Saturday, November 10, 2007

Aussies victorious again, Team USA stumbles

Luke Hughes

Usa 2 at Italy 6

WP: D'Angelo (1-0) LP: Outman (0-1) SAVE:Maestri (1)
HR: USA: Ruggiano

In what was probably one of the biggest upsets of the tournament, Team Usa fell to the underdog Italians, 6-2.

Former Clearwater Thresher Josh Outman (Philadelphia) got off to a slow start, walking the first two batters he faced, but double play and a strike out kept Team Italy of the board in the first inning. It would be a different story in the second inning though as back-to-back singles put runners in the corners. When Leonardo Zileri knocked a grounder to short, it looked like an easy out, but Brian Bixler (Pittsbugh) booted the ball which went a runner of the plate for Team Italy. A pair of singles later, Italy would take a 3-0 lead.

Team USA came back in the top of the third with Justin Ruggiano (Tampa) hitting for his first home run of the tournament. Colby Rasmus (St. Louis) doubled, and Jayson Nix (Colorado) would be hit by a pitch to get on base. Adam LaRoche (Dodgers) then doubled to bring in Rasmus, but Team USA came up one run short and could not tie the game.

Bixler's second error of the game, combined with a bad pick off attempt by southpaw Jerry Blevins (Oakland) lead to 2 unearned runs when Steven Shell (LA Angels) gave up back to back hits to Maximilliano Di Blaise and Mario Chinini in relief. Italy would exit the inning with a 6-2 lead and the Americans could find no offense through the rest of the contest.

Outman would work 3 innings, allowing three runs (none earned) on 5 hits and 2 walks while striking out 2. Shell pitched through 3.2 innings, allowing only 1 earned run on 2 hits while striking out 3.

Team USA takes on Team Japan on Saturday. In other group A action, South Africa defeated Spain, 7-4, Chinese Taipei took out Japan, 6-1, and Panama defeated Mexico 3-2.

Baseball USA

Venezuela 4 at Australia 7

WP: Wiltshire (1-0) LP: Artega (0-1)
HR: Aus: T. Brice

Team Australia continued to roll, taking a 7-4 win over Venezuela in Group B play. Former Miracle Josh Hill (Minnesota) took the start for the boys from down under, giving up 4 earned runs on 4 hits and 4 walks while striking out 4 in 3 innings worth of work. Glenn Williams (Minnesota) was 2-for-4 with a walk and Luke Hughes (Minnesota) was 1-for-2 with 3 RBIs.

Hill struggled with his fast ball, hitting Luis Alen with a pitch to start the 2nd inning then advancing him to 2nd on a wild pitch. After getting Saul Torres to strike out, Hill then walked Jean Centeno. Following a Jose Aponte fly out, Hill issued another walk, this time to Dirimo Chavez to load the bases. Liu Rodriguez drove a 2-1 pitch deep into right centerfield for a 3-run triple, then came home on Lino Connell's single for the 4-0 lead.

Back-to-back doubles by Brett Roneberg (Independant) and Tom Brice (Independant) got Team Australia on the board in the fourth. Williams hit a double start off the sixth then came home on a throwing error by Chavez to cut the Venezuelan lead in half. Brice's single-shot home run gave the Aussies another point.

Another former Thresher, Brad Harman (Philadelphia), hit a double to start off the 7th and then came in when Justin Huber (Kansas City) hit a double to tie up the game.

In the 11th inning, Roneberg lead off with a double. With one out, Mathew Kent (Independant) was intentionally walked. New Britain's Luke Hughes (Minnesota), who came into the game as a late inning defensive replacement, then crushed a 2-0 pitch over the left field bleachers to give the Aussies their second consectutive walk off win.

Trent Oeltjen (Minnesota) continued his offensive onslaught, going 3-for-4 at the plate with a walk, but he did not figure into any of the scoring.

Former Miracle Tristan Crawford (Minnesota) pitched part of the 8th inning for the Aussies, walking Jose Labraton.

In other Group B play, Team Korea took a 18-2 mercy rule win over Thailand, Cuba defeated Team Canada 6-3, and Team Netherlands fell Team Germany 15-5.

Tom Stuifbergen's brother Nick pitched 2 innings for the Netherlands, giving up 1 earned run on 2 hits and 1 walk while striking out 2.

Aussie play-by-play
Baseball Australia

Macri helps Dogs defeat Solar Sox

Matt Macri

Mesa 5 at Phoenix 6 (10 innings)

W: B. McCrory (2-1, 1.64); L: C. Reineke (0-2, 4.26)
HR: PDD: N. Reimold (5).

The Mesa Solar Sox blew a 4 run lead, allowing the Phoenix Desert Dogs to get back into the game, tie the contest up in the 9th and win it extra innings.

With 1 out in the 9th, Nyjer Morgan (Pittsburgh) doubled, then crossed the plate on a Nolan Reimold (Baltimore) single to even the score. Reimold would make it to 3rd, but was left stranded when Jeff Baisley (Oakland) ground into a double play.

Matt Macri (Minnesota) doubled off Chad Reineke (Houston) in the 10th, moved to 3rd on a Chris Getz (Chicago White Sox) gound out and crossed the plate for the game winner when Reineke unleashed a wild pitch.

The Solar Sox had taken control of the game early, when Matt LaPorta (Milwaukee) doubled in the top of the 2nd, then scored on a Mitch Einertson (Houston) single.

With 2 outs in the 3rd, Joe Simokaitis (Chicago Cubs) doubled and Jed Lowrie (Boston) walked. The pair would come home on LaPorta's second double of the game, both coming off Phoenix starter Hayden Penn (Baltimore).

Penn would be replaced by James Simmons (Oakland) in the 5th, who allowed a double to Adam Heether (Milwaukee), who then moved to 3rd on Sam Fuld's (Chicago Cubs) single. Simokaitis ground into a double play, but Heether crossed the plate, giving the Solar Sox a 4-0 lead.

The Dogs would start their comeback in the bottom of the inning when Cliff Pennington (Oakland) doubled, then stole 3rd base. Reimold would go yard over the left center field wall to cut Mesa's lead in half.

In the bottom of the sixth, Macri would draw a walk with 1 out. Getz double plated him, making it 4-3 Mesa.

But the Sox found themselves some breathing room in the top of the 7th, when Heether singled and advanced to 2nd on a throwing error by Reimold. Fuld singled him in with a ground ball to left. He'd advance to 3rd on Donny Lucy's (Chicago White Sox) throwing error, but was left stranded with Simokaitis ground out.

Andrew McCutchen (Pittsburgh) hit a ground-rule double in bottom of the 8th, then crossed the plate on Macri's fly ball single to cut the Sox lead to one, setting the stage for the 9th and 10th inning heroics.

Macri, the only Minnesota prospect in the game, was 2-for-3 with 2 runs, 2 walks, a double and an RBI.

The Brewers LaPorta split last season between the Pioneer and Sally Leagues. The former Gator outfielder from Gaineville, Floria, will likely start next season with Brevard County of the Florida State League. While he's likely a shoe in for the FSL top prospect set, I'd imagine he won't stay in Melbourne long enough to be there when Spacecoast Stadium hosts the FSL All-Star game.

The Desert Dogs finish off their week at home Saturday against the Peoria Saguaros for a 12:35 MST game.


So Long Sarasota

Reds Man Running A $16 million bond referendum to help fund a $45 million plan to rebuild Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota failed Tuesday's vote by a narrow margin. With goes any long term plans for the Cincinnati Reds to continue on in Sarasota.

The Reds hold a lease on the Stadium through the 2008 season, and have signed a year-to-year deal to extend it three more years while they search for a new home.

The Cleveland Indians recently agreed to leave Orlando for Goodyear, Arizona. That is one of the cities in line for the Reds as well, as it tries to lock up the monopoly on Ohio Spring Training fans.

Lee County, Orlando and Vero Beach have also been tossed around as possible new homes for the Reds.

Vero Beach is currently housing the Tampa Devil Rays FSL affiliate, but plans appear to be in place to move the team to Charlotte County once the renovations on the Charlotte County stadium are completed.

The Reds had received a promise of $15 mil from the state if they could receive matching funds from locally, but with defeat of the referendum that deal becomes void. It's possible however that the State will agree to match funds for a diffrent location in the state of Florida.

Locations in Bonita Springs and Cape Coral have both been talked about previously as potential locations for a new spring training facility. However as of Thursday, Jeff Maultsby, director of Florida operations for the Reds, has said nothing has been done in terms of a search for a new home.

"We'll get moving here in the next couple days," Maultsby was quoted as saying in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

"It's like a blank canvas, which is kind of exciting," said John Allen, the Reds' executive vice president and chief operating officer, in the same publication. "We can look at a lot of different options."

The fate of Ed Smith Stadium is also up in the air. While the city will save money on the stadium operations, they will not be able to make up the revenue they receive from the Reds being in town. The void in the budget is estimated to be as high as $1.3 million per year.

The Herald Tribune noted that the city gets about $20 mil from a Reds Spring training game, with multiple dates available, vs. $7,000 from the Sarasota Blues Festival, an annual activity.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Phoenix error gives Solar Sox 5-3 win

Steve Hammond

Phoenix 3 at Mesa 5

W: L. Holdzkom (1-0, 6.23); L: J. Chavez (1-2, 6.55); SV: J. Motte (1)
HR: PDD: C. Pennington (1). MSS: M. LaPorta (5).

The Mesa Solar Sox took 3 runs off Jesse Chavez (Pittsburgh) to overcome the Phoenix Desert Dogs in route to a 5-3 victory at Mesa HoHoKam Park. The game winning run was unearned, as Chicago Cubs' farmhand Josh Lansford reached on a fielding error by Phoenix shortstop Blake Davis (Baltimore).

Nyjer Morgan (Pittsburgh) greeted Mesa starter Steve Hammond (Milwaukee) with a single before Cliff Pennington (Oakland) blasted a ball over the left field wall to give the Dogs a 2 run lead. Ryan Sweeney (Chicago White Sox) would be called out on strikes before Jeff Baisley (Oakland) doubled. Matt Macri's (Minnesota) fly ball single to center field would plate Baisley after Andrew McCutchen (Pittsburgh) lined out. Trevor Plouffe (Minnesota) would ground out to end the inning.

Sam Fuld (Chicago Cubs) started off the bottom of the inning by hitting a double off former Miracle Ryan Mullins (Minnesota). Following a pair of ground outs, Matt LaPorta (Milwaukee) hit a home run to cut the Dog's lead to 1.

The game would stay that way with Hammond working 4 innings, allowing the 3 first inning runs off 4 hits and 2 walks while striking out 3. Mullins would work 4 innings as well, allowing the 2 runs on 4 hits and 1 walk while striking out 3.

Jake Arrieta (Baltimore) and Eddie Morlan (Minnesota) would each work a scoreless inning for the Dogs before Chevez got onto the mound.

Mitch Einertson (Houston) singled to start out, and was followed by a Lou Palimisano (Milwaukee) fly out. Langford then reached on Davis' error which moved Einertson to 3rd to Lansford to 2nd. Amaury Marti (St Louis) plated Einertson to tie the game, and a Tommy Manzella (Houston) single brought Lansford home for the game winning run. Fuld singled to load the bases and then Chavez walked Jarrett Hoffpauir (St Louis) to force Marti over the plate, giving Mesa an insurance marker.

The Dogs only got 2 hits off the Solar Sox relief team of Dave Johnson (Milwaukee), Lincoln Holdzkom (Boston), Josh Muecke (Houston) and Jason Mott (St. Louis).

Morlan allowed 1 hit and struck out 1 during his inning on the mound. Macri would finish up 2-for-4 at the plate with 1 RBI, Plouffe would be 0-for-1 being replaced by Davis in the bottom of the 2nd inning. Catcher Drew Butera (Minnesota) was 0-for-3 batting at the bottom of the order.

The two teams rematch at Phoenix Municipal Stadium on Friday at 12:35 PM, MST. Mesa now trails the Dogs by 3 games in the AFL East Division standings. The Dogs host the Peoria Saguaros on Saturday for a 12:35 game before taking Sunday off.

The Saguaros defeated Scottsdale 9-1 Thursday with former Clearwater Thresher Greg Golson (Philadelphia) going yard for Peoria. Philadelphia's Pat Overholt picked up the win, allowing 2 hits and striking out 3 in 4 innings.

Surprise continued their dominance in the West Division, defeating the Peoria Javelinas 5-2. Chris Lubanski (Kansas City) hit a blast off Colorado's Sean Thompson for the Rafters. Matt Harrison (Texas) allowed 1 hit and 2 walks while striking out 5 in four innings for his fifth win of the season.


Tigres fall to Navegantes, 3-2

Marcos Vechionacci

Magallanes 3 at Aragua 2

W: J. Pulido (2-0, 1.10); L: C. Bailey (1-4, 4.18); SV: I. Maldonado (4)
HR: MAG: L. Scott (3).

Los Tigres de Aragua could not hold an early lead against los Navegantes del Magailanes, falling 3-2 on Friday in Venezuelan Winter League play.

Ronny Cedeno (Chicago Cubs) singled in the first, moved to 2nd on a Luis Maza (LA Dodgers) ground out, then came home on a Hector Gimenez (Houston) single to put the Cats on the board.

Aragua starter Cory Bailey (Chicago Cubs) surrendered back-to-back singles to Richard Paz (F/A) and Marcos Vechionacci (NY Yankees), which hurt when Luke Scott (Houston) doubled the pair in, to make it 2-1 Navegantes.

Scott homered in the 8th off former Miracle Jose Mijares (Minnesota) for the insurance point, which Magailanes would need.

Alex Romero (Arizona) would make to 3rd base with 1 out in the 8th, but was left stranded when Maza and Gimenez were called out one strikes.

Mike Aviles (Kansas City) singled to start off the ninth, then moved to second when Ivan Maldanado (F/A) unleashed a wild pitch. Raul Chavez (NY Yankees) would fly out, but Jesus Feliciano (NY Mets) doubled Aviles in. Unfortuantely, the two Romeros - Willie, a Free Agent, and Alex - flew out and poped out stranding Feliciano and ending the game with the Cats at a deficit.

Aragua trails Caribes by 5 games in the standings, they will host the Caribes on Saturday at 5:30 PM AST, before attempting to get revenge on Magallanes on Sunday for a 5:30 PM game to finish up the Week Feline.


I was sort of chuckling at the Mirale baseball site today, the poll of which reads "Now that Baseball's done until do kill time in the off-season?" Given that I'm writing 2 to 3 game reports a day, I guess I wasn't sure that baseball had ended, and the last I checked, I'm good until at least the end of the December, although we do slow down after the Arizona Fall League and IBaF World Cup finish up this month.

Granted, following the few prospects we've got in the Venezuelan Winter League seems a bit of stretch at times, it is sort of nice to see how some of our old Miracle players are fairing. And it sort of beats jumping every trade rumor - most of which are shot down before they even get started - that the other Twins bloggers are spending time on.

As Dirty says "Well, it keeps you busy." Not that De San needs to worry about what I'm keeping myself busy with. Speaking of which Allen, why aren't you busy in Chinese Taipei? I thought you were the very best catcher in the whole wide world?

Tigers crush Eagles, 13-1

Brian Bass
Photo courtesy of los Tigres de Aragua

Aragua 13 at Zulia 1

W: B. Bass (3-1, 2.22); L: V. Nunez (0-3, 3.65)
HR: ARA: R. Cedeno (1).

Brian Bass (Minnesota) allowed 1 run on 3 hits and 1 walk while striking out 3 over 5 innings, and los Tigres de Aragua responded with 20 hits, to crush los Aguilas de Zulia, 13-1.

Zulia's only run came in the bottom of the 4th inning when Gerardo Parra (Arizona) singled, moved to 2nd on Pete Orr's (Atlanta) ground out and was plated by Carlos Gonzalez (Arizona) fly ball single.

The Tigres on the other hand, wasted no time getting on the board as Ronny Cedeno (Chicago Cubs) homered off Zulia starter Vladimir Nunez (Chicago White Sox). Aragua was not happy with that though, as with 1 out, Luis Maza (LA Dodgers) drew a walk, moved to second on Hector Gimenez's (Houston) single and scored on Mike Aviles (Kansas City) fly ball single to right.

They tacked on 2 more in the 2nd inning when Willie Romero (F/A) doubled and was followed onto base by Jesus Feliciano (NY Mets), who singled. After Alex Delgado (F/A) was taken out on strikes, a fielding error by Zulia's Orr allowed Cedeno to reach and Romero to score. Luis Rodriguez (San Diego) single brought in Feliciano, making it 4-0 Tigres.

Willie Romero doubled again in the top of the 4th, moved to 3rd on a Feliciano single and scored when Delgado hit into a double play.

The top of the fifth saw Maza double off Albert Vargas (F/A). He swapped placed with Gimenez, who then moved to 3rd on Aviles ground out. An Alex Romero (Arizona) sac-fly plated Gimenez.

Zulia turned to Yoann Torrealba (F/A) to stop the bleeding, but Delgado doubled and Cedeno was hit by a pitch. A walk to Rodriguez loaded the bags. Maza would single in Delgado before Leonardo Martinez (Oakland) was brought to the mound. He did get Gimenez to pop out before walking Aviles to force in a run. Zulia then trotted out Sarasota native James Morrison (F/A), while Jose Martinez (St Louis) came into the game for Aragua to pinch hit for Alex Romero. Martinez ground into a force out which saw Rodriguez out at home, but the bags stayed loaded. Willie Romero then singled to bring in Maza and Aviles, before Feliciano would line out to end the inning.

A run by Cedeno in the 7ths and Feliciano in the 9th finished off the scoring for the Tigres.

Frank Mata (Minnesota) worked 2 innings of relief for Aragua, allowing 1 hit and 2 walks while striking out 1.

Rodriguez was 2-for-4 with 2 RBIs in the contest, Maza was 2-for-4 with 1 walk, 3 runs and 1 RBI and Alex Romero was 0-for-2 with 1 RBI.

Aragua hosts los Navegantes del Magallenas on Friday at 7:30 PM AST and the league leading Caribes de Anzoategui on Saturday at 5:30 PM AST.

Cory Bailey (Chicago Cubs, 5-3, 2.86 ERA) will take the start for Aragua against Juan Pulido (F/A, 1-0, .93 ERA).


Thursday, November 8, 2007

Tigres stay in win column

Tigres celebrate a win
Photo courtesy of los Tigres de Aragua

Aragua 2 at Zulia 1

W: J. Karnuth (1-0, 0.00); L: J. Figueroa (1-2, 3.86); SV: F. Butto (3)
HR: None.

Los Tigres de Arague scratched out a win against the Aguilas de Zulia Wednesday. The Tigres would be kept off the board until the 7th inning and would not find the game winning run until the 8th, rallying past the Eagles for the win.

Yurendell de Caster (Pittsburgh) singled in the bottom of the 5th inning for Zulia, moved to second on a walk to Randy Ruiz (San Francisco) and progressed to 3rd when Gerardo Avila (Seattle) hit into a double play. Alberto Callaspo's (Arizona) single brought de Caster over the plate to give los Aguilas the lead.

Hector Gimenez (Houston) drew a walk in the top of the 7th for the Tigres. Alex Nunez (F/A) doubled out to center and Alex Romero (Arizona) was intentionally walked. A sac-fly by Jose Martinez (St Louis) brought in Gimenez to tie up the constest.

Ronny Cedeno (Chicago Cubs) doubled to start out the top of the 8th. Luis Rodriguez (San Diego) hit into a sac-bunt, but a throwing error by catcher Guillermo Rodriguez (San Francisco) allowed Cedeno to come home for the game winning run.

Former Miracle Oswaldo Sosa (Minnesota) pitched .1 inning for the Tigers, walking a man and striking out another. Bobby Koreckey (Minnesota) and Jose Mijares (Minnesota) also pitched .1 inning each, with Korecky allowing a walk.

Rodriguez would be 0-for-2 in the game with a walk, Luis Maza (LA Dodgers) as 0-for-4, and Romero was 1-for-1 with a double and a walk.

The two teams rematch tonight at 7:30 PM AST.

Former Miracle pitcher Henry Bonilla (LA Angels) will be joining the Tigres on November 11th Aragua announced in a press release. Bonilla spent parts of the 2002 and 2003 seasons in Fort Myers, and played in the Twins organization from 2000 to 2006. Last season he posted a 5.78 ERA with a 12-8 record in 165 innings pitched (29 games) for the Salt Lake Bees of the Pacific Coast League.


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Dogs take revenge on Scorpions

Anthony Swarzak

Phoenix 6 at Scottsdale 5

W: A. Swarzak (1-0, 1.59); L: M. Prochaska (2-2, 8.47); SV: B. McCrory (5)
HR: PDD: N. Morgan (1). SCO: R. Patterson (2).

Minnesota's Anthony Swarzak pitched 4 innings of 3 hit baseball, allowing 1 unearned run and striking out 1 to help the Phoenix Desert Dogs back into the win column against the Scottsdale Scorpions on Wednesday.

The unearned run came when Manny Burriss (San Francisco) hit a soft ground ball to shortstop Blake Davis (Baltimore), who overthrew first and put the ball into the dugout. That allowed Burriss to advance to 2nd. Aaron Cunningham (Arizona) then singled out to left, and a fielding error by Njyer Morgan (Pittsburgh) allowed Burriss to score. With 1 out, Snider would steal second, but Swarzak got Caleb Stewart (NY Mets) to fly out and Mike Carp (NY Mets) to ground out to end the inning.

Morgan, at least, made up for his error in the 3rd. After Chris Getz (Chicago White Sox) and Raul Padron (Oakland) had singled their way onto base, Morgan hit an in-the-park home run to center field, giving the Dogs 3.

Phoenx added 2 more in the top of the 5th after Scorpions' starter Mike Prochaska (Tampa Bay) hit Morgan with a pitch, he'd then steal 2nd and with one out, came home on Ryan Sweeney's (Chicago White Sox) ground ball to center. That would do it for Prochaska, who was replaced by Nick DeBarr (Tampa Bay). Sweeney stole 2nd, and then scored on Jason Delaney's (Pittsburgh) line drive. Andrew McCutchen (Pittsburgh) would reach on a fielding attempt, and Matt Macri (Minnesota) would walk to load the bases, but Getz flew out and Padron ground out to end the inning.

Former Dunedin center fielder Ryan Patterson (Toronto) homered in the bottom of the fifth for Scottsdale off reliever David Haehnel (Baltimore).

Scottsdale make an effort to get back into the game in the 5th, with Adam Russell (Chicago White Sox) on the mound. Cunningham would walk to lead off, and Snider's grounder deflected off Macri to roll out into left field, moving him to 3rd. Stewart would strike out swinging, but Carp would reach on a force attempt that saw Cunningham score. Davis committed his second error of the game, when he missed the catch on the play. Sergio Santos (Toronto) then plated Snider before Patterson stuck out and Mike Nickeas (NY Mets) flew out to end the inning.

The Dogs threatened in the 8th when Donny Lucy (Chicago White Sox) made it to 3rd base, but Ricky Romero (Toronto) got Nolan Reimold (Baltimoer) to fly out to end retire the side. It wouldn't be until the 9th inning with Carlos Muniz (NY Mets) on the mound, that Sweeney would single his way onto first, then steal 2nd. Delaney moved him to 3rd on a fly out, and McCutchen and Macri would both walk to load the bases. Getz's force out plated Sweeney for what would prove the game winning run.

Scottsdale threatended in the 9th when Reid Brignac (Tampa Bay) doubled off Bob McCrory (Baltimore), moved to 3rd on Burriss' single to short and came home on a Cunningham sac-fly. But Snider and Stewart both hit into ground outs to end the game. The win puts SCottdale back 4.5 games in the East Divsion, they had made up some ground when they defeated the Dogs on Tuesday. Mesa remains in second place, 4 game back with 7 games left to play.

Phoenix takes on the Solar Sox at Mesa, Thursday at 7:05 PM, MST, and again on Friday at the Phoenix Municipal Stadium at 12:35 PM. Mesa fell to the AFL West Divsion leading Surprise Rafters Wednesday, 7-4. Mike Aubrey (Cleveland), Kila Kaaihue (Kansas City), Taylor Teagarden (Texas) and Brad Snider (Cleveland) all hit home runs for the Rafters. Sarasota native Tim Dillard (Milwaukee) gave up 2 in .2 innings worth of work.

Peoria Saguaros picked up a 6-2 win over the Peoria Javelina's Wednesday at the Peoria Sports Complex. Detroit's Scott Sizemore was 2-for-5 in the game with 1 run and 1 RBI, while Jeff Larish, who played for Lakeland in 2006, was 2-for-4 with 1 RBI. San Diego's Will Venable went yard for the Saguaros off Colorado's Ching Lung Lo.

The top teams in each division meet for the AFL Championship game on November 17th.


Scorpions sting Dogs, 1-0

Nick Blackburn
Nick Blackburn

Scottsdale 1 at Phoenix 0

W: E. Meek (1-0, 1.04); L: D. Davidson (0-1, 1.17); SV: B. Anderson (3)
HR: None.

Scottsdale pitching stung the PHoenix offense to sleep Tuesday as the Scorpions shut out the Dogs, 1-0.

Both teams were held to 7 hits each.

Nick Blackburn (Minnesota) started for the Desert Dogs and held the Scorpions to 4 hits, while striking out 3 over 4 innings. He dropped his ERA to 1.59 in the process.

However his performance was matched by Scorpion starter Adam Bostick (NY Mets), how allowed 5 hits and 2 walks while striking out 3 over 5 innings.

The game would stay scoreless until the 8th inning with neither team seemingly able to get past 2nd base. Phoenix catcher Donny Lucy (Chicago White Sox) made it to 3rd in the 5th inning after doubling off Bostick, but Cliff Pennington (Oakland) hit into a double play to end the inning.

With one out in the top of the 8th, Wilkin Castillo (Arizona) doubled off Pittsburgh's David Davidson. Manny Burriss (San Francisco) hit a soft fly ball to center that allowed Castillo enough time to get over the plate to give the Scorpions their sole run.

Lucy would end up stranded on 2nd in the bottom of the inning while Brian Anderson (San Francisco) allowed a single to Andrew McCutchen (Pittsburgh) in the 9th, but took out Jason Delaney (Pittsburgh), Jeff Baisley (Oakland) and Matt Macri (Minnesota) all on fly balls to end the contest.

Macri would go 0-for-4 in the contest. McCutchen was 3-for-4 and Lucy 2-for-3 with Chris Getz (Chicago White Sox) and Nyjer Morgan (Pittsburgh) getting the other 2 Dog hits.

The two teams rematch Wednesday at 7:05 PM in Scottsdale.

In other AFL action, the Surprise Rafters took a 5-2 victory over the Mesa Solar Sox. Michael Aubrey (Cleveland) was 3-for-4 with 1 run and 1 RBI for Surprise, and Elvis Andrus (Texas) and Sean Rodriguez (LA Angels) had 2 hits each in the game. Former Sarasoa Red Ben Jukich (Cincinnati) worked 4 innings for the Rafters, allowing 1 run on 3 hits and 2 walks while striking out 1.


Blackburn named AFL Pitcher of the Week: Former Miracle Nick Blackburn made just one start during the week of Oct. 29 to Nov. 3, but it was a beauty. On Tuesday, the 25-year-old Minnesota Twins farmhand faced off against the Surprise Rafters and allowed just one hit over four shutout innings while striking out five. He earned the win in the contest, his third victory in as many appearances.

Blackburn's magnificent effort against Surprise was, in fact, no surprise, as the Oklahoma native has tossed 11 scoreless innings over his past three outings. Overall, he is 3-0 with a 2.08 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 13 innings pitched, and opponents are hitting a paltry .163 against him. Blackburn split the 2007 campaign between Double-A New Britain and Triple-A Rochester, and made his Major League debut with the Twins on Sept. 3.

Tigres slip by Cardenales, 7-6

Vs. Lara
Raul Chavez/photo courtesy of los Tigres de Aragua

Lara 6 at Aragua 7

W: V. Moreno (2-0, 2.30); L: R. Rowland-Smith (2-2, 4.30); SV: K. Tolar (1)
HR: LAR: C. Jimerson (2).

Los Tigres de Aragua started out its fourth "week feline" with a win over the los Cardenales de Lara at home.

Former Miracle righty Victor Moreno (Baltimore) picked up the win for the Cats, who improve to 10-11 in the 2007 Venezeulan Winter League season.

Lara got on the board first when Luis Ugueto (F/A) took a triple off Aragua starter Kyle Middleton (Houston) with one out. Robert Perez (F/A) doubled him in, then came home on Selwyn Langaigne's (F/A) grounder to right field. Middleton would hit Wiki Gonzalez (Chicago White Sox) with a pitch, but got Carlton Jimerson (Seattle) to strike out to retire the side.

Aragua took the runs back though off Ryan Rowland-Smith (Seattle) in the bottom of the inning. Luis Rodriguez (San Diego) drew a walk with 1 out, followed by a Luis Maza (LA Dodgers) single to center. A fielding error by Wladimir Balentien (Seattle) gave them extra bases. Mike Aviles (Kansas City) would strike out and Hector Gimenez (Houston) would walk to load the bases. A pick off attempt went awry when Rowland-Smith overthrew the base, allowing Rodriguez and Maza to score, tying up the game. Raul Chavez's (NY Yankees) single brought in Gimenez, who'd gone to second on the pickoff attempt. Willie Romero (F/A) would hit into a force out to end the inning.

Things kept hopping for the Cats in the 4th, when Jose Martinez (St Louis) got hit by a pitch to start off the inning. Cedeno ground into a force out, but then stole 2nd base. A fielding error by Carlos Mendoza (NY Yankees) allowed Rodriguez onto base and a single by Maza loaded the bags. Aviles singled to bring in Cedeno; Rodriguez didn't quite make it however, and was taken out at the plate. Giminez would single to again load the bags, and the Cardenales called for a pitching change bringing in Yovany D'Amico (Kansas City). Chavez's single scored Maza and Aviles before Gimenez would be taken out at 3rd on the throw.

Ugueto singled for Lara to start out the fifth. Perez would strike out, but Balentien doubled, moving Ugueto to 3d. Jose Mijares (Minnesota) would be brought in to replace Middleton. The lefty, who is being used as a specialist by the Tigres, threw to only one batter, hitting Selwyn Langaigne (F/A) with a pitch. Moreno would take over the mound, allowing a singled to Gonzalez that brought in Ugueto and Balentien. He'd get Jimerson to hit into a double play though to end the inning.

Romero would cross the plate for the Cats' 7th run of the game, scoring on a Rodriguez single. Los Tigres would get nothing further off D'Amico however, and a pair of Seattle prospects, Renee Cortez and Scott Patterson, would combine to keep the Cats' bats silent for the rest of the game.

The Cardenales made a bid to tie up the game in the top of the 8th. With Jose Guanchez (F/A) on the mound, Langaigne singled out to right. Bobby Korecky (Minnesota) would be brought into the game to replace Guanchez, and get Gonzalez to hit into a force out. He would then give up a home run to Jimerson, giving Lara 2 more, but a line out by Eduardo Rios (F/A) and a ground out by Mendoza stopped the red birds' rally.

Kevin Tolar (F/A) would pitch the 9th for the Tigres, giving up a single to Ugueto, but getting pinch hitter Edwar Gonzalez (NY Yankees) out on strikes and Perez and Balentien to hit into force outs to end the game.

Korecky would be charged for 1 run on 1 hit in 1 innings worth of work. Moreno, who allowed inherited runners to score, showed 1 hit and 3 strike outs over 2.2 innings worth of work.

The Tigres take on Zulia during a pair of road games Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 PM AST.


Former Miracle outfield Torii Hunter was awarded his 7th straight Rawlings Golden Glove by Major League Baseball Tuesday. Pitcher Johan Santana also earned the award for the Twins. He is only the second Twins pitcher to have ever won the ward. Jim Kaat won 11 Golden Gloves in 11 season, from 1962 to 1972.

Hunter is seeking to test the free agent market this winter, some rumors have circulated that the Chicago White Sox are showing an interest in the 32-year-old outfielder. Rumors are also swirling regarding Santana, although Twins General Manager Bill Smith as indicaeed he'd like to retain the services of the 28-year old lefty for the upcoming season.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Dogs continue to dominate Javelinas

Eddie Morlan
Minnesota's Eddie Morland

Phoenix 6 at Peo Javelinas 2

W: J. Egbert (1-0, 3.77); L: G. Mock (0-1, 2.95)
HR: None.

Trevor Plouffe (Minnesota) when 2-for-3 with 1 walk, 2 runs and 1 RBI for the Phoenix Desert Dogs which continued their dominence over the Peoria Javelina's 6-2.

Chicago White Sox prospect Jack Egbert allowed 1 run on 3 hits and 3 runs while striking out 3 in 4 innings to pick up the win for Phoenix at the Peoria Sports Complex.

Chris Getz (Chicago White Sox) lead off with a single in the top of the third inning for the Dogs, and was followed onto the bases by Plouffe. A Drew Butera (Minnesota) single scored Getz. Nyjer Morgan (Pittsburgh) and Nolan Reimold (Baltimore) then drew a walks which loaded the bases and pushed Plouffe over the plate. Ryan Sweeney (chicago White Sox) would hit into a double play that would take Morgan out at 3rd and Reimold out at 2nd, but Butera managed to pass the plate to give the Dogs a 3 run lead in the inning.

For the Javelinas, Reegie Corona (NY Yankees) took a walk off Egbert to lead off, and advanced to 2nd on a balk. A wild pitch moved him to 3rd, and he'd cross the plate on Brett Gardner's (NY Yankees) ground out to put the Javelinas on the board. Dexter Fowler (Colorado) would walk and steal his way to 2nd, but Jordan Schafer (Atlanta) struck out and former Tampa Yankee Juan Miranda (NY Yankees) ground out to end the inning.

The Dogs took advantage of pitcher change as Plouffe took a walk off Steve Jackson (NY Yankees). Butera would ground out, moving Plouffe over to 2nd. Morgan's 1st double of the AFL season out to left saw Plouffe home. Morgan then stole 2nd and scored on Sweeney's line drive to center adding to the Dog's total.

With Adam Russell (Chicago White Sox) on the mound in the sixth, Miranda doubled then came in on a Justin Maxwell (Washington) single to give the Javelinas their second run in the game.

Phoenix would not finish off until the ninth, when Getz walked, advanced to 2nd on a balk and to 3rd on a wild pitch by Zechry Zinicola (Washington). Plouffe's single would put Getz over the plate. Butera and Morgan both drew walks to load the bases, but with 2 outs, Reimold hit into a force out to retire the side.

The Javelinas would get nothing off Baltimore closer Bob McCrory who sent them back to their dugout on 2 strikes and a Corona line out.

Butera finished off 1-for-3 at the plate with 1 walk and 1 RBI. Eddie Morlan (Minnesota) pitched the 8th inning, striking out 1, and taking 2 of the 3 batters he faced out on ground outs.

Former Lakeland Flying Tigers ace Burke Badenhop picked up the win after pitching 2 innings as the Peoria Saguaros downed the Surprise Rafters, 4-1. San Diego's Will Venable was 3-for-4 at the plate with 1 run and 1 RBI. Philladelphia catcher Tuffy Gosewisch was 2-for-4 with 2 RBIs for the Saguaros.

Mike Carp, who played 1 whole game with the St. Lucie Mets last season, was 2-for-4 with 1 run and 2 RBIs to lead the Scottsdale Scorpions over the Mesa Solar Sox, 7-3. Toronto's Travis Snider hit his 3rd home run of the AFL season, while Caleb Stewart (NY Mets) knocked his fifth over the wall.

The Dogs take on the Scorpians Tuesday in Phoenix at 12:35 PM. Phoenix remains in 1st place in the East Division, 3 games ahead of the Solar Sox and 4.5 game in front of Scottsdale. Surprise leads the AFL West, 2 games over the Javelinas.

Former Miracle Nick Blackburn (Minnesota) is in line for AFL Pitcher of the Year honors. After getting hammered by Surprise in his first appearance -- he allowed three runs on four hits in two innings -- Blackburn has allowed only three hits in 11 scoreless innings to lower his ERA to 2.08. He struck out five and didn't walk a batter in four innings in his last outing on Tuesday against Surprise. In addition, in his last three starts, all of which came at home, opponents are hitting .086 (3-for-35) against him.

The Desert Dogs are the only AFL team with an ERA below 3.00 at 2.79. Should they continue to pitch to that mark, they will break the league record of 2.84 set by Scottsdale in 1992.


Monday, November 5, 2007

Tigres rally falls short

Photo compliments of the Tigres
Photo courtesy of los Tigres de Aragua

Aragua 2 at Caracas 3

W: J. Norrito (2-1, 2.14); L: C. Bailey (1-3, 4.18); SV: V. Garate (1)
HR: None.

A change of scenery did not seem to help los Tigres much, as they fell to los Leones del Caracas, 3-2 Sunday afternoon.

Caracas took an early lead off Aragua starter Cory Bailey (Chicago Cubs) when Carlos Mendez (Atlanta) doubled to start off the second inning. Mario Lisson's (Kansas City) ground out moved him to 3rd. Former Minnesota Twin Henry Blanco (Chicago Cubs) would take a walk and Cesar A. Quintero (Houston) would be called out on strikes. Gregorio Petit (Oakland) then singled out to right to score Mendez, while Blanco moved to 3rd. Carl Loadenthal's (Atlanta) single brought Blanco over the plate for the 2 run lead.

It would stay that way through 7th inning, with the Tigres being limited to 5 hits. Rosman Garcia (Baltimore) would replace Bailey on the mound for los Tigers, and allowed a single to Blanco to start off. Blanco would be caught stealing through. Quintero and Petit would both single and a throwing error by former Miracle Luis Rodrigez (San Diego) put a runner on 3rd. Loadenthal would ground out, but it brought Quintero across the plate. Jason Karnuth (Detroit) would be brought into the game for Aragua and would walk Roger Cedeno (F/A) before getting Alex Prieto (F/A) to line out to end the inning.

The Tigres staged a rally in the 9th, when Mike Aviles (Kanasas City) singled and Alex Romero (Arizona) walked. Luis Maza (LA Dodgers) would ground into a force out that stopped Romero, but Aviles would stay safe on 3rd. Ruben Salazar's (F/A) single moved Maza to 2nd, loading the bases. Willie Romero (F/A) would ground out, but Aviles would come home on the play. Alex Nunez (F/A), batting for Raul Chavez (NY Yankees), would be hit by a pitch. Jose Martinez (St Louis) coming into the game as a pinch hitter for Jesus Feliciano (NY Mets) would reach on a force attempt, and Maza would be plated by the play. Unfortuantely the rally failed with Rodriguez flew out to end the inning.

Minnesota's Frank Mata pitched .1 inning for the Tigres, the only active Minnesota player to appear in the contest.

The Tigers take Monday off, and start the new week feline against los Cardenales de Lara on Tuesday at 7:30 PM AST. Aragua finishes the week with 2 wins and 4 losses, and is in 5th place in the league, 5.5 games behind the Division leading Caribes.

Former Miracle Luis Maza (LA Dodgers) was named the Tigres player of the week, while Kyle Middleton (Houston) earned pitcher of the week honors.

Minnesota Twins Minor League Player of the Year Brian Buscher left the team for the United States due to "last minute personal problems." The press release from Aragua seemed to think that Buscher will be the Twins 3rd baseman in 2008.


Sunday, November 4, 2007

Leones rally past Tigres, 7-6

Francisco Butto
Francisco Butto/Photo courtesy of los Tigres de Aragua

Caracas 7 at Aragua 6

W: P. Abraham (1-1, 3.00); L: F. Butto (0-1, 3.68); SV: J. Plummer (2)
HR: ARA: A. Delgado (1).

Los Leones del Caracas rallied past the Tigres de Aragua on Saturday night to pick up a 7-6 win on the road in the first game of the home-and-home series.

Caracas got on the board in the 2nd inning, when Mario Lisson (Kansas City) singled his way onto base. With 2 outs, a Gregorio Petit (Oakland) fly ball brought in Lisson to give the Leones 1. Carl Lodenthal (Atlanda) singled and Roger Cedeno (F/A) would be hit by a pitch before Josmir Romero (F/A) found the last out to retire the side.

Aragua answered back in the 3rd, with Willie Romero (F/A) kicking things off with a double. Alex Delgado (F/A) and Jesus Feliciano (NY Mets) followed up with singles which plated Romero. Luis Rodriguez (San Diego) ground bunt forced Delgado out at 3rd. Ronny Cedeno (Chicago Cubs) would strike out swinging before Kansas City's Mike Aviles singled out to center to plate Feliciano.

Oswaldo Sosa (Minnesota) took over the Tigre's mound for the third. Henry Blanco (Chicago Cubs) would pop out and Luis A. Rodriguez (F/A) would strike out before Petit singled his way onto base. Sosa then walked Loadenthai and Cedeno to load the bases. Alex Prieto's (F/A) fly out to right brought in 2, and Cedeno made it three when hit crossed the plate in Jose Castillo's (Pittsburgh) fly ball. The Tigres would then relieve Sosa by bringing in Yohan Pino (Minnesota) who got Carlos Mendez (Atlanta) to strike out to end the inning.

Luis Maza (LA Dodgers) walked to start the bottom of the fourth. With 2 outs on the board, Delgado then put one over the left field wall to tie the game up at four each.

Pino would stay on the mound and work 1.2 inings, allowing only 1 hit and 1 walk while striking out 1. Bobby Korecky (Minnesota) would then come in for 2 innings, allowing only 1 hit and striking out 4.

The Tigres wouldn't score again until the bottom of the 8th. Ronny Cedeno (Chicago Cubs) drew a walk off Carlos Bohorquez (Cincinnati) and moved to 2nd on Aviles sac-bunt. Alex Romero (Arizona) was intentionally walked before Maza's fly ball to center plated Cedeno. The Leones called for a pitching change, bringing in Victor Garate (Houston), but pinch-hitter Jose Martinez (St Louis) managed a sac-fly to right to give the Tigres an insurance run. Maza would be caught stealing to end the inning.

Unfortately the Leones would not say down. After Prieto walked, Castillo doubled off Fracisco Butto (F/A) to bring him in. Marcos Yupez (Washington) drew a walk which prompted the Tigres to bring in Victor Moreno (Baltimore) to try to preserve the game. A sac bunt by Lisson moved the pair to 2nd and 3rd and a fielding error by Rodriguez allowed Blanco onto base to load them up. A Cesar Quintero (Houston) single ground in Castillo to tie the game up again, and a Petit sac-fly allowed Yepez over the plate for the game winning run.

Butto picked up the loss, his first of the season, and was charged with 3 runs, 2 earned on 1 hit and 2 walks. Moreno was credited with the blown save, but his record reflects him allowing on 1 hit as all the runner that scored were inherited. Josmir Romero would be charged for 1 run (earned) on 4 hits while striking out 2 in 3 innings, while Sosa gave up 3 runs (all earned) on 3 hits and 2 walks while striking out 1.

The two teams rematch Sunday at 1:00 PM MST in Caracas.

The Tigres worked a trade with the Navegantes del Magallanes sended pitcher Victor Zambrano (Pittsburgh) to Magallenes in return for Hector Gimenez and Franciso Caraballo. Both of the players received by Los Tigres belong to Houston. Gimenez did not see action this year with the Astros due to Labrum sugery, but is now advanced enough in his rehab to be allowed to see limited action. Caraballo played in for the Corpus Christi Hooks, where he batted .256 with 13 home runs and 57 RBIs.


Dogs slaughter Javelinas 12-5 in Phoenix

Matt Tulasosopo

Peoria Javelinas 5 at Phoenix Desert Dogs 12

W: D. Haehnel (2-2, 9.00); L: J. Woerman (1-1, 1.98)
HR: PDD: J. Baisley (3).

In a case of sports imitating nature, the Phoenix Desert Dogs ganged up and slaughtered the Peoria Javelinas, 12-5 Saturday at Phoenix Municiple Stadium.

Baltimore's Hayden Penn took the start for the Desert Dogs and kept the Javelinas off the board for the first inning before Juan Miranda (NY Yankees) hit a double to start off the 2nd inning and then traded places with Justin Maxwell (Washington), who also doubled, out to left. Devin Ivany (Washington) would ground out, and Maxwell would steal 3rd, but he'd get no further as Matt Tulasosopo (Seattle) struck out and Brandon Hicks (Atlanta) ground out to end the inning.

Penn hung on until the 4th inning when he started out issuing walks to Kory Castro (Washington) and Miranda. Maxwell would single in Castro, then steal 2nd base. Ivany would strike out, but Tulasosopo hit a soft fly ball out to right that brought in Miranda and Maxwell. Hicks would be called out on strikes, but Penn's time on the hill came to an end. David Haehnel (Baltimore) replaced him on the mound, getting J. C. Holt (Atlanta) to hit a fly ball to retire the side.

That's when the Desert Dogs' bats came alive. Ryan Sweeney (Chicago White Sox) singled and Jeff Baisley (Oakland) would reach on a force attempt after 2nd baseman Corey Wimberly (Colorado) missed a catch. Jason Delaney (Oakland) would strike out swinging, but Andrew McCutchen (Pittsburgh) drew a walk to load the bases. Jeff Fiorentino (Baltimore) hit a grounder that brought in Sweeney and Baisley. Catcher Donny Lucy (Chicago White Sox) put a fly ball out to center to plate McCutchen, while Fiorentino moved to 3rd on Maxwell's throw to the base. Blake Davis (Baltimore) singled and stole 2nd before a Chris Getz (Chicago White Sox) singled, plating Lucey and Davis. Getz would make to 2nd as Maxwell was slow to get the throw off again. A passed ball by Ivaney moved Getz to 3rd. Cliff Pennington (Oakland) was issued a walk, which prompted the Javelina's field manager to take a walk to the mound. Alex Morales (Washington) replaced Joseph Woerman (Seattle), but that did not end the Javelinas woes, as another passed ball by Ivany brought Getz in.

The 6th run 4th put the Dogs into the lead, but the Javelinas tried to make it up some of the difference in the 5th. A Wimberly single, a Dexter Fowler (Colorado) double and a walk to Castro, who was hit by a pitch, loaded the bases. Miranda would hit a sac-fly to plate Wimberly, but Maxwell would ground into a double play, ending the inning before the Javelina's could extract more damange.

Baisley would walk to start out the bottom of the 5th, but Delaney ground into a force out. Delaney then stole 2nd and McCutchen walked to fill up the space. Fiorentino then walked to load the bases. Lucy would strike out before a wild pitch by Morales brounght Delaney home. Davis hit a line drive to score 2 more. Morales would be replaced by former Tampa Yankee Steven White, who got Getz to fly out to end the inning.

Jake Arrieta (Baltimore) replaced Haehnel on the mound for the 6th and struck out 3 Javelinas to retire the side. Penning took a walk in the bottom of the inning, then stole 2nd. Sweeney would single him in before Baisley hit one over the left field fence to give the Desert Dogs their 12th run of the game.

While Friday's game feature 6 Twins players, Saturday's contest saw the Dogs without any Minnesota players in their line up. While this was not popular with any Twins fans tuned in for the broadcast, it is an unfortunate side effect of co-op league baseball.

The Twins kids will take two days off as the League takes Sunday off. Phoenix travels to the Peoria Sports Complex to face the Javelinas again on Monday for an evening (7:05 PM MST) game.