitched a scoreless inning, & Juan Geraldo and Zeke Young both pitched as well for the Pacific Division team, but Perez was named the game MVP for his heroics! He had two hits, including a two-run single in the 3rd that put the Pacific up 4-0. They'd eventually hold on to win 4-3.
Surrounding those games, the AAA Hawaii Islanders were 3-1, pulling one game ahead of Hollywood (Dodgers) for the PCL Pacific lead.
AA Cedar City had a great 5-1 week, beating Havasu (Missions) 2 out of 3 and sweeping Flagstaff (Saguaros). The AA Bees are still trying to fully recover from their 13-game losing streak a couple of weeks ago, but now sit just 6 games behind Grand Junction (Oilers).
The Midwest League All-Star Game was also this week, and we had six players taking part. 3B Cam McDonald had a two-run homer that scored RF Dylan Cloonan, another of our players, and gave the West the lead for good. C Carlos Hurtado also had an RBI, and Justin Zerbe/Harry Dockter each pitched a scoreless inning. Our division, the West, won the game 5-4.
The Lil' Bees came out strong after the break as well, sweeping a series at Joliet (Mets).
The AZL Bees started their season 5-1, winning 3 of 4 from Seattle and two games against Texas. Early days but they're tied with Tucson for first in Division 3
Conversely, our other rookie ball team in Puerto Rico lost two of three in both their series, against Las Vegas and West Texas to sit at 2-4, T-6th of 10 teams in that league.

All-Star Voting Update:
Morio Ishihara has moved up to 2nd among NL first-basemen, but I don't see him catching Cody Bellinger in voting. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. still leads among 3B, but his lead over Miami's Drew Mendoza seems to be shrinking. Cottam holds strong in 2nd among NL catchers, but similarly I don't think he'll catch Posey. New leaders - Colts CL Hidekazu Hirose overtakes Suns RP Durbin Feltman for NL relievers; Angels CF Parker Meadows overtakes Scorpions CF Nick Schnell in the AL.

Standings:



League News:
June 22: The Cincinnati Reds have one of baseball's best bullpens, but that was dealt a major blow when Adam Cimber was lost for the season today. Cimber is not the closer, but actually had been pitching well enough to appear in the top-5 of All-Star voting for NL relievers. His season ends with a 4.01 ERA, 3-0 record and 1 save in 36 appearances.
June 22: After we went home from Albuquerque, the Suns went out to the East Coast for a road trip, and the first game had some fireworks. Suns SP Ronald Herrera and Mets LF Caleb Adams have both been suspended by the commissioner for inciting a brawl. We had this earlier in the year with Shirah so I can't point and laugh too hard, but the Suns, already on a long losing streak and with some injured pitchers, will now be without Herrera for a week.
June 24: Angels RF Troy LaNeve hits for an unlikely cycle in a win over the Mets. He had just a double and a home run when he came to bat in the bottom of the 8th in a 3-3 tie, and when he scored the go-ahead run after tripling it looked like he probably wouldn't come up again. But the Angels kept on hitting, batting around and giving Troy the chance at the cycle and he got it with an RBI single that put the Halos up 9-3. They'd eventually win 10-3.
June 25: A flurry of minor trades on this Sunday. The Royals acquire RP Danny Barnes from the Blizzard for a minor prospect; the Rounders acquire SP Jon Gray from Oakland for C Peter Zyla and a minor leaguer; in a trade wholly within our division, SP Jake Junis was traded from the Blackbirds to Marshals for a minor-league outfielder; and Oakland also trades 2B Wilmer Flores to Atlanta for CL Rex Brothers and a decent 3B prospect, Alex Tappen.

Players of the Week:
Las Vegas C Brad Debo - 13-23, 2 HR, 10 RBI. Debo has amassed 4.3 WAR in just 68 games behind the plate & should probably be considered the game's best catcher right now.
New Mexico 1B Tyler White - 14-25, 1 HR, 10 RBI, 5 R. White was 4-8 in our series, but didn't drive in a run. He made up for it with 6 RBI in two games against the Mets and 4 in two games against the Blizzard.

Power Rankings:
Big time week. We won all six of our games, and I think deservedly get into the top 5 for the first time this year. As we round the halfway point of the season, we sit in 2nd place in the power rankings, up from 8th last week.
1. Las Vegas Scorpions (55-25)
2. Salt Lake Bees (49-29)
3. Louisville Colts (51-29)
4. Oklahoma Oilers (50-30)
5. Ottawa Lynx (49-31)
56. Norfolk Navigators (30-50)
57. Hartford Oaks (28-52)
58. Syracuse Blizzard (32-48)
59. Boston Red Sox (29-51)
60. Colorado Rockies (26-53)

Next Week: we finish out this homestand by welcoming in the Giants, then head out on what will be our longest road trip of the season, first to Brooklyn for the Burros, then Houston.

Last edited by Ruwisc; 01-22-2020 at 10:32 AM.
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ayaghmour2 (01-25-2020)
Old 01-22-2020, 10:32 AM   #30
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Hey, Ruwisc since you started Pan-Am Leagues, I Better Check how the Minor Leagues are Shaping up so I wanna see how my Minor League Teams for the A's and Giants are Doing, Please?
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Old 01-22-2020, 11:55 AM   #31
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Sure.

The Oakland minor league teams have been pretty bad overall.
AAA Calgary is 28-40, in 8th place (of 9) in the PCL's Mountain Division.
AA Stockton is 27-41, 5th place (of 6) in the California League's North Division.
A Medford is 28-40 as well, 8th place in the 10-team Northwest League.
But, their two rookie ball teams are each 4-2 to start their season. Coincidentally both Oakland rookie teams are in the same respective divisions as mine, AZL Division 3 and the Puerto Rican division of the Pan-Ams.

The Giants' teams are also not so hot but a bit better.
I invented an AAA team for them in Santa Clara, and they're 30-38, tied for 5th in the 9-team PCL Pacific Division (same division as my AAA team).
AA San Jose is 35-33, 3rd place in the California League North.
But A Salem-Keizer is in last place in the Northwest League at 25-43.
Their AZL team is 3-3 and Venezuelan League team is 2-4.

Neither team has a top-100 prospect, but that's a harder thing to do when there are 60 teams. (I somehow don't have a top-100 prospect either.)
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Old 01-24-2020, 04:11 PM   #32
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Week 14: June 26-July 2, 2023





June 26-27: Bees (49-29) vs. San Francisco Giants (40-40)
The Giants have played exactly half of their scheduled games, have a perfect .500 record and a .500 Pythag record as well, so this is a team as average as they come. They've actually played pretty poorly in June, erasing the good month of May they had. The NL West has a runaway leader, but it isn't the Dodgers like I assumed it would be. Instead, the game's preseason prediction that the Padres would win 91 games is looking strong - they have the same record we do right now, meaning San Fran is 10 games out.

Game 1 - Ray Gaither (1-1, 5.25) vs. Luke Heimlich (5-4, 4.44)
SFG: CF Murray, SS Madrigal, RF Walker, 2B Torkelson, 3B Keller, LF Riley, C Voss, 1B Drury, P Heimlich
SLC: SS Mota, 3B Guerrero, RF Robles, CF Mesa, 1B Ishihara, C Phegley, 2B Maezes, LF Garry, P Gaither

The less said about Heimlich's personal life the better. In this game, he's become a pretty reliable, pretty average pitcher, really in keeping with the Giants' total bland averageness. Last time out, though, he took the loss against the rival Dodgers and pitched inefficiently, only lasting for 4 innings. The Giant lineup as a whole has a bunch of intriguing names: Kyler Murray, Nick Madrigal, Spencer Torkelson... Gaither got his first win in a Bees uniform last time out, when he went 7 strong innings at New Mexico... the Giants would strike first. Murray drew a leadoff walk, and Steele Walker powered a ball into the right field stands for a 2-0 Giants lead... we would claw one back in the first though, Mota singled, went to second on a poor pickoff throw from Heimlich and scored on Mesa's hit with two out... Gaither helped his own cause in the third, hitting a first pitch single while leading off, going to 3rd on a hit by Guerrero and scoring on Mesa's RBI groundout to tie the game 2-2... San Francisco went back ahead in the 5th, Madrigal scoring Brandon Drury with another groundout... the Bees' 4-5-6 hitters came up with three straight singles in the 6th to tie the game again, Phegley driving home Mesa. Unfortunately it looks like Mesa was hurt while sliding into home plate. Gonna have to wait for an update after the game. Garry slides over to center and Granite takes over in left... Gaither was replaced by Nolan Blackwood to start the 7th, who struck out all three batters he faced. Nice game for Ray, another quality start - 6 innings, 3 runs on 4 hits, 8 K vs. 2 BB... after a single and two walks for us in the 7th off new pitcher Will Stillman, what would've been Mesa's spot comes up in the lineup. Instead it's the pitcher's spot, and pinch-hitter Ben Gamel delivered an infield hit to put us ahead for the first time tonight. Morio Ishihara followed with a two-run single to put us up 6-3! Our bullpen was sparkling tonight - hitless innings from Blackwood, Hand and Holder to seal a nice victory.


W: Nolan Blackwood (3-0) L: Will Stillman (0-1) S: Jonathan Holder (2)
PotG: Ray Gaither

Strong game from Gaither, settling down after being down 2-0 after 3 batters. On to Tuesday!

No update on Mesa yet, so we'll roll ahead without him to the second Giants game. We're flush with outfielders right now, even in AAA, so we could probably do without Victor even though he's having a good year.

Game 2 - Will Shirah (6-4, 4.48) vs. Gabriel Ynoa (4-9, 5.27)
SFG: CF Murray, SS Madrigal, RF Walker, 2B Torkelson, LF Riley, 3B Keller, C Voss, 1B Drury, P Ynoa
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, P Shirah, 2B Maezes, C Cottam, CF Garry, LF Granite

Ynoa is trying to avoid becoming MLB's third 10-game loser on the season - he's 0-3 in the month of June, during which he's seen his ERA rise by about half a run. Last time out, he got the loss against division rival Vancouver, with 4 runs against in 5 innings... Shirah is coming off his best pitching appearance in a major league uniform, Thursday against the Flyers. He only threw 6.1 innings but they were scoreless and he struck out 12 Charlotte hitters... it was a shaky top of the first, but he got through it. Murray, Walker and Torkelson all had singles, but in between Nick Madrigal hit into a double play so we got to bat still scoreless... San Fran had single hits in the second and third innings... the 3rd for us was magical. Garry led off by drawing an 8-pitch walk, which was followed by a Granite RBI triple in the gap, and then a Mota single that scored Zack from third to make it 2-0. Robles hit the next pitch for a single, and Guerrero had a long at-bat that also became a single, which loaded the bases. Ishihara up, and seemingly going for the knockout blow, he hit the first pitch right at Walker in right field. Shirah, though, helped his own cause majorly by singling through the left side scoring two runs! Maezes up next, and... oh, there's the death blow! He smacks Ynoa's final pitch of the day deep into the Utah sky for a 3-run home run and a 7-0 lead! Ynoa finishes the day with just 2.1 innings, 7 runs on 7 hits... Shirah continued to hold the Giants scoreless, but some lengthy, extended at bats means he probably wasn't too long for this game... in our half of the 5th, Ishihara led off with a hit against RP Julio Mateo. Shirah and Maezes both drew extended walks to load 'em up. Cottam's RBI single advanced everyone, and Garry's walk scored another run. Mateo finally recorded the first out getting Granite, but his grounder was smoked into the hole and Madrigal only had a play at first, making it 10-0. Mota then re-loaded the bases by walking, and Robles/Guerrero would each drive in a run to make it a silly 12-0 score... Shirah was done after 5.2 innings, again scoreless, with 6 K. That's 12 scoreless innings and 18 strikeouts over his last two outings! Perez on to pitch... This was probably the perfect time for Perez to have an absolutely awful outing. He allowed 3 walks, 3 hits, a sac fly and a wild pitch in the 7th, cutting our lead to 12-5, but it's not worth the minutiae... in a weird series of coincidences, we scored 3 runs in the 7th without any of our players getting an RBI. With men on first and second, Guerrero singled up the middle, but Kyler Murray misplayed the ball in center which allowed Mota to score. Robles scored on a wild pitch, and Guerrero scored on a passed ball which occurred while we had reliever Ben Parks hitting for himself... Parks would finish the game scoreless, while Mota tacked on one more run in the 8th on a fielder's choice RBI.


W: Will Shirah (7-4) L: Gabriel Ynoa (4-10)
PotG: Travis Maezes

A season-high offensive output for us - we had scored 15 runs once and 14 twice, but not more. Mostly done with well-timed singles, too - that's a more satisfying way to win IMO.

After the game, we also got word that Victor Victor Mesa's wrist injury had actually been really minor, and he would be at full strength as we headed out on a season-long 9-game road trip! We'll make four full stops, but also sneak in a makeup game from our April 5th rainout in Buffalo.

At 80 games played, we've reached the halfway point of our season, so I also got the midseason owner goals review Wednesday morning from Albert Torres, our owner. Peppered with faint praise, it was. I guess I haven't really fully accomplished any of the things he set for me in the preseason - he said, make the playoffs, upgrade from Shirah in left field, improve the state of the bullpen, bring in a Gold Glover, and chop the payroll down to $120MM. Minor improvements throughout. We're in a solid playoff position right now (7 1/2 games ahead of Houston - we actually would be the #2 seed in the NL if the tournament began today), Shirah has played better than he did last year but not by much, the bullpen is improved from 21st last year to 13th but he wants more, and the payroll has been cut from $131MM to $121 MM, just not all the way to $120MM. So he seems happy but has tons of little nits to pick.

June 28-29: Bees (51-29) @ New York Burros (47-35)
If the season ended today, we would face the Burros in the first round of the playoffs despite the fact that they're in 3rd place in the East - that's a pretty strong division, with the Beacons and Monarques also holding playoff spots at the moment. This team made their first playoff appearance last year, losing to the Astros in the first round (Houston then beat us in the second round before losing in the NLCS to Buffalo). We split a pair of games with the Burros in SLC in early May.

Game 1 - Michael Pineda (3-2, 3.54) vs. Alejandro Chacin (6-5, 5.02)
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, LF Shirah, 2B Maezes, C Cottam, CF Garry, P Pineda
NYB: CF Anderson, SS Hinds, LF Frisch, RF Dickerson, 2B Walker, 1B Carpenter, 3B Valbuena, C Cross, P Chacin

Chacin was the Burros starter who we bested in our earlier series, although it was more down to Lucchesi pitching very well against him. He gave up two runs in 5 innings, and we scored later against the New York bullpen to win 5-1... Chacin has won four consecutive decisions, and the Burros have won his last six starts (but lost the previous five). This time a month ago his ERA was above 6.50... Pineda has pitched well since coming off the IL, it's kind of a shame we haven't gotten him a win despite having won both games... Pineda allowed a triple to Jordan Anderson on his second pitch of the game, and he'd come in on a sac fly by Daniel Frisch... Frisch came up again in the 3rd with Rece Hinds on second, and singled him around to double the lead... Mota had a hit leading off the game for us, but we wouldn't get another until Cottam singled with one out in the fourth... Luis Valbuena had an RBI fielder's choice to score Neil Walker in the 4th making it 3-0... in the 6th, finally, we got it together. Ishihara singled to lead off, and Maezes would muscle up for his 12th home run of the year to get us within a run. That was it for Chacin - 5.1 innings, 4 hits and 2 runs. He leaves in line for the win... Pineda was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the 7th. In that half-inning, Robles singled with two outs, stole 2nd base and came in to score on Guerrero's game-tying single! Next half-inning, though, Frisch would come up with his 3rd RBI of the day, a double scoring Hinds again... in the 8th, we had Shirah at third base with only one out but couldn't get him in... Archie Bradley on for the save, trying to snap our eight-game winning streak at last. Gamel up first as a pinch hitter, slow ground ball to the right side... and he beats it out! Matt Carpenter can't get the transfer to the pitcher in time. Mota sacrifice bunts him into scoring position... Robles strikes out, though, so we're down to the last out... Guerrero now... he takes a 1-2 pitch just high for ball two... the next pitch is in the exact same spot and he belts it deep to left! IT'S GONE!!! What a signature Vlad Jr. moment! Ishihara then walks, and Shirah/Maezes both singled, but Cottam hit a ground ball right at Hinds for a 6-4 FC... Now Jared Miller on in the same situation: a 1-run lead, facing a pinch-hitter leading off. Thomas Dillard strikes out. Anderson's ground ball just eludes Mota up the middle, though. AI Mike goes for the switch right there, and goes to Jonathan Holder. Holder's quickly rising on Matheny's list of trusted bullpen arms... he uncorks a wild pitch, putting Anderson at 2nd, but does strike out Hinds. Next is Frisch. On 1-2 he hits a fly ball high and deep to right center... but it dies on the warning track! What a win!


W: Sam Bennerman (4-2) L: Archie Bradley (1-1) S: Jonathan Holder (3)
PotG: Travis Maezes

Absolutely huge win! Huge for Vlad Jr. as well, who has been in a really extended funk. His OPS actually fell below .900 last week, c/f 1.097 last year. Louisville lost today to the Cubs as well, so I can report that for the moment, we have the best record in the National League! That's pretty wild.

We're still five games worse than the AL-leading Las Vegas Scorpions, who have a 12-game win streak at the moment. TBH, if I showed you the stats from this season you'd assume that Vegas was the team being played by a human rather than the AI. They're the only team that has scored more than 500 runs, and they have 619 (that's about 7.5 runs per game!). Bryce Harper is on pace to drive in about 180 runs this year and has probably a 50-50 shot at the Triple Crown. Their pitching staff is actually kinda not good, but it doesn't matter. One of their starters has an ERA above 7 with a winning record anyway!

After the game I also got the alert that that was my 500th win with this franchise! We are 500-382 over 5 and a half seasons which I think I can be proud of.

Game 2 - Jack Flaherty (9-4, 3.62) vs. Jake Arrieta (2-1, 4.67)
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, LF Shirah, 2B Maezes, C Cottam, CF Garry, P Flaherty
NYB: CF Anderson, 1B Carpenter, LF Frisch, SS Hinds, RF Dickerson, C Dillard, 2B Walker, 3B Denton, P Arrieta

Jake Arrieta has actually spent most of this year as a minor league reliever. This is his first year with the Burros after 5 years out west with the 66ers and Mariners. Now 37, he missed a bunch of time last season with shoulder and back injuries, and as a result didn't meet the vesting option in his contract. Jake had to settle for a minor league deal here in New York, where he didn't make the team and reported to AAA Lehigh Valley. Finally, though, he got the ball at the end of May for the Burros and has pitched aight... Flaherty picked up his 9th win Saturday against New Orleans, and all 9 wins have come in his last 12 starts (since late April). One of those non-wins, though, was against the Burros at home on May 9, though he only allowed 3 runs in 6.1 innings that day... The Bees got buzzing quickly today. Mota led the game off with a single, and then was held at third on Robles' double to the wall. That turned out to be a smart move when Guerrero hit a ball to the warning track for an easy sac fly. After an Ishi groundout, Shirah hit a ball high, high in the air to right that had just enough carry to get out! 3-0 Bees... Back at it in the second, Cottam led off with a single and scored on Garry's RBI triple. The pitcher Flaherty drew a walk, and Mota's double made the score 6-0 and ended Arrieta's evening rather early. That's six runs in on six hits in 1.0 innings, and only 10 batters faced... good news for us though. Eric Stilwell seemed to stem the tide, retiring all 4 batters he faced... In the 4th, Flaherty reached base again via a single, Robles had another RBI triple, Guerrero's single made it 8-0, and Ishihara's towering, 453 ft. home run made it 10-0... Shirah had another RBI in the 6th, driving Guerrero in from 2nd... I haven't mentioned Flaherty's pitching at all, but that's because he dazzled. 7.1 innings pitched and only 1 hit allowed! He did hit 2 batters, walk 1 and need 110 pitches to do it, but he also racked up his first double-digit strikeout game of the year as well. New York gifted us one more run in the 9th on an error by Matt Carpenter at first, but that's all else that really happened.


W: Jack Flaherty (10-4) L: Jake Arrieta (2-2)
PotG: Jack Flaherty

Masterful from Jack tonight as we keep on rollin'.

That was our last game in the month of June, and what a month it was! We were 20-6 for the month, and increased our division lead from 1 1/2 games to 7 games!

Monthly Awards for June
Batter of the Month:
Austin 3B Chris Antrim - .462, 7 HR, 25 RBI, 32 R, 1.313 OPS, 9 SB. Between Antrim and LF Adam Wesche, the Violets dominated awards picks during the month of June. If Antrim hadn't missed the month of April Austin might be gunning for a playoff spot right now. He displayed an unusually high amount of power this month, while still racking up his usual calling card stats, steals and triples.
Reno RF Koshi Higuchi - .358, 12 HR, 31 RBI, 25 R, .412 OBP. Higuchi had 20 extra-base hits this month, to account for more than half of his overall 38 hits in June. Both he and Silver Sox 2B Brad Martin are likely All-Star starters, but Reno is still awful - 4th-worst record in the NL as I write this, and a 9 game losing streak including some pretty bad opponents like Cleveland and Arizona.

Pitcher of the Month:
Oklahoma SP Shohei Ohtani - 5-0, 1.67 ERA, 51 K, 37.2 innings over 5 starts. Ohtani has won his last 7 outings, in fact, and gone at least 7 innings in all of them while never allowing more than 3 runs and always striking out at least 8 batters. Really dominant stretch from Ohtani, who won the AL MVP in 2018 and 2019 and might be the only guy other than Bryce Harper who can win this year's award. Shohei has already racked up 6.6 total WAR on the season, about evenly split between his two sides of the ball.
San Antonio SP Kyle Marman - 4-0, 1.64 ERA, 28 K, 33 innings over 5 starts. Kind of a dream month for the 26-year-old Marman, who made his first start of the year on June 5 against Portland, in a game the Marshals bullpen blew for him. He won every start after that, though, including a game against us on the 15th in which we nearly erased the big deficit we were in, but only after he left the game.

Rookie of the Month:
New Orleans RF Alexis La Madrid - .327, 11 HR, 28 RBI, 23 R. La Madrid wins his second RotM award, also having won in April. A 27-year-old Cuban defector, La Madrid looks like the player that will be the centerpiece of the first-ever Crescents playoff team, whenever it comes. They're in a tie for the final Wild Card spot at the moment.
San Francisco SP Jeff Huff - 3-0, 2.73 ERA, 32 K, 33 innings over 5 starts. Huff was the Giants' first-round pick in 2021 from Rice University and is already established as a league-average starting pitcher. He didn't pitch this week against us, and it's a good thing since the Giants have won his last four starts.

July 1-2: Bees (53-29) @ Houston Astros (47-37)
The Stros were 16-9 in June, not quite what we were but really good and good enough to establish themselves as at least the division's second best team as the Suns faltered. They're the only team besides us who has won this division, and beat us in the playoffs last year, so this is a cool budding rivalry. This is our third meeting on the year, and the away team has won every game so far. They beat us twice in the second week of the season at home, but we won a pair of games in Houston in mid-May.

Game 1 - Joey Lucchesi (8-4, 3.51) vs. Daniel Clark (5-0, 4.46)
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, LF Shirah, 2B Maezes, C Cottam, CF Garry, P Lucchesi
HOU: SS Strumpf, 2B Vaughn, LF Martinez, 1B Olenek, RF Gutierrez, 3B Hartung, C Campbell, CF Jancarski, P Clark

SS Kenen Irizarry and 1B Greg Bird, two players who have given us fits in the past, get the day off since we're throwing a lefty. I imagine we'll see them hit against Gaither tomorrow... Clark has been a bullpen guy most of this year, and this outing represents a rare return to the rotation for him. He pitched in one game in each of the previous two Bees-Astros series, getting a win in our place in the wild 13-11 game we lost. In Houston in May, we beat up on him for 4 runs in a third of an inning, though... Lucchesi is on a roll right now, we've won his last six outings and he's gotten the win in four of them... we started quickly again in this game. Mota walked to lead off, and Robles tripled to put us up within two batters. Guerrero followed with a slow grounder to first that was slow enough to allow Robles to score, 2-0... Guerrero came up a bit short again in the second. We loaded the bases for him with two out but he grounded to second... in their half of the second, a Lucchesi wild pitch put runners at second and third for Jacob Campbell, who tied the game with his two-run single... JD Martinez gave Houston the lead in the 3rd with a two-run homer... in the fifth inning, Cottam smashed a game-tying two run homer onto the train tracks in left-center, a 456-foot blast to make it 4-4... Garry followed with a single, and then Matheny made the surprising move to pinch-hit for Lucchesi, ending his day after 4 innings. Gamel couldn't come through in his place, so Joey will get a no-decision today... Ben Parks allowed a hit and two walks in the 5th but induced a double play that kept the game tied... Daniel Clark was done after 5 innings, so a ND for him too... Sam Bennerman pitched a scoreless 7th, but allowed a first-pitch home run to a pinch-hitting Irizarry leading off the 8th, so we're gonna need some ninth-inning magic once again. On comes Billy Corcoran for the save, a bit surprising. Regular closer Nick Gardewine pitched the last two games, but the Astros were off yesterday just like we were... Corcoran hands out a 4-pitch walk to Shirah leading off. Maezes drops down for a sac bunt, putting the tying run in scoring position... Cottam gets a 1-1 pitch outside at shoulder height and plunks it right over the second baseman's head into center to score Shirah and tie the game! More magic! 5-5! Garry strikes out, though pinch-hitter and former Astro Te'Kwaan Whyte draws the second walk of the inning. Now Mota, who swings at what would have been ball four... and sneaks it just inside the 1st base line! Cottam around to score! Garry flies around from first to score! Mota is into third with a standup triple! What a ninth inning! Corcoran finally gets Robles swinging to end the frame, but we go to the bottom of the ninth up 7-5! Now Miller on for the save for us... Zach Jancarski grounds to short... Greg Bird goes down swinging, and Chase Strumpf is caught looking! Easy-peasy!


W: Sam Bennerman (5-2) L: Billy Corcoran (1-1) S: Jared Miller (18)
PotG: Kole Cottam

This team's got some magic about them, y'all.

Sunday is July 2nd, which means it's international signing day! There were a number of players who my scout thought were undervalued possible superstars, so I splashed a bunch of offers out. We have offers agreed to with OF Allan Hauer (Australia, $2.3 million), 3B Willis Bayona (Panama, $1 million), C Joel Avanzo (Venezuela, $400k), and, weirdly, a pair of Americans, CF Steve McLaren ($700k) and SS Alpha Woody ($500k, and what a name). It's not unheard of for Americans to go abroad and take steps to insert themselves into affiliated baseball at 16 - the Cardinals' Alex Reyes is one example, moving from New Jersey to live with family in the Dominican Republic so he could sign as an IFA - but interesting that two of the players I really liked fit that mold. There was also a really interesting North Korean player, Min-sik Yaung, that my scout adored, but I didn't quite have the budget space for him.

We'll have to wait and see how many of these players we are able to sign - unlikely that I'd get all five, for sure. Hauer is the headliner for me, but OSA vehemently disagrees on his potential. My scout views him as a legit future Triple Crown contender in right field, but OSA really views him as maybe just an average hitter. McLaren as well is somebody that my scout is incredibly high on, grading him at 95 potential on the 20-80 scale in Contact and Avoid K's, so if I could just walk away with those two I'd be really, really happy.

Game 2 - Ray Gaither (1-1, 5.00) vs. Gerrit Cole (5-3, 4.78)
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, C Cottam, 2B Maezes, CF Garry, LF Granite, P Gaither
HOU: SS Irizarry, 3B Hartung, RF Gutierrez, LF Martinez, C Posey, 1B Bird, 2B Vaughn, CF Jancarski, P Cole

Gerrit Cole was the Houston starter in the aforementioned 13-11 win they had over us back in April. We got to him in the 3rd inning of that start, scoring 5 runs and knocking him out of the game, but Griffin Canning and the Bees bullpen combined to muck up that five-run lead... Gaither faces his former team for the first time - he was a Rockies draftee that was traded to Houston as a prospect, and made his ML debut for them in 2021. We acquired him from the Stros this past winter along with Whyte in exchange for OF Mike Spooner, who is playing in AAA... both pitchers were in good form early. Both sides had three hits in the first four innings but never had multiple baserunners going... in the fifth, there was a breaking of the ice. Andrew Vaughn ambushed Gaither with a first-pitch HR that would've gotten out even without the Crawford Boxes there. Jancarski and Cole both reached ahead of Kenan Irizarry's two-run triple, and he scored on a sac fly by Tim Hartung to make it 4-0... JD Martinez led off the 6th with another solo shot and that was all for Ray - 5 runs in 5+ innings... Ishihara led off the 7th for us with maybe the perfect plate appearance. He saw 12 pitches, fouled eight of them off and took the other four for balls to reach base. Cottam followed with his 15th home run of the year to get us on the board and within three runs. That'd be it for Cole, going 6+ innings and allowing 2 runs. Our momentum could not be arrested, though, even with Max Scherzer coming in out of the bullpen (it's weird to me every time). Maezes hit a sharp single to right, and then Garry hit a sharp home run to right and we were suddenly within 1. That was Garry's first HR since his debut grand slam... We weren't done, though. Granite followed with another hit, as did Mota, and Robles tied the game on a sac fly. Next was Guerrero, who gave us the lead with a single to score Mota! Wow! I was starting to write this game off but we suddenly led 6-5... after the stretch, Kenen Irizarry reached third base with nobody out by singling and stealing both bags in front of him, but Brad Hand escaped with the lead intact by inducing a popup and 2 Ks... in the top of the eighth, both teams made mistakes on the basepaths. Garry singled but was caught stealing while Granite was at the plate, but Granite reached base safely on a passed ball strikeout! You don't see that too often... pinch-hitter Gamel singled, Mota drove in a run with a single, and then both runners scored on Robles' double making it suddenly 9-5... the Astros clawed 1 back against Holder in the 8th, but the run was one of those ironically unearned ones thanks to Holder's error. Jancarski had the RBI to score Posey... but we were feelin' it at the plate by now, and Granite/Mota each had an RBI single in the 9th. Irizarry's solo HR in the 9th against Paul Goodwin barely mattered.


W: Martin Perez (5-0) L: Max Scherzer (5-4)
PotG: Willie Joe Garry Jr.

This team just knows how to win! It's really remarkable the kind of wins they were able to string together this week. (It should come as no surprise that our Team Chemistry page lists us as "Ecstatic".) We had a total of four come-from-behind wins this week, including two where we came back in the 9th and another where we were down by 5 runs at one point.

I'm hesitant to even talk about it since I've felt like a jinx mentioning winning streaks in this space, but you can see on the standings page just how many consecutive games we've won.

Bees' Player of the Week:
A lot of Bees hitters with nice-looking statlines this week, but my player of the week is 3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr.. One of three Bees with double-digit hits on the week, he also had the clutch hits we needed on Wednesday and Sunday. 10-26, HR, 9 RBI, 3 BB

On the Leaderboard:
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.: 3rd in RBI (77)
Morio Ishihara: T-8th in RBI (70)
Jack Flaherty: T-1st in wins (10), 4th in pitcher WAR (2.8), 4th in innings (109.1), 4th in K/BB (4.9), 4th in BB/9 (1.7), 3rd in WHIP (1.09), 9th in FIP (3.93), 2nd in QS (13)
Joey Lucchesi: 7th in pitcher WAR (2.4), 8th in FIP (3.91)

Minor League Bees:
A difficult week for AAA Hawaii, who went 2-5. Lost series against Lincoln (Thunder) and Fresno (Solons). They're 48-27, 1 game back in the PCL Pacific.
In the AA league, I mistakenly scheduled an All-Star break without an ASG, so a light week for the Cedar City club. They won 3 of 4 against Farmington (Suns) and sit at 47-33, 6 games back of first.
A Burlington was also 2-5 this week, but still have a 5-game lead atop the MWL West. They lost series against Quad Cities (Blackbirds) and Great Lakes (Lynx).
The AZL Rookie Bees were also 2-5, splitting a four-game set with Sacramento but losing their other games against Texas and Cincinnati.
And the PRSL Rookie Bees went 4-2 to even their record at .500, winning 2 of 3 against both Oakland and Memphis.

All-Star Voting Update:
Two weeks to go until the ASG, and there have been a few changes in voting leaders. For us, it's all the same. Guerrero still leads among 3B, and his lead looks a bit more robust this week, and Cottam/Ishihara are second in their positions, not likely to overtake Posey or Bellinger respectively. New leaders:

NL RP: Steven Brault (Thunder) passes Hidekazu Hirose (Colts)
AL SP: Shohei Ohtani (Oilers) passes Noah Syndergaard (Yankees)
AL RP: Graeme Stinson (Cherries) passes Corey Knebel (Lynx)

Standings:



League News:
June 26: A sparkling pitching performance from Miami SP David Peterson, throwing the game of his life in Brooklyn against the Burros. Peterson allowed just two baserunners in a 1-hit shutout, those being a first-inning single and a 6th-inning HBP. The Marlins won 4-0.
June 28: Ottawa RP Michael Feliz gets a two-year extension for $19 million total. The elite Ottawa bullpen is gonna stay strong - they have Andrew Miller, Jandel Gustave, Corey Knebel all under contract through at least next year. The Lynx have the best pitching staff in all of MLB at time of writing and look likely to win the franchise's first division title.
July 1: Rough news from Pittsburgh, as SP Madison Bumgarner will miss the rest of the season. He suffered a partial labrum tear all the way back on April 9 and was expected back within a couple of weeks, but has had a setback that will require season-ending surgery. He finishes his year having made only 3 starts.
July 1: Another masterful pitching performance, this time from Philadelphia's Jimmy Schultz in Montréal against the Monarques. It very easily could've been a perfect game - Schultz faced the minimum 27 batters on the day, allowing one hit (not until the 7th inning) and having a batter reach on an error but erasing them both via double plays.
July 2: West Texas RP Tyler Skulina is done for the season and had Tommy John surgery today. I normally wouldn't mention it with a player this minor, but Skulina is a longtime Bee who we DFA'd on Opening Day when we were in need of a spot on the 40-man roster. He was a big help for us in 2021, making a full year's worth of starts due to injuries elsewhere on the team. He's estimated to not be ready to return until August 2024.
July 2: The Las Vegas Scorpions' 14-game win streak finally comes to an end at home against the 66ers. They lost convincingly 15-4, with San Bernardino's Alex Brewer reaching base 5 times and driving in 4. Brewer, Andrew Benintendi, Juan Soto and Freddy Galvis all homered for the winning 66ers, who are still having a disappointing season but can be happy today.

Players of the Week:
Indianapolis LF Anthony Santander - 11-22, 5 HR, 10 RBI. Indianapolis is 46-40 right now, but that's good enough to tie for first in the weak AL North. Santander has become a pretty desirable player - not a star but an outfielder that most teams would pretty happily take. He's hit safely in 14 straight games and had 2 HR in Saturday's win over Austin.
Omaha RF Grant Witherspoon - 13-25, 3 HR, 13 RBI. We haven't played Omaha since April, despite them being in our division, so I often forget about Thunder players, but Witherspoon is a good one. Acquired from Milwaukee as a rookie in a 2019 deadline deal that saw Miles Mikolas go to the Brewers, Witherspoon had a breakout year last year and is seemingly continuing to improve. We're gonna be playing Omaha a lot in the month of August so you'll see more of him then.

Power Rankings:
Las Vegas has been so good that I was thinking we might not move up this week, but we did! Last week we were #2, but now we're #1!
1. Salt Lake Bees (55-29)
2. Las Vegas Scorpions (60-26)
3. Louisville Colts (56-30)
4. Columbus Explorers (53-33)
5. Oklahoma Oilers (53-33)
56. Boston Red Sox (30-56)
57. Washington Nationals (32-53)
58. Cleveland Indians (32-54)
59. Reno Silver Sox (33-52)
60. Colorado Rockies (27-58)

Next Week: our road trip continues. We've got two games in San Antonio, a makeup game Wednesday in Buffalo, finish the road trip with a pair at Citi Field against the Mets, then return home to face West Texas on the weekend.
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Old 01-26-2020, 02:44 AM   #33
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Week 15: July 3-9, 2023



Bees (55-29) @ San Antonio Marshals (42-44)
Our second trip to San Antonio in pretty quick succession - we were just here about three weeks ago. Not much has really changed as the Marshals seem locked into their lane. Probably gonna finish just below .500 and most likely in fourth place. San Antonio fans will remember this season for what might have been - recall that star 1B/SP Triston Casas is done for the year, as are SPs Tim Perez and Lupe Chavez. Despite that SA is largely a decent pitching team, partially due to their good defense. The Marshals have won two straight, but that was against Reno, who have lost 11 running.

Game 1 - Will Shirah (7-4, 4.12) vs. Andrew Barbosa (1-2, 7.08)
SLC: SS Mota, P Shirah, 3B Guerrero, RF Robles, 1B Ishihara, C Phegley, CF Mesa, LF Garry, 2B Maezes
SAN: 2B Malone, SS Hamilton, RF Herron, 1B Woodall, 3B Wofford, C McCann, LF McIlwain, CF Cruz, P Barbosa

We've seen plenty of Barbosa over the years, just not with San Antonio. This lanky Puerto Rican was definitely one of the players who benefitted from an increased number of major league jobs with this expansion. He's hopped around the league, now on his fifth major league team, but all the while pitched well enough to hold a major league job, from Memphis to Columbus, Pittsburgh to Boston, and now San Antonio. While with the Red Sox in spring camp last year, he tore up one of his fingers causing him to miss the entire 2022 season and the first few weeks of this season. Hasn't come back super strong here with the Marshals, but with the injuries they've had in the rotation they need someone with his steadiness... Will has won two straight starts, not allowing a run in either case, but his start before that was also in San Antonio in the game that we lost... we sent four batters to the plate in the 2nd inning, and three of them singled. We of course didn't score, though, because the other hit into a double play and the third single was followed by an out on the bases made by Phegley... in the bottom of the 2nd, Shirah got a little wild, and his walk and HBP both turned into eventual runs, on RBIs from Kyle McCann and Fadriel Cruz... in the 3rd, Garry led off with a double, but appeared to hurt himself while sliding into second base. More on that later... Gamel replaces him in LF... Jimmy Herron doubles the Marshals' lead with a two-run shot the other way, his 10th... Robles hit a solo HR in the 4th to put us on the board... consecutive doubles by Herron and Kevin Woodall in the 5th ended Shirah's day, and we only survived further damage when Gamel pegged Woodall trying to score later... the Marshals added another run on a wild pitch to make it 6-1 in the 6th... we won't talk about the bottom of the 7th. Just know that the Marshals tacked on seven more insurance runs to make it 13-1, and really cinch up the end of our winning streak, which ends at 12.


W: Andrew Barbosa (2-2) L: Will Shirah (7-5)
PotG: Jimmy Herron

Not only did we get clobbered, but Willie Joe Garry is going to miss 6 weeks with a severely sprained ankle. We can be OK without him just like we were good without him for the season's first two months, but it's no fun. OF Gabriel Perez is back up from Hawaii. Jimmy Herron's 3-XBH day makes him the leaguewide player of the day for this Monday.

Game 2 - Michael Pineda (3-2, 3.64) vs. Branden Nunn (5-5, 4.70)
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, LF Shirah, CF Mesa, 2B Maezes, C Cottam, P Pineda
SAN: SS Hamilton, 2B Malone, RF Herron, 1B Woodall, 3B Wofford, C McCann, LF McIlwain, CF Nelson, P Nunn

Nunn made his name as a member of the Navigators, who he played for from 2018-22, but was acquired in a minor but interesting offseason trade that sent Marshals 3B Jake Armstrong to Norfolk. Nunn is nothing if not reliable - he's never been on the IL, and hasn't had even a minor injury since 2019. A real fifth starter type, but that's what San Antonio needs with all of their injuries... dating back to mid-April, before his injury, we have won eight of Pineda's last nine starts, but he's just 2-1 in those games with 6 NDs. He's a good luck charm for the late innings, I suppose... we threatened in the 2nd, but didn't break the ice until the 3rd. Mota tripled and scored on an RBI hit from Ishi... Pineda retired the first eight batters he faced, only to then surrender a single to the opposing pitcher Nunn. When David Hamilton singled next, Nunn took a risky move to try to get to third, which you might not normally see a pitcher do, and Mesa pegged him out! Weird play... our guys would club leadoff home runs in the next two innings, Maezes in the 4th and Robles in the 5th... Nunn exited after 5 innings with those 3 runs allowed... pinch-hitter Grant Macciocchi got the Marshals on the board in the 6th with an RBI groundout, and there were a pair of doubles by Hamilton and Herron later in the inning to make it 3-2 Bees... San Antonio had a man on 2nd in the 7th when Drevian Nelson singled to left. Shirah came up firing and nabbed the slow runner Kyle McCann trying to score! Sam Bennerman needed just 4 pitches to retire the side in the 8th, and though Jared Miller labored through long at bats and allowed a hit, he got the job done in the 9th.


W: Michael Pineda (4-2) L: Branden Nunn (5-6) S: Jared Miller (19)
PotG: Michael Pineda

Nice overall win. Not our best offensive performance against a pretty mediocre pitcher but when you hit homers you score.

July 5: Bees (56-30) @ Buffalo Beacons (50-36)
This is a makeup game from one that was cancelled back on April 5. We weren't playing so well back then so this might be a plus for us. Buffalo is two games behind Montréal at the moment, but is holding the top wild card spot in the NL. The Beacons have just returned from a road trip, having just won two straight games in Omaha.

Game 1 - Jack Flaherty (10-4, 3.38) vs. Mitch Stallings (7-4, 2.71)
SLC: CF Mesa, LF Shirah, 3B Guerrero, RF Robles, 1B Ishihara, C Phegley, 2B Maezes, SS Mota, P Flaherty
BUF: LF Swaggerty, SS Franco, 2B Albies, 1B Toglia, RF Kjerstad, CF Siani, 3B Groshans, C Krause, P Stallings

Stallings took the loss in his last start, Friday in Charlotte, giving up 3 runs over 5 in a 3-1 loss... Flaherty is coming off a dominant performance Thursday against the Burros, just 1 hit allowed over 7.1 innings as we won 12-0... we had three hits in the first but thanks to Mesa's being caught stealing they kept us off the board... Flaherty had a rare bad inning in the first. Heston Kjerstad drove in the first run with a ground ball scoring Franco, then Sammy Siani drove in both Albies and Michael Toglia with his double putting the Beacons up 3-0... a big two out rally for us, though, in the 2nd. With two out and Maezes on first, Flaherty extended the inning with a single to right, and we're rather glad he did. Mesa also got a single through to right scoring one run, and Shirah took the next pitch deep to left for his 13th home run, giving the Bees a sudden 4-3 lead... Jordan Groshans tied the game in the 4th with a home run, but they weren't done there. Even after a strike-em-out, throw-em-out double play, the next four batters all had hits, punctuated by Toglia's home run to make it 8-4 Buffalo. The home run was off of Ben Parks, but the others were all Flaherty's, so 7 runs allowed in 3.2 innings. A far cry from his dominance in Brooklyn last week... Mota had an RBI single to get us a bit closer in the 5th, and Guerrero's 6th inning solo HR got us within 8-6... but Parks walked two batters in the bottom of the 6th which would both come around to score... any hope of a comeback was dashed in the 7th when Buffalo added three more runs, separate RBI for Swaggerty, Franco and Albies, not helped by a two-hour rain delay that removed Nolan Blackwood from the game... Guerrero hit another HR in the 8th but it wouldn't affect the outcome of this game.


W: Rafael Ramirez (9-2) L: Jack Flaherty (10-5)
PotG: Ozzie Albies

It was about 1 AM when this game ended - miserable for these guys making a quick trip in and out of town, but thankfully tomorrow's game isn't too far away. On the plus side, Guerrero hitting 2 HR is great for him - he's been in an extended funk for like two months now.

July 6-7: Bees (56-31) @ New York Mets (44-44)
The Mets have been out of it most of this year, but playing really well at the moment. They lost yesterday to the Cardinals but had won 7 of 8 before that. We did win a pair of games from the Mets at home at the end of April as part of a 7-game win streak we had then.

Game 1 - Joey Lucchesi (8-4, 3.75) vs. Leon White (2-1, 6.84)
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, LF Shirah, C Cottam, 2B Maezes, CF Perez, P Lucchesi
NYM: CF McCarthy, SS Nunez, LF Adams, 3B Diaz, 1B Infante, RF Martinelli, 2B Trinkwon, C Maris, P White

White is a youngin - the Mets' 3rd-round pick last June, who moved quickly through the minor leagues (23 minor league starts). This is his seventh start in MLB. He's a hard-throwing sinkerballer who, theoretically, will keep the ball on the ground, but the results haven't been there yet... We have won seven straight Lucchesi starts, during which he has four wins... Maezes provided the game's first scoring, smacking a two-run homer in the second inning... Robles, Guerrero and Ishihara drew consecutive walks starting the 3rd and all three would eventually score. Shirah doubled into the left-field corner to score two, and Cottam followed with a sac fly to make it 5-0... the Mets pinch-hit for White in the third inning, so Leon never picked up a bat. He's done after 3 with 5 runs allowed on just 3 hits. Lucchesi also had three hits through 3 innings but had kept them off the board... Perez greeted new pitcher Parker Aquino with a triple, and Lucchesi grounded one to short that scored him... Danny Diaz led off the 4th with a double and came around to get the Mets on the board at 6-1... Mota had a sixth-inning RBI single, and Guerrero drove in two more with his own single to make it 9-1... Lucchesi was pinch-hit for in that 6th, but the Bee bullpen did their best to undo his good work in the bottom half. Julian Infante homered off of Hand, and Hand/Paul Goodwin combined to allow a further five hits in that frame putting New York within 9-5... Blaise Maris added another in the 7th with a single... with Mota on 2nd and two outs in the 8th, Ishihara hit a fly ball to right that Martinelli just dropped, allowing our tenth run to score... Mota capped off the scoring himself in the 9th with another RBI single.


W: Joey Lucchesi (9-4) L: Leon White (2-2)
PotG: Luis Mota

Friday morning, we woke up to some mixed news: we had signed one of our two big IFA targets, but not the one that I was most excited for. Australian OF Allan Hauer convinced the Nashville Stars to use their entire bonus pool on him, which I wasn't as comfortable with. We'll see if I come to regret that decision, since he might be worth it. We did, though, sign the American Steve McLaren after giving him a little more than our original offer ($1.2MM). Having missed out on Hauer, I pivoted over to the North Korean player I mentioned in the previous update, 3B/1B Min-sik Yaung, and also extended new offers to a pair of catchers, Joel Avanzo and Victor Negron, both Venezuelan. We'd offered Avanzo before but now have a bit of extra cash to convince him with.

Game 2 - Ray Gaither (1-1, 5.87) vs. Cody Martin (0-3, 4.23)
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, CF Mesa, C Cottam, 2B Maezes, LF Granite, P Gaither
NYM: CF McCarthy, SS Nunez, C Contreras, LF Adams, 3B Diaz, RF Martinelli, 1B Infante, 2B Trinkwon, P Martin

Martin is another beneficiary of the expanded number of MLB roster spots. IRL, he played 2018 in independent ball, then retired to become a scout at age 29. But here, he latched on with the 2018 Nationals, and joined the Mets in 2020. He had an excellent 2020, winning 12 games with an ERA just above 3, but hasn't captured that magic since. He most recently pitched out of the bullpen last Saturday, getting the loss against the rival Burros... Gaither was a bit lucky to get a ND last time out when we came back to beat the Astros on Sunday... the first big swing in momentum was ours. After a first-inning HBP and walk, Caleb Adams came up with men on first and second and one out. He hit a single sharply through the right side, and the speedy Jake McCarthy motored around third, but the ball was hit really hard, and Robles came up throwing to nail him at the plate! Our first hit didn't come until the 3rd, when a pair of singles by Mota and Robles brought Granite in to score... Maezes doubled in the fourth inning but came up tenderly with what appears to be a back injury. More on that later... Granite was intentionally walked to bring up Gaither with two outs. But Gaither is a really capable hitter for a pitcher, and he lifted one over the right fielder's head for a two-run double! 3-0 Bees! Gaither was also having his best game on the mound, and made it through 7.1 innings without much incident. The Mets never really threatened until the 8th, when a pair of singles off of Holder brought Adams to the plate as the tying run. Holder struck him out looking, though, and they could only muster a single walk in the ninth.


W: Ray Gaither (2-1) L: Cody Martin (0-4) S: Jared Miller (20)
PotG: Ray Gaither

Maezes' injury is minor, but I still wanna make sure we can afford to sit him. He will avoid the IL but be D2D for about a week. I've sent OF Gabriel Perez down to Hawaii, and called up IF Kyle Kasser. Kyle was, at one point in his career, the starting shortstop for the Flyers, but he's more suited for a bench role. We got him from Charlotte in a 2021 trade, in which our only real goal was clearing a 40-man spot, and despite not having very good ratings he's been a good utility infielder for us when called upon. He's played about 50 games for us over the prior two seasons.

But that's not all - I've pulled off a trade that I've been thinking about for quite some time. I think this is the one that's gonna really put us over the top - makes sense, since we're acquiring the best pitcher in the National League. The Bees have acquired SP Jose Quintana and $6 million in cash from the Nationals, sending to Washington RP Martin Perez, SP Ryan Kirchner, CF Mike Nondorf and SP Justin Zerbe. Perez is to offset salary, because Quintana is owed $28.6MM for this and next season. Kirchner and Nondorf are promising players but I didn't see a future for them here - Nondorf was once our top prospect but doesn't have the work ethic to really make it, IMO. I don't know what the deal is with Zerbe - he looks like an absolute nothing prospect with very little shot at the bigs, but the Nats wouldn't do the deal without him. The one downside to this deal is that the writing's on the wall for Joey Lucchesi, who is a free agent at the end of this year. Hard to picture him being back with us next year - I'm gonna give it a go but he's going to want more money than I can probably offer.

Quintana is expected to make his Bees debut on Tuesday when we host Memphis. For now, Will Shirah will depart the rotation, focus on hitting and maybe occasionally pitch out of the bullpen. More moves may be coming on that front and he'll be on standby if Gaither falters.

Enough about all that - we're finally home from our 9-game road trip! We went 7-2 on the trip but did see our lengthy win streak come to an end. This'll be an 8-game homestand that takes us all the way through to the All-Star break.

July 8-9: Bees (58-31) vs. West Texas Blackbirds (37-53)
The Blackbirds are mired in last place at the moment, 2 1/2 games behind 5th-place Omaha and 21 1/2 games behind us. The home team has won every game of the season series thus far - we lost twice in El Paso in mid-May, but beat them twice in early June at home. West Texas is fully healthy, which is a rarity for a team at this point in the year. They have some injured players but not major ones. This team is lucky not to be last in almost every pitching category, and they can thank Reno for being even worse. (We'll see the Silver Sox for the first time next week.)

Game 1 - Michael Pineda (4-2, 3.58) vs. Cole McKay (4-7, 5.27)
WTX: SS Alexander, RF Keenan, CF Trout, LF Baca, 1B Davis, 3B Rahier, 2B Merrill, C Barraza, P McKay
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, LF Shirah, CF Mesa, 2B Maezes, C Cottam, P Pineda

I was hoping that "C. Davis, 1B" was Chris, but it's Conor Davis instead. This is his Blackbirds debut having spent the whole year at AAA Amarillo, but he's played in MLB with the Padres and Suns before... McKay's got the dreaded snowflake next to his name, despite having won his last start against the Dodgers. His best game of the year came against us in May, when he threw 7.1 scoreless and struck out 10... Pineda pitched earlier in the week, beating the Marshals on Tuesday. A bit unfortunate that he goes on short rest today - theoretically this is Shirah's day to throw, but AI Mike now sees Will as a bullpen guy. If he wasn't in left today I'd have thought we see him for a few innings this afternoon... Pineda allowed a hit to Blaze Alexander leading off the game, and then signaled for a trainer. Oh boy, here we go again... he's out of the game, and with Shirah standing in the field, they don't think to bring him in to throw. Ben Parks in instead... Parks then hits Mike Trout in the knee with a pitch, and Trout has to come out of the game. That's one way to neutralize the best player in the NL, I guess... Jordan Prendiz is a capable CF who comes in to pinch-run. A really eventful top of the first... Parks allows a HR to Tanner Rahier in the second, so WTX is on the board first... Ishi and Shirah started the 2nd with walks, Mesa's infield hit loaded the bases, and a wild pitch scored 1 before Maezes knocked in a second with a hit. Suddenly we lead! Cottam contributed by hitting into a run-scoring double play as well, so 3-1... Blaze Alexander came up again in the 3rd, and his presence is a bad omen, apparently. While getting him to fly out to center, Parks pulled something in his torso and has to exit. Ay caramba... Two more runs for the Bees in the 3rd, with hits by Mota, Guerrero and Ishihara pulling off the scoring... Chad Keenan homered off of Brad Hand in the 6th, a solo shot... Maezes then returned the favor in the bottom half... Shirah then extended the lead in the 7th, a double scoring Guerrero and Ishihara... Bennerman and Wilson combined to retire the final seven Blackbirds.


W: Ben Parks (1-0) L: Cole McKay (4-8)
PotG: Morio Ishihara

All three injured players were not seriously hurt. Pineda is D2D with a back strain, Parks has an oblique strain, and Trout has just a knee bruise. Because our bullpen was really taxed yesterday, though, I did put Parks on the DL and call up William Gonzalez.

Game 2 - Jack Flaherty (10-5, 3.82) vs. Nic Enright (1-2, 6.20)
WTX: RF Prendiz, 1B Verdon, CF Trout, LF Baca, C Norris, 3B Rahier, 2B Merrill, SS Alexander, P Enright
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, LF Shirah, CF Mesa, 2B Maezes, C Cottam, P Flaherty

Enright has been with the club most of the year, we've just missed him each time. Not much to note about him except that he's got a deceptive changeup. He pitched the entire 2022 season in the Blackbirds' rotation despite having an ERA near 8, so 6.20 is an improvement... Flaherty is also on short rest here, so the bullpen is on notice again. He was rocked on Wednesday in Buffalo, taking his first loss in five weeks... The Blackbirds again scored first. The two Jordans, Prendiz and Verdon, each reached, and Prendiz scored on a wild pitch... in our first frame, Robles-Guerrero-Ishihara strung together three singles to score a run, and then Shirah hit a bomb to right-center to make it 4-1... Mesa and Maezes both doubled, scoring another run, and after Flaherty reached on an error Mota came up with another RBI to make it a 6-run inning. That was it for Enright, who didn't make it out of the first. Flaherty seemed to settle in after that, and got through 5 innings without an issue. Cottam's RBI groundout in the 5th made it 7-1... William Gonzalez in to pitch the 6th, and you wouldn't believe it, Mike Trout was again injured on another HBP. That's the kind of thing that normally sparks a brawl. That HBP became a run on Miguel Baca's RBI double to make it 7-2... the last few innings were jam-packed with ticky-tack scoring. Travis Moniot's double made it 7-3, before Travis Maezes' double made it 8-3. Rahier homered for the second straight day to get it to 8-5, but Guerrero's two-run single made it 10-5. Finally, with Paul Goodwin on to pitch the 9th, he was unable to get more than one out and passed Jared Miller a bases-loaded situation. Miller faced four batters, two of whom received bases-loaded walks, but when the go-ahead run stepped into the box, Jared got him.


W: Jack Flaherty (11-5) L: Nic Enright (1-3) S: Jared Miller (21)
PotG: Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Very much ready for this week to be over, even though we did pretty well the bullpen is absolutely beat. Some reinforcements are coming in for Monday:

To shed a bit more salary, and get us basically back to where we were pre-Quintana deal, I've made another trade, sending RP Justin Wilson to San Antonio for SP Jake Junis. Junis reports to Hawaii, but we might see him later this year. He's already pitched for two of our division rivals this year, having been with the Blackbirds before the Marshals.

I also placed Michael Pineda on the DL so we could stop using all these starters on short rest - Shirah will pitch on Monday before Quintana makes his team debut Tuesday. Now with two empty spots in the bullpen, we purchased the contracts of RHP Shane Watson and LHP Zeke Young from Hawaii. We acquired Young from Pittsburgh in a deadline deal two seasons ago, a salary dump for us that let us shed Trevor Rosenthal's big contract. It'll be his major league debut when he gets in. Watson is a swingman, having mostly started over the past four seasons with Tucson and Portland. We got him from the Beavers last offseason as part of a deal that got Matt Andriese off our hands.

Bees' Player of the Week:
3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr. - 11-26, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 6 BB

On the Leaderboard:
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.: 2nd in RBI (84)
Victor Victor Mesa: 9th in average (.330)
Zack Granite: T-7th in triples (7)
Jose Quintana: 5th in ERA (2.95), T-6th in wins (9), 1st in WAR (4.4), 1st in innings pitched (131.1), T-1st in CG (3), T-1st in shutouts (2), T-7th in K (133), 7th in WHIP (1.16), 2nd in FIP (3.15), 1st in QS (14)
Jack Flaherty: T-1st in wins (11), 4th in WAR (2.9), 4th in innings pitched (118), 6th in K/BB (4.5), 5th in BB/9 (1.8), 6th in WHIP (1.14), T-2nd in QS (13)
Joey Lucchesi: 8th in WAR (2.5), 8th in FIP (3.95)
Jared Miller: T-7th in saves (21)

Minor League Bees:
AAA Hawaii had a two-faced week. They were swept in Spokane (Angels) but swept back over the weekend against Santa Clara (Giants). The Islanders remain 1 game behind 1st-place Hollywood (Dodgers).
AA Cedar City was 4-3. They swept Las Cruces (Blackbirds) but lost 3 of 4 to Grand Junction (Oilers). They're in 2nd place, 7 games behind Grand Junction.
A Burlington was 3-3, winning a series against Gateway (Cardinals) but losing a series against Fort Wayne (Padres). The Lil' Bees are 55-26, 5 games ahead of Quad Cities (Blackbirds) in the MWL West.
The AZL Bees were 2-4 and fall to 9-10 on the year. They lost 2 of 3 to Oakland and two to Arizona while beating Cincinnati once.
The PRSL Bees were 4-3. They split four games midweek, beating the Brewers twice but losing to the Lions twice, then won their weekend series against the Orioles.

All-Star Voting Updates:
The only change for us is that we're now in line to have the NL starting pitcher as well as 3B, since Quintana has been leading that vote since day 1.

AL 3B: Kris Bryant (Red Sox) passes Alex Bregman (Oilers)
NL SS: Tim Anderson (Thunder) passes Francisco Lindor (Cubs)

Standings:



League News:
July 4: Is New Mexico giving up? They've traded 3B Christian Hicks to Austin in exchange for SP Juan Nicasio and a meh prospect. Austin already has a superstar 3B in Chris Antrim, but Hicks is just as good at 2B and will likely become the immediate starter there. Hicks is under contract for 2 1/2 more seasons, while Nicasio is a free agent at season's end, and although he will probably slot into the Suns' rotation his inclusion was more financial than anything, it seems.
July 4: The Astros explode for 22 runs in a win over West Texas. 5 different Astros had 3-hit games, and Ramon Gutierrez had 8 RBI from his 4-4 outing.
July 4: Nico Hoerner's dramatic 2-out, 2-run home run gives Indianapolis a 5-4 walk-off win against San Bernardino.
July 6: Angels CF Parker Meadows, who was set to be voted in as the All-Star starter in the AL, broke a finger in today's loss to the Cherries. He'll definitely miss the game and probably about a month total. With that development, the Scorpions' Nick Schnell is likely to be the AL starter in center. The Angels also announced today that SP Drew Smyly is done for the season with a fractured elbow.
July 6: Baltimore's Dave Hogan hit Alex Reyes' first pitch for a leadoff home run, and that was the only scoring in the Orioles' 1-0 win over the White Sox.
July 8: Charlotte, mired several games back of the playoff race, has signaled the end of their window by trading 2B Tyler Wade to the division rival Braves for three prospects, two of whom look like OK major league infielders. Atlanta, though, at the time of the trade, was actually tied with the Flyers in the NL South standings, and Wade is a rental, so not so sure what the deal is there.


Players of the Week:
Oakland LF Eloy Jimenez - 11-25, 4 HR, 12 RBI
Buffalo LF Travis Swaggerty - 15-30, 1 HR, 8 RBI

Power Rankings:
We remained in 1st place in this week's power rankings!
1. Salt Lake Bees (60-31)
2. Louisville Colts (61-31)
3. Las Vegas Scorpions (63-29)
4. Indianapolis Rounders (52-40)
5. Monarques de Montréal (56-36)
56. Cleveland Indians (35-57)
57. West Texas Blackbirds (37-55)
58. Boston Red Sox (32-60)
59. Reno Silver Sox (34-58)
60. Colorado Rockies (29-62)

Next Week: we finish out the first half of the season by playing host to the Lions, Silver Sox and Beacons.
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Old 01-27-2020, 10:53 AM   #34
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Week 16: July 10-16, 2023



Before Monday's game we actually made one more trade, swapping RP Brad Hand to the Pirates for RP JB Wendelken. Hand is now dealt for the second time this season - we acquired him from the Dodgers in late April. Pure cost-cutting move - the three trades we've made in the last few days have now totally offset us financially, which is big. Now I can have the solace that I won't get fired over not reducing the payroll. I still might try to ship Phegley out as well, but not a necessity.

July 10-11: Bees (60-31) vs. Memphis Lions (43-49)
I mentioned at the season's outset that Memphis was a team that it looked like the preseason projections were hugely overrating, but this is even a bit worse than I thought they'd be. They're still positionally imbalanced - letting one of their best hitters (Will Holland) rot on the bench because he's the second-best 2B, while getting sub-replacement production at C and 3B. The pitching staff has been average as expected, with a good rotation propping up a not-good bullpen. Memphis comes in having won 4 of 5 against the Phillies, Dodgers and Reds.

Game 1 - Will Shirah (7-5, 4.46) vs. John Henry Styles (2-2, 4.95)
MEM: RF Weaver, 2B Holland, SS Delgado, 1B Walsh, CF Alford, 3B Owens, LF Ailstock, C Z. Smith, P Styles
SLC: CF Mesa, C Cottam, 3B Guerrero, RF Robles, 1B Ishihara, P Shirah, 2B Maezes, SS Mota, LF Granite

Will Holland actually gets a rare start at 2B for the Lions - normal 2B Raynel Delgado is at short today. Styles is the weak link in the Memphis rotation, making his 5th start of the year. He came up with the Rounders, appearing in just 10 games spread across three different seasons, before being claimed on waivers by three different teams over the span of a week last December. From Indianapolis, he was claimed by Nashville, Colorado and Memphis in succession. He got the win for Memphis last Wednesday when they beat the Phillies... Shirah was battered around by the Marshals last time out, which was last Monday... the game's first baserunner came for the Lions in the 2nd, and he didn't have to run very fast. Anthony Alford went deep to left-center to put Memphis up... in the 3rd, though, we hit back. Mesa was hit by a pitch, then the next three batters all singled, producing 2 runs to put us ahead... Holland led off the next inning with a solo shot, though, which tied things back up 2-2... in the 5th, we were slightly embarrassed. John Henry Styles, not much of a hitter even by pitcher standards, smashed a Shirah pitch deep to right center and gone, just his 2nd major league hit and first home run! Cabera Weaver doubled following him and would later score on a wild pitch making it 4-2... Shirah left in that inning, having completed 4.2 innings with 4 runs allowed, similar to his start in San Antonio (1 fewer run)... pinch-hitting in the 6th, Kyle Kasser made his season debut and singled. After a HBP and infield hit loaded the bases, Kasser came in on a wild pitch, and Mesa singled to score the other two runners and give us a 5-4 lead... in the 7th, Zeke Young came on to make his MLB debut, but it wouldn't be a totally happy outing. He surrendered our lead via Zack Smith double and Holland RBI single, 5-5... JB Wendelken also made his Bees debut tonight, pitching perfect 8th and 9th innings... On to the bottom of the 9th. Tyler McKelvin on to pitch for Memphis, facing Guerrero, Robles and Ishihara... Guerrero hits a 1-0 pitch all the way to the wall for a leadoff double... Robles fouls off a couple of tough 3-2 pitches but McKelvin gets him to pop up... Ishihara is being pitched around, it seems, and draws a walk... now Te'Kwaan Whyte on to pinch-hit, and he pops up the first pitch in foul territory for out #2. Maezes hits a grounder to second, and for the first time all season, we head to extra innings... Miller a perfect tenth, and we wasted a leadoff walk by Mota in our own 10th. Holder a perfect 11th, and we wasted a leadoff hit by Guerrero in our own 11th. Bennerman pitches around a walk in the 12th, and then we finally got it done. Mota singles with 1 out, steals 2nd with two out and Mesa batting, and then Mesa bloops a single into right-center to bring him all the way home! That's a winner!


W: Sam Bennerman (6-2) L: Nick Andress (0-3)
PotG: Victor Victor Mesa

Finally, in our 92nd game, we go to extras for the first time. TBH I was kinda rooting for a whole season without it ever since noticing we hadn't had an extra-inning game yet.

North Korean amateur Min-Sik Yaung signed with the Phillies - we miss out on another target. Both of the Venezuelan catchers seem to like us, though - more to come on that front.

Game 2 - Jose Quintana (9-4, 2.95) vs. Austin Schulfer (7-2, 3.91)
MEM: RF Weaver, SS K. Smith, 2B Delgado, 1B Walsh, CF Alford, 3B Owens, C Banfield, LF Diorio, P Schulfer
SLC: SS Mota, 1B Ishihara, 3B Guerrero, CF Mesa, 2B Maezes, RF Gamel, LF Granite, C Phegley, P Quintana

This is the first day off all season for Victor Robles - he, Guerrero and Ishihara had all been in the lineup for the first 92 games... Schulfer hasn't lost a game since the month of May, but I think it's often just because he doesn't go deep enough to factor into the decision. His last 5 starts have all been decided by 1 or 2 runs... of course, the headline for this game is about Quintana's Bees debut. He actually didn't pitch very well in his last start, allowing 6 runs in 5 innings to the Thunder last Thursday in a 9-3 Nationals loss... a difficult beginning for Q. Weaver and Kelvin Smith got on to start, leading to consecutive RBI groundouts by Raynel Delgado and Connor Walsh... we might have tied the game in the first if not for a strong throw by Anthony Alford, catching Ishihara trying to go 1st-to-3rd on Guerrero's hit. Mesa followed with a triple to get us within 2-1... both teams left men on third base in the 3rd inning... Phegley did tie the game in the 4th with a single to score Maezes... Memphis' Kelvin Smith appeared to pull something while beating out an infield hit in the 5th inning. Suddenly their glut of middle infielders comes in handy. Delgado was up next and delivered a single to put the Lions back in front, but not for long. Travis Maezes went up and out for his 16th HR in the bottom half of the inning, a 3-run shot to give us a 5-3 lead... in the 6th, we made outs on the first two pitches, but still put together a rally. Ishihara and Guerrero had consecutive RBI hits with two out to make it 7-3... Quintana pitched into the 7th. Matheny went out to get him with two outs and with 107 pitches thrown, I think partially so the Bees home faithful could shower him with applause... neither team had a baserunner after the 7th-inning stretch.


W: Jose Quintana (10-4) L: Austin Schulfer (7-3)
PotG: Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Really wanted to get Q a win in his first start with us, so mission accomplished.

July 12-13: Bees (62-31) vs. Reno Silver Sox (36-58)
Reno must be feeling really reinvigorated right now - they just went into Petco Park and won two straight against the division-leading Padres. They're 3-1 on this road trip that has also seen them play Omaha, but immediately before that they'd lost 16 in a row. Still, this brief uptick has seen them climb out of last place in the NL (right now that's Hartford). Reno's team is, mostly, absolutely awful, but they still somehow have two of the game's best players, Brad Martin and Koshi Higuchi, who will both probably start the ASG next week, and a third pretty good piece in John Valente. Those guys are scary, and Reno ranks high in offensive production, but every team feasts on their pitching staff to a pretty extreme extent.

Game 1 - rained out! Both teams had Friday scheduled off, though, so the series will just be shifted back by one day.

On Thursday morning, Joel Avanzo signed with us! I don't think he's a future star but can be a starting catcher in the bigs. Victor Negron, though, is now asking me to double my previous offer, so no deal. He says the Nationals are offering him $3.5 million, and if they are, then good for Victor. There are only six international players left, including Negron, and he was the only one interesting enough to offer IMO, so we're just gonna pocket the $2 million or so we have left.

Game 1 - Joey Lucchesi (9-4, 3.65) vs. Patrick Decker (3-3, 6.34)
REN: LF Scott, 1B Wielansky, 2B Martin, RF Higuchi, 3B Valente, CF Sur, SS Robertson, C Hawkins, P Decker
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, LF Shirah, CF Mesa, 2B Maezes, C Cottam, P Lucchesi

Decker is actually kinda promising as a pitcher, but he should still be in the minor leagues IMO, and on a better team he would be. He's got one of those interesting profiles - a soft-throwing righty who doesn't have a 4-seamer and tries to get everyone to pound the ball into the ground... It's been a week since we saw Joey - last Thursday he helped us beat the Mets and picked up his 9th win... we certainly tried to let Reno score early. Guerrero and Ishihara each made errors in the first couple of innings, and we were probably lucky not to allow any runs. I half-expect any Reno game to end up about 15-11, so it was to my surprise that the first few innings were scoreless... Robles made a run for himself in the 4th. He singled, stole second and third, and then scored when Valente made an error... the 5th was similar. Maezes led off with a hit, went to second and then third on groundouts, but then scored on an error by Michael Wielansky. Two unearned runs have us up 2-0... Wielansky atoned in the 6th though, tying the game with a two-run shot... But we hit back quickly. Guerrero led off the next half inning with a single, and the next pitch was a line-drive home run for Ishi, his 19th. Back up 4-2... Valente tripled in the 7th and scored on a wild pitch to get within 1... Decker was done after 6, Lucchesi after 7... Reno's Maikel Sepulveda got the first 2 out in the 8th, but Mesa walked, Maezes singled, Cottam doubled home both men, and Granite singled him in. Mota followed with another RBI against Mark Melancon. Brad Martin finally asserted himself once the game was out of hand with a 9th inning HR.


W: Joey Lucchesi (10-4) L: Patrick Decker (3-4)
PotG: Joey Lucchesi

Tough-luck loss for Decker, if not for the two unearned runs he would have left with the lead. Good for us though - I guess that's what matters.

Game 2 - Ray Gaither (2-1, 4.45) vs. Charles Brewer (7-5, 3.93)
REN: LF Scott, 1B Wielansky, 2B Martin, RF Higuchi, 3B Valente, CF Sur, C Castillo, SS Robertson, P Brewer
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, LF Shirah, CF Mesa, 2B Maezes, C Cottam, P Gaither

35-year-old Charles Brewer has real-life MLB experience, but you'd be forgiven for not knowing - he pitched 6 innings for the 2013 Diamondbacks. He's pitched for five different major league teams since this save began - the Braves, Lynx, Colts, Marlins and now Silver Sox. Brewer just recently joined this Reno team, actually - he was on the Marlins for most of the season so far. In 4 starts with Reno he finds himself 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA... Gaither was excellent last Friday in New York, getting a win over the Mets with 7.1 innings of 2-hit ball... Guerrero made another error in the 1st on a slow ball from Martin. I hope that doesn't become a real issue for him at 3B but I'm guessing it's just dumb luck... we opened the scoring again today, this time in the 2nd on a Shirah blast, a long home run to right-center that scored Ishihara and made it 2-0... in the 4th, Gaither felt something in his leg and left the game. It doesn't appear serious but we're taking precautions. William Gonzalez in for some long relief, and he allowed a two-run homer to Byung-Sik Sur that tied the game... Mesa led off the 4th with a solo shot, though, and Mota later cashed in with an RBI single to make it 4-2... Ishihara led off the 5th with a solo shot, his 20th homer of the year, and two more runs would come in for us on RBIs from Cottam and pinch-hitter Zack Granite. 7-2... 8-2 in the 6th, Shirah's sac fly scoring Guerrero... we'd need all those runs to feel safe in the 7th. Two of the newer Bees, Shane Watson and Zeke Young, combined to allow 4 runs in that frame, punctuated by a Koshi Higuchi 3-run homer... but we'd get more insurance in the 8th on another Ishibomb. Bennerman gave one back in the 9th on a wild pitch but that'd be it.


W: William Gonzalez (1-2) L: Charles Brewer (7-6) S: Sam Bennerman (2)
PotG: Morio Ishihara

July 15-16: Bees (64-31) vs. Buffalo Beacons (54-41)
The Beacons have had our number so far this year, beating us both times we've had to make a trip to Buffalo. They've alternated wins and losses over the past 9 games, dating back to their win over us in the makeup game last Wednesday. Buffalo currently occupies the 2nd of 3 wild card spots, 3 1/2 games ahead of the chasing pack.

Game 1 - Jack Flaherty (11-5, 3.74) vs. Bryan Mitchell (4-6, 3.96)
BUF: LF Swaggerty, SS Franco, 1B Toglia, RF Gonzalez, 2B Albies, CF Siani, 3B Groshans, C Krause, P Mitchell
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, CF Mesa, 2B Maezes, C Cottam, LF Granite, P Flaherty

Bryan Mitchell hasn't won since back on June 18th against the Mets. He's the same guy he is IRL - an OK pitcher, who would be an amazing pitcher if he had any idea where the ball was going. Distressingly, he was on the Blue Jays team that beat us in the World Series in 2019... Flaherty beat the Blackbirds in his last start on Sunday - he pitched the game in Buffalo last week and got shelled, so... maybe he'll be more familiar with the hitters? We'll see... the Beacons had a hit in each of the first two innings, but via a caught stealing and double play, Flaherty still faced the minimum... Mesa's triple scored Ishihara in the 2nd inning, and Maezes hit the next pitch for a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0... Mota singled in the 3rd, stole second and scored on Guerrero's base hit. Ishihara then hit safely again before Mesa went deep to left for his 4th home run of the season, and it's suddenly 6-0! Mitchell's now done for the day, and we get to go on cycle-watch. Mesa's got the two hardest ones down... Buffalo recorded an unearned run in the fifth thanks to an error by Mota at short... Mesa came up again in the 5th but walked... another Bees error, this one by Maezes, let Buffalo score again in the 7th. Sammy Siani reached on the error and scored on Jordan Groshans' double - then, the second out became a sacrifice fly to make it 6-3, but that would've been the third out sans error so it's unearned as well... Mesa doubled with two out in the 7th, so we'll all be watching to see if he gets another chance to bat in the 8th. Looking slim at the moment... well, until it wasn't. Flaherty ceded to Jonathan Holder starting the eighth, and Holder allowed two singles to precede a three-run shot by Siani that tied the game at 6... here comes the bottom of the 9th. Mesa would bat 4th, and needs a single for the cycle. Of course, we need to win the game as well, and it's 6-6. Robles first, against new pitcher Brandon Woodruff... a really gutsy job at the plate by Victor, drawing a ten-pitch walk. Guerrero chases a low pitch, though, and gets under it popping up to 2nd... Ishihara strokes a single over the first baseman's head, and Robles motors around to third... Mesa will get his chance to not only be the game's hero but to complete his cycle at the same time... but he doesn't. Groshans makes a nice play at 3B to get him and hold Robles at the bag, 2 out... Maezes is caught looking and we head to extras... Nolan Blackwood can handle a scoreless 10th... Cottam leads off the 10th with a hit for us. Kyle Kasser, in on a double-switch earlier, fouls off 8 consecutive pitches, all back into the screen, before hitting a ball too slow to turn a double play on... Mota follows with a single, putting men at the corners for Robles with two out... Victor scorches a ball up the middle that Albies can only knock down and Kasser scores! Ballgame!


W: Nolan Blackwood (4-0) L: Brandon Woodruff (2-1)
PotG: Victor Victor Mesa

Shame we couldn't get VV the cycle, but it would've had to go another inning to get him up to the plate again. Let's go on to our last game of the first half!

Game 2 - Jose Quintana (10-4, 3.00) vs. Mitch Stallings (8-4, 2.93)
BUF: LF Swaggerty, SS Franco, 2B Albies, 1B Toglia, RF Gonzalez, 3B Groshans, CF Siani, C Krause, P Stallings
SLC: CF Mesa, C Cottam, 3B Guerrero, RF Robles, 1B Ishihara, LF Shirah, 2B Maezes, SS Mota, P Quintana

Stallings pitched the game against us in Buffalo 11 days ago, that happens to also be the last time that we lost. He didn't pitch that well against us, going just 4 innings, but in between he beat the Mets, giving up a single run over six innings... we generally don't fare well against lefty starters in general, but we've got our own big lefty going this afternoon in Q... both pitchers appeared to be rolling early. Through 3 innings, each team has two hits, but spread out harmlessly... we had two men on in the 4th, and a man at third base in the 5th, but didn't have any finishing blows... Buffalo's first threat of really any kind came in the 6th. Franco and Albies singled with 1 out, and a walk to David Gonzalez loaded the bases for Groshans. Quintana painted two straight corners to catch him looking and end the inning, though... the way to break through in this game was probably always gonna be the long ball, and in our half of the 6th Vlad Jr. confirmed my theory, smashing one to deep left center and gone for his 17th... the Beacons had two 7th inning hits but again Quintana got out of it. That'd be his final inning, 7 hits scattered over 7 with 12 K. Excellent... also excellent, we got a much-needed insurance run on a solo shot by Shirah in the 7th, his 16th of the year... three Bee relievers combined for two painless innings to finish off a perfect week!


W: Jose Quintana (11-4) L: Mitch Stallings (8-5) S: Sam Bennerman (4)
PotG: Jose Quintana

I love, love, love having this guy on my team already. Quintana picks up wins in his first two Bees starts and we head into the break having won 10 straight, and just a half-game behind Las Vegas for the best record in all of MLB.

Bees' Player of the Week:
TBH, there are four pretty solid choices here. I am gonna disagree with the game's choice (as you'll see later) and go with SP Jose Quintana. 2-0, 13.2 IP, 3 ER, 21 K. But, Guerrero, Ishihara and Mesa all had pretty incredible weeks as well.

On the Leaderboard:
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.: 9th in average (.333), 2nd in RBI (88), T-5th in hits (133), 9th in total bases (212)
Victor Victor Mesa: 7th in average (.336), T-3rd in triples (9)
Morio Ishihara: 8th in OBP (.408), 8th in OPS (.952)
Zack Granite: T-6th in triples (8)
Jose Quintana: 4th in ERA (2.86), T-1st in wins (11), 1st in WAR (5.3), 1st in innings pitched (145), T-1st in CG and shutouts (3/2), 1st in K (154), 9th in K/BB (4.4), 7th in WHIP (1.16), 1st in FIP (2.97), 1st in quality starts (16)
Jack Flaherty: T-1st in wins (11), 4th in WAR (3.1), 4th in innings pitched (125), 8th in K/BB (4.6), 6th in BB/9 (1.8), 4th in WHIP (1.14), T-2nd in quality starts (14)
Joey Lucchesi: T-4th in wins (10)
Jared Miller: 8th in Sv% (21-23, 91.3%)

Minor League Bees - tough week for our minor leaguers overall:
AAA Hawaii was 3-4 this week, but rival Hollywood did even worse, so the Islanders pull into a first-place tie. Our guys won a series at Calgary (A's), lost two of three to Iowa (Cubs), then lost the series opener to Kelowna (Cascades).
AA Cedar City played just 5 games this week and was 2-3. Most of that consisted of a 4-game series in Flagstaff (Saguaros) in which we lost 3 of 4, including a 16-inning series finale that saw Bees C prospect Xavier Valentin get six hits. Cedar City is now solidly second place in the Desert League, 9 games behind Grand Junction (Oilers).
A Burlington had a terrible 1-6 week, losing twice each to Florence (Rounders), Schaumburg (Saguaros) and Windy City (White Sox). Combine with some other MWL teams on a hot streak and our Bees now find themselves tied for first in the MWL West.
The AZL Bees were 2-5 this week and fell back to 5th in their 6-team rookie division. Lost a pair of series to the Royals and Padres.
And the PRSL Bees were 2-4, winning a three-game set against Las Vegas but getting swept by the Red Sox.12-13 overall, 5th in the PRSL.

Standings:



League News:
July 11: The White Sox' Michael Wacha had Tommy John surgery today. He'll be out for well over a season, estimated return next August. He's on a pretty fat contract ($21.6 million per, thru 2026), so this won't impact him financially but it's a bummer.
July 12: For reasons unclear, the Colts have traded RF Daniel Amaral to division rival Atlanta, getting 34-y-o reliever Kevin Munson and a minor prospect in return. Amaral was going to become somewhat redundant in a couple of weeks, with Giancarlo Stanton set to return from injury for Louisville, but I still wouldn't have traded him.
July 13: The Cardinals fill one of their biggest needs as a team, acquiring OF Max Kepler from the Blizzard. Kepler has been available via trade for a while, but that's because he's making $20 million this year and next. He's a good hitter, but the Cardinals are in last place (at least on the 13th, they were), and it might be too late to save their 2023.
July 14: Emblematic of the Violets' season, LF Adam Wesche hits for the cycle, and was part of a dramatic go-ahead rally in the 8th, but the Austin bullpen blew the game in a 9-8 walkoff loss at Yankee Stadium. Wesche, one of the AL RoY frontrunners, is the sixth player to hit for the cycle this season. All six, though, have happened in AL or interleague games.
July 15: There's another one! Right at the same time we were cheering for Mesa to get a chance at his cycle, Detroit RF Marquise Doherty accomplished it against the Saguaros! He cinched his up early, finishing with a 6th-inning double. Doherty had his triple and single in the Tigers' 6-run 4th inning. Obviously, that's now the 7th cycle in MLB this season, and they're still basically confined to the AL.

Players of the Week:
Nashville 1B Justin Bour - 14-28, 3 HR, 10 RBI. The 35-year-old Bour is enjoying a career resurgence here in 2023. This weekend he reached 27 HR on the year, matching his output from last year in Milwaukee. I think the person most responsible for Nashville being above .500.
Salt Lake 1B Morio Ishihara - 11-23, 3 HR, 6 RBI. Ishi was held hitless on Sunday but had 4-hit games on both Friday and Saturday.

Power Rankings:
We remained 1st in this week's Power Rankings, and in fact are starting to build up a little points lead.
1. Salt Lake Bees (66-31)
2. Louisville Colts (65-33)
3. Las Vegas Scorpions (67-31)
4. Monarques de Montréal (59-39)
5. Ottawa Lynx (60-38)
56. Washington Nationals (39-58)
57. Boston Red Sox (36-62)
58. Reno Silver Sox (37-61)
59. Austin Violets (44-54)
60. Colorado Rockies (32-65)

Next Week: next post will cover the All-Star Game in its entirety, with voting results, rosters and then the game. We then begin play again on Saturday the 22nd, so the next regular post will cover eight games - our road trip through Arizona, Columbus and Vancouver, and then a home series against New Mexico.
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Old 01-27-2020, 04:39 PM   #35
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All-Star Week: July 17-21

The best players on Earth have gathered at Louisville Slugger Field for the 2023 All-Star Game! Voting finished on Monday, and we had two players elected, and four players in the game overall! Here were the final winners - the same as in the most recent update, all the way around.





The closest race was at 3B in the AL, where Bryant edged out Oklahoma's Alex Bregman by just 7,000 votes. Our Morio Ishihara had the most votes of any NL non-winner, so you could consider him the DH-elect if you like, although it appears that San Diego's Carlos Correa will DH. A few players from these lineups are injured and won't participate - Angels CF Parker Meadows, Rays 2B Jose Altuve and Thunder SS Tim Anderson will all be idle cheerleaders on Wednesday.

The full roster is as follows.
AL by team:
66ers: LF Andrew Benintendi, CF Andres de la Torre, RF Juan Soto
Anchors: 3B Matt Wallner
Angels: CF Parker Meadows
Athletics: LF Nick Decker, LF Eloy Jimenez
Blizzard: LF Jeremy Perry
Blue Jays: SP Pauly Milto
Cherries: SS Allen Cordoba, SP Josh Johnson, RP Graeme Stinson
Crescents: RP Chris Holba, RF Alexis La Madrid
Indians: C Gage West
Lynx: RP Corey Knebel, C Shea Langeliers
Mariners: SS Corey Seager
Oilers: 3B Alex Bregman, SP Shohei Ohtani
Orioles: SP Shelby Miller, CL Wandy Peralta
Rays: 2B Jose Altuve
Red Sox: 3B Kris Bryant
Rounders: 2B Nico Hoerner
Royals: 3B Matt Chapman
Saguaros: C Steven Williams
Scorpions: C Brad Debo, RF Bryce Harper, 1B Rhys Hoskins
Solons: CF Allen Hazeltine, RF Zack Shannon
Stars: 1B Justin Bour, LF Alex Cantu, CL Jose Torres
Tigers: RP Bryant Jordan, SP Enrique Soto
Twins: 1B Seth Beer
Violets: 3B Chris Antrim, LF Adam Wesche
White Sox: SP Andrew Triggs
Yankees: SP Noah Syndergaard
Beavers, Navigators, Rangers, Rockies: not represented

Astros: RF Ramon Gutierrez, C Buster Posey
Beacons: CF Sammy Siani, LF Travis Swaggerty
Bees: C Kole Cottam, 3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 1B Morio Ishihara, SP Jose Quintana
Blackbirds: CF Mike Trout
Braves: RP Ivan Vieitez
Brewers: SP Adrian Morejon, SS Dansby Swanson
Burros: SS Rece Hinds
Cardinals: 1B Cody Bellinger
Colts: CL Hidekazu Hirose
Cubs: SS Francisco Lindor, SP Drew Pomeranz
Explorers: 3B Damone Hale, LF Cameron Misner
Giants: RF Steele Walker
Lions: 2B Raynel Delgado
Marlins: 3B Drew Mendoza
Mets: CF Jake McCarthy
Monarques: 1B Jeremy Wolf
Nationals: CL Brett Cecil
Oaks: SP Eduardo Rodriguez
Padres: RP Brooks Crawford, SP Chase Farrell
Phillies: SP Matt Logozzo
Pirates: SP Wu-Shiun Chen
Reds: C Jonathan Lucroy
Silver Sox: RF Koshi Higuchi, 2B Brad Martin, 3B John Valente
Suns: CL Durbin Feltman, 2B Scott Fitzgerald, C Cal Raleigh, SS Brice Turang
Thunder: SS Tim Anderson, SP Steven Brault
Cascades, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Flyers, Marshals: not represented

I have checked the setting to make sure an All-Star is chosen from each team, so I don't know why 9 teams are left unrepresented. I guess that belongs in the Bug Reports forum. Anyway, it's a nice recognition to be tied for the highest number of All-Stars this season, although the other team with 4 representatives are the Suns, who are sub-.500 at the break.

Let's get to the game!

Shohei Ohtani (12-5, 3.55) vs. Wu-Shiun Chen (7-4, 2.78)
AL: SS Cordoba, LF Benintendi, RF Harper, 1B Hoskins, DH Seager, 3B Bryant, C Debo, CF de la Torre, 2B Hoerner
NL: CF McCarthy, 3B Guerrero, 1B Bellinger, LF Trout, RF Higuchi, 2B Martin, C Posey, SS Lindor, DH Correa

The injury subs: Nico Hoerner replaces Jose Altuve, Andres de la Torre replaces Parker Meadows, Francisco Lindor replaces Tim Anderson. Because Quintana pitched on Sunday, we're having him sit. Chen is definitely a worthy starter as well, and was the Cy Young winner last year.

Scoring summary:
T2: de la Torre singled to left, Seager scored. 1-0 AL
T2: Hoerner hit into double play, Bryant scored. 2-0 AL
B2: Trout homered to right. 2-1 AL
T4: Hoerner homered to left-center, de la Torre scored. 4-1 AL
B4: Bellinger homered to center, Guerrero scored. 4-3 AL
T5: Hoskins homered to center. 5-3 AL
T6: Bregman singled to right, Bryant scored. 6-3 AL
B7: Lucroy doubled to right-center, Fitzgerald scored. 6-4 AL
AL wins 6-4


W: Pauly Milto (Blue Jays) L: Matt Logozzo (Phillies) S: Jose Torres (Stars)
MVP: Nico Hoerner (Rounders)

Easy MVP choice there. After Hoerner's HR the NL never got closer than the final margin of two runs. Guerrero was the only NL player with multiple hits, though Bellinger probably would've been the MVP of a National League win. Ishihara came in in the 8th inning, flew out to right and played the final inning at first base - Cottam and Quintana didn't get into the game, which is fine.

----------

Some Bee-specific news: we're going to be much healthier after the break. Michael Pineda and Min-Kyu Phyo have both been activated from the disabled list, and Ben Parks was activated as well but sent to AAA Hawaii. It hurt me to do, but I sent Ray Gaither back to AAA as well. He's pitched pretty nicely out of the rotation but he's the odd man out roster- and contract-wise. Te'Kwaan Whyte went down as well to make room for Phyo - we'll roll with Kasser as a utility infielder for now since he's the better defender.
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Old 01-30-2020, 01:42 PM   #36
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Week 18: July 22-30, 2023



Bonus-sized update! The ASG was Wednesday, and we're picking things up on Saturday. Didn't want to do a post for just one series, so I'll go through 9 days and 8 games this time.

July 22-23: Bees (66-31) @ Arizona Diamondbacks (39-59)
Arizona was forecast for a bunch of improvement this season by the preseason predictions, but that has not come to pass. At this current pace, they'd even finish below last year's 65-95 team. They're fully rested, having not had a player make the All-Star team, but are without SS Elvis Andrus due to a ruptured finger tendon. We beat the D'Backs twice at home back in March, our 3rd and 4th games of the year - they started out 0-7 and never particularly recovered.

Game 1 - Jose Quintana (11-4, 2.86) vs. Nick Lodolo (5-7, 4.92)
SLC: CF Mesa, C Cottam, 3B Guerrero, RF Robles, 1B Ishihara, 2B Phyo, LF Shirah, SS Mota, P Quintana
ARI: SS Papantonis, 3B Duffy, LF Pederson, 1B Johnson, RF Grossman, C Schwarz, 2B Shaw, CF Brinkman, P Lodolo

Thanks to the ASG, Lodolo hasn't pitched in 11 days. Quintana, OTOH, is only on one extra day of rest... Lodolo, theoretically the Arizona ace, has lost two games running, last allowing 5 runs in a loss to Milwaukee... Arizona made the first threat, Andrew Papantonis and Matt Duffy getting aboard in the first, but Quintana retired the next three in succession... the Bees had two second-inning hits but wouldn't score either... same in the 4th, in fact the same two hitters (Robles/Phyo)... the Diamondbacks would score first. JJ Schwarz delivered a sac fly, and Clark Brinkman later drove in a run with a single... Cottam halved the Arizona lead with a sixth-inning solo HR. Lodolo would not finish that inning, going 5.2 with 6 hits and 1 run allowed, but still in line for the win... Quintana didn't come out for the 7th, so he's in line for his first Bees loss... Kaleo Johnson and Schwarz each had an RBI in the 7th to make it 4-1 Arizona... Guerrero's RBI single made it 4-2 in the 8th, but Guerrero was actually the last baserunner for the entire game.


W: Nick Lodolo (6-7) L: Jose Quintana (11-5) S: Cody Allen (18)
PotG: Nick Lodolo

Bleh. We didn't have the offensive magic today and wasted some chances.

Game 2 - Jack Flaherty (11-5) vs. Josiah Gray (4-6, 4.62)
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, CF Mesa, C Cottam, 2B Phyo, LF Gamel, P Flaherty
ARI: SS Papantonis, 3B Duffy, LF Pederson, 1B Johnson, RF Grossman, C Schwarz, 2B Shaw, CF Brinkman, P Gray

Josiah Gray is a nice young pitcher, finally establishing himself as a rotation mainstay in his fifth big league season. The Diamondbacks have lost his last four starts, but he hasn't personally lost any of them - the Arizona bullpen has not been kind to him... Flaherty left last Saturday's game against Buffalo with a 6-3 lead, but the bullpen blew it before we won in extras. All three of his runs were unearned... this afternoon would be a bit different. The first four Arizona batters hit safely in the first, and then Grossman hit a sac fly that made it 3-0... through 3 innings we had three hits, two walks and three stolen bases, but no runs on the board... Gray had to leave the game in the fifth inning, with no runs up on the board, but he would be charged with one when Ishi hit a bomb way out to right field to make it 3-2... Grossman had another RBI in the bottom of the 5th, scoring Joc Pederson on a fielder's choice... Flaherty gave way to Paul Goodwin in the 6th, which was scoreless, but Blackwood couldn't get any outs in the 7th. Wendelken, thankfully, was able to defuse the situation while only allowing 1 of 3 inherited runners to score... our momentum was really sapped in the 8th when Ishihara was out trying to stretch his leadoff double into a triple. The next two Bees had hits, Cottam driving in Mesa, so that would've produced another run... Andrew Papantonis capped off the scoring the next half inning with an RBI double.


W: Jeff Fischer (2-0) L: Jack Flaherty (11-6) S: Cody Allen (19)

Woof. Terrible series - this is a pretty bad pitching team that we did very little against.

July 24-25: Bees (66-33) @ Columbus Explorers (58-42)
Columbus is one of the league's biggest surprise teams - I definitely didn't see them even as NL North contenders, but they have basically led their division this entire season. All this without probably their two best hitters, C Nick Fortes and 1B Alec Bohm, who have combined to play 9 games this season and will both only be back around late August. To add injury to injury, they just put their other catcher Luke Hancock on the IL with shoulder tendinitis. LF Kameron Misner and CF Corbin Carroll are the offensive stars, but it's been a team performance overall. In preseason I mentioned the weak Columbus bullpen but they've been good too. We played the Explorers in a double-header at home in late April and split it.

Game 1 - Joey Lucchesi (10-4, 3.66) vs. Ryan Rolison (8-3, 4.07)
SLC: CF Mesa, C Cottam, 3B Guerrero, RF Robles, 1B Ishihara, 2B Phyo, LF Shirah, SS Mota, P Lucchesi
CLB: CF Carroll, 3B Hale, RF Greene, LF Misner, 2B Lazaro, 1B Dacey, SS Aldrete, C Ramos, P Rolison

We crushed Rolison at home in April, handing him his first loss of the season in the second game of that doubleheader. He didn't make it out of the 4th inning that evening, giving up 7 runs on 9 hits... Joey finished the first half on a streak of 6 straight decisions won, and 9 straight starts in which we've won, all the while dropping his ERA by more than a run. Hope all that continues today... it was a quick-strike offense for us in the first. Mesa hit his 5th home run of the season leading off the game! Cottam walked but was stranded on third... Lucchesi hit the first pitch of the 3rd inning for a base hit, helping himself, and Mesa walked. Guerrero then loaded the bases with a single, and Rolison plunked Robles to bring in a run and make it 2-0. His very next pitch was smashed deep to right field and gone, a grand slam for Ishihara! End of the day for Rolison - we just have his number. That might come in handy come playoff time... At this point, Lucchesi has not yet allowed a baserunner, and he would actually be perfect through 5 innings. But it came to an end in that frame, and so did the shutout. Robinson Ramos was hit by a pitch, and relief pitcher Andy Pagnozzi snapped the no-no while hitting for himself. Carroll followed with a single to score 1, and Damone Hale's double scored another to make it 6-2... we were retired in order in the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th, but in the 8th, the game was put out of reach. Ishihara drove Robles around with a double for his 5th RBI, and after Phyo singled Shirah had the capper with his 17th home run, a 3-run shot that made it 10-2! Jared Miller got the 9th, needing a bit of work, and allowed 1 run but we weren't in danger.


W: Joey Lucchesi (11-4) L: Ryan Rolison (8-4)
PotG: Morio Ishihara

Back on track. Every win we can pull out against a playoff-caliber team makes me feel even better about October.

Game 2 - Michael Pineda (4-2, 3.58) vs. Mitchell Stone (2-2, 3.23)
SLC: CF Mesa, C Cottam, 3B Guerrero, RF Robles, 1B Ishihara, 2B Phyo, LF Gamel, SS Mota, P Pineda
CLB: CF Carroll, 3B Hale, RF Greene, LF Misner, 2B Lazaro, 1B Dacey, SS Aldrete, C Ramos, P Stone

Stone is primarily a reliever, making his 4th start of the year. As a starter, he's 1-1 with a 3.78 ERA, still pretty good, but he was kinda knocked around by the Marlins last time out... Columbus' 2nd-round pick in 2020, he was pretty poor in the bullpen last year in his first big league foray, but has shown himself here in 2023... with Pineda, we are literally just praying that he doesn't get injured again. In his last start on July 8, he threw two pitches before exiting, his fifth different injury of the season. If he hadn't been doing so well when healthy I would have cut bait two months ago... after we stranded two runners in the first, it was Columbus' turn to strike quickly. Corbin Carroll tripled to lead off, scored on Hale's groundout and then Riley Greene doubled the lead with a solo shot... Stone started the 2nd with 9 straight balls, walking Phyo and Gamel, and eventually we got one around on Mesa's RBI single... Pineda actually doubled with two out in the 4th, but we couldn't capitalize... lo and behold, after walking the first two batters of the 6th, he beckoned for the trainers to come get him. He's now D2D with a sore elbow, his sixth different injured body part in 2023. Some say he was born with glass bones and paper skin... looks like he'll be able to make his next start, but who knows. If we have the chance to offload him in the next few days I might take it... on was Nolan Blackwood, who got Lazaro to ground into a double play, but then allowed Matt Dacey to take him deep, making it 4-1 Columbus... the 7th was infuriating. We had two hits, but both were erased on the basepaths. Cottam was picked off, and Robles caught stealing... we brought the tying run to the plate in the 8th in the form of Maezes but he was caught looking... the Explorers got an insurance run in the 8th off Wendelken, helped by Cottam zipping a throw into center field on a steal, and we went down in order in the ninth.


W: Mitchell Stone (3-2) L: Michael Pineda (4-3)
PotG: Mitchell Stone

We wasted a ton of opportunities today. Left 11 runners on and had two more caught out on the basepaths. A split isn't bad in the park of a probable playoff team but I'd rather win the second one than the first. Time to head north of the border!

Well, almost. I did, in fact, make a trade on Wednesday to rid us of this meddlesome priest, and accomplish several of our owner goals in one fell swoop. We traded SP Michael Pineda and C Josh Phegley to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for OF Charlie Tilson. Charlie was only a Red for about two months, also having been traded from Reno in early June. The move saves us about $3 million over the remainder of the season, and satisfies our owner because he wanted an upgrade in the outfield and another Gold Glover (Tilson has two, 2020-21 with the Phillies). Every player in this deal will be a free agent at the end of the season, so nothing to regret long-term. This'll give me some financial flexibility for the rest of the week until the deadline, which I may dip into to add another reliever.

As part of the roster collateral, SP Ray Gaither and C Aaron Ackerman were both recalled to fill the spots left, and SS Kyle Kasser is back to Hawaii, not really needed since Phyo's return from the IL. Part of my reasoning for doing the deal was the ability to get both Gaither and Ackerman back in the bigs.

OK, now it's time to head north of the border.

July 26-27: Bees (67-34) @ Vancouver Cascades (53-49)
Vancouver's won five straight games to find themselves above .500 and now up to third place in the NL West, and just 2 1/2 games out of the final Wild Card place as we start play on Wednesday. We split a home series against the Cascades in May, winning the first game but losing the second when Ryan Kirchner was smacked around. Well, Kirchner's on the Nationals now, so at least we don't have to worry about that.

Game 1 - Ray Gaither (2-1, 4.01) vs. Chris Seymour (2-3, 5.55)
SLC: SS Mota, 1B Ishihara, 3B Guerrero, RF Shirah, C Cottam, LF Gamel, 2B Maezes, CF Tilson, P Gaither
VAN: 2B Palacios, RF Thomas, LF Winker, 3B Nho, CF Canning, SS Lugo, C Avila, 1B Becker, P Seymour

Seymour pitched all of last year in A-ball, but finds himself in the bigs now. An 11th-round pick in 2021 from FGCU, he isn't really much of a pitcher but good on him for making into a major league rotation. Contrary to the norm, he's pitched much better as a starter than as a reliever so far - it's usually the opposite... We have a bit of an oddball lineup today, nothing like AI Mike's put together before. Seymour is a lefty, but we've now got even more lefthanded hitters in the lineup than usual... Ishihara responded well to being elevated into the #2 spot. He hit a monster solo HR to right-center in the 1st... Gaither, just recalled today, had a difficult reintroduction to the bigs. Nine Cascades came to the plate in the first, during which they scored 4 runs. It was punctuated by a 2-run single from Alex Avila, playing just his third game with Vancouver after being acquired from the Violets on Sunday... in the 3rd, Ishihara walked, Guerrero hit an RBI triple, and Shirah followed with a homer that suddenly tied the game at 4. After a Gamel walk, Maezes smashed a double into the corner to give us the lead... Shirah, making his first start in right field all season, made an error in the third that nearly cost us our lead... when Hyun-Jun Nho homered to tie the game at 5 in the 4th, it was the end of Gaither's day. 3.2 innings, 5 runs on 10 hits. Not a great outing after I made a big show of creating a spot in the rotation for ya there bud... we regained the lead, however, in the next half-inning. Gamel drove in Cottam with a hit, and was himself driven in by Tilson's first hit in a Bees uni making it 7-5... Shane Watson had an excellent day in relief, retiring 7 of the 8 batters he faced... Holder was also quite good. He allowed two hits in the 7th, but got out via a double play, then pitched perfectly into the 9th. With Miller on to finish things off, Nho came up with no one on and two out and hit a bloop single to left field. Apparently desperate to spark something for his team, the big Korean dashed on for second base to stretch it out and was easily thrown out by Gamel! Ballgame!


W: Shane Watson (1-0) L: Jim Johnson (2-2) S: Jared Miller (22)
PotG: Hyun-Jun Nho (if you say so)

Game 2 - Will Shirah (7-5, 4.65) vs. Jackson Kowar (5-4, 3.79)
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, CF Mesa, LF Gamel, 2B Phyo, P Shirah, C Ackerman
VAN: 2B Palacios, RF Thomas, LF Winker, 3B Nho, SS Lugo, CF Canning, C Avila, 1B Becker, P Kowar

Kowar is the Cascades' ace kinda by default. He's a fine pitcher, and he'd be in our rotation if we had him, but here he's the best they've got. We faced him in Utah back in May in the game we won, tagging him with the loss (though he wasn't too bad, 4 runs in 6 innings in a 4-2 game)... Will last pitched on July 10th, two and a half weeks ago, against Memphis. We won that game in extra innings, so no decision... it was a quiet start to this game. We had two runners in the second but didn't score due to a double play... we did get on the scoreboard in the 3rd. Guerrero's sac fly scored Mota to make it 1-0... through 3 innings, Shirah had faced just 10 batters and allowed only an infield hit... Gamel doubled our lead in the 4th with his 4th home run... in the 5th, we doubled our lead again. Ackerman and Mota singled, and after an out Guerrero delivered an RBI hit, and Ishihara had a sac fly to make it 4-0... the Cascades got scoring in the 6th on an RBI single for pinch-hitter Mitch Lowe... Shirah left in the 6th inning, and was bailed out by Zeke Young, who got out of a bases-loaded jam... in the 7th, we tacked on more. Ishihara and Gamel had RBI singles, and Phyo hit a sac fly making it 7-1... cut to the bottom of the 8th, where things all went to seven hells. Against William Gonzalez, two men singled ahead of Gage Canning's towering blast to cut our lead in half. 7-4. Against Sam Bennerman, two outs were recorded bookending a hit and a HBP, but then Alek Thomas had an RBI, the next two men walked which produced another run, and Matthew Lugo gave Vancouver the lead with a single. That was... painful. As painfully, we were retired in order in the 9th.


W: Rich Huff (3-1) L: Sam Bennerman (6-3) S: Aaron Bummer (2)
PotG: Gage Canning

Absolutely awful. These pitchers aren't really guys I can throw to the wolves either, we need Bennerman especially to be good for us in October.

On Friday, we made one more deal - this ought to finish us up on the trade market. In need of one more left-handed reliever, I've got another rental. RP Felipe Vazquez has been acquired from the Twins, and we only surrendered minor-league 1B Phil Angus, who to be honest I didn't even recognize the name of. William Gonzalez is heading back down to AAA.

July 29-30: Bees (68-35) vs. New Mexico Suns (52-52)
This is our final matchup with the Suns on the season, and they were a thorn in our side for a while. They ruined Opening Day for us with a ninth-inning rally in our ballpark, and swept us in Albuquerque in early May. They continued to lead the division until the end of May, when we took over (and no one seems interested in taking it back from us). We did win the other two games in their ballpark in June as part of our 12-game win streak, so the season series is at 3-3. The Suns are on a nice long road trip at the moment through the Southwest, taking them through Phoenix, San Antonio, now Salt Lake and finally Houston, and have won three straight on that trip coming in.

Game 1 - Jose Quintana (11-5, 2.74) vs. Matt Ardente (2-1, 2.70)
NMS: LF DeLuca, 2B Fitzgerald, 1B White, SS Flores, C Raleigh, CF Deveaux, 3B Franco, RF Pompey, P Ardente
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, CF Mesa, LF Gamel, C Cottam, 2B Phyo, P Quintana

Ardente was a waiver pickup for the Suns about a month ago from the 66ers and has made 5 starts. He made 30 starts for San Bernardino last season, going 7-15... Quintana took a loss in the Diamondbacks series despite not giving up an earned run - he threw 6 innings with 2 unearned tallies... a pair of first-inning doubles scored a run for the Bees, bee-ing hit by Robles and Ishihara... from the 3rd inning through the 6th the total number of batters faced by both pitchers was one over the minimum. Phyo had a solo home run in the 4th to make our lead 2-0 but that was our only baserunner... the Suns had two hits in that time frame but Quintana erased them both via double plays... Ardente finished after 6.2 innings, a really nice game for him but he's in line for a loss... Gamel came up with the bases loaded in the 8th and hit a smash single through the hole, scoring Robles but hit too hard to score Ishi... the next batter was Cottam, who battled all the way through a 12-pitch at-bat that became a sacrifice fly and a 4-0 score... still going into the 9th, Quintana gave up a leadoff triple to Tristan Pompey that became New Mexico's first run on a Jonny DeLuca groundout, but he finished off his own start!


W: Jose Quintana (12-5) L: Matt Ardente (2-2)
PotG: Jose Quintana

Our first complete game of the entire season, and just the 64th across all of MLB this year. Quintana had 3 with the Nationals before the trade, and matches NYY Noah Syndergaard for the MLB lead in CG with 4. His 12th win also puts him in a tie for the MLB lead.

Game 2 - Jack Flaherty (11-6, 3.67) vs. Andrew Quezada (4-5, 5.03)
NMS: 3B Watts, 2B Fitzgerald, SS Turang, C Raleigh, RF Reddick, LF DeLuca, 1B White, CF Deveaux, P Quezada
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, CF Mesa, LF Gamel, C Cottam, 2B Phyo, P Flaherty

We are seeing Quezada for the third time this year, and have already beaten him twice, on March 26 and June 19. He has a surprisingly low number of decisions for someone who's made a full complement of starts, but that seems to be because of low stamina. He's only completed the 6th inning in two of his last ten starts... Flaherty took the loss last Sunday at Arizona, giving up 4 runs in 5 innings in a game we lost 6-3... both teams had two hits in the first, but it was us who scored. Robles and Guerrero singled and a run was then produced on Ishihara's groundout... Scott Fitzgerald singled with one out in the third, and when Cal Raleigh then doubled with two out, Raleigh bought enough time on the basepaths for Fitzgerald to tie the game before the third out was made on the bases... Josh Reddick doubled in the 4th, and DeLuca followed with a single, but Mesa came up firing and nailed the runner at the plate! That keeps the game tied... and it wouldn't be tied for long. After two hits and an intentional walk to Phyo, Mota came up with two out and delivered a two-run single to put us ahead! That was followed by a 5th inning in which we collectively hit for the cycle. Guerrero led off with a solo HR, Mesa tripled, Gamel doubled and Cottam singled, now a 6-1 game... Mike Watts had an RBI single in the 7th, Flaherty's final inning... Bennerman had a hit batter, a walk and a wild pitch in the 8th but got out of the inning with a timely double play... Miller allowed a single in the ninth but he got no further than first!


W: Jack Flaherty (12-6) L: Andrew Quezada (4-6)
PotG: Jack Flaherty

We've now delivered Quezada fully half of his losses on the season. We also finish the season series with the Suns at 5-3, and Jack Flaherty joins Quintana and four other pitchers as major league leaders with his 12th win. Overall, we split this set of 8 games out of the break at 4-4.

Bees' Player of the Week:
LF Ben Gamel - 11-21, 5 XBH, 5 RBI, 5 R, 5 BB

On the Leaderboard:
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.: 2nd in RBI (93), 5th in hits (142), 7th in total bases (226)
Morio Ishihara: 3rd in RBI (91), 7th in slugging (.555), 5th in OPS (.958), 9th in runs scored (79), 6th in total bases (228)
Charlie Tilson: 6th in average (.334), 1st in triples (11)
Victor Victor Mesa: 2nd in triples (10)
Zack Granite: T-8th in triples (8)
Jose Quintana: T-1st in wins (12), 1st in innings pitched (160), 1st in WAR (5.8), 1st in CG (4), T-1st in shutouts (2), 2nd in K (166), 8th in K/BB (4.5), 4th in WHIP (1.12), 1st in FIP (2.95), 1st in QS (18)
Jack Flaherty: T-1st in wins (12), 3rd in innings pitched (137), 4th in WAR (3.5), 9th in K/BB (4.4), 5th in BB/9 (1.8), 7th in WHIP (1.18), 3rd in QS (15)
Joey Lucchesi: T-4th in wins (11)
Jared Miller: 7th in Sv% (22-24, 91.7%)

Minor League Bees:
AAA Hawaii was 6-7 over the past two weeks, and fell 4 games behind Hollywood (Dodgers) in their division race. A lot of Hawaii's strongest players from earlier in the season are making big-league impacts now, so I don't know if they'll wind up as a playoff team.
AA Cedar City was 5-9, but still sit in second place in the Desert League - they're 12 games behind Grand Junction (Oilers)
A Burlington was 7-6 over that time frame, and are 3 games back of Southern Illinois (Lions) in the MWL West
The AZL Bees were 3-7 and sit in 5th in their 6-team division at 14-22
And the PRSL Bees were 4-9 and sit in 5th in the 10-team PRSL at 16-22

Standings:



League News:
July 23: An interesting trade. The Astros have traded IF Chase Strumpf to San Bernardino, getting RP Scott Alexander and two prospects, including SP Tyler Ras. Ras looks like a future mid-rotation starter, and Strumpf isn't really starting-caliber, so not sure of the 66ers' rationale here. I think our division just got tougher.
July 23: Colorado continues to dismantle, and St. Louis continues to add, with RP Zach McAllister going to the Cards.
July 23: New Orleans' LF Matt Theisen is just the second player this season to hit 3 home runs in a game, and the first since Bryce Harper all the way back on March 27. Theisen is actually having a pretty terrible year for the Crescents, OBPing below .300, but drove 7 runs home in this game as they beat Newark 14-3.
July 26: A flurry of minor trades. Detroit sends CF Billy Hamilton to Tampa Bay for young OF Noah Vaughn, taking a slight downgrade in exchange for some financial relief. Detroit is one of the AL's big surprise teams, holding a Wild Card spot when the AI had predicted them to come last in the AL North. Montréal acquires SP Chris Tillman from Charlotte for a young catching prospect. Cincinnati acquires CL Phil Maton from Austin for two prospects, one of whom (2B Jose Melendrez) could turn out pretty good.
July 27: West Texas trades LF Chad Keenan to the Mets for RP Rodney Hutchison. Kind of a headscratcher for the Blackbirds, who gave up a former first-round pick of theirs for really very little. I guess they're anticipating that he'll want a lot in arbitration? With Trout making about 60% of their payroll they do have to scrimp a lot. Memphis trades CF Anthony Alford to Cleveland for a trio of prospects, all of whom could be major leaguers. Alford was a player I had eyed for a while but just didn't have the budget. Cleveland is less concerned about that, I guess.
July 28: A couple of our division rivals are waving the white flag. San Antonio trades journeyman SP Andrew Barbosa to Jacksonville, where he'll appear for his sixth MLB team. Omaha has shipped out CF AJ Pollock to Baltimore for RF Duke Ellis and a prospect as well.
July 29: This may be the end of a legendary career. Boston's Justin Verlander has a torn flexor tendon in his elbow, suffered on the first pitch of his July 27th start in Newark. Verlander is 40 now, and this injury would put him out probably through the entire 2024 season, so I might be a little surprised if he doesn't retire. He doesn't have a contract for 2024 either.
July 29: Syracuse trades LHP Marc Rzepczynski to Atlanta. I believe he holds the new record for most MLB teams played for, having appeared for the Astros, Thunder, Lions, Yankees, 66ers, Dodgers, Reds and Blizzard since this save began, in addition to the 7 teams he had appeared in before I started this game. The Braves will be the 16th MLB team that he has pitched in a game for.
July 30:


Players of the Week:
Detroit 2B Keith Miller - 15-28, 1 HR, 3 RBI. Miller, apparently fictional, is one heck of a player. Last year's Gold Glove and Silver Slugger winner among AL 2B, he's taken even a step up this season and is one of the reasons Detroit is a surprise playoff contender.
Charlotte 1B Matt Olson - 11-22, 5 HR, 10 RBI, 10 R. Olson has led the NL in RBI 3 years running, and in homers in two of those years, but that's over now. He's taken a big step back in his age-29 season, surprisingly - but not this week. He had 3 HR/4 RBI in two games vs. Reno and 2 HR/6 RBI in two games vs. Montréal.

Power Rankings:
We went down to 2nd in this week's rankings.
1. Las Vegas Scorpions (73-33)
2. Salt Lake Bees (70-35)
3. Buffalo Beacons (61-43)
4. San Francisco Giants (58-47)
5. Ottawa Lynx (65-41)
56. Reno Silver Sox (41-65)
57. Omaha Thunder (46-59)
58. Chicago Cubs (45-61)
59. Hartford Oaks (40-64)
60. Colorado Rockies (36-69)

Next Week: the homestand continues against the Reds and Pirates, and we then go out on the road, starting north of the border again in Montréal.
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Old 02-02-2020, 02:27 PM   #37
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Week 19: July 31-August 6, 2023



No more moves for this team on deadline day - I'm satisfied with the tinkering that's been done over the past couple of weeks & I think we're gonna have a shot. We have a 14 1/2 game lead over Houston, so I'm not worried too much about the division, and we also have a 3 1/2 game lead on Louisville for the #1 seed at the moment, which is my goal now for the rest of the regular season. Now my job is to basically twiddle my thumbs, deal with it if someone gets injured and maybe, maybe, try to extend Victor Mesa before he becomes a free agent at season's end.

July 31-August 1: Bees (70-35) vs. Cincinnati Reds (52-54)
Cincinnati has had a pretty difficult month of July that has come close to dashing their playoff chances. They're 6 1/2 games out of the final playoff spot right now, with 7 teams to pass. The rotation's been bad but the bullpen good. This team hits a lot of singles and not a lot of homers, exemplified by the combo of Trea Turner, Jonathan Lucroy, and 2B Freddy Zamora, who all have averages at least .315 but a total of 16 HR between them. The exception is Kyle Schwarber, playing for his hometown team and in the NL's top 5 with 27 HR.

Game 1 - Joey Lucchesi (11-4, 3.63) vs. Michael Pineda (4-3, 3.72)
CIN: CF McCray, 2B Zamora, SS Turner, LF Schwarber, C Lucroy, 1B Yalowitz, RF Sinay, 3B Holt, P Pineda
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, CF Mesa, LF Gamel, C Cottam, 2B Phyo, P Lucchesi

Oh yeah, him. I had not been looking at the schedule when I made this trade last week, so it completely blindsided me that Michael Pineda's first start with his new team would come at our ballpark. I could definitely see him coming out fired up to make me look like a schmuck, or I could see his arm falling off in the second inning (like usual)... we've won ten Lucchesi starts in a row at the moment, which is pretty insane... Joey worked around a hit in the first, then Pineda took to his familiar mound and we greeted him rudely. Both Robles and Ishihara went deep to give the good guys a 2-0 lead... but Cincinnati would respond in the 3rd. With Grant McCray and Freddy Zamora on, Trea Turner ripped an RBI double and so did Lucroy, and it was suddenly 3-2... we punched right back, Guerrero homering for a second straight day, his 19th, to score Robles and make it 4-3 Bees... Robles came up the next inning and had an RBI single, but Mota was thrown out going first-to-third so the rally ends at 5-3... in the fifth, we finally heard the magic words: "Michael Pineda was injured while pitching". This time, it was his back, which he also injured in April, after the forearm strain but before the dead arm, oblique strain and sore elbow... against Nick Vincent, two men got on ahead of Mesa's sixth home run of the year, and now we were goin'. Mota later doubled in two more and Robles doubled him in to make it 11-3... we pinch-hit for Lucchesi in that inning, so Shane Watson out for the sixth... he allowed a run, but it was unearned because of an error by Robles in RF... we kinda stopped playing at this point, though we did have Robles thrown out at the plate trying to score one more in the 8th... Watson and Goodwin tag-teamed the final four innings to preserve a W.


W: Joey Lucchesi (12-4) L: Michael Pineda (4-4)
PotG: Victor Robles

Robles had a 5-hit day, which triggered one of those automatic messages into my inbox. He had two doubles and a homer, with 3 RBI, making him the #2 star of the day leaguewide, behind Mike Trout's 4-4 with two homers and actually ahead of Graeme Stinson of the Cherries, who threw a shutout.

This was the final game of July, so it's time for July monthly awards!

Batter of the Month
Charlotte 1B Matt Olson - .341, 13 HR, 27 RBI, 26 R
Oakland LF Eloy Jimenez - .351, 9 HR, 27 RBI, 25 R

Pitcher of the Month
Pittsburgh CL Nick Goody - 3-0, 8 Sv, 0.00 ERA, 10 IP over 11 G
Norfolk SP Dalton Terrell - 5-0, 1.54 ERA, 35 IP, 18 K, .138 avg against

Rookie of the Month
West Texas LF Miguel Baca - .323, 3 HR, 19 RBI, 12 XBH
Austin LF Adam Wesche - .423, 8 HR, 29 RBI

Game 2 - Ray Gaither (2-1, 4.82) vs. Caleb Gilbert (4-10, 6.70)
CIN: 1B Rivas, RF McCray, SS Turner, LF Schwarber, C Lucroy, 2B Holt, 3B Oquendo, CF Sur, P Gilbert
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, CF Mesa, LF Gamel, C Cottam, 2B Maezes, P Gaither

Gilbert, I think, is the first pitcher we've faced with 10 losses already on the board. Hartford's Eduardo Rodriguez is 7-13 to lead the way. Gilbert hasn't really had a good outing in a while, and hasn't won since June 21 at Miami, so he might be due or he might be bad. My scout only has bad things to say, though... Gaither had a rough start in Vancouver, but was bailed out by the offense and the bullpen in a 7-5 win... both teams made early outs on the bases. Robles was caught stealing in the first, and Brock Holt was thrown out trying to go first to third on Jonathan Oquendo's single... we struck first in the second. Ishihara led off with a homer, his 26th, and Cottam followed later with his 17th, a two-run shot... Guerrero added an RBI single in the 3rd, making it 4-0... Gaither came up to hit with men on first and third and one out in the 4th and delivered another run for the tally. 5-0. That's the end of the day for Gilbert... Gaither was absolutely rolling. In the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th he allowed a total of one baserunner. Meanwhile, we did a bit more scoring. Robles hit a homer in the 7th, and Gamel had an RBI later in that inning as well. In the 8th, Maezes doubled, and Gaither, still in for himself, laid down an absolutely perfect bunt that he was able to beat out for a hit. Mota had an RBI single, Guerrero drove in two more with a double, and then Ishihara went deep for the second time tonight. We weren't done, putting up three more singles and another run before they finally got the third out when Gaither came up to hit again... In the 9th, Ray came back out to pitch up 13-0, but he didn't finish the CG. After a strikeout, he walked pinch-hitter Andrew McCutchen and exited. Paul Goodwin managed to ruin the shutout by giving up a 3-run homer to Trea Turner.


W: Ray Gaither (3-1) L: Caleb Gilbert (4-11)
PotG: Ray Gaither

I sometimes take this team's offense for granted - 37 hits in a two-game series is something to be really appreciative of.

August 3-4: Bees (72-35) vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (60-48)
In contrast to Cincy, Pittsburgh is rolling right now. The Pirates haven't lost a series since the end of June & are finally looking like the team that was the best in the National League last season. We split a pair of games in Pittsburgh in mid-April - we were still under .500 at that point, leaving town with a 10-11 record. Look at us now! Anyway, Pittsburgh is the best pitching team in the league, even without Madison Bumgarner (out for the season). Thankfully we will miss reigning Cy Young winner Wu-Shiun Chen in this series, but they have a barnful of powerful pitchers behind him.

Game 1 - Will Shirah (7-5, 4.47) vs. Justin Davis (7-3, 3.21)
PIT: SS Hanoian, RF Harris, CF Pumphrey, 3B Delmonico, C Realmuto, 2B Asuaje, 1B Matheny, LF Duplantis, P Davis
SLC: CF Mesa, C Cottam, 3B Guerrero, RF Robles, 1B Ishihara, P Shirah, 2B Phyo, LF Gamel, SS Mota

Oh yeah, the Pirates also have last year's Cy Young runner-up, Davis. This 27-year-old Minnesotan doesn't have the best stuff, but all his other ratings are really good and it adds up to a pretty great ground ball pitcher. They're quite a good defensive team so that combination plays up for this team... Will started the game in Vancouver last week where the bullpen blew a 6 run lead and a win for him... he didn't win a game in the month of July, but due to the All-Star break and some weirdness caused by the timing of trades, he also only made three starts in the month... Pittsburgh's offense is not the greatest, but with their pitching they don't have to be. I say that to mean Matt Pumphrey's first-inning 2-run homer may just be enough... we did pull one back in the second from Davis, an RBI single from Ishihara following Robles' double, but left the bases loaded in that inning... Nicky Delmonico made it a 4-1 Pirate lead with a two-run double in the 3rd... Will Shirah's last act in this game was being caught stealing in the 4th, as he didn't come out for the 5th. 7 hits allowed and 4 runs, and needed 91 pitches to get his 12 outs... Zack Granite came up pinch-hitting in the 6th and drove in Guerrero with a double to get us within two, but that's as close as we'd get. Jawuan Harris had a ninth-inning HR to seal the final score, and the vaunted Pirate bullpen retired our last 7 in order.


W: Justin Davis (8-3) L: Will Shirah (7-6) S: Ryley Gilliam (2)
PotG: Jawuan Harris

We definitely got outpitched today. That's probably a common refrain from Pittsburgh opponents.

Friday was the deadline to sign 2023 draft picks, which I find hilarious because we had all of ours signed within about four days of the draft. Most teams have their top guys already signed pre-deadline, but notables who haven't signed are Miguel Arteaga (Austin) and Nathan Foster (Dodgers).

I had isolated at draft time one guy to keep an eye on, Hartford's Alex King, who was the #6 overall pick out of the University of Portland, who was already an All-Star caliber reliever. They signed him a few weeks ago and sent him to play in Venezuela... but then, abruptly, called him all the way up to the bigs this week and installed him in the closer's role. He made his major league debut Thursday night and blew a save by hitting Salvador Perez with the bases loaded, in an eventual 13-inning loss to Montréal.

Game 2 - Jose Quintana (12-5, 2.64) vs. Keisaburo Doi (3-6, 4.54)
PIT: SS Hanoian, RF Harris, CF Pumphrey, 3B Delmonico, C Realmuto, 2B Asuaje, 1B Matheny, LF Duplantis, P Doi
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, CF Mesa, LF Gamel, C Cottam, 2B Phyo, P Quintana

Going into the 2022 season, Pittsburgh splashed the cash on two high-rated pitchers coming over from Asia. Chen was the biggest immediate success, but Doi has also pitched well. He's a hard-throwing Japanese righty who's under contract with Pittsburgh until 2027... He lost to the Reds over the weekend in his most recent start... Quintana nearly fired a shutout on Saturday against the Suns but surrendered a run in the 9th... both teams wasted a man on third in the first inning... Pittsburgh struck first, in their 3rd. Antoine Duplantis led off with a long walk, moved up on a sac bunt and scored on Tristan Hanoian's hit... we tied it up straightaway with three straight hits, Ishihara driving in Robles... Doi was pulled after 5, ceding the 6th to former Bee Brad Hand, who we dumped on Pittsburgh a couple of weeks ago. We must know his stuff. Mesa, Cottam and Phyo had singles to load the bases, and Quintana hit for himself. He ended up hitting a slow ground ball into the hole at short, and everyone was safe! Q gives himself the lead 2-1... after an out, Robles was plunked to force in another run... Quintana actually labored in this game more than usual, and exited in the 7th having thrown 108 pitches, completed 6.2 innings, and left the bases loaded for Bennerman to deal with. Thankfully, he did... Bennerman also pitched a scoreless eighth, dealing with a leadoff walk... now Miller for the 9th. Carlos Asuaje... singles, and the tying run comes up. Caiden Matheny (no relation) hits a nubber that Mota is just able to turn into an out. Duplantis hits a sharp single through the right, hit too hard to score the run but bringing the winning run to the plate... pinch-hitting, Eiichi Kaneko digs in, and before he can even have an impact, a quick throw to first and they got him! Duplantis is picked off! Kaneko then hits a grounder to short for the final out.


W: Jose Quintana (13-5) L: Brad Hand (1-2) S: Jared Miller (23)
PotG: Jose Quintana

5 runs in a series is a pretty dry spell for us, but we get the split. That's a 5-1 homestand, too. Time to head back to Canada, and this time, bring your French phrasebooks!

August 5-6: Bees (73-36) vs. Monarques de Montréal (65-45)
This is another potential playoff preview, although Montréal has been so unexpectedly good that this is a team we'd have to wait to face until a potential later-round matchup. I had said in the season preview that les Monarques were a team that could be counted on to finish in the middle of the pack, and I was wrong. Led by a much better offense than I gave them credit for, including breakout stars 2B Casey Martin and CF Jasiah Dixon, Montréal is succeeding despite a mediocre rotation and relatively little production from Josh Donaldson.

Game 1 - Jack Flaherty (12-6, 3.61) vs. Javier Rivas (6-9, 5.47)
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, CF Mesa, LF Gamel, C Cottam, 2B Phyo, P Flaherty
MTL: CF Dixon, LF Pillar, 3B Donaldson, C Perez, 1B Wolf, 2B Martin, SS Yeager, RF Casey, P Rivas

We faced Rivas earlier this year - he got his first win of the season at the Hive back on April 8, in a game in which Salvador Perez hit two homers and drove in 7. Perez leads the team in homers, and hit 4 against us in that two-game April series... it was Pineda that was shelled in that game, though, so maybe a bit better with Jack on the bump... he beat the Suns last Sunday, tossing seven strong... both teams let an early opportunity go by, though ours was more promising. In the first, Montréal had two hits, by Kevin Pillar and Salvador Perez, but both were left aboard. The top of the 2nd, though, Rivas walked Ishihara, Mesa and Gamel in order to load the bases with no out. Cottam hit a tapper back to the mound that became a fielder's choice at home, and Donaldson made a nice play to turn Phyo's grounder into a 5-4-3 double play... in the 4th, we did cash in, Ishihara's leadoff double eventually being converted to a run when Phyo singled with two out... RJ Yeager tied the game in the 5th with a solo home run... we loaded the bases again in the 7th but came up empty again. If we lose this game, we'll deserve it. At least we got Rivas out of the game in the process... in the bottom of that inning, Flaherty started with a walk and single, and so exited as well. Sam Bennerman continued to frustrate Bees fans by loading the bases with a walk and then walking in the go-ahead run. Sal Perez would add an infield hit later to make it 3-1, and Jeremy Wolf's sac fly made it 4-1... Perez would be the final baserunner of the game - the final 7 Bees were retired in order.


W: Chris Toto (4-2) L: Jack Flaherty (12-7) S: Jason Diaz (1)
PotG: Javier Rivas

A tough one. We left 10 men on base - got to take advantage of those opportunities.

Game 2 - Joey Lucchesi (12-4, 3.70) vs. Brett Graves (7-8, 5.17)
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, CF Mesa, LF Gamel, 2B Phyo, C Ackerman, P Lucchesi
MTL: CF Dixon, LF Pillar, C Perez, 3B Donaldson, 1B Wolf, 2B Martin, SS Yeager, RF Casey, P Graves

We're on the Sunday night broadcast this week, the one night game across the entire league. We'd have the stage to ourselves if not for a lengthy extra-inning game happening in Newark right now. About an hour into our game, Jacksonville would finish off a 4-3, 15-inning win... Graves was a trade acquisition for les Monarques, coming over from Reno at the end of May. With Montréal, Graves is 5-3 and has an ERA about three-quarters of a run below what he had with the Silver Sox. He beat the Explorers on Monday... Joey has won his last four starts, and we preposterously still haven't lost a start of his since mid-May, despite me continuing to mention it and inviting a jinx... in the first inning, two walks and a passed ball set Ishihara up with two runners in scoring position, and he came through with a two-run single. Two more hits, from Gamel and Phyo, produced a third run... we had two hits in the 2nd but didn't extend our lead... Clay Casey produced an RBI double in the 2nd to make it 3-1, but our 3-run lead was restored on the first pitch of the third inning, which Mesa powered the opposite way for his 7th homer... in the 4th, Casey Martin was drilled by Lucchesi's first pitch, and Yeager followed with a mammoth home run to make it 4-3 Bees, his second of the series... the fifth started with 3 straight Bee singles, Mesa scoring Guerrero with his. That was all for Graves, 4 innings complete. We would add another run on an error by Clay Casey in right, 6-3... Casey pulled it back the next half inning with his second RBI double of the day. That'd be Lucchesi's final inning - not his finest work today but he's still in line for the win at the moment... JB Wendelken was the first man out of our bullpen, and he gave up a homer to Kevin Pillar that made it 6-5, and another to Wolf in the next inning that tied the game. No win for Lucchesi today, but still time to get it for one of the bullpen guys... in the 8th, RJ Yeager suffered an injury to his shoulder while throwing out Aaron Ackerman at first... Felipe Vazquez out to pitch the 8th for us, and... he gives up another solo homer, this one to pinch-hitter Luke Heyer, which puts Montréal up 7-6. Gonna need some magic... Closer Jon Araujo on for the save. Robles, though, starts up with a sharp single to left, and we're in business... Guerrero gets down 0-2, only to then take 4 straight balls... Ishihara walks too, and that puts the tying run at 3rd with no one out, and the go-ahead run at 2nd! Up now is Mesa, and that's a long fly ball! Deep to left-center! A grand slam!!! 9th-inning magic again from these guys! The Monarque faithful seem shell-shocked, and Jared Miller has an easy time with the bottom of the 9th!


W: Felipe Vazquez (5-2) L: Jon Araujo (1-6) S: Jared Miller (24)
PotG: Victor Victor Mesa

6 RBI for Mesa on the evening in front of a national TV audience! That makes him the leaguewide player of the day, edging out multi-HR games by Detroit's Yonder Alonso and Austin's Trey Truitt. That 9th-inning rally gives us a 4-2 week instead of a 3-3 one, which just feels a lot better.

Bees' Player of the Week:
Mesa had one incredible game, but RF Victor Robles had an incredible week. 13-24, getting on ahead of the big hitters and scoring 8 runs, while hitting a pair of dingers and driving in five of his own.

On the Leaderboard:
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.: 8th in average (.332), 4th in RBI (98), 5th in hits (151), 6th in total bases (241)
Charlie Tilson: 6th in average (.334), T-1st in triples (11)
Morio Ishihara: T-7th in HR (27), 3rd in RBI (99), 5th in slugging (.570), 3rd in OPS (.976), 8th in runs (86), 4th in total bases (248)
Victor Victor Mesa: T-1st in triples (11)
Victor Robles: T-5th in doubles (29)
Jose Quintana: 1st in ERA (2.59), 1st in wins (13), 1st in WAR (5.9), 1st in innings (166.2), 1st in CG (4), T-1st in shutouts (2), 3rd in strikeouts (169), 9th in K/BB (4.1), 3rd in WHIP (1.13), 1st in FIP (3.03), 1st in QS (19)
Jack Flaherty: T-2nd in wins (12), 4th in WAR (3.6), 4th in innings (143.0), 8th in K/BB (4.2), 8th in BB/9 (1.9), T-2nd in QS (16)
Joey Lucchesi: T-2nd in wins (12), 9th in WAR (2.9)
Jared Miller: 7th in Sv% (24-26, 92.3%)

Minor League Bees:
AAA Hawaii continues to struggle, going 2-4 this week. They've lost 4 in a row, including the first two games against St. Paul (Twins) at home. Now 7 games behind first-place Hollywood (Dodgers) in the PCL Pacific.
AA Cedar City was 4-2, winning both their series against Logan (Beavers) and Havasu (Marshals). They're still in second, but well behind first-place Grand Junction (Oilers).
A Burlington was 2-4 this week, losing series against Kane County (Flyers) and West Michigan (Tigers). The Lil' Bees are now 4 games back in the MWL West, 3rd in a 13-team division.
The AZL Rookie Bees had a 4-3 week, and go for the sweep of Milwaukee on Monday. They also beat San Bernardino 2 of 3, and are just 6 games back of division-leading Tucson despite being in 5th place of 6.
And the PRSL Rookie Bees had just a 3-game week, thanks to me accidentally leaving an All-Star break in the schedule, and were swept by Oakland. They find themselves tied for 7th in the 10-team PRSL.

Standings:



League News:
July 31: Deadline day didn't bring a ton of activity, but some good players were moved. Omaha traded closer Tyler Lyons to Atlanta... Oklahoma acquired closer Dellin Betances from division rival Tucson, but gave up their starting 1B Kyle Cuellar to do so... and Colorado sent SS Marcus Semien to Syracuse.
July 31: in what would be their only win of the entire week, San Antonio erases a 6-0 deficit to come back and beat the Brewers 7-6.
August 1: Cardinals SP Chris Vallimont may be having a hit put out on his team's bullpen - after 8 two-hit innings from Vallimont, two relievers combined to blow a 3-0 9th-inning lead and they would lose in 10 against the Pirates.
August 2: Bryce Harper goes deep 3 times, including a walk-off bomb, in a wild 12-11 11-inning Las Vegas win over Indianapolis. There were six different lead changes in the game, not even counting the Scorpions' two-run rally to tie it in the 9th. Harper has a pair of 3-homer games this year, one better than the rest of the league combined. He also overshadows a 6-hit game for the Rounders' Bren Spillane, who scored the go-ahead run in the 11th before Las Vegas turned it around in the bottom half.
August 2: Another wild game in the AL today sees New Orleans erase a 9-4 deficit to come back and beat Tucson 11-10. Alexis La Madrid was the hero for New Orleans, hitting two HR and later scoring the winning run in the 8th.
August 4: Clint Frazier accomplishes the more-impressive-but-less-catalogued "better than cycle", notching a homer, triple and pair of doubles in a 10-8 Royals win over the Oilers. I was hoping he hit one of the doubles last so I could pretend he just stopped at first for the cycle, but alas the homer was last.
August 5: It's a New York rivalry weekend, with the Mets and Burros meeting up in Brooklyn, and the first game had quite a jolt. Burros catcher Thomas Dillard hit a dramatic walk-off 3-run homer to turn around a Mets lead and win the game 9-7.

Players of the Week:
NY Yankees 2B Gabe Holt - 15-24, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 4 R
Salt Lake RF Victor Robles - 13-24, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 8 R

Power Rankings:
Buffalo is perfect since the All-Star Break at 13-0, and haven't lost a game since they played us on the 15th and 16th, so they leapfrog us and others into first place in this week's power rankings. We drop from 2nd to 3rd as a result.
1. Buffalo Beacons (67-43)
2. Las Vegas Scorpions (77-35)
3. Salt Lake Bees (74-37)
4. Louisville Colts (72-40)
5. Ottawa Lynx (70-42)
56. Washington Nationals (43-68)
57. Cleveland Indians (44-68)
58. San Antonio Marshals (48-64)
59. Texas Rangers (46-66)
60. Colorado Rockies (38-73)

Next Week: our road trip continues in Omaha and Miami, then we head home to face the Phillies. It'll be our first time seeing the Omaha Thunder since all the way back in April. I also had a dream that Morio Ishihara hit four home runs in a game, and though it hasn't happened yet I bet it's coming!
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Old 02-11-2020, 06:47 PM   #38
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Week 20: August 7-13, 2023



August 7-8: Bees (74-37) @ Omaha Thunder (48-63)
When we last saw the Thunder, we were withstanding their comeback bid in Omaha on April 2 - we won to improve to 5-3. (They haven't come to the Hive yet, but we'll see them there next week.) An awful lot has happened since then - this is a team that's spent a lot of the last couple months struggling, and is in danger for the first last-place finish in franchise history. They've been torn apart by injury lately - pitchers Trevor Cahill and Chris Stratton are out, as are DJ LeMahieu, Nick Senzel and Francisco Cervelli.

Game 1 - Ray Gaither (3-1, 4.14) vs. Destin Dotson (0-0, 9.64)
SLC: CF Mesa, C Cottam, 3B Guerrero, RF Robles, 1B Ishihara, 2B Phyo, LF Gamel, SS Mota, P Gaither
OMA: 2B Santiago, RF Ellis, SS Anderson, CF Witherspoon, LF Hillman, 1B Trejo, C Oliver, 3B Rogers, P Dotson

Still some decent hitters in this lineup even without their injured players - the Thunder's struggles are more on the mound. Dotson opened the year in the big league bullpen and made his debut then, but went down to get stretched out to start, apparently. His first major league start was last Tuesday in Louisville, where he labored and didn't finish the 3rd inning, but allowed just 1 earned run and got a no-decision... Gaither is making his ninth start and we've won 7 of the previous 8... both pitchers started out really well. Both teams had just a single hit in the first two innings... Mota led off the 3rd with a hit and moved up on a sac bunt by Gaither. It wouldn't matter where he was standing, though - Victor Mesa went up and out to give us a 2-0 lead! It's just his 9th home run but 3rd in the last two days... two pitches later, Cottam made it back-to-back jacks and it was 3-0... in the 4th inning, Grant Witherspoon took Gaither deep to get the Thunder on the board. Adam Hillman then singled, went to 2nd on a wild pitch, then scored on Cesar Trejo's hit... Dotson went just 4.1 innings, leaving with 2 men on base, but Danny Barajas got out of the jam... in the 5th, Omaha took the lead. First tying it on a Jason Rogers HR, then an RBI double from Duke Ellis... we had 5 hits in the final 5 innings, which might have been fine if it hadn't been spread out 1 each... Omaha broke the game open in the seventh. Witherspoon singled home Tim Anderson, Hillman had an RBI triple and Trejo had an RBI single. Suddenly 7-3... Glenn Santiago homered in the 8th to provide their final scoring, and Guerrero homered in the 9th to make the final score a bit more respectable.


W: Danny Barajas (1-0) L: Ray Gaither (3-2)
PotG: Grant Witherspoon

Game 2 - Will Shirah (7-6, 4.67) vs. Zack Wheeler (8-4, 4.25)
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, C Cottam, LF Gamel, 2B Maezes, P Shirah, CF Tilson
OMA: 2B Santiago, RF Ellis, SS Anderson, CF Witherspoon, LF Hillman, 1B Trejo, C Oliver, 3B Rogers, P Wheeler

Wheeler is the lone Omaha starter with a winning record, and probably the staff ace despite being... above average, I guess? Last time out he beat the Brewers, throwing six shutout innings in a 5-1 win but laboring through those innings on a high pitch count... Will Shirah still hasn't picked up a win since late June, and has actually slid down the hitting depth chart as well it seems, ceding most of the starts in left to Gamel... A quick two-out rally got us on the board. Guerrero blooped a single into left-center, and then Ishihara hit a fly ball high in the air to left field that just got out, 2-0 Bees... it wouldn't last though. Also with two outs and a man on, Witherspoon tied the game with a home run of his own, and Adam Hillman went back-to-back to make it 3-2 in the first... they made it 4-2 in the 2nd in a different way. Two singles ahead of Wheeler's sacrifice bunt allowed a run to score on Santiago's grounder... in the 3rd, with Robles on second and Guerrero at first, we pulled off a double steal! That meant both runs would score on Cottam's base hit, tying the game... an unearned run came in in the bottom half. Guerrero let a popup drop allowing Tim Anderson to reach. When Witherspoon doubled to put men on second and third with no outs, he pulled up and had to coast into second base. No real report on his injury at the moment, but we're gonna see the Thunder again next week so it could be good news... Cesar Trejo converted one of those men into a run with another RBI groundout... Shirah was done after three innings, but I'm not sure why - he didn't pitch well but it wasn't mega-awful. 5 hits, 5 runs (4 earned), no walks over 3, and only 64 pitches thrown? Would probably have stretched him out to 5 innings myself... Shane Watson threw the 4th and 5th instead, though, and allowed one run in that time, an RBI hit for Hunter Oliver... we got back to a 1-run deficit in the 6th on a solo home run by Maezes, his 17th... the bullpens of both teams seemed to settle down what had been a roughish day for the starters. Holder managed to pitch two scoreless innings for us despite allowing four hits, and Bennerman had a scoreless eighth, but that was all matched by Omaha's Heath Hawkins and Ruben Chavez... now Tommy Rowley on for the save, still a 6-5 game. It'll be 9-1-2 for us - Tilson, Mota, Robles, Guerrero if anyone reaches... Tilson hits a long fly ball to left, and the wind is pointing that way, but the rain knocks it down enough that it dies on the track... Mota goes down swinging, but Robles smashes one back up the box to keep us alive. Guerrero, though, hits a lazy fly to left and it's all over.


W: Zack Wheeler (9-4) L: Will Shirah (7-7) S: Tommy Rowley (1)
PotG: Grant Witherspoon

Yuck. On to Miami.

August 9-10: Bees (74-39) @ Miami Marlins (60-54)
The Fish have been a pretty successful franchise overall, so it's not surprising that they're keeping afloat despite being predicted to not do that well this season. This year, it's not too hard to pinpoint their big strength - dingers, baybee! 1B Greyson Jenista and 3B Drew Mendoza are both on pace for 40+ bombs, and it's supplemented by a bunch of players in the 10-15 range so far (so 18-25 for the season). They also rarely strike out, which seems incongruous. We split a pair of games at The Hive back in April, and here's our return trip.

Game 1 - Jose Quintana (13-5, 2.59) vs. Jason Guse (2-2, 3.55)
SLC: SS Mota, 1B Ishihara, 3B Guerrero, RF Shirah, CF Mesa, LF Gamel, C Cottam, 2B Phyo, P Quintana
MIA: 2B McLain, CF Halpin, 3B Mendoza, 1B Jenista, SS Boyd, RF Hicks, C Jeffers, LF Goss, P Guse

Guse is a rookie making just his 7th major league start, and his first since before the All-Star Break. He's been down with the AAA team in Pensacola. His last MLB game was an unlucky loss in Louisville in early July, where he was tagged with four unearned runs... Q has allowed a total of two earned runs in his last 4 starts, but still managed to lose a game over that period... we managed to waste a two-on, one-out opportunity in the 1st, but our worries would fly away soon enough. Two hits and a 4-pitch walk loaded the bases in the 2nd for us, and Quintana's strikeout couldn't dampen our spirits. Mota hit a smash through the left side to get 1 run home, and a batter later, now with two outs, Guerrero destroyed a pitch down the line in left field for a grand slam! 5-0 just like that... Miami scored 1 in the 2nd on a sac fly from Daniel Goss... Mesa and Gamel reached to start the third, and that was all for Guse. A rough day for the young man... New pitcher Zack Phillips got Cottam and Q to strike out, but walked Phyo in between, and then walked Mota to force in a run. Ishihara next, and bang! That ball is crushed down the right-field line, an absolute moon shot and our second grand slam in as many innings! It's 10-1! Things really settled down after that. We added one more in the 4th on consecutive doubles from Mesa and Gamel, and actually loaded the bases again, but a third grand salami was not to be... Quintana really got into a groove from there. Leadoff man McLain had a couple of hits in the middle innings but the rest of the team was kept off the bases... we got another run in the 7th thanks to an error by Mendoza at 3B... Quintana would've gotten through the 7th if not for his own error, not fielding a ground ball cleanly, but he instead exits after 6.2 innings with just 1 run allowed. Paul Goodwin had a bit of a meltdown in the 8th, conceding 4 runs, but this is the time to screw up, really. No sweat for Wendelken finishing out the game.


W: Jose Quintana (14-5) L: Jason Guse (2-3)
PotG: Morio Ishihara

Not as close a game as the score would indicate.

Game 2 - Jack Flaherty (12-7, 3.65) vs. Justin Jacome (0-6, 5.75)
SLC: CF Mesa, 3B Guerrero, RF Robles, 2B Phyo, 1B Ishihara, SS Mota, LF Granite, C Ackerman, P Flaherty
MIA: CF Halpin, 2B McLain, 3B Mendoza, 1B Jenista, SS Boyd, LF Goss, RF Williams, C Bess, P Jacome

Jacome was a real-life Marlins draft pick back in 2015 from UC Santa Barbara, but was cut loose and didn't play affiliated ball in 2017. Despite that, the Marlins saw fit to draft him in the 2018 fantasy draft and he was part of the major league bullpen later that season. Made the move to the rotation in 2021 and pitched pretty well, putting up a combined 24-21 in '21-'22 with an ERA under 4 in both years. This year, though, is a disaster. Jacome missed the first two months with a forearm injury and has come back pretty bad... Jack pitched OK in our last game, but the offense didn't pick him up and he landed an L in Montréal... both teams had two on with no out in the 1st and it was them who cashed in. Jason Boyd delivered an RBI single though we avoided further damage... Jacome had some shaky moments, but through the first few innings always managed to come up with the right pitch... Flaherty got out of a big jam with runners on 2nd and 3rd, one out in the fourth, getting two popups... we finally got on the board in the sixth with three singles, Granite's scoring Robles to tie the game 1-1... both pitchers exited at the same moment - Flaherty was pinch-hit for leading off the 7th, as Brad Boxberger was warming up to replace Jacome... after the stretch, Sam Bennerman came in and threw a frustrating inning, allowing two two-out walks, the latter with the bases loaded, to give Miami the 2-1 lead... Felipe Vazquez escaped a bases-loaded jam of his own in the 8th... now, the 9th, with Miami's closer Julian Fernandez on to face our 6-7-8... Mota slaps a single into left and we're in business, maybe? Then the first pitch to Granite leaks through catcher Cuba Bess for a passed ball to put the tying run in scoring position... Granite hits a ball into the left-center field gap, but a spectacular catch by CF Petey Halpin saves a run. Mota is able to get back, tag and reach third... Shirah comes in to pinch-hit for Ackerman, and fights for several pitches but strikes out, and it's now up to Cottam, hitting in the pitcher's spot... first pitch is letter-high and smoked into left for a game-tying single! There we go! Mesa then smokes a ball that's a hit in a lot of places on the field but hits it right at the right fielder. Gotta try to hold 'em and get to extras... much easier for us in the bottom half. Why doesn't every team just have their closer strike out the side, like Jared Miller did? That makes it much easier... in the tenth, Guerrero starts things with a double into the gap, and they choose to intentionally walk Robles. Phyo hits a hard ground ball to first, and it's a nice play by Jenista to even get one out... They then intentionally walk Ishihara as well to reach Mota, who just scored the tying run last inning... they go get a lefty, Jim Bruno, just to face him - and Luis takes his first pitch right back up the box for a two-run single! Huge! Next up is Granite, who hits a ball that ought to have been a 4-6-3 DP, but a slow turn by the shortstop Boyd keeps the inning alive... important that that happened as well, since before Maezes struck out, Ishihara came in to score on a wild pitch... Nolan Blackwood allowed an unearned run in his inning, thanks to Mota's error, but we can forgive Luis this once.


W: Jared Miller (2-4) L: Julian Fernandez (2-8) S: Nolan Blackwood (3)
PotG: Jack Flaherty

Big-time comeback for these guys, with Luis Mota especially the hero today. Time to get back home, and enjoy our Friday off day before this weekend series!

August 12-13: Bees (76-39) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (55-61)
The Phils have been torn apart by injury, resulting in a pretty poor rotation. Ace Jon Jefferson has missed the entire season to date, and will not make his 2023 debut until the end of this month. But Philadelphia is also without Jameson Taillon and Kyle Gibson for the remainder of this season, so this 2023 outfit is pretty spent. They're coming in from Buffalo, where they just lost a heartbreaker on Friday, tying the game in the top of the ninth only to lose it in the bottom.

Game 1 - Joey Lucchesi (12-4, 3.85) vs. Trysten Barlow (1-1, 5.46)
PHI: CF Tawa, 3B Diaz, SS Russell, 2B Reid, RF Polanco, 1B Stassi, C Jolly, LF Paroubeck, P Barlow
SLC: CF Mesa, C Cottam, 3B Guerrero, RF Robles, 1B Ishihara, LF Shirah, 2B Phyo, SS Mota, P Lucchesi

Barlow hadn't been starting in AAA, coming out of the bullpen in Reading, but was called upon to re-enter the big league rotation recently. Last Sunday, he came back up to make a start against the Blackbirds, and did alright, allowing 4 runs over 5 innings, just enough for Philly to make a late comeback and give him a no-decision... Joey had his string of four straight wins snapped Sunday in Montréal, but avoided getting the loss due to Mesa's ninth-inning grand slam that won the game... Lucchesi walked two in the first inning but avoided damage... in the bottom of the 1st, Mesa singled, stole 2nd and scored on a hit by Robles... in the 2nd, Lucchesi was burned. The pitcher Barlow had a two-out single to keep the inning alive, and Tim Tawa followed with his 13th home run, a 3-run shot to give Philly a 3-1 lead... Jordan Paroubeck homered the next inning to make it 4-1, and Tawa scored another run in that inning on a single by Addison Russell... Lucchesi exited after the 4th inning... in our half of the fourth, Phyo and Mota each singled, moved up on a sac bunt, and scored on Mesa's hit to get us back to within two at 5-3... not much doing in the rest of the middle innings... Barlow exited after 6, allowing 3 runs on 9 hits and in line for a W... meanwhile, our long guys, Shane Watson and Zeke Young, each tossed two scoreless innings. They've each had their troubles at the MLB level so good news there... then the fireworks began. Shirah began the 8th with a single off Steve Erickson, and Phyo worked a long count that became a walk. Mota smashed a ball to left that Paroubeck couldn't quite get to, but too hard to score Shirah. We now have the potential winning run on base with nobody out. Next the pitcher's spot, and Tilson comes up to pinch hit... a ball hit into the gap! It's run down impressively by Tawa, who prevents the tying run from trying to score, but we still have the bases loaded... they go for a pitching change. Out comes the lefty Andrew Baker, strange because our next three hitters are righties and we just had the lefties Mota and Tilson up, but ok. Baker can't find the zone, and finally drops one in on Mesa with a 3-0 count, but walks him on the next pitch! Tie game! Now Cottam comes up, and he hits the first pitch out to deep right center! It's a grand slam!!! The Bees lead 9-5!!! After that, as things so often do, they calmed down. We would actually have two more baserunners in the inning but no more runs. Now the 9th, and Sam Bennerman gets the ball. Russell singles leading off, though he gets the next two out. Brock Stassi doubles over Mesa's head, and Matheny goes out to make a pitching change. Miller then proceeds to completely throw this game away, all the while being one pitch away from finishing the whole thing off. Robert Jolly drives in one with a single, 9-6. Paroubeck doubles, scoring one more and putting the tying runs in scoring position, 9-7. A wild pitch scores Jolly, and a double by pinch-hitter Zack Cozart scores Paroubeck. It's all gone, 9-9... To rub it in, Tim Tawa hits a line shot into the left-field corner that sneaks over the wall for a home run, 11-9. The Phils have answered our six with a six of their own... closer Noah Song then struck out the side to win the game.


W: Jorge Lopez (2-2) L: Jared Miller (2-5) S: Noah Song (20)
PotG: Tim Tawa

One of the worst losses I've ever personally had, at least regular season edition. We did, after all, manage to blow a 3-run lead in the 9th inning of WS Game 7 back in 2019. I actually quit the game right after this happened and took a couple days away from OOTP because it so frustrated me & I didn't even want to write up the above paragraph.

Anyway, all we can do is go on to Sunday:

Game 2 - Ray Gaither (3-2, 4.44) vs. Luis Cruz (8-8, 4.00)
PHI: CF Tawa, SS Russell, RF Polanco, LF Fagg, 2B Reid, 3B Diaz, 1B Stassi, C Herrmann, P Cruz
SLC: CF Mesa, C Cottam, 3B Guerrero, RF Robles, 1B Ishihara, LF Shirah, 2B Phyo, SS Mota, P Gaither

We beat Cruz back on April 14 in Philadelphia, a 14-3 win. In that game he gave up six runs and didn't get out of the 3rd inning. In that game, Travis Maezes came a home run short of the cycle despite not starting (Phyo left that game via minor injury). Since then, Cruz has really turned his year around, and 4.00 is the low water mark for his ERA this season. He hasn't lost since before the All-Star Break... Ray was OK on Monday in Omaha, but not good enough, and he took the L... Tawa's encore from last night was to lead off the game with a double into the gap, and Bees fans felt their hearts sink, but he would be stranded on third... in the bottom half, Cottam had a more impactful encore, going deep for the second straight at bat, and with Mesa aboard, to make it 2-0! We squandered another opportunity in the 2nd, leaving two in scoring position... Gaither seemed to settle down, allowing just 1 hit over the next three innings... Philly got on the board in the 5th on a Brock Stassi triple and Chris Herrmann RBI single... Cruz had also settled down, facing the minimum from the 3rd-5th... in the 6th, Gregory Polanco drew a 1-out walk, and Jaxxon Fagg went up and out on the next pitch. That's a 2-1 lead becoming a 3-2 deficit... Cruz threw 6 innings, and Gaither 7, each leaving while the game was 3-2... Vazquez pitched a scoreless 8th, and Bennerman bounced back from yesterday's disaster with a scoreless ninth... Jose Ramirez is on for the save, not Noah Song. If the 21-year-old closes it out, it'll be his first save as a pro... first Shirah, and he walks on four pitches, none particularly close. That's the tying run on... Phyo smacks an 0-1 pitch right back up the box to give us runners at the corners with no out, and I'm suddenly smelling 9th-inning magic again. Now Mota... with the infield in, he hits a chopper that's still too slow to do anything with! Yandy Diaz has to just swallow it and Shirah scampers home with the tying run! Up next is Tilson... and he walks on five pitches to load the bases! Still no one out, and the Philly manager has to go take the ball from Ramirez. Tanner Burns will be tasked with saving the Philly bacon against Mesa. First pitch is low... second pitch is low... third pitch is low... the crowd is deafening as Burns pumps one down the middle to get to 3-1... and the next pitch is low for ball four! That's the game!


W: Sam Bennerman (7-3) L: Jose Ramirez (2-1)
PotG: Ray Gaither

What a dramatic series! My lil heart can't take any more. In that case, I'll take the split.

Bees' Player of the Week:
C Kole Cottam: 8-21, 3 HR, 10 RBI

On the Leaderboard:
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.: 8th in average (.332), 4th in RBI (103), 9th in OPS (.933), 4th in hits (160), 6th in total bases (258)
Morio Ishihara: 8th in HR (29), T-2nd in RBI (105), 8th in slugging (.563), 5th in OPS (.959), 9th in runs (90), 5th in total bases (260)
Victor Robles: 2nd in doubles (32)
Victor Victor Mesa: T-1st in triples (11)
Charlie Tilson: T-1st in triples (11)
Jose Quintana: 1st in ERA (2.54), 1st in wins (14), 1st in WAR (6.3), 1st in innings (173.1), 1st in CG (4), T-1st in SHO (2), 2nd in K (179), 7th in K/BB (4.3), 3rd in WHIP (1.11), 1st in FIP (2.97), 1st in QS (20)
Jack Flaherty: T-3rd in wins (12), 4th in WAR (3.8), 4th in innings (149), 8th in K/BB (4.3), 6th in BB/9 (1.9), 9th in FIP (3.93), 2nd in QS (17)
Joey Lucchesi: T-3rd in wins (12)
Jared Miller: 7th in Sv% (24/27, 89%)

Minor League Bees:
AAA Hawaii was 5-2, winning series against Tacoma (Mariners) and Colorado Springs (Rockies). They're 5 GB of Hollywood in the PCL Pacific.
AA Cedar City was 3-4 on their road trip, splitting 4 games against Logan (Beavers) but losing 2 of 3 at Havasu (Marshals). Still 2nd in the Desert League, miles behind Grand Junction (Oilers).
A Burlington lost every game this week, 0-6. The Lil' Bees now just find themselves in 4th in the MWL West, 7 games behind Southern Illinois (Lions).
The AZL Bees were 1-5 on the week, losing series against West Texas and the Angels, and are just 19-30.
And the PRSL Bees were 4-2, losing a series to Philadelphia but sweeping the Orioles. This squad is in a tie for 5th in the 10-team PRSL, but 13 games behind the Phils.

Standings:



League News:
August 7: San Bernardino explodes for 21 runs, including 7 homers, in a 21-9 romp at Nashville. All three of the 66ers' superstar outfield (Andrew Benintendi, Andres de la Torre, Juan Soto) went deep on the day.
August 8: Tigers 3B Manny Machado had three home runs and drove in 4 in Tuesday's 6-3 win over the Navigators. After only seeing one 3-homer game in the first few months of the season, we've now had 3 in quick succession.
August 9: Indianapolis RF Jake Mangum hits for the cycle in a 9-6 win over Cleveland. He left it late and his hits were meaningful - his 6th-inning HR gave the Rounders the lead, and his triple to finish the cycle eventually became a big insurance run.
August 11: Another 3-homer game, this time for Nashville's Jonathan Engelmann against the Scorpions. Nashville actually had 7 home runs in this game, accounting for all 9 of their runs in a 9-8 victory. Engelmann's third bomb, a 3-run blast, was the only non-solo shot, and it tied the game at 6 in the seventh inning. We still have not seen a National League player hit 3 HR this season, but now ALers have done it five times. No Bees player has hit 3 HR in a game since 2019, when Ryon Healy did it against the Colts in a series-clinching playoff game, and the only Bee to do so in a regular-season game is, of all people, Franklin Gutierrez back in the first month of the inaugural 2018 season.
August 12: Navigators SP Alex Wood is done for the season, and the start of 2024, with a torn flexor tendon, torn in Thursday's win over Oklahoma.
August 12: On a day where we scored 6 runs in the 8th only to allow 6 in the 9th, we didn't even have the wildest game. A meaningless matchup between the Oaks and Blackbirds in El Paso ended 16-15 in 11 innings. After the Oaks scored 9 runs in the 6th to take a 11-5 lead, West Texas scored two in the 6th and 5 in the 7th, which tied the game 12-12. It went to the 11th at that score, and Hartford came up with 3 on RBIs from Michael Berglund and John Aiello, before WTX came back with a bases-clearing double by Nick Torres off the bench to tie the game, followed by a walk-off error when Trevor Story threw a ground ball into the seats to award Torres home plate.
August 12: Another fascinating game on Saturday sees the Dodgers beat the Padres 1-0 in 12 innings. There were a grand total of 3 hits per side, and two of LA's were recorded by starting pitcher Bryce Osmond. The Dodgers' winning rally in the 12th happened without a hit, on 3 walks and a sac fly.
August 13: Rays RF Steve Eads had been working on the season's longest hitting streak of 29 games, but it was snapped Sunday in a loss to lowly Colorado. Teammate Jose Altuve will have to take the mantle, as his 20-game streak is now the league's longest.

Players of the Week:
Nashville RF Jonathan Engelmann - 9-18, 5 HR, 9 RBI
San Antonio 3B Brody Wofford - 13-24, 1 HR, 7 RBI

Power Rankings:
With our 3-3 week, we were bound to drop off a bit, and we did. Last week we were 3rd, but now we're 5th.
1. Las Vegas Scorpions (81-37)
2. Columbus Explorers (71-47)
3. Buffalo Beacons (72-44)
4. Ottawa Lynx (74-44)
5. Salt Lake Bees (77-40)
56. Reno Silver Sox (45-72)
57. Chicago White Sox (58-60)
58. Norfolk Navigators (48-70)
59. Colorado Rockies (41-76)
60. Cleveland Indians (45-73)

Next Week: this'll be an 8-game homestand, and next time we'll do the six remaining games of it, against the Colts, Marshals and Thunder.
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Old 02-13-2020, 06:51 PM   #39
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Week 21: August 14-20, 2023



We had a Monday off day - didn't do much with it but it allows us to skip Shirah's turn in the rotation and go straight back to Quintana. Good thing too, as look who's coming into town!

August 15-16: Bees (77-40) vs. Louisville Colts (73-45)
Knock on wood, maybe we're looking at an NLCS preview here? As of Tuesday, the Bees and Colts hold the #1 and #2 seeds in the NL. We've played the Colts in the playoffs twice before (2019, 2022), both in the first round, and beaten them both times. We're not running nearly as hot as we did in June and July, so Louisville is probably licking their chops to play us, but they have been without Christian Yelich since the All-Star Break due to... a "bone marrow edema". I have to say, I'm a lot less confused than I was when I was reading that as "bone marrow enema", but it still doesn't sound fun. The Colts do come in having lost 3 straight and 5 of 6 on their western road trip that has taken them through San Francisco, Omaha and Vancouver before bringing them to the Hive. We played a Saturday & Sunday set in Louisville back in mid-April and lost both games, scoring just 3 runs in the process.

Game 1 - Jose Quintana (14-5, 2.54) vs. Matt Sires (7-5, 4.61)
LOU: SS Rosario, 2B Dozier, RF Stanton, 1B Aguilar, C Kelly, 3B Northcut, CF Solarte, LF Stunkel, P Sires
SLC: CF Mesa, C Cottam, 3B Guerrero, RF Robles, 1B Ishihara, 2B Phyo, LF Gamel, SS Mota, P Quintana

Sires is the fourth straight lefty pitcher we're facing, so another weird lineup day... Sires is a pretty promising youngster, in his 2nd year with the big club after being a 2nd-round pick in 2020 from UAB. Really strong strikeout numbers bolstered by an absolute wipeout change... he's coming off a bad game, last Wednesday in Omaha, but the offense bailed him out in a major way and they won 18-6. That was right after the Thunder had swept us... Quintana is coming off a win Wednesday in Miami, another ho-hum double digit K game for him. He has won 5 of his 6 starts since coming over from the Nats... the game started with a single by Amed Rosario and a walk to Brian Dozier, and frogs in my throat, but Q responded by striking out the next three (and ultimately, the next five), and then Mesa hit Sires' first pitch of the game for an absolute bomb to left-center, a 423-foot solo shot! Cottam reached his first two times, a double in the first and walk in the third, but was stranded in the former and killed a rally by getting picked off in the latter... Louisville didn't get their second hit until the 4th, by Giancarlo Stanton, and he was immediately wiped out by a 5-4-3 DP... we were assisted by some poor defense in the 5th. Gamel doubled to lead off, and when Mota smoked a grounder to second, Jesus Aguilar couldn't catch the throw from Dozier to retire him. Mesa walked on four pitches to load the bases with one out, and Cottam then reached for the third time, with his second double of the day, scoring two! That was it for Sires (4.1 IP). Guerrero followed with a sac fly to make it 4-0... Mota had a sac fly of his own in the 6th, scoring Ishihara... Quintana had problems with his pitch count today, and threw 25 pitches just in the 7th while getting 2 K and walking the other 2. Paul Goodwin had to come in to replace him... Goodwin finished the game, giving up a homer to Nick Northcut in the 9th, so no shutout but a solid win.


W: Jose Quintana (15-5) L: Matt Sires (7-6)
PotG: Jose Quintana

Love getting to throw Quintana against a team this good - makes me feel like the playoffs are gonna be different this year.

On Wednesday morning, we learned that Willie Joe Garry is finally recovered from his sprained ankle. As helpful as he was through the month of June, he'll have to wait til September to come back up after our deadline addition of Tilson. But he'll be back in Hawaii in case we need reinforcements.

Game 2 - Jack Flaherty (12-7, 3.56) vs. Joseph Charles (6-5, 3.30)
LOU: SS Rosario, 2B Dozier, 1B Aguilar, RF Stanton, C Kelly, 3B Tolbert, LF Abrams, CF Solarte, P Charles
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, CF Mesa, LF Gamel, C Cottam, 2B Maezes, P Flaherty

Charles is the Colts ace, but you wouldn't know it from looking at his W-L record. Looks like a problem of low stamina, since he hasn't finished the 7th inning in any of his starts this season, and also the fact that he missed the whole month of May through injury. He's a real kid, a 25th-round pick of the Mets this past draft from high school who didn't sign and honored his commitment to play for the Tar Heels. Nice looking pitcher - a 23-year-old who has a killer slider and can also play the outfield in a pinch (though he hasn't this year)... Flaherty had a no-decision in last Thursday's extra-inning win over Miami, throwing 6 innings and just 1 run allowed... we broke through first. Robles doubled in his first appearance, and Guerrero followed with an RBI single... Flaherty was off to a strong start, retiring the first six Colts in order... Chris Abrams was the first Louisville player to reach, leading off the 3rd with a double, but he was left on third... the next inning, though, Louisville tied the game on a series of three singles, LT Tolbert driving home Jesus Aguilar, and Aguilar homered in the 6th to make it 2-1... On cue, Charles was done after 5 innings, despite giving up 5 hits and 1 run with 9 K... Flaherty was done after the 6th, in line for an L despite another really good outing. Time for the Bees hitters to bail him out... in the 7th, our momentum really fizzled. Cottam led off with a walk against Tommy Kahnle, and Maezes came up intending to sac bunt, but Kahnle got the force at 2nd. Shirah came up as a pinch-hitter and singled, but Angel Solarte came up gunning and nabbed Maezes going first-to-third... Mota then singled after that, so we're thinking the Louisville defense cost us a run here... Bennerman, Vazquez and Young pitched clean innings each to get us to the bottom of the ninth, against All-Star closer Hidekazu Hirose. First is Cottam... who strikes out. Then Phyo, pinch-hitting for Maezes against the lefty, and that's a base hit up the middle on a 2-1 pitch. Getting there... now Tilson in the pitcher's spot... the 1-0 is right at the shortstop, who turns a 6-4-3 DP to end our night.


W: Joseph Charles (7-5) L: Jack Flaherty (12-8) S: Hidekazu Hirose (32)
PotG: Joseph Charles

Tough one. Louisville's a great pitching team, and they'll be even scarier when Yelich is healthy, so I'll be hoping to avoid them in October.

August 17-18: Bees (78-41) vs. San Antonio Marshals (53-67)
The Marshals' current losing road trip has seen them fall into last place in our division - the perfect time for them to make their first of two trips to the Hive. We've already played 4 games in their ballpark, splitting both series, and they will visit us again September 14 and 15. They just lost 3 of 4 between Chicago and Cincinnati. San Antonio has been torn apart by injury, as I've mentioned before, and things haven't really changed on that front. We're going up against the soft part of their basically AAA rotation.

Game 1 - Will Shirah (7-7, 4.92) vs. Jake Bedevian (4-10, 4.60)
SAN: 2B Malone, SS Hamilton, RF Herron, 1B Woodall, C McCann, 3B Wofford, LF Nelson, CF Cruz, P Bedevian
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, CF Mesa, LF Gamel, C Cottam, 2B Phyo, P Shirah

Can't remember a game where Shirah actually batted ninth, but it's probably fair... Bedevian has an ERA that's not too bad, but he's pitching decidedly not very well at this moment. The Marshals won his last start, but in spite of his 5 runs allowed in 3.2 innings, beating the Padres... he came over in an in-division trade with the Suns at the 2020 deadline, in a deal that also netted San Antonio their starting 1B, Kevin Woodall, both as prospects given up for Zach Petrick... Bedevian's got a couple of decent pitches but he walks everybody... Shirah is making his first start in 9 days, and I'm definitely glad he is facing this team and not the Colts, but we'll see... after two quick outs in the first, Shirah walked Jimmy Herron and Woodall hit a ball oppo taco for a 2-0 Marshals lead... true to form, Bedevian walked three Bees in the first two innings, but we didn't have a hit & couldn't make him pay... in the 4th, Will was saved by his defense. Brody Wofford hit a 2-0 pitch into the right-field corner and was thinking 3 all the way, but Robles came up firing and gunned him down. That was made even more important when the next two batters singled, and SA ended up not scoring that inning... our first hit finally came in the 4th, when Guerrero swung on 3-0 but singled to right. Ishihara then drew a long walk and Mesa crushed a ball into the Utah night, way out to left-center for a 3-run shot. 3-2 Bees! Robles came up the next inning and went deep himself to extend the lead. Shirah ultimately threw six innings, none of which were of the 1-2-3 variety, and had eight hits allowed, but managed to keep the Marshals off the board after the first. He had just as big a contribution in the bottom of the sixth. With Bedevian ceding to AJ Ramos, Gamel and Cottam were on base with one out when Will hit his 19th home run, boosting the lead to 7-2. After two more walks and a single loaded the bases, Mesa had a single off of Branden Nunn to make it 8-2, and then catcher Kyle McCann suffered the ignominy of allowing another run on a strikeout-passed ball... Shane Watson filled the game out from there, missing out on the three inning save because he was spelled by Miller in the ninth. He allowed a two-run double to Woodall in the 8th to complete the scoring.


W: Will Shirah (8-7) L: Jake Bedevian (4-11)
PotG: Kevin Woodall (I guess; he had all 4 RBI for SA, but Mesa drove in 4 for us, and Shirah had a 3 run homer and six solid innings... whatever)

Game 2 - Joey Lucchesi (12-4, 4.09) vs. Phil Coulter (0-1, 4.85)
SAN: 2B Malone, SS Hamilton, RF Herron, 1B Woodall, C McCann, 3B Wofford, LF McIlwain, CF Cruz, P Coulter
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, CF Mesa, LF Gamel, 2B Phyo, C Ackerman, P Lucchesi

Coulter is the Marshals' top prospect, and should probably be in AAA right now but isn't because of their pitching injuries. He has only pitched in 11 games this year, 5 in MLB, due to a few injuries, most notably a partially torn labrum that caused him to miss May, June and most of July. Last time out, he got knocked around by the Cubs in an 8-6 loss, his first decision at the MLB level... Lucchesi's last game was the heartbreaker against Philly on Saturday, that I'd rather not talk about any more, but that also snapped a streak of 12 straight Lucchesi starts that we had won, going back to mid-May. He's still won 8 consecutive decisions... I think we caught Coulter by surprise in the 2nd. Gamel led off with a walk, and then swiped his first bag of the season. Despite two outs following, Lucchesi smashed a hit through the right side for an RBI single... Gamel had an even more direct impact his next time up, hitting a line-drive home run, a 2-run shot scoring Mesa, to make it 3-0... Lucchesi was steady-Eddie throughout the early-mid game, scattering a few hits, with honestly not much to report on... Guerrero tacked on another run with a homer in the 5th... weird quirk of this game: the two pitchers combined to hit 5-5 in this contest, Lucchesi with 3 hits and Coulter 2 in their only trips, but aside from Joey's RBI earlier none of the hits were consequential... Lucchesi started the 7th with a walk to Wofford and allowed a double to Brandon McIlwain and that was it for him - 6 innings, 6 hits. Thanks to Sam Bennerman, he'd also be charged two runs as Fadriel Cruz hit a two-run shot to right and got the Marshals within 4-3... credit to him afterwards though, he got us through the 7th and 8th after that still at that score... Miller on for the save. McIlwain strikes out looking after fouling off four pitches... Cruz singles to left, putting the tying run on... pinch-hitter Drevian Nelson walks, and now the fans are restless. AI Mike goes to the pen now, so credit to him - Felipe Vazquez is on to face a couple of tough lefties. All is well too as he strikes out Malone and David Hamilton grounds out 3-unassisted.


W: Joey Lucchesi (13-4) L: Phil Coulter (0-2) S: Felipe Vazquez (19)
PotG: Joey Lucchesi

Nice series win, and that clinches a .500 season for the Bees this year! (It's a 160-game schedule, remember) We're the first NL team to reach that mark, and only Las Vegas in the AL has done so. The division race is pretty safe (we are 16 1/2 games ahead of Houston) so my eyes are mostly on the race for the #1 seed, in which we're up 4 1/2 games on Louisville and 5 on Buffalo. Our magic number, both to clinch the division and a playoff spot, is 23 at the moment - the Astros have the 9th best record in the NL, so they're the team to compare to in both cases.

August 19-20: Bees (80-41) vs. Omaha Thunder (53-68)
As we get down near the end of such things, Omaha is the only NL Central rival with whom we're in danger of losing the season series. They've beaten us 3 of 4 games thus far, although all of those games have been at their place. Our next four home games will actually be against the Thunder - two this weekend, then we go out on an 8-game road trip and they'll be here to greet us when we get back on the 31st.

Game 1 - rained out. We'll have to play a Sunday doubleheader, our second DH of the season.

On Sunday morning, we inked Ben Gamel to a two-year contract extension with a club option for 2026. That'll pay him $4 million per season.

Game 1 for real - Ray Gaither (3-2, 4.37) vs. Zack Wheeler (9-5, 4.49)
OMA: LF Hillman, RF Ellis, 3B Senzel, CF Witherspoon, SS Anderson, 2B LeMahieu, 1B Trejo, C Cervelli, P Wheeler
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, CF Mesa, LF Gamel, C Cottam, 2B Phyo, P Gaither

We just saw Wheeler in the last series - he pitched that Tuesday game, and gave up 5 runs over 6 innings, but beat us anyway. In the interim, he got shelled in Miami last Sunday, allowing 8 runs in an 11-0 loss (though not all were earned)... Gaither was bailed out last Sunday by the ninth-inning comeback and walkoff vs. Philadelphia... nice bit of small-ball for us in the first; Robles and Guerrero both singled, followed by a double-steal, and so Ishihara's groundout scored a run... Mota added an RBI single in the 2nd, bailing out Gaither who had popped up his sac bunt attempt... Ray had made it through two innings without allowing a hit, but Cervelli singled leading off the 3rd ahead of Adam Hillman's looong home run deep to center and way out, tying the game 2-2... following that, the Thunder loaded the bases, so Gaither labored a lot in that third despite not giving up another run... Cesar Trejo did give the Thunder the lead in the 4th with a solo shot, and Duke Ellis drove Cervelli around later to make it 4-2... Gaither was done after that 4th inning. Paul Goodwin settled things down a bit by striking out the side in the fifth... Phyo got us within 1 on a solo homer in the 6th, just his fourth home run of the year... the bullpen really did the job today, but we're using a lot of guys for the first game of a doubleheader... Goodwin two scoreless innings, Bennerman an empty frame, Vazquez an empty frame and Miller an empty frame... Ishihara led off the 8th with a double off of Cason Sherrod, went up to 3rd on Mesa's hit and scored on Cottam's sac fly, so we headed to the 9th tied at 4... in the bottom of the 9th, against Tommy Rowley, Mota led off with a walk... Luis then stole second, which ended up not mattering when Robles walked as well... Guerrero smoked an 0-1 pitch to left for a base hit... Mota chugs around third... the throw by Hillman... he's safe! Bees win!


W: Jared Miller (3-5) L: Tommy Rowley (1-3)
PotG: Adam Hillman

Love it. This is a team that's just a lot of fun to follow. (Really good news that this game didn't go to extras.) Fast-forward a few hours:

Game 2 - Jose Quintana (15-5) vs. Kaleb Hill (4-7, 4.35)
OMA: LF Hillman, RF Ellis, 3B Senzel, CF Witherspoon, SS Anderson, 2B LeMahieu, 1B Trejo, C Telis, P Hill
SLC: CF Mesa, 3B Guerrero, RF Robles, LF Shirah, 1B Ishihara, 2B Phyo, SS Mota, C Ackerman, P Quintana

This is our first time seeing Hill, a rookie who's been up and down a couple times this year. He was a 6th-round pick from Ole Miss in 2021. Looks like a future mid-rotation starter, but has a slight problem with consistency. For example, in his last five outings, he's thrown 4 quality starts and one game where he gave up seven runs in the first and left... Quintana has had to labor in his last few outings, but hasn't gotten burned really. Coincidentally, he's thrown exactly 6.2 innings in all three of his August starts, all wins... the Omaha lineup got to Q straight away. Ellis singled with one out, stole second and walked home on Senzel's RBI double... Robles tripled with 2 out in the first, but from that point, no one reached base until Mesa came up again in the third. He singled, so did Guerrero, and Robles socked another triple into the gap to score them both. Oughta stop at second and improve your shot at the cycle... Quintana worked around two fourth-inning hits... we loaded the bases with no out in the bottom of the 4th, but only got 1 home, thanks to an infield single by Aaron Ackerman, weirdly his first RBI in a Bees uniform despite hitting alright in a part-time basis... Ishihara extended the lead to 4-1 by homering in the 5th... that'd be the final inning for Kaleb Hill. 5 innings, 4 runs on 8 hits for him... Quintana really quieted down after that first-inning blip, and scattered six hits across his 7 innings... Shirah capped the scoring by homering in the 7th, a milestone 20th HR for him, and Holder/Blackwood combined to shut the door in the final innings so we didn't have to reuse any pitchers from the afternoon game.


W: Jose Quintana (16-5) L: Kaleb Hill (4-8)
PotG: Jose Quintana

Love to see a doubleheader sweep, and that caps off another excellent 5-1 week for the Bees.

Bees' Player of the Week:
SP Jose Quintana - 2-0, 13.2 IP over two starts, 9 H, 1 R, 18 K, 4 BB

On the Leaderboard:
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.: T-5th in RBI (107), 5th in hits (167), 8th in total bases (268)
Morio Ishihara: 9th in HR (30), T-5th in RBI (107), 8th in slugging (.561), 6th in OPS (.962), 6th in total bases (270)
Victor Victor Mesa: 7th in average (.339), T-2nd in triples (11)
Victor Robles: 2nd in doubles (33)
Charlie Tilson: T-2nd in triples (11)
Jose Quintana: 1st in ERA (2.41), 1st in wins (16), 1st in WAR (6.9), 1st in innings (187), 1st in CG (4), T-1st in SHO (2), 2nd in K (197), 7th in K/BB (4.3), 3rd in WHIP (1.10), 1st in FIP (2.95), 1st in QS (22)
Jack Flaherty: T-2nd in wins (13), 4th in WAR (4.0), 4th in innings (155), 6th in K/BB (4.5), 4th in BB/9 (1.8), 8th in WHIP (1.20), 2nd in QS (18)
Joey Lucchesi: T-5th in wins (12)
Jared Miller: 8th in Sv% (24/27, 89%)

Minor League Bees:
AAA Hawaii split six games on their road trip, winning a series in Yuma (Diamondbacks) and losing a series in Santa Barbara (Silver Sox). The Islanders are 70-50, 8 GB in the PCL Pacific but in second place.
AA Cedar City was 5-2, splitting a 4-game set with Flagstaff (Saguaros) but sweeping Farmington (Suns). CC is 70-56, also in second place but 13 games back.
A Burlington lost every game last week, and that streak continued to 11 before a rebound series win at Beloit (Monarques). These Bees are 67-53, 10 games back in the MWL West and in 5th place (13 team division).
The AZL Bees had another toughish week, going 3-4, including a sweep at the hands of Oklahoma, and are pretty much out of the playoff hunt.
And the PRSL Bees had a 4-3 week, but that meant getting swept by Norfolk and then winning two-game sets from Milwaukee and Boston. They're 24-30 but tied for 5th in the 10-team PRSL.

Standings:



League News:
August 15: Another 3-homer day, and it's another AL player: this time Ottawa C Shea Langeliers. Through 5 innings, he was 0-2, but homered twice as part of an 8 run sixth and then capped off the game with a 3-run shot in the 8th in a 12-0 win over the Rockies.
August 15: Also another cycle, the ninth of 2023, by Reno 3B John Valente. Valente's hits were important ones too - his 3-run shot in the 3rd gave Reno a 3-0 lead, and after the D'Backs had rallied to take a 9-4 lead, Valente's bases-clearing triple was key in a 5-run 6th that tied the game. They'd eventually win 11-9, with Valente driving in six and completing his cycle in the 8th inning.
August 19: Milwaukee's Michael Conforto becomes the first NL player with 3 HR in a game this season, driving in 5 runs in the Brewers' 7-3 win over the Beacons. More impressive given the fact that Conforto only had four plate appearances on the day.

Players of the Week:
Las Vegas RF Bryce Harper - 15-28, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 8 R
New Mexico 2B Scott Fitzgerald - 15-30, 5 HR, 9 RBI

Power Rankings:
Apparently the other top teams struggled this week, so we rocketed from 5th all the way back up to 1st place in the power rankings!
1. Salt Lake Bees (82-41)
2. Las Vegas Scorpions (85-39)
3. Monarques de Montréal (75-49)
4. Buffalo Beacons (76-47)
5. Sacramento Solons (72-52)
56. Colorado Rockies (45-79)
57. Syracuse Blizzard (51-73)
58. Arizona Diamondbacks (50-74)
59. Texas Rangers (50-74)
60. Boston Red Sox (45-79)

Next Week: Back out on the road for the last full week of August. This week we'll travel to play the Milwaukee Brewers for the first time this season, then head to Reno and El Paso.
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Old 02-18-2020, 02:07 PM   #40
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Week 22: August 21-27, 2023



Time to head out on the road. I hadn't made notice of just how gigantic our home/road splits are this year - we are 49-14 at home and 33-27 on the road! That's pretty huge, and it makes grabbing home field in the playoffs seem even more important now. Well, as we start the week here on Monday, we're 5 1/2 games up on Louisville for best record in the NL, and just 2 1/2 behind Las Vegas for the race to have home field throughout.

August 21-22: Bees (82-41) @ Milwaukee Brewers (59-65)
This is our first time seeing the Brew Crew all year - they will come to the Hive during our season-ending homestand in September. The Brewers are the only NL team that has ever won the World Series here - the Rangers, Blue Jays, Scorpions and Yankees all have titles from the AL side - and things have really slipped off since they lifted the Commissioner's Trophy in 2021. They were also our opponents in the 2019 NLCS, when we captured our only pennant. This Brewers season was characterized by a terrible start: they were 22-36 at the end of May, and have been 8 games over .500 since. Their strength is in their rotation, and we'll be seeing the top of that rotation this week.

Game 1 - Jack Flaherty (12-8, 3.54) vs. Adrian Morejon (13-3, 3.11)
SLC: CF Mesa, C Cottam, 3B Guerrero, RF Robles, 1B Ishihara, 2B Phyo, LF Gamel, SS Mota, P Flaherty
MIL: 2B Kingery, SS Swanson, LF Conforto, 3B Olivo, CF Buxton, RF Alexander, C Herbert, 1B Slaughter, P Morejon

The 24-year-old Morejon is the Brewers' ace - the 24-year-old Cuban actually started this year in the minor leagues but has arisen to become a force for this team. The Brewers have won his last eight starts, and he had won the previous seven before getting a no-decision last Tuesday in Atlanta. He hasn't lost since May... Tough-luck loss for Flaherty last time out, our only loss of the week falling at his feet on Wednesday against Louisville. He pitched well but we fell 2-1... both pitchers got through the opening innings unscathed, but Flaherty needed a high number of pitches to breach the first. An 11-pitch at bat by Michael Conforto ended in a single, but Julian Olivo then grounded into a saving double play... the scoring ice was broken in the 3rd. Scott Kingery hit his 10th home run of the year to make it 1-0... Flaherty had pitched more efficiently after the 1st, and was able to get through six innings still under 100 pitches, and having given up just the one run... we had men in scoring position in the 3rd and 4th, but finally broke through in the 5th. It was actually Flaherty who started the rally (he's a career .216 hitter, which is excellent for a pitcher). He singled, moved up on Mesa's ground ball and scored from 2nd on Cottam's single without a throw... both pitchers were replaced at the start of the 7th inning, Diego Castillo replacing Morejon, and Charlie Tilson leading off as a pinch-hitter... we stranded a man on third in that inning, but JB Wendelken was able to work around a Mota error after the stretch... Milwaukee would get their rally together in the 8th, though. With Holder pitching, Dansby Swanson led off with a hit, and with one out Guerrero made an error that allowed Olivo to reach. Byron Buxton followed with an RBI single to give the Brewers the lead, and Tom Alexander put it away with a two-run double after that. We put a man on third in the 9th, but never had the tying run at the plate and didn't score anyway.


W: Aaron Loup (4-1) L: Jonathan Holder (3-2) S: Ezequiel Nin (24)
PotG: Adrian Morejon

Well damn. Offense just didn't have it today, not too surprising with Morejon's stuff, and the fact that we were on the road and facing a lefty, our weaker side.

Game 2 - Will Shirah (8-7, 4.80) vs. David Lopez (4-10, 5.59)
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, C Cottam, LF Gamel, 2B Maezes, P Shirah, CF Tilson
MIL: 2B Kingery, SS Swanson, LF Conforto, 3B Olivo, RF Alexander, CF Buxton, C Herbert, 1B Slaughter, P Lopez

In contrast, it's been a difficult season for Lopez. The 26-year old starter hasn't finished the 5th inning in any of his last 3 starts, all losses. He was acquired by Milwaukee at last season's deadline from Reno, straight-up, for a AA infielder that retired at season's end. Whoops... Will snapped his losing skid on Thursday against the Marshals, tossing six strong... We blew a golden opportunity in the first. With two out, Guerrero walked, Ishi singled, and Cottam also walked, but Ben Gamel was fooled by a 1-2 pitch and sat down looking... Shirah got through the lineup the first time without allowing a hit, and though Kingery doubled in the third he was stranded there at second... in contrast to everything I saw with Lopez pregame, he pitched quite well. In the 4th he worked around a walk and a hit by getting Gamel to hit into a double play... Milwaukee broke through first in the 4th. Tom Alexander hit a towering fly ball that got over the right field wall for his 8th HR, and Jake Herbert matched him with his own 8th home run later. 2-0 Brewers... in the fifth, we loaded the bases up again. Mota and Robles singled ahead of Guerrero's walk, and Kole Cottam cashed in two with a double, tying the game... that'd be Lopez' final inning. 5 innings, 5 hits, 2 runs for him... Shirah got 1 out in the 6th before a walk and single forced him out as well, and Zeke Young surrendered by allowing Buxton an RBI double and Jake Slaughter an RBI single. We were still in this game, until we weren't. The 7th featured individual RBI from Olivo, Alexander, Buxton and Slaughter, and that was that. 3 runs charged to Young, and 1 to Wendelken... we stranded two men on base in both the 8th and 9th and didn't score again.


W: Aaron Loup (5-1) L: Will Shirah (8-8)
PotG: Tom Alexander

Sounds like a good time for an off day, as we travel back out west to see a couple of subpar opponents.

August 24-25: Bees (82-43) @ Reno Silver Sox (49-77)
It's a lost season for the Silver Sox, who have the worst record in the National League and have to just be hoping for a high draft pick at this point. But they're such an interesting team, with a shocking amount of star power for a team this bad. I've raved about 2B Brad Martin and RF Koshi Higuchi in the past, but their production has been equalled this year by breakout star 3B John Valente (and in fact, Valente may have passed Higuchi). Not just those three, though - they had an already MLB-ready elite-level closer fall into their laps via scouting discovery about a month ago. Israeli RHP Herzel Harris signed on during the All-Star Break and immediately started blowing it by people at about 102. A shame for Harris that nobody discovered he was an elite athlete until age 25. The rest of the pitching staff, though, is a pile o' wet garbage, ranking last in the NL in every listed stat except for HR (29th) and Ks (25th).

Game 1 - Joey Lucchesi (13-4, 4.04) vs. Keyton Gibson (1-1, 1.64)
SLC: SS Mota, 1B Ishihara, 3B Guerrero, RF Shirah, CF Mesa, LF Gamel, C Cottam, 2B Phyo, P Lucchesi
REN: LF Scott, CF Ramirez, 2B Martin, RF Higuchi, 3B Valente, 1B Wielansky, C Castillo, SS Robertson, P Gibson

Gibson is the only pitcher currently in the Reno rotation with a sub-6.00 ERA, but don't worry: he had a 6.80 in AAA before being needed to fill in at the big league level. This will be his third major league start - he beat the Suns in his debut, and had a hard-luck loss at Louisville last Saturday, so it's actually a nice beginning to his big league career, despite pretty poor minor league numbers and a less-than-glowing scouting report... Lucchesi got back on track with Friday's win over San Antonio, going 6 strong and picking up his 13th W... Gibson really had our number early, so maybe he's just feelin' it right now. Mota started us with a hit but Ishihara hit into a double play, and we only had one other hit through 3 innings... meanwhile, we faced a deficit after Reno's first two batters, getting killed by a weaker part of the lineup. Scott tripled and Raphael Ramirez hit a two-run shot, 2-0 Silver Sox... the tough meat of the lineup nearly burned us in the third, but we were bailed out by Higuchi weirdly trying to go first-to-third on a sharp single to left. Gamel has a few outfield assists this year and added another... in the 4th we finally got through. The inning started with four consecutive singles, from Ishihara through Mesa, and the next two batters each hit sacrifice flies to tie and then give us the lead 3-2... we extended the lead in the 6th. Guerrero and Mesa each walked, and both would come around to score on a Cottam single later... Valente's 29th home run got Reno within 5-3 in the 6th, but their wheels fell off pitching-wise in the 7th. Ishihara double, Guerrero IBB, Shirah RBI single, Mesa single, wild pitch, Gamel walk, pitching change, Cottam walk, Phyo walk made it 9-3, and a groundout made it 10-3. All five runs were charged to Mark Melancon, who sees his season ERA climb north of 11.00! Whoa. We had used that opportunity to pinch-hit for Joey and let him rest having squeezed into the definition of a quality start - 6 innings, 3 runs, and Shane Watson took us from there. There was only one hit for either side the rest of the game, with two outs in the 9th, and Watson picks up his first MLB save by tossing the final three.


W: Joey Lucchesi (14-4) L: Keyton Gibson (1-2) S: Shane Watson (1)
PotG: Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Coming to Reno was exactly what we needed to get back on track, it looks like. Let's see what awaits us Friday:

Jose Quintana came down with the flu today - looks like we are going to push him back from Saturday's start in El Paso to probably start Sunday instead. The Wednesday off day affords us a tiny bit of flexibility there.

Game 2 - Ray Gaither (3-2, 4.67) vs. Julian Bosnic (2-3, 6.26)
SLC: CF Mesa, C Cottam, 3B Guerrero, RF Robles, 1B Ishihara, 2B Phyo, LF Shirah, SS Mota, P Gaither
REN: LF Scott, CF Ramirez, 2B Martin, RF Higuchi, 3B Valente, 1B Wielansky, SS Robertson, C Hawkins, P Bosnic

Bosnic is a nice-looking young pitcher, but he's not ready for the bigs and has been forced into this role because the team's so bad. 23 years old, he was a 10th round pick from the University of South Carolina in 2021 & made the Opening Day roster this year in the bullpen. Transitioned to a starting role recently and has actually won his last two starts, including over the mighty Colts last week... Gaither pitched the first game of Sunday's doubleheader and put us in a rough spot by only going 4 innings, but the bullpen bailed him out and we came back and won that game... it was us getting a fast start today. Mesa and Guerrero each singled in the first, and Robles then crushed a get-me-over fastball into the left-field upper deck, 3-0 Bees... Mesa came up again in the 2nd and smashed an RBI double scoring Mota... in the bottom of the 2nd, Daniel Robertson one-upped Robles by crushing an even longer home run, way out to left-center, a two-run shot that halved our lead to 4-2... we had an unearned run come across the next inning, Guerrero scoring when John Valente dropped a soft liner hit at him by Mota... Bosnic walked Mesa to begin the 4th, and that was the end of his day. We teed off on Willie Ferrel, the new pitcher. Cottam single, Guerrero HBP, Robles 2-run double, Phyo walk to load the bases, and then a combination of a wild pitch and a Shirah single brought all three of those runners around. 10-2... Gaither threw a scoreless 4th, but needed 35 pitches to do so and had the bases loaded for a lot of that... we made a pair of errors in the 5th that handed Reno a free run. Phyo made the error allowing Ramirez to reach, and Shirah the error that allowed him to score, so it was 10-3 now just like yesterday... Gaither was done after that 5th, not his best day due to low efficiency but not an awful outing. 5 innings, 3 runs (2 earned) on 5 hits, 2 BB and 4 K. Better than Julian Bosnic's day, at least... the 7th inning was a near disaster, or maybe just a disaster. Paul Goodwin stayed in after an easy 6th, but didn't retire a man and handed Watson a bases-loaded jam. Valente doubled home all three of those runners and then scored on Robertson's double, and pinch-hitter Kiyooki Muraoka hit a long bomb that made it suddenly 10-9. Yikes... we got two much needed insurance runs in the 9th on RBIs by Mesa and Guerrero... and the soft part of the lineup came up for Miller in the 9th. He allowed an infield hit but kept them off the board.


W: Ray Gaither (4-2) L: Julian Bosnic (2-4) S: Jared Miller (25)
PotG: Victor Victor Mesa

A concerning 7th inning but a win, and a sweep. Reno is the third NL team that we can say we've swept the season series with; we already had with the Flyers and Mets. Now on to El Paso, for our final meetings of the year with West Texas.

August 26-27: Bees (84-43) @ West Texas Blackbirds (59-69)
The Blackbirds had a real hot stretch that basically began right after they left Salt Lake City the week before the All-Star Break. They won 18 of 24 and 21 of 29 after that series, and were looking like they might make a run at the .500 mark until a 6 game losing streak that started last Saturday in Charlotte. They only just snapped the skid yesterday, on the final game of their road trip in San Antonio, with a 9th-inning comeback. No secret what drives their success - it's the unexpectedly good offense. Their pitching staff would be the worst in the league if not for Reno, but they top the NL in home run hitting and are 4th overall in runs scored.

Game 1 - Jack Flaherty (12-8, 3.47) vs. Rodney Hutchison (8-9, 4.74)
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, CF Mesa, LF Gamel, C Cottam, 2B Phyo, P Flaherty
WTX: RF Prendiz, SS Alexander, CF Trout, LF Rizer, 3B Rahier, 1B Verdon, 2B Merrill, C Barraza, P Hutchison

We've faced Hutchison this year, but not as a Blackbird - he started an April game at the Hive as a member of the New York Mets and took a loss. He was part of a perplexing deadline deal, in which WTX sent their cost-controlled starting left fielder, Chad Keenan, to Queens. In 5 starts for the Blackbirds, he's 1-2 with a 6.33 ERA, but his underlying numbers look better than that... Flaherty has been horribly unlucky for the whole month of August - he has fired a quality start or better in every outing and hasn't come away with a win. Run support has been the problem - a total of 8 runs scored for us in those four games... it was a buzzing start for the Bees. Mota singled leading off, and Robles then smacked his tenth triple of the year into the right-center gap to score him. After a Guerrero walk and two quick outs, Gamel delivered with an RBI single, and Cottam doubled into the gap, scoring two more for a quick 4-0 Bees lead... West Texas would stage their own two-out rally in the first. Trout doubled and was driven in by Johnny Rizer... Cottam put two more runs on the board in the third, smacking his 21st home run to bring home Ishihara and make it 6-1. That would be Hutchison's final pitch - just 2.2 innings, with 6 runs on 7 hits for Rodney today... another two-run home run in the fourth for us, this one coming from Ishihara's bat... Jack fell apart in the fourth, and would not finish that inning. With two on and one out, Jose Barraza delivered an RBI single, which was followed by an RBI single from relief pitcher Jeff Riedel, a run-scoring groundout, and then a triple from Blaze Alexander that made it 8-5. Paul Goodwin came in to pitch and struck out Mike Trout, thankfully... in the 5th we made it three straight innings with a home run when Ben Gamel took Riedel's first pitch up and out for his 6th bomb... an unearned run for the Blackbirds in the 6th - Robles dropped what would have been an inning-ending fly ball, letting Ryan Merrill score... that was all the danger we would face, though. Holder and Young rebounded from rougher outings to pitch the final three innings, and we added three runs in the 7th/8th on RBIs by Maezes, Cottam and Phyo.


W: Paul Goodwin (2-0) L: Rodney Hutchison (8-10)
PotG: Ben Gamel (but it should have been Kole Cottam's 3 extra-base hits and 5 RBI)

Game 2 - Jose Quintana (16-5, 2.41) vs. Brian Eichhorn (3-2, 5.87)
SLC: SS Mota, RF Robles, 3B Guerrero, 1B Ishihara, CF Mesa, LF Gamel, C Cottam, 2B Phyo, P Quintana
WTX: RF Prendiz, 2B Batch, CF Trout, LF Rizer, SS Alexander, 1B Verdon, 3B Moniot, C Cerny, P Eichhorn

Eichhorn has spent his whole career with the Pirates organization, but was forced out due to roster crunch this year around the deadline. With the Pirates' stellar rotation he was an odd man out, but here he's a suddenly critical piece. Despite that, his ERA in five starts with West Texas is above 8. Last time out he didn't make it through the second inning and allowed seven runs... Quintana appears to be back to 100% after his illness earlier in the week and he's better than ever. His ERA was already league-leading when we acquired him but it's gone down half a run since, and he's picked up seven wins in eight Bees starts... Quintana did need to induce a double play in each of the first two innings to keep them scoreless, the 2nd-inning one being especially crucial since there were men on first and third... Ishihara had led off the 2nd inning with another home run, his 32nd. He'll need to pick up the pace a tad to match his 43 from last year, but that's two now in two games... Eichhorn appeared to pitch around Guerrero in the 4th, walking him on four straight, but Vlad came around to score on Mesa's RBI single making it 2-0... with one out in the 5th, Ishihara doubled and Mesa delivered another RBI single, making it 3-0... this time, Gamel followed with a homer, also his second of the series, to push the lead to 5. That's all for Eichhorn, 5.1 innings for him with 5 runs allowed... reliever Michael Byrne was very shaky, allowing two hits to Cottam and Phyo and then walking both Mota and Robles to force another run home... Quintana allowed two hits in the 7th but another ground ball double play ended the inning... we let that be all for Q, he had thrown about 100 pitches... Mike Trout had an RBI single in the 8th off of Shane Watson to break the shutout... but that was all the worry we had.


W: Jose Quintana (17-5) L: Brian Eichhorn (3-3)
PotG: Jose Quintana

Nice rebound weekend+ for us after the tough series in Milwaukee. At the very least, we do a good job taking care of business against the dregs of the league. Houston was swept over the weekend, so our magic number is all the way down to 11. We could theoretically clinch the division as soon as next Sunday, September 3rd (it'll probably take longer, we would need both Houston and New Mexico to basically lose out).

Bees' Player of the Week:
C Kole Cottam - 9-25 (.360), 5 XBH, 1 HR, 12 RBI

On the Leaderboard:
Victor Victor Mesa: 6th in average (.344), T-2nd in triples (11)
Morio Ishihara: 8th in HR (32), 5th in RBI (110), 8th in slugging (.570), 5th in OPS (.975), 7th in runs scored (102), 8th in doubles (32), 5th in total bases (289)
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.: 6th in RBI (108), T-5th in hits (174), 7th in total bases (276)
Victor Robles: 3rd in doubles (35), 6th in triples (10)
Charlie Tilson: T-2nd in triples (11)
Jose Quintana: 1st in ERA (2.32), 1st in wins (17), 1st in WAR (7.1), 1st in innings (194), 1st in CG (4), T-1st in SHO (2), 2nd in K (201), 8th in K/BB (4.3), 3rd in WHIP (1.10), 1st in FIP (2.96), 1st in QS (23)
Joey Lucchesi: T-2nd in wins (14)
Jack Flaherty: 4th in WAR (4.2), 4th in innings (164.2), 7th in K/BB (4.5), 6th in BB/9 (1.8), 9th in WHIP (1.22), 8th in FIP (3.96), 2nd in QS (19)

Minor League Bees:
AAA Hawaii split their week, sweeping Lincoln (Thunder) but being swept by Fresno (Solons). With 3 weeks left in the AAA season, the division is pretty out of reach but they do sit in a playoff spot.
AA Cedar City was 2-4, losing 3-game sets to both Pueblo (Cascades) and Farmington (Suns).
A Burlington was 1-5, losing a series to Erie (Blue Jays) and getting swept at South Bend (Cubs). It's been a terrible August for Burlington - they were really, really overpowered until all their good players were properly promoted.
The AZL Bees were also 1-5, getting swept by Las Vegas and losing two of three to Memphis.
And the PRSL Bees played an unorthodox six-game series against Norfolk and split it 3-3.

Standings:



League News:
August 23: Omaha P Destin Dotson, who started against us just a couple weeks ago, is done for the year with a torn back muscle. Ultimately, more than a third of his MLB innings on the year came against us in that game (4.1 of 12).
August 23: One of the games of the year comes on a meaningless August night in Minneapolis. The Twins and Royals, both basically out of it, were playing a doubleheader. The first game was exciting, a 2-1 Twins win that was in doubt the whole afternoon, but it was the nightcap that got everyone's attention. KC raced out to a 5-0 lead thanks in part to a 3-run shot from CF Clint Frazier, but Minnesota responded with 5 in the third to tie, and 4 in the fourth to take a 9-5 lead. Kansas City chipped away at the game throughout, eventually tying it 9-9 in the 7th, and they went to extras at that score. After a quiet 10th and 11th innings, the Royals exploded for 7 runs in the top of the 12th, with all the fans headed for the exits. As part of that, Matt Chapman had a bases-clearing double and Didi Gregorius a 3-run home run. But Minnesota's first 5 men reached in the bottom half, including on a wild-pitch strikeout, and it was suddenly 16-12 with the tying run on deck. The Royals would only get 1 out in the inning, and it was death by a thousand cuts from there - walk, walk, single, single, game-tying walk, walk-off single. 17-16!
August 25: Giants 1B Adam Lind announced that this will be his last season. Lind has been around in this save, having played 3 1/2 years for the Solons but splitting the remaining 2 1/2 between the Mets, Indians, Yankees, Nationals and Giants.
August 26: Rangers LF Tommy Pham is done for the year, and doubtful for the beginning of next season with a torn labrum. He was pretty awful this season, barely above replacement level, but was really good in 2022 and under contract for one more year in Arlington.

Players of the Week:
Ottawa CF Franchy Cordero - 10-21, 3 HR, 13 RBI
New Mexico LF Jonny DeLuca - 17-32, 2 HR, 6 RBI

Power Rankings:
Finishing the week strong allowed us to just stay on top - still in 1st!
1. Salt Lake Bees (86-43)
2. Las Vegas Scorpions (89-41)
3. Ottawa Lynx (83-47)
4. Buffalo Beacons (81-48)
5. Oklahoma Oilers (77-53)
56. Portland Beavers (58-72)
57. Texas Rangers (53-77)
58. Reno Silver Sox (50-80)
59. Colorado Rockies (47-83)
60. Boston Red Sox (47-83)

Next Week: we finish out this road trip in Memphis, then return home to play the Thunder and Dodgers.
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