27 September 2006

On the verge of another C-note

With 5 games left on the sked, the Royals are virtually ensured a 100-loss season.....again. They seemed to have a decent shot at avoiding that fate but the last couple weeks haven't gone well. I don't see them taking 2 in the Metrodome and then sweeping the Tigers -- the Motor City Kitties are playing for a division title and not the wild card. Without the emergence of Mark Teahen and Ryan Shealy and the steady play of Grudz, this season would have been even more dismal than it has been. At least with this 100-loss year Baird is not involved and a pinpoint of light is at the end of what has been a long damn tunnel. The only drawback is signs are pointing to Buddy Bell being back as skipper in '07. That bums me out. Why not have DM take a run at somebody he has in mind and flush all the old detritus out of the system? Clean house. Dump some of the deadwood payroll if you can and get it over with. And for God's sake, bring in a shortstop who can field AND hit, at least average on both sides. Berroa is a waste of space on the field and Blanco won't hit at the MLB level. I'd love to see DM also trade Sweeney for whatever he can get, altho I'm sure the market is hot for a 30-something no-defense, back-injury-prone DH type, especially coming off a .240/.339/.739, 56-game season! Catcher can also likely be upgraded from John Buck, whose defense is nice but he can't hit his way out of a wet paper bag more than three games a month. Of course, a rundown of the team's potential upgraded areas could take a while, so I'll leave it at that.

I guess if you're gonna have to swallow yet another 100-loss season, this has gone as well as you could expect one to go. May this be the last.

20 September 2006

Down the homestretch

The 2006 season is gradually winding to a close as college and pro football season comes on strong. The only questions left at the KC level of the Royals organization are how the young players will play down the final month and whether the Royals will end up with the first or second pick in the 2007 draft. I don't think it really matters much other than if they pick first they're guaranteed to select any player they want whereas at #2 they could still miss out on their top guy. Some may advocate some tanking this month to ensure that #1 pick doesn't go Tampa Bay's way but I can see it both ways. I have trouble advocating what may not be purposeful losing but can be called not worrying about Ws -- either way the Royals should get a player with high-grade potential with the pick. At the same time, I could care less if the Royals run the table from today through game 162 -- I'm just rooting for their loss #s to be in double figures and not have a 1 in front of two other digits.

It was a nice season overall in the minor levels. You had two piss-poor teams (Omaha and Burlington (on offense, the Bees' pitching was nice to see), one really good team (Wichita), one overachieving team (High Desert), and two fine teams in Idaho Falls and the AZL. Wichita was the lone division champ while High Desert, IF and the AZL team were near-misses with the first two making the playoffs. Prospects P Luke Hochevar, C Adam Donachie, OF Mitch Maier and P Gabe DeHoyos are among the Royals' minor-leaguers headed to the Arizona Fall League and will play for the Grand Canyon Rafters when AFL play starts Oct. 10. The Rafters' roster also includes Rockies 1B prospect Joe Koshansky, Orioles OF prospect Nolan Reimold, Rockies SS prospect Troy Tulowitzki, Pirates C prospect Neil Walker and Pirates minor-league SP John Van Benschoten.

The complexion of the Royals' minors will change somewhat next season as the organization added a Rookie Appalachian League team in Burlington, North Carolina, that had been affiliated with the Indians. That team will be known as the "B-Royals". Yesterday another announcement came that the Royals are back with the High-A Wilmington Blue Rocks of the Carolina League, which was a Royals' affiliate from '93 through '04 before spending the last two years as a Red Sox affiliate. I wonder if this signals the team's exit from the California League in High Desert, which is a move I would advocate. I've questioned the ability to accurately project players' potential coming out of High Desert since both batting and pitching numbers are inflated -- batters for the good and pitchers for worse. The organization needs to be able to see how players will do moving forward. The Cal League may work for the Rockies or D-Backs, who play in a different altitude level, but for a team like KC with no other teams in such conditions, it makes little sense. The situation remains stable in Omaha while Wichita prepares for a move to Springdale, Ark., for the 2008 season. What happens with the Royals' affiliation there remains to be seen.

As a postscript, I'm gonna try to do a better job posting about Royals and other stuff this off-season, since I did, oh, exactly zero posting last MLB off-season. This could be an interesting fall and winter to be a KC fan with Dayton Moore at the helm. Any Royals fan that pays attention should be optimistic about the future of the organization and some of that is put on DM. Hopefully this is the start of a long, fruitful relationship for him and the KC organization.

16 September 2006

Royals on the Farm 9/15 -- it's all over

AA - Wichita: Corpus Christi 8, Wranglers 7 (14) (Hooks take TLCS, 3-1)

3B Gordon 1-5, BB, HBP, 2B, K, RS -- .258, so-so playoffs
RF Butler 2-6, BB, 2B, 2 RS -- .360, hit well, but not much run production before Friday
DH D. Brown 2-5, BB, HR (2), 3 RBI (8), K -- .438, one of highlights of TL playoffs
SS Sanchez 2-6, 2 K, 2 RS -- .294
LF Lubanski 2-4, 2 BB, 2 RBI (4) -- .200
CF Maier 1-6, BB, 2B, K, RS -- .200, both he and Lubanski had disappointing TLCS
C Espino 1-6, 2 RBI -- .250
2B Murphy 1-6 -- .333

Lumsden 2/3 IP, 4 R (3 ER), 2 H, 3 BB, K, E (1) -- ND, 6.23 ERA
Lowery 3 1/3 IP, H, BB, 2 K -- 0.00 ERA
C. Smith 2 IP, ER, H, 2 K -- 3.60 ERA
DeHoyos 1 1/3 IP, ER, 2 BB, K -- BS, 1, 2.45 ERA
Song 5 1/3 IP, 2 ER, 7 H, 4 BB, 4 K -- L, 0-1, 2.84 ERA

*** If Friday was going to be Wichita's last game, it was a doozy as the Wranglers lost a lead late in normal innings, blew another lead in the 10th and finally succumbed in the 14th as Seung Song was pitching his sixth inning of relief. Things were looking good in the 1st as Angel Sanchez led off with a single and Alex Gordon walked to set up a 1-out 3-run homer by Dee Brown as Wichita got to Hooks SP Troy Patton. Unfortunately, Tyler Lumsden didn't fare much better for Wichita, as two 1-out walks and a single loaded the bases and Lumsden walked in a run, got the second out and then gave up a 2-run double to tie the game. A Lumsden throwing error scored an unearned run and Frank White had a short hook in pulling Lumsden for Devon Lowery, who got the third out. The Wranglers fought back in the 3rd as they loaded the bases with 1 out and Damaso Espino singled home 2 runs to make it 5-4 Wichita. A Chris Lubanski RBI single in the 6th added some space to the lead and chased Patton but Wichita stranded 2 in the inning. Neal Musser allowed a Hooks run in the 7th to cut the lead back to 1 and Gabe DeHoyos got the final out of the inning before allowing the tying run in the 8th on 2 walks and 2 hit batsmen. Billy Butler led off the Wichita 10th with a double and a Brown sac bunt moved him to third before Lubanski hit a 2-out RBI single to make it 7-6 Wranglers. Seung Song pitched the 9th and a 2-on, 0-out Wichita rally ended abruptly in the 9th when Alex Gordon hit into a triple play. Song gave up a leadoff double in the 10th and the run scored on a ground out to tie it again. The Wranglers loaded the bases with 2 outs in the 11th but Mitch Maier flew out to end the threat. Neither team threatened until the 14th when Song gave up a 1-out walk and single to put 2 on and a walkoff single by Hooks SS Wade Robinson ended Wichita's season. Hooks P Josh Miller pitched 3 innings of no-hit relief to pick up the win, Robinson was 3-3 with his only playoff RBI as the series-winner and CF Josh Anderson was 2-6 with 2 RBI to move to .281.

Wichita finished at 43-26 on the second half and 77-62 overall. Zack Greinke is getting the call to KC but so far, no news on anyone else. As for a stat rehash, Gordon's exploits have been well-documented and he'll either start 2007 at KC or Omaha, as will Billy Butler. Gordon's OPS wound up over 1.000 at 1.016, Butler's was only .887 as he only got on-base at a .388 clip. Chris Lubanski was next at .844 as he tied Gordon for the team lead in walks at 72 but also K'd 112 times (one behind Gordon's 113). Dee Brown had an .836 OPS over 95 games and Mitch Maier finished with an .830 OPS. I'd say he and Lubanski have a chance to start next year at Wichita, but there's not much blocking them at Omaha. Donnie Murphy finished with a .737 OPS over 94 games and Angel Sanchez finished with a .692 OPS over 133 games. As for pitchers, the lowest ERA for anyone with more than 90 IP was Greinke's 4.34. Several relievers, including DeHoyos, Cody Smith and Ryan Braun, had nice seasons.

Here's a link to Wichita's stats


15 September 2006

Royals on the Farm 9/14 -- Wichita falters, IF done

AA - Wichita: Corpus Christi 9, Wranglers 3 (Hooks lead best-of-5 series 2-1)

3B Gordon 1-4, BB, HR (3), RBI, K -- .269
DH D. Brown 3-5, 2B (5), HR (1), 2 RBI, 2 K -- .444
RF Butler 1-5, K -- .368
LF Lubanski 0-5, 2 K -- .161
CF Maier 1-4, K -- .207
SS Sanchez 2-4, 2 K -- .286
2B Murphy 1-3, BB, K -- .370

Hochevar 2 IP, 6 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 2 K -- L, 1-1, 9.82 ERA, first time rocked as a Royal
Herndon 5 IP, 3 ER, 5 H, BB, 4 K, HRA -- 7.36 ERA
Plummer IP, K -- 7.71 ERA

*** Whereas Luke Hochevar was able to come in and dazzle Tulsa hitters in the Texas League semis, the Corpus Christi Hooks didn't seem to have a problem as they knocked Hochevar around for 6 runs over 2 innings to take command of the series and place the Wranglers' backs firmly against the wall. On the other hand, the Wranglers didn't do much against Hooks SP Chance Douglass despite 10 hits in the game. Only 3 of those 10 brought runs home. Hochevar got the first 2 outs of the 1st easily but then gave up a double, walk, RBI single and 2-run double to give the Hooks a 3-0 lead. With 2 outs and a runner on second in the 2nd, Hochevar again got lit up for a walk, RBI double and 2-run double to make it 6-0. Wichita got its first two batters on base in the 3rd and a Dee Brown RBI single cut the lead to 6-1 but with the bases loaded and 1 out the Wranglers couldn't cash in as Billy Butler struck out and Mitch Maier flew out to end the threat. Junior Herndon relieved Hochevar to start the 3rd and gave up a 2-run homer with 1 out to pour more cold water on the hopes for a Wrangler comeback. Wichita loaded the bases with 1 out in the 6th but Kila Kaaihue struck out and Adam Donachie grounded out to end the threat once more. Herndon gave up an RBI double in the Hooks 6th to make it 9-1 and the Wranglers stranded 2 more runners in the 8th before Alex Gordon and Brown hit back-to-back longballs with 2 out in the 9th to make the final score a little closer. Douglass went 6 IP for CC and allowed an ER on 6 hits with 4 walks and 10 K to make his playoff ERA 3.00 with a 2-0 record. Hooks RF Hunter Pence was 3-4 with 3 doubles, 2 RBI and 2 RS to move to .440, DH Walter Young was 2-3 with 2 doubles and 2 RBI to move to .421 and 3B Mark Saccomanno was 2-4 with a double and 2 RBI to move to .333.

Friday's crucial game 4 for Wichita features Tyler Lumsden versus top Astros pitching prospect Troy Patton.

Rookie - Idaho Falls: Missoula 7, Chukars 2 (Missoula wins Pioneer League title, 2-0)

2B Mertins 1-3, BB, K, SB (3) -- .267
LF Bigler 1-4, 2 K, E (1), OF assist at home -- .533
1B Turner 1-4, HR (3), 2 RBI (7), 2 K -- .231
3B Herrera 1-2, BB, K -- .143, team only had 4 hits
CF Dickerson 0-4, 3 K -- .200, disappointing playoffs, especially PLCS
DH Maddox 0-3, BB, 2 K, RS, SB (1) -- .133, ditto
SS McConnell 0-3 -- .000, disappointing season all around, not a hit in the playoffs

B. Wood 4 2/3 IP, 6 R (5 ER), 8 H, 3 BB, 3 K, HRA -- L, 0-1, 5.79 ERA
Fisher 2 1/3 IP, ER, H, BB, 5 K, HRA -- 1.35 ERA
Abreu 2 IP, H, 2 K -- 0.00 ERA

*** Chukars starter Blake Wood gave the offense a hill to climb early and the bats weren't up to the task as IF's season ended with a championship series sweep by the Osprey. Missoula loaded the bases with no outs on a walk and 2 singles off Wood in the 1st but a double play appeared to give Wood a reprieve with only 1 run allowed before 2 RBI singles made it 3-0. Another would-be run was nailed at the plate by LF Brett Bigler to end the inning. Two of the Chukars' 4 hits came to start the 1st but IF ended up stranding 1 in the inning. With 2 outs in the 4th, Marc Maddox drew a walk and Jase Turner stepped up for a 2-run homer to right center for his 3rd of the playoffs to cut the lead to 1. Wood didn't let the momentum last long as he gave up a 3-run homer in the 5th before being pulled for Brent Fisher. Unfortunately, the damage was done. Fisher struck out 5 over 2 1/3 IP but allowed a solo insurance homer in the 7th to make it 7-2. IF stranded one runner in both the 6th and 7th but the final 7 batters went down in order to end the season and give Missoula the championship. Osprey SP Osbek Castillo got the win with 5 2/3 IP of 2 ER on 3 hits, 3 walks and 8 Ks. He was picked up with 3 1/3 IP of 1-hit, 6-K pitching from RP Hector Ambriz. Osprey 1B Shea McFeely (a member of the Oregon State team that just won the College World Series in June) was 1-4 with the big 3-run blast to finish at .333, 2B Sean Smith was 2-5 with the solo homer and RBI to finish at .278 and CF Tyler Jones was 2-4 with a walk and 2 RS to finish at .235.

With the season now in mothballs, IF finished the second half at 18-20 and overall finished 40-36. Two big what-ifs follow the season. 1B Luis Castillo was hitting .383 with a huge 1.025 OPS (.482 OBP) through 27 games before ending his season with a shoulder injury, and AZL IF Jeff Bianchi likely would have moved up to IF by the second half if not for his season-ending shoulder injury. Both guys' offensive numbers had to have made some kind of difference, but that's the way things go sometimes. Some of the '06 draftees came to the team and made a splash, most notably 9th-rounder IF Marc Maddox, who finished with a .336 BA and .932 OPS (.428 OBP) over 62 games and was second on the team with 40 RBI to go along with team-leading figures of 78 hits, 46 RS, 22 doubles and 4 triples. He walked 36 times compared to 33 Ks. Another notable draftee was 13th-rounder IF Kurt Mertins, who started hot but finished batting .342 with an .848 OPS over 61 games. He tied Maddox for the team lead in runs scored and was 1 hit behind Maddox while leading the team with 26 SB. He only walked 18 times, tho, with 39 Ks so his OBP didn't crack .400 (.397). OF Joe Dickerson, who showed flashes last year at AZL and this year at IF, finished with a .789 OPS (.331 OBP) but didn't really stand out in any category. He may be in IF again next year or may move to either Burlington -- the Appy League one or the low-A MWL team. Other offensive stat highlights were 1B Jase Turner's team leading 8 HR and 41 RBI over 66 games but he only hit .229 with a .760 OPS and K'd 85 times compared to only 38 BB. IF Chris McConnell showed up long enough to follow up a no-hit, good-glove campaign at low-A Burlington with a team leading 19 errors and .262 BA (.735 OPS) over 47 games in IF. OF Brett Bigler followed up a hot start by cooling considerably to a .276 BA (.692 OPS with a .392 OBP) but did steal 20 bases and was the best performer in the postseason for the Chukars. He did lead the team with 39 BB compared to 27 Ks. C Matt Morizio also carried a .429 OBP over 30 games.

Three regular Chukar pitchers (one starter, two relievers) had sub-3.00 ERAs, mainly SP Rowdy Hardy, who had a 2.80 ERA and 1.05 WHIP with 52 Ks/5 BB over 80 1/3 IP. Gotta love that K/BB ratio. RP Aaron Hartsock, a 23rd rounder, led the team in wins with 6 while posting a 2.91 ERA and 0.99 WHIP with 43 K/13 BB over 46 1/3 IP. RP Dan Best (14th rounder) had a 2.92 ERA and 1.35 WHIP with 15 K/8 BB over 37 IP. SP Everett Teaford (12th rounder) was also solid down the stretch to go 5-1 with a 3.71 ERA and 1.17 WHIP with 51 K/20 BB over 63 IP. 3rd-rounder Blake Wood finished 3-1 with a 4.50 ERA and 1.25 WHIP with 46 K/15 BB over 52 IP.

Here's a link to the IF season stats:


13 September 2006

Royals on the Farm 9/12

AA - Wichita: Wranglers 2, Corpus Christi 1 (best-of-5 series tied 1-1)

3B Gordon 0-1, 3 BB -- .273
RF Butler 2-4, 2B, K -- .429
LF Lubanski 1-4, RBI -- .192, walkoff single
DH D. Brown 1-4, 2 K -- .409
CF Maier 0-4 -- .200
2B Murphy 0-4, 2 K -- .375
SS Sanchez 1-3, BB, RS -- .250

Buckner 7 IP, ER, 3 H, BB, 8 K -- ND, 1.29 ERA, stellar start
DeHoyos 2 IP, 3 H, K, WP -- W, 2-0, 1.50 ERA

*** Both teams had only 6 hits and the only one that meant a lot to Wichita was the last one as Chris Lubanski came through in the 9th to get the Wranglers a 2-1 win. The game was scoreless going into the Wichita 5th when Kila Kaaihue led off with a walk and got to third on 2 sac bunts before scoring on a wild pitch to give the Wranglers a 1-0 lead. The Hooks evened the score with a run on 2 hits in the 6th off Billy Buckner, who otherwise pitched 1-hit ball over 7 IP. Gabe DeHoyos came in for the 8th and gave up a double and single to the first 2 batters he faced. Somehow the Wranglers got out of the jam as they nailed the runner at home trying to score on a grounder, got a pop out from Hooks OF prospect Hunter Pence and DeHoyos K'd Walter Young to end the inning. The first two Wrangler batters in the 9th made outs before singles by Angel Sanchez and Brett Groves and an Adam Donachie walk loaded the bases. Lubanski stepped up and singled to right to bring the winning run home. Hooks CF Josh Anderson was 2-4 to move to .273, Pence was 0-3 with 2 SBs and an RBI to drop to .381 and SS Osvaldo Fernando was 2-3 with a double, error and RS to move to .438.

The teams have Wednesday off as the series shifts to Corpus Christi. Game 3 is Thursday. Luke Hochevar is slated to start for the Wranglers. In other news, Dee Brown and RP Devon Lowery were arrested outside a Wichita bar early Saturday morning as part of a crowd "failing to disperse" after the bar closed. No disciplinary action has been handed down yet.

Rookie - Idaho Falls: Missoula 4, Chukars 0 (Missoula leads best-of-3 series 1-0)

LF Bigler 1-4 -- .636
CF Dickerson 1-4, 2B -- .273
RF Gonzalez 1-3 -- .444, only 3 IF hits right there
2B Mertins 0-4, K -- .250
DH Maddox 0-3, K -- .167
SS McConnell 0-3, E -- .000

Hardy 7 IP, 2 UER, 3 H, 3 BB, 3 K, E -- L, 0-1, 0.00 ERA, 3 walks unlike Hardy's usual performance
Casey IP, 2 UER, H, BB, 2 K, WP -- 0.00 ERA

*** Four errors, a wild pitch and a passed ball helped lead to 4 unearned runs as Missoula capitalized on Idaho Falls mistakes in game 1 of the Pioneer League Championship Series. A Hardy throwing error in the 1st helped lead to the Osprey's first run and, as Osprey SP Anthony Barnette was perfect through 5 IP, Missoula had a runner at third with 2 outs in the 5th when IF C Matt Morizio threw the ball away on a pickoff attempt and the second Osprey run scored. IF broke the perfect game up with 2 2-out singles in the 6th but stranded the runners and stranded Joe Dickerson at third in the 7th. A fielding error by 3B Brenan Herrera and a passed ball on Morizio in the 8th helped key a 2-run Osprey rally to make it 4-0 and the last 9 Chukars went down in order to end the game. Barnette allowed 3 hits with 6 K over 8 IP to move to 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA on the playoffs, Missoula C John Hester was 2-3 with a triple and RS to move to .545 and LF Dan Perales was 1-4 with a double and 2 RBI to move to .400.

The teams have Wednesday off as the series shifts to Idaho Falls for the crucial game 2 for the Chukars. Blake Wood is set to start for IF.

12 September 2006

Royals on the Farm news flash -- Wichita evens it, IF stumbles

The Wichita Wranglers rode good pitching by Billy Buckner and Gabe DeHoyos and a clutch 9th inning walkoff single by Chris Lubanski to a 2-1 win over Corpus Christi Tuesday to even their TL Championship Series at 1 game each. DeHoyos got the win. The series shifts to Corpus Christi for the remaining games beginning Thursday.

In Missoula, the Idaho Falls Chukars got shut out, 4-0, on 3 hits in the opener of the best-of-3 PL Championship Series. The Chukars had more errors (4) than hits as Rowdy Hardy took the loss. All 4 runs were unearned as Missoula only had 4 hits. The Chukars face elimination in game 2 Thursday but get to finish the season at home. They need 2 straight to take the league title.

Royals on the Farm 9/11

AA - Wichita: Corpus Christi 11, Wranglers 5 (Hooks lead best-of-5 series 1-0)

3B Gordon 1-3, 2 BB, 2 RS, SB -- .286
RF Butler 2-5, RBI, RS -- .400
DH D. Brown 2-4, BB, 2 2B, 2 RBI -- .444
LF Lubanski 1-4, BB, RS -- .182
CF Maier 1-4, HR, 2 RBI, K -- .238
2B Murphy 1-4, 3 K -- .450
SS Sanchez 0-4, K -- .238

Greinke 6 IP, 6 ER, 12 H, 2 BB -- L, 0-1, 5.25 ERA in playoffs, no Ks against Hooks offense
Musser 2/3 IP, 4 ER, 3 BB -- 16.20 ERA
Cedeno and Song 2 1/3 IP hitless relief

*** Two big innings got the Hooks the early advantage in the series. Zack Greinke had a dismal start as he gave up a run on 3 straight hits with 1 out in the 1st but Wichita tied it in the bottom of the 1st on a Dee Brown RBI double. Zack didn't get off so easy in the 2nd as he gave up 3 singles and a double with 2 outs in a 4-run Hooks rally. The Wranglers inched closer in the 4th on a 2-run homer by Mitch Maier to make it 5-3 but the Hooks scored on a 6th-inning sac fly to stretch the lead back to 3. The wheels came off in the 7th as Neal Musser came in and loaded the bases on 2 walks and a HBP. An RBI force out and walk brought in Jarod Plummer, who allowed 2 RBI singles for 3 more runs. Juan Cedeno came in and walked in a run to finish off the Hooks' 5-run rally and make it 11-3. Brown hit an RBI ground out and Billy Butler hit an RBI single to cut it to 11-5 but a Brown 9th-inning double would be the Wranglers' only other baserunner thereafter as CC locked it down. Hooks SP Juan Gutierrez got the win with 3 ER on 6 hits and 3 walks with 4 K over 6 IP. The Hooks 2, 3 and 4 batters did most of the damage as DH Tike Redman was 3-5 with a double, RBI and 3 RS, RF Hunter Pence was 3-5 with 4 RBI and 2 RS and 1B Walter Young was 3-4 with 4 RBI.

Game 2 is Tuesday night as the Wranglers try to rebound from the beating. Billy Buckner pitches for Wichita in the final home game of the season for the Wranglers. Alex Gordon was named Baseball America's Minor League Player of the Year today.

Rookie - Idaho Falls: The best-of-3 Pioneer League Championship Series starts Tuesday night in Missoula vs. the Osprey. Rowdy Hardy (5-3, 2.80 ERA) takes on Missoula SP Anthony Barnette (6-4, 3.89 ERA) in game 1.

11 September 2006

Royals on the Farm news flash -- Wichita steamrolled

Corpus Christi beat Wichita 11-5 with Zack Greinke taking the loss in game 1 of the best-of-5 Texas League CS Monday night. Mitch Maier homered in the losing cause.

10 September 2006

Royals on the Farm 9/10

AA - Wichita: The Wranglers are set to start the best-of-5 Texas League Championship Series vs. the Corpus Christi Hooks (AA Astros) Monday night. Zack Greinke will take the mound in game 1.

Rookie - Idaho Falls: Chukars 9, Orem 3 (IF takes best-of-3 series 2-0)

DH Maddox 2-5, 2B, 2 RBI, K, 2 RS -- .222
LF Bigler 2-3, 2 BB, RS -- .857, very nice series
3B Herrera 1-5, HR, 4 RBI, 2 K -- .111, one hit was a doozy
2B Mertins 0-4, BB, K, RS, SB (2) -- .375
CF Dickerson 1-4, BB, 2 K, 2 RS -- .286
1B Turner 1-4, BB, HR, 3 RBI, K -- .333
SS McConnell 0-4, BB, K, RS -- .000
RF Van Stratten 0-2, K -- .000

Teaford 5 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, BB, 4 K, WP -- W, 1-0, 3.60 ERA
Hartsock 3 IP, ER, 4 H, BB, 2 K -- 3.00 ERA
Eckley IP, K -- 0.00 ERA

*** When the games really counted, Idaho Falls brought their best game as they swept the Owlz with a big 5th inning Sunday highlighted by a grand slam. Two swings of the bat actually did all the damage IF would need. A 1st inning rally started innocently enough with a 2-out single by Joe Dickerson, which was followed by a Marc Maddox single before Jase Turner stepped up to hit a 3-run homer to right off Orem SP Kenneth Herndon to spot the Chukars a 3-0 lead. A sac fly and RBI ground out off Everett Teaford by Orem in the 1st narrowed the lead to 1 at 3-2. Teaford stranded the would-be tying run at third in the 4th and the stage was set for the Chukar 5th. Two walks and an Orem error loaded the bases with no outs and Maddox capitalized with a 2-run double to chase Herndon for RP Barret Browning. After a ground out, an intentional walk reloaded the bases and RP Pedro Herrera was brought in to pitch to Brenan Herrera. Brenan crushed a grand slam to left to make it 9-2 for a crippling blow to the Owlz. The Chukars would load the bases again only to have Dickerson K to end the rally. Aaron Hartsock gave up a run in the 8th but Jacob Eckley set the Owlz down in order in the 9th to finish off the series. Orem RF Luis Rivera was 3-3 with a double to finish the series at .667, CF Peter Bourjos was 2-3 with a double and 2 RS to finish the playoffs at .500 and LF Chris Pettit, who was a standout for Orem all season, was 1-3 with a double and RBI to finish the set at .167.

The best-of-3 Pioneer League Championship Series begins Tuesday in Missoula as the Chukars face off with the Osprey (Rookie D-Backs). The Chukars were 3-4 against Missoula in the regular season and all the games were within 3 runs either way.

09 September 2006

Royals on the Farm news flash - IF game 2 rained out

Game 2 of the Idaho Falls-Orem series was rained out Saturday and will begin Sunday afternoon as part of a 9-inning doubleheader that will determine a championship series spot in the Pioneer League. If Idaho Falls takes game 1, they move on, if they lose, it goes to a decisive game 3 Sunday night. Missoula was up big on Billings at about 11 p.m. so it looks like the Osprey will await either Orem or IF.

Royals on the Farm 9/8

AA - Wichita: Wranglers 7, Tulsa 6 (Wichita wins best-of-5 series 3-1)

3B Gordon 2-4, BB, 2 HR (2), 2 RBI (3) -- .278, hopefully can carry hot streak over into CS
RF Butler 1-2, 2 BB, HR, RBI -- .400, welcome back, Billy
CF Maier 2-4, 2B, RBI, 2 RS -- .235
2B Murphy 2-4, RBI, K -- .500, one consistent factor during series, which was nice to see
LF Lubanski 0-5, 2 K, RS, OF assist at home -- .167, guess maybe that '05 playoff Lubanski isn't showing up in AA
DH D. Brown 1-2, BB, HBP, RS -- .429 on series
SS Sanchez 1-4, 2 RBI, E (1) -- .294

Hochevar 5 1/3 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, BB, 7 K -- W, 1-0, 3.38 ERA, very nice AA debut for first organization win
Musser 2/3 IP, 3 R (2 ER), 2 H, 2 BB, K -- 6.75 ERA
DeHoyos 2 IP, ER, H -- 2.25 ERA
Lowery IP, 2 H, K -- SV, 3, 0.00 ERA, 3 for 3 in saves vs. Tulsa

*** Fortunately for Wichita, they brought the bats in fine force Friday in game 4 vs. the Drillers. Unfortunately, the bullpen almost failed to do its job but the Wranglers pulled out a 7-6 win to move on. Alex Gordon homered in his first AB to give Wichita a 1-0 lead in the 1st. Mitch Maier hit an RBI single and Dee Brown smacked a 2-run single in the 3rd to make it 4-0 as Luke Hochevar held Tulsa hitless through 5 in his AA debut. Gordon homered again in the 4th to make it 5-0 and Billy Butler homered to lead off the 5th in only his second game back from Team USA duty. Donnie Murphy continued his fine play in the series with an RBI single to make it 7-0 Wichita, also in the 5th. Tulsa finally (somewhat) figured out the Hochevar riddle in the Driller 6th with a 1-out triple and RBI single and manager Frank White pulled Hochevar for Neal Musser. An Angel Sanchez error allowed another run in the inning and Drillers 3B Ian Stewart added an RBI double to make it 7-3. Wichita stranded the bases loaded in the 6th and, after 2 walks in the 7th, Musser was pulled for Gabe DeHoyos, who allowed a 2-run triple and sac fly before getting out of the inning with Wichita clinging to a 7-6 lead. Remember the Giants-Marlins NLDS in '03 where Florida nailed a runner at the plate to end the series? Devon Lowery came in to pitch the 9th and gave up a leadoff single before a sac bunt and K left Tulsa with the tying run at second and 2 out. Tulsa SS Jonathan Herrera singled to left and Chris Lubanski came up throwing to nail pinch runner Jordan Czarniecki at home to end the game and the series. The Wranglers move on to a best-of-5 with Corpus Christi starting Monday with games 1 and 2 in Wichita. Tulsa got 3 1/3 IP of 1-hit, 2-walk relief from Alberto Arias that was crucial to keeping them in the game, Herrera was 3-5 with a triple and 3 RBI to finish the series at .467, Stewart was 1-4 with a double and RBI to finish at .222 for the series, and 1B Joe Koshansky was 0-3 with his only RBI of the series to finish at a dismal .062. CF Joe Gaetti also finished at .062.

As noted, the TLCS starts Monday in Wichita. If you're a Royals fan, you've gotta love this quote from Hochevar in the MiLB story on the game:
"It was my first time getting sprayed down with champagne," Hochevar said. "That stuff gets in your eyes a little bit, but it was awesome to celebrate like that. It's kind of different, because I hadn't been with the club. I just came in a week ago and I'm pitching in a game of this magnitude." What a way to get your first MiLB win. That would have been an awesome game to see in person -- had to be one of the best games in Wrangler history. Here's Lubanski's reaction from the Eagle: "You can't finish a game better than that," he said. "It was awesome. I just wanted to catch the ball cleanly. Ever since I was little, my dad told me when a ball is hit to the outfield, it's your job to catch it cleanly. I didn't want to bobble it. I made sure I caught the ball, made sure I took my time and made a good, strong throw."

Here's a link to the Eagle story -- it's got a couple good Frank White quotes, too:


High-A - High Desert: Lake Elsinore 8, Mavs 6 (Storm win best-of-3 series 2-1)

3B E. Lucas 3-5, 2B (3), 2 RBI (3), K -- .500, had great series
2B Gaffney 2-5, 2 RS, E (1) -- .462
LF Tomlin 2-4, 3B, 3 RBI -- .417, another standout
DH Stodolka 0-5, K -- .000, had to have hit a wall late in season, understandable but unfortunate
SS Falu 1-3, 2 BB, RBI, 2 RS -- .308

Nicoll 1 2/3 IP, 5 R (4 ER), 4 H, 2 BB, 2 K -- L, 0-1, 21.60 ERA, just didn't have it Friday
Rowe 1 1/3 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, BB -- 6.00 ERA
Blake Johnson, C. Rosa, Hicklen and de la Vara 5 IP, 1 UER in relief

*** As one organization team's season continues, another's ends. The High Desert Mavericks' season came to a close Friday as Lake Elsinore scored 7 runs over the first 3 innings and held the lead. Chris Nicoll got the start for HD and got the first 2 outs without too much problem before giving up 2 run-scoring singles for 3 runs thanks in part to a Mike Gaffney error. Juan Senreiso was ejected after grounding out to end the top of the 2nd and the game continued downhill for HD. Nicoll was pulled with 2 out and 2 on in the 2nd and Adam Rowe gave up a 2-run single to make it 5-0. Ed Lucas came through with a 2-run, 2-out double in the 3rd to cut the lead to 3 but the Storm got the runs right back on two more 2-out RBI base hits to make it 7-2 in the 3rd. Irving Falu drew a bases-loaded walk in the 4th to cut it to 7-3 and, as the bullpen held LE scoreless, the Mavs rallied in the 7th. James Tomlin had a big hit with a bases-loaded 3-run triple with 2 outs that inning to cut the lead to 7-6. Carlos Rosa came in with 1 on and no out in the 7th and allowed an RBI single to give the Storm some breathing room. The Mavs couldn't mount a rally, but the team site reports Rusty Brown's game-ending fly ball to the warning track that would have tied the game had it been a homer would have been a roundtripper in most parks, but not LE's with deep power alleys. Storm LF Adam Bourassa was 3-4 with a double and RBI to move to .600, RF Nick Crosta was 2-5 with 3 RBI to move to .286 on the playoffs and 1B Tim Brown was 2-4 with 2 RBI to finish the series at .385.

It will be interesting to see how the Mavs' roster shakes out in 2007. I figure Ed Lucas and Irving Falu will be easy decisions to move to AA with Mike Stodolka either starting in Wichita or playing at first in HD again before moving up. Juan Senreiso may also be a candidate for Wichita, as with Carlos Rosa. All in all it was a decent season for HD.

Rookie - Idaho Falls: Chukars 6, Orem 2 (IF leads best-of-3 series 1-0)

LF Bigler 4-4, 2B, RBI, RS, SB -- 1.000, what a playoff debut
2B Mertins 3-4, K, RS, SB, CS, E -- .750
CF Dickerson 1-3, BB, 2B, 2 RBI, RS -- .333
DH Maddox 0-4, 2 K -- .000
1B Turner 1-2, 2 BB, HR, 2 RBI, K -- .500
SS McConnell 0-4, K -- .000
RF Gonzalez 2-4, RS -- .500

B. Wood 4 2/3 IP, 2 R (1 ER), 4 H, 3 BB, 4 K -- ND, 1.93 ERA, decent start
Fisher 4 1/3 IP, 8 K -- W, 1-0, 0.00 ERA, unreal, 8 Ks and no hits over 4 1/3 IP, he's a phenom

*** A 5-run 3rd helped IF shock Orem in the series opener versus Owlz ace Sean O'Sullivan. The Chukars stranded 2 in the 1st and Orem scraped together a run off Blake Wood in the 2nd to make it 1-0. A Kurt Mertins throwing error helped Orem to another run in the 3rd but Idaho Falls broke out in the bottom of the 3rd. Brett Bigler hit an RBI single and Joe Dickerson followed two batters later with a 2-run double. With 2 outs, Jase Turner cranked a 2-run homer to left center for a 5-2 IF lead. Bigler hit a run-scoring double in the 4th that was aided by an Orem error but Bigler was thrown out trying to get to third on the error. With 2 out and 2 on in the 5th, Brent Fisher came in and went to work with a K to end the inning, 2 more Ks in a 1-2-3 6th, another K in a 1-2-3 7th, 2 Ks in a 1-2-3 8th and another 2 Ks in a 1-2-3 9th. Needless to say, he dominated. Hope they don't need him the rest of the series. Wood and Fisher limited Orem to 4 hits with 12 Ks in the game. Orem CF Peter Bourjos was 1-3 and RF Luis Rivera was 1-3 with an RBI and an error.

Game 2 of the set is Saturday night. Everett Teaford pitches for IF. Missoula beat Billings, 6-4, in the opener of the other playoff series.

08 September 2006

Royals on the Farm news flash -- Wichita finishes it

The Wranglers took the best-of-5 series as they rolled to a 7-0 lead but then had to hold on for the 7-6 win. Luke Hochevar got the big win with 2 ER allowed over 5 1/3 IP on only 2 hits and a walk with 7 Ks. He's the real deal. Alex Gordon broke out of his postseason funk with a 2 HR game and Billy Butler crushed one as well. It's on to the Texas League Championship Series vs. the Corpus Christi Hooks in a best-of-5 set. Wichita was 6-8 vs. the Hooks this season. I think Billy Buckner is set to start game 1, but it's not until Monday so that might change. Games 1 and 2 are slated for Wichita.

As of 10:45, High Desert is down, 7-3, in the 4th in the decisive game 3 with Lake Elsinore.

Idaho Falls is up on Orem, 6-2, in the 9th in game 1 of their best-of-3.

Royals on the Farm 9/7

AAA - Omaha: Shane Costa and Joe Nelson were named the O-Royals' Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively. Costa batted .342 with 10 HR and 29 RBI in 52 games and slugged .593. Nelson was 2-2 with a 1.97 ERA and a club-best 7 saves (ugh) in 24 appearances for Omaha. The player and pitcher of the year from each of the minor league affiliates will be recognized at the K Sept. 22.

AA - Wichita: Tulsa 6, Wranglers 0 (Wichita leads best-of-5 series 2-1)

3B Gordon 1-5, 3 K, SB (1) -- .214, batted second
DH Butler 1-3, BB -- .333, back from Team USA
2B Murphy 2-4, K -- .500
C Espino 2-3, BB -- .500
LF Lubanski 1-4, BB, 2B, 2 K -- .231
CF Maier 0-4 -- .154
RF D. Brown 1-5, 2 K , E (1) -- .417, batting in third slot
SS Sanchez 1-4, 2 K -- .308

Herndon 6 IP, 6 ER, 12 H, 3 K, HRA -- L, 0-1, 9.00 ERA, yuck
Cedeno 3 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, K -- 0.00 ERA

*** Wichita slapped out 9 hits but, even with Billy Butler back in the lineup, could put together no runs off 4 Driller pitchers as Tulsa avoided a sweep by hammering Junior Herndon. Six of the Drillers' 14 hits in the game came in a 4-run 1st off Herndon as all 6 were singles and a sac fly helped with the rally. Herndon gave up a solo homer in the 3rd to make it 5-0. Wichita averaged a runner an inning and stranded 2 in the 5th. Herndon left with the bases loaded and no outs in the 7th and Juan Cedeno allowed only 1 run to make it 6-0. The Wranglers got 2 on with 0 out in the 8th but a Mitch Maier fly out was worsened by Dee Brown getting thrown out trying to tag up at second and move to third. Donnie Murphy followed with a single before Angel Sanchez struck out to end the threat. Two more runners reached base with 1 out in the 9th but Alex Gordon popped out and Brown struck out to end the game. Tulsa SP Steven Register allowed 4 hits and 2 walks with 5 K over 5 IP to get the win, 3B Ian Stewart was 2-5 with a homer and 2 RBI and DH Tino Sanchez was 1-4 with 2 RBI. Drillers' 1B prospect Joe Koshansky is now hitting .077 in the series while DH Joe Gaetti is hitting .083.

Luke Hochevar makes his first big start for an organizational squad as he takes the mound for Wichita in game 4. Opposing him will be Tulsa's Enmanuel Ulloa. In the other TL series, Corpus Christi finished off a sweep of Midland Thursday and awaits either Wichita or Tulsa in the TL championship series. Wichita IF Walter Sevilla has left the team to attend classes at the U of Tennessee. In his honor, his teammates named a duck that stayed on the field for several hours during the Sept. 2 game "Wally the Rally Duck." According to the Eagle, Wranglers employees sported Wally the Rally Duck T-shirts at the game Thursday. I guess it's Wichita's form of the Rally Monkey. Alex Gordon was named the Wranglers' Player of the Year while Zack Greinke was the Wranglers' Pitcher of the Year, respectively. Gordon also, to no surprise, was named the Royals' Minor League Player of the Year Thursday after hitting .325 with 39 2B, 29 HR and 100 RBI. His 286 total bases were 2nd overall in all the minor leagues this season. He was one of 5 players in the nation in the minors to have 20 HR and 20 SB. Greinke was 8-3 with a 4.38 ERA in 18 games for Wichita.

High-A - High Desert: Mavs 3, Lake Elsinore 2 (best-of-3 series tied at 1)

1B Stodolka 0-5, K -- .000
LF Tomlin 3-4, 2B, SB, OF assist at second -- .375, got job done at plate and in field
SS Falu 2-5, 2B, 2 K -- .300
2B Gaffney 2-4, BB -- .500
3B Lucas 1-3, 2 BB, 2B, RBI, K, RS, picked off -- .429

Gragg 7 IP, 2 R (1 ER), 4 H, BB, 3 K, HRA, E (1), balk -- W, 1-0, 1.29 ERA
Pimentel 2 IP, 2 H, BB, 2 K -- SV, 1

*** HD forced a winner-take-all game 3 Friday by scoring 2 7th-inning runs and hanging on to beat the Storm. A Juan Senreiso double-play ball in the 4th scored the Mavs' first run but John Gragg, who took a 1-hitter through 4 1/3 IP, made a throwing error and balk in the 5th that led to a sac fly to tie the game. Two Storm errors in the 7th helped HD take the lead as Kiel Thibault singled and an error scored Brian McFall. After Geraldo Valentin was thrown out at the plate trying to add another run, Ed Lucas took a bases-loaded walk to force home the second run of the frame to make it 3-1 HD. Gragg gave up a solo homer to start the 7th but the 3-2 Mavs lead held into the 9th. With 1 out in the Storm 9th, Julio Pimentel gave up a single but James Tomlin threw out the runner trying to stretch it to a double. The play was big as the next batter doubled before Pimentel induced a fly out to end the game.
LE C Nick Hundley was 2-4 with a homer and RBI, 1B Tim Brown was 2-4 with a double and 3B Chase Headley was 0-3.

It's do or die for High Desert in Friday's decisive game in Lake Elsinore. Carlos Rosa takes the mound for the decisive game vs. LE's Matt Buschmann. The team site story on Thursday's game states Chris Nicoll will start game 3, so it's either he or Rosa tonight. Nicoll's been doing better at HD over a short time frame so I think I'd rather have him start. Either guy is a gamer, I'm sure. Burlington's site is reporting Rosa was named the Royals' Minor League Pitcher of the Year after going 8-6 with a 2.53 ERA in 24 starts for the Bees coming off TJS. He finished 4th in the MWL in ERA but has posted an ERA over 7 in 3 starts at HD. SS Irving Falu and P Jarod Plummer were named HD's Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively. Mike Stodolka had to have bagged player if not for that late slump, although I'm sure Falu outclasses him in the field. Falu hit .299 with 87 RS and 31 SB and led the team with 126 games played. Plummer also posted double digits in wins and posted a nice ERA in relief for the Mavs. He also K'd 114 while walking only 20 over 95 2/3 IP.

Low-A - Burlington: The Bees' Player and Pitcher of the Year were 3B Mario Lisson and, of course, Carlos Rosa. Lisson finished with a .263 BA and 17 HR to go with 73 RBI. He also stole 41 bases and slugged .421.

Rookie - Idaho Falls: Chukars 9, Ogden 0

2B Mertins 2-5, 2B (11), HR (1), 3 RBI (26), SB (26) -- .342
DH Maddox 3-5, 2 2B (22), 2 RBI (40), 2 RS -- .336
LF Bigler 3-5, 2B (5), K, 2 RS -- .276
CF Dickerson 2-5, RS, E (5) -- .281
1B Turner 2-5, 2B (18), RS -- .229
RF Gonzalez 2-5, 3 K -- .282
C Lance 2-4, BB, K, RS, PB (3), picked off -- .190
SS McConnell 1-3, SF, 2 RBI (35), K, RS -- .262

Mozingo 6 IP, 6 H, 2 BB, 2 K -- W, 3-1, 6.17 ERA
Abreu and Eckley 3 IP scoreless relief

*** IF ended the regular season in style by blanking the Raptors. Four 2-run innings did the trick from the 2nd through the 5th. A wild pitch and Chris McConnell sac fly scored the 2 runs in the 2nd, a 2-run double by Marc Maddox made it 4-0 in the 3rd, a 2-run double by Kurt Mertins made it 6-0 in the 4th and a McConnell RBI single and another run-scoring wild pitch made it 8-0 in the 5th. Mertins hit a solo homer in the 8th to polish it off as Harold Mozingo, Juan Abreu and Jacob Eckley kept Ogden silent on 7 hits. The Chukars finished the second half at 18-20 and 40-36 overall. Ogden 2B Jesus Soto was 2-4 with his 15th error to move to .309 and LF Ryan Rogowski was 0-1 with 2 BB to drop to .312.

The playoffs start Friday as the Chukars play host to Orem in game 1 of a best-of-3. Blake Wood (3-1, 4.50) takes on Orem's Sean O'Sullivan (4-0, 2.14). IF has to be a heavy underdog going into the series as Orem has owned the Chukars this season. Billings and Missoula face off in the other Pioneer League playoff series. The Chukars' Player and Pitcher of the Year were 2B Marc Maddox and P Rowdy Hardy. Maddox hit .332 with 109 total bases for the Chukars after being a 9th-round pick out of Southern Miss for KC. He also had a .427 OBP and cracked 20 doubles and tied for the team lead with 38 RBI. Hardy was 5-3 with a 2.91 ERA for IF in 14 starts. He walked only 4 and K'd 51 over 77 1/3 IP.

Rookie - AZL: The Royals' Player and Pitcher of the Year were OF Nick Van Stratten and P Brent Fisher. Van Stratten was the team's most consistent player while Fisher was easily the top pitcher on the squad, so those awards were pretty much no-brainers. Van Stratten, a 10th-rounder out of St. Louis CC-Meramec, hit .292 with 46 RS for the Royals. Fisher had a 2.11 ERA over 14 starts with 98 K and 19 BB over 68 1/3 IP. His WHIP was 0.88.

Dominican Summer League - Salcedo Royals: Salcedo's Player and Pitcher of the Year were 1B Diego Cruz and P Eduardo Paulino. Cruz hit .330 in 56 games with 40 RBI, 20 BB and 20 K. He's also only 18. Paulino was 9-1 with a 1.55 ERA over 17 games for Salcedo. He K'd 44 and walked 12 over 69 2/3 IP. Salcedo also advanced to the DSL playoffs.

07 September 2006

Royals on the Farm 9/6

AA - Wichita: Wranglers 5, Tulsa 2 (Wichita leads best-of-5 series 2-0)

3B Gordon 2-4, RBI, 2 K, CS -- .222
DH D. Brown 3-3, SF, 2 2B, RBI, RS -- .571
LF Lubanski 1-4, BB, RBI, RS -- .222
CF Maier 1-4, RS -- .222
2B Murphy 1-3, HR, 2 RBI -- .500
SS Sanchez 2-4 -- .333

Lumsden 3 2/3 IP, 0 H, 6 BB, 3 K, E (1), WP -- ND, 0.00 ERA, yikes, six walks, control was lacking, was pulled for 90-pitch limit
C. Smith 3 IP, ER, 4 H, BB, 4 K -- W, 1-0, 3.00 ERA
Lowery IP, nothing -- SV, 2, 0.00 ERA

*** The Wranglers overcame Tyler Lumsden's control problems to hold the Drillers to only 5 hits as they took command of the series. After Lumsden walked 2 in the 1st but got out of the jam, Donnie Murphy got the Wranglers started with a 2-run homer in the 2nd after Dee Brown led off the inning with a single. Alex Gordon added an RBI single and Brown a sac fly in the 3rd to make it 4-0. Lumsden walked 2 more and threw in a wild pitch in the 3rd but once again got out without a Tulsa run scored. Chris Lubanski made it 5-0 in the 4th with an RBI single but was thrown out to end the inning trying to stretch it to a double. After 2 more walks in the 4th, Lumsden was pulled for Cody Smith, who kept Tulsa hitless into the 6th. He gave up 3 straight hits to start the 7th and allowed the Drillers' first run. Two Smith Ks and a bases-loaded pop out induced by Jarod Plummer ended the threat. Plummer gave up a solo homer in the 8th in-between striking out the side to draw the Drillers 1 run closer but Devon Lowery sat the Drillers down in order in the 9th to end it. The series now shifts to Wichita, where the Wranglers will have two chances to lock down the series. Tulsa LF Matt Miller was 1-4 with the HR and RBI, 1B Joe Koshansky was 0-4 and C Alvin Colina was 1-3 with a double.

Game 3 is Thursday night. Junior Herndon pitches for Wichita vs. the Drillers' Steven Register. Corpus Christi also took game 2 over Midland Wednesday.

High-A - High Desert: Lake Elsinore 7, Mavs 5 (Storm lead best-of-3 series 1-0)

3B E. Lucas 2-4, 2B, K, RS -- .500
RF McFall 2-4, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, K, 2 RS -- .500
2B Gaffney 2-4, RBI -- .500
1B R. Brown 1-4, 2B, RBI, K -- .250
RF Valentin 1-4, HR, RBI -- .250

Christensen 4 IP, 3 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 5 K -- ND, 6.75 ERA
de la Vara 3 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, BB, 2 K -- 6.00 ERA
Barnes 1/3 IP, 2 R (1 ER), H, E (1) -- L, 0-1, 27.00 ERA
Rowe 1 2/3 IP, H, 3 K -- 0.00 ERA

*** The Mavs couldn't hold a 6th-inning lead on their home field so now have to win 2 in enemy territory to move on in the Cal League playoffs. Ed Lucas and Rusty Brown had back-to-back doubles in the 1st to get HD a 1-0 lead. Dan Christensen set the first 4 Storm batters down in order but then gave up a walk, 2 doubles and a single aided by an error by Mavs SS Irving Falu to give the Storm a 3-1 lead. After Christensen worked out of 2-on, 0-out jams in the 3rd and 4th, Gilbert de la Vara took over in the 5th and the Mavs closed the gap to 1 on a Mike Gaffney RBI single that inning. de la Vara gave up a run in the 6th to make it 4-2 LE but the Mavs weren't finished. They scored 3 in the 6th on back-to-back homers by Brian McFall (a 2-run shot) and Geraldo Valentin to take a 5-4 lead. de la Vara allowed a 1-out RBI double in the 7th to tie the game and Justin Barnes had a fielding error and allowed a sac fly and RBI triple in the 8th to make it 7-5 Storm. The last 10 Mavs immediately following the 6th-inning homers went down in order to end the game. Storm SS Skip Adams was 3-3 with a walk and double, DH Matt Hagen was 2-5 with 2 doubles and an RBI and 3B Chase Headley was 1-5 with a triple and RBI.

Game 2 is Thursday night. The Mavs' John Gragg pitches against the Storm's Manny Ayala. In other news, C Tomas Duenas left the team to enter classes at Florida International after hitting .340 in August to help HD into the playoffs. Odd.

Rookie - Idaho Falls: Ogden 4, Chukars 3

SS McConnell 2-4, HR (4), RBI (33), K, CS -- .261
C Morizio 2-3, BB -- .264
2B Gil 2-4, HR (2), 2 RBI (15), K -- .223
CF Dickerson 0-4, K -- .278
LF Bigler 1-3, BB, K, RS, SB (20) -- .268
DH Maddox 1-4, 3B (4), 2 K -- .330

Hardy 3 IP, 2 H, BB, K -- ND, 2.80 ERA
Cribb 5 IP, 4 ER, 7 H, BB, 4 K, 2 HRA -- L, 2-6, 5.19 ERA

*** Idaho Falls squandered a 3-0 lead to drop another game to Ogden. Brett Bigler led off the game with a single and Gilbert Gil followed with a 2-run homer for his 2nd of '06 and gave IF a 2-0 lead quickly. Bigler was thrown out at the plate to end the Chukar 3rd trying to score on a Jase Turner single but Chris McConnell led off the 4th with his 4th homer of the season to make it 3-0 IF. Josh Cribb came in to pitch the 4th to relieve Rowdy Hardy and gave up a single and 2-run homer to the first 2 batters he faced. Another solo homer later in the inning tied it at 3. An RBI single off Cribb in the 5th gave Ogden the lead and the Chukars didn't seriously threaten to score again. The Chukars are 17-20. Ogden RF Carlos Santana was 2-4 with his 27th RBI to move to .305, 3B Josh Bell was 2-4 to move to .308 and 1B Rick Taloa was 1-3 with his 11th homer and 2 RBI (48) to move to .276.

The regular season ends Thursday night. No announced pitchers.

06 September 2006

Royals on the Farm 9/5

AA - Wichita: Wranglers 2, Tulsa 1 (11, Wranglers lead best-of-5 series 1-0)

3B Gordon 0-5, 2 K -- .000, ignominious playoff debut
2B Murphy 3-5, 2B, K, RS, E (1) -- .600
LF Lubanski 1-5, 2 K -- .200, maybe he can get back to his '05 playoff raking
CF Maier 1-5, 2 K, picked off -- .200
1B Kaaihue 2-4, BB, 2B, K -- .500, both hits were clutch
DH D. Brown 1-4, BB, 2 K, RS -- .250
SS Sanchez 1-5, 2 RBI (2) -- .200, clutch hit in 9th

Greinke 6 IP, ER, 5 H, 6 K, HRA -- ND, 1.50 ERA, another HR allowed
Musser, DeHoyos and Lowery -- 5 IP scoreless relief -- DeHoyos gets win, Lowery save

*** The Wranglers had to rally in the 9th to force extras after getting 3-hit over 7 IP by Tulsa SP Juan Morillo and posted another run in the 11th to get the win. Wichita stranded 2 runners in both the 2nd and 4th and Tulsa scored its only run in the 5th on a solo homer by C Alvin Colina off Zack Greinke to make it 1-0. Twelve straight Wranglers went down from 1 out in the 4th to 1 out in the 8th but Wichita stranded 2 more runners in the 8th to go into their last at-bats still down by a run. That was after Neal Musser worked out of a runner at third and 1 out situation in the 8th. The rally came after Dee Brown struck out to lead off the 9th. Singles by Donnie Murphy and Kila Kaaihue were followed by a clutch RBI single from Angel Sanchez to tie the game. Two pop outs kept Wichita from taking the lead, tho, and the game went into extra innings. The Drillers got a runner to third with 2 outs off Gabe DeHoyos in the 10th but a ground out ended the inning. Brown led off the Wichita 11th with a single and advanced to third on a Kaaihue double with 1 out. Sanchez again got the RBI with a ground out that scored Brown to make it 2-1. Devon Lowery got 2 Ks and a pop out in Tulsa's half to end the game. Morillo struck out 10 with 2 walks to pick up a no-decision for the Drillers (AA Rockies), Colina was 2-3 with the HR, 2B Christian Colonel was 2-5 and 1B Joe Koshansky was 0-5 with 4 K.

Tyler Lumsden takes the mound for Wichita vs. Tulsa SP Marc Kaiser in game 2 Wednesday night. Corpus Christi pitchers 2-hit Midland in a 3-0 Game 1 win Tuesday in the other TL playoff series. In other news, the Springdale, Ark., city council approved the contract with Wranglers owners and it looks like plans are set for Wichita to move for the 2008 season.

High-A - High Desert: off day before playoffs

*** The Mavs take on the Lake Elsinore Storm (High-A Padres) in a best-of-3 Cal League playoff quarterfinal series starting Wednesday night. Danny Christensen starts game 1 for HD. LE took the season series 12-10 with 7 games decided by 1 run, so it should be a good series.

Rookie - Idaho Falls: Ogden 8, Chukars 0

2B Mertins 2-3, BB, SB (25), picked off twice -- .341
RF Gonzalez 2-4, 2B (10), SB (24), CS (6) -- .279
CF Dickerson 1-4, K -- .283
LF Van Stratten 0-3, HBP -- .294
3B Morizio 0-3, BB, K, E (2) -- .250

Gutierrez 5 IP, 5 R (3 ER), 7 H, 3 K, HRA, E (4) -- L, 0-4, 6.57 ERA

*** The Chukars got shut out by Ogden pitchers on only 6 hits in game 1 of a meaningless 3-game set with the Raptors. IF stranded 2 runners in the 1st and Ogden got on the board in the 2nd off Dan Gutierrez and again in the 4th thanks in part to a Gutierrez throwing error. Gutierrez gave up a 3-run homer in the 5th to make it 5-0. The Chukars got 2 on with none out in the 6th but O.D. Gonzalez was caught trying to steal home on a double steal with Kurt Mertins and then Mertins was picked off at second so the runners vanished without any fault by Chukar batters. RP Bryan Casey gave up 3 gravy runs to Ogden in the 8th on 3 walks and 3 base hits. IF is 17-19 and has clinched a wild-card playoff spot with 2 games left with Ogden to end the regular season. Ogden SP Jesus Castillo went 7 IP and allowed 4 hits and 2 walks with 4 K to improve to 2-5 with a 2.88 ERA, CF Thomas Giles was 3-5 with his 5th homer and 4 RBI (23) to move to .302 and 3B Josh Bell was 3-5 with his 53rd RBI and 2 E (17) to move to .305.

The series continues Wednesday night. No announced starters. The best-of-3 South division playoff set with the Orem Owlz (Rookie Angels) starts Friday in IF. It's nice to have 3 organizational teams headed to the playoffs. That's up from 1 last season.

05 September 2006

Royals on the Farm 9/4

AAA - Omaha: Iowa 4, O-Royals 3

LF Huber 2-4, K, RS -- .278
CF K. Robinson 1-3, 2 BB, 2B (24), K, RS -- .311
1B Phillips 0-4, 2 RBI (39) -- .243
2B Cortez 1-4, RS, SB (5) -- .244

M. Wood 5 IP, 4 ER, 10 H, 2 K, 2 HRA -- L, 0-2, 6.32 ERA, primed and ready for KC......
Yarnall and Mahomes 4 IP scoreless relief

*** Omaha attempted a late comeback but couldn't get it done as Iowa finished the season with a 4-game sweep of the Royals. The Cubs scored a run off Mike Wood in the 1st but Omaha tied it in the bottom of the frame on an RBI ground out by Paul Phillips after Kerry Robinson led off with a double. Wood gave up a 2-run homer in the 3rd and a solo blast in the 4th to make it 4-1 Iowa and that was the score entering the bottom of the 8th. Two walks and a Cubs error loaded the bases with 1 out and Phillips hit an RBI force out. A 2-out RBI double by Jared Price cut the lead to 1 and put the tying run in scoring position for Omaha but he couldn't score on a Fernando Cortez single and Alejandro Prieto struck out to end the season. Omaha finished the season 53-91 and 23 games back of Iowa and Nashville. They were the worst team in the PCL by 5 games over Memphis. Cubs CF Felix Pie was 3-5 with his 17th SB to move to .283, 2B Eric Patterson (brother of Corey) was 2-5 with a triple, his 2nd homer and 2 RBI (12) to move to .358 and RF Mike Restovich was 2-4 with his 85th RBI to move to .293.

In other news, RP Jose Diaz, P Mike Wood and C Paul Phillips have been called up to KC following the Royals season. No news on Huber or Chad Allen when he returns from Team USA duty. To sum up the season stats, Shane Costa led the way for those with more than 150 ABs at Omaha with a .342 BA and .991 OPS, Jeff Keppinger had a .354 BA and .872 OPS (.407 OBP) in 127 ABs, Allen hit .314 and led the team in RBI at 78 and doubles with 26 with an OPS of .861 in 417 ABs, Huber led the team in HR with 15, BB with 40 (also in Ks with 94) and hit .278 with an .838 OPS in 352 ABs, and Kerry Robinson hit .311 with an OPS of .771 and led the team with 17 SB and 14 CS. On the flip side, Mike Aviles led the team with 22 errors, Dee Brown had a .394 OPS in 16 games, Price's OPS was .496 in 139 ABs, Buddy's boy Rick had a .537 OPS in 364 ABs, and Adam Bernero was the only pitcher with a sub-3 ERA and more than 40 IP with a 2.84 ERA over 79 IP. The team was actually low-to-middle of the pack in most pitching categories and near the bottom in most hitting categories.

Here's a link to Omaha's stats:


AA - Wichita: off day

*** The Wranglers start the TL playoffs Tuesday night in Tulsa for game 1 of a best-of-5. Zack Greinke pitches for Wichita.

The season-ending Wrangler stats look somewhat different than Omaha's. Alex Gordon led regulars in OPS at 1.016, which you've gotta like, 2B with 39, HR with 29, RBI with 101 (altho Billy Butler likely would have exceeded that if not for Team USA), SB with 22, RS with 111 and tied Butler for the lead in BB with 72 while hitting .325 with a .427 OBP. He K'd 113 times, also to lead the team, in 486 ABs. Butler hit .331 with an OPS of .887 in 477 ABs and hit 33 doubles and 15 HR with 96 RBI with 41 BB and 67 Ks. Chris Lubanski was next in OPS at .844 in 524 ABs with 34 doubles and a team-high 11 triples to go along with 15 HR and 71 RBI. He walked 72 times compared to 112 Ks. Dee Brown finished with a .307 BA and .836 OPS with 22 doubles and 16 HR to go with 78 RBI in 384 ABs. Mitch Maier hit .306 with an .830 OPS in 543 ABs and had 35 doubles, 7 triples, 14 HR and 92 RBI to go along with a team-leading 166 hits. Zack Greinke finished with a 4.34 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in 105 2/3 IP.

Here's a link to Wichita's stats:


High-A - High Desert: season stays alive with wild-card berth

*** The Mavs finished the second half at 34-36 and qualified with a playoff wild-card berth as Lake Elsinore took the second-half division title. The Mavs and the Lake Elsinore Storm (High-A Padres) will start a best-of-3 series on the Mavs' home field Wednesday night. The winner of the series will play Inland Empire.

Mike Stodolka's season-ending slump dropped him from tops on the team in some categories. He finished with a .284 BA, .396 OBP and .845 OPS in 423 ABs with a team-high 33 doubles, 2 triples and 11 HR with 67 RBI and 78 BB with 103 Ks. C Tomas Duenas had a good season at .297 with an OPS of .888 in 273 ABs and added 19 doubles and 14 HR. LF James Tomlin also finished a decent season by hitting .301 with a .762 OPS (not so good for Cal League) and 24 doubles in 276 ABs. IF Irving Falu's late hot streak helped him finish at .299 with a .737 OPS, 23 doubles, team-high 7 triples, and team-high 31 SBs in 531 ABs. He walked 40 times compared to only 46 Ks. Luis Cota's dismal season of a 7.09 ERA and 1.64 WHIP in 132 IP has been documented start-by-start here. He had 126 Ks and 63 BB. Billy Buckner led pitchers with more than 50 IP with an ERA of 3.90 before moving to Wichita to finish the season. Jarod Plummer, another more recent Wichita call-up, led those pitchers in WHIP with a mark of 1.17 over 95 2/3 IP.

Here's a link to the Mavs' season stats:


Low-A - Burlington: Quad Cities 10, Bees 4

C Howell 2-4, K, E (5) -- .249
CF Duarte 1-5, K, E (5) -- .266
LF Santana 1-4, 3B (5), 2 RBI (20), RS -- .244

Henninger 3 1/3 IP, 7 ER, 7 H, 3 BB, HRA -- L, 3-7, 5.40 ERA

*** The Bees' season ended with not much more than a whimper as the Swing roasted David Henninger. Quad Cities scored 8 runs over the first 4 innings off Henninger and RP Cody Harkcom to take command. A passed ball scored Burlington's first run in the 5th and the Bees rallied for 3 runs in the 7th on a 2-run triple by Ethien Santana and Valentino Arce RBI single. The Bees stranded 2 in the 8th before going down in order in the 9th. The Bees finished the second half at 29-41 and overall finished 64-73. QC SS Tyler Greene was 3-3 with his 15th homer, 11th SB and 3 RBI (47) to move to .287 and CF Jon Jay was 2-4 with his 45th RBI and 2 RS to move to .342.

In other news, 3B Mario Lisson will join Wichita for the playoffs and CF Jose Duarte and C Jeff Howell will join High Desert for the playoffs. Two Bee errors on the game kept them from breaking the MWL record for fewest team errors with 135 in 137 games. The record is 133 in only 116 games, so I consider the Bees' performance to be better but it wasn't the record. The '06 Bees are the only team in franchise history with less errors than games played.

To give an example of the Bees' dismal hitting, Lisson led the team with an OPS of .789, 30 doubles and 41 SB and tied with Miguel Vega for the HR lead with 13. IF Josh Johnson paced the team with an OBP of .391. Lisson's .421 SLG was the only Bee SLG over .400. Five Bee pitchers finished with ERAs under 3 in more than 50 IP -- Carlos Rosa (2.53 in 138 2/3 IP), Chris Nicoll (2.82 in 134 IP), Rayner Oliveros (2.84 in 98 1/3 IP), Mike Penn (2.62 in 82 1/3 IP) and Chris Hayes (2.79 in 62 2/3 IP). It was a promising season for the organization's pitching at Burlington.

Here's a link to the Bees' season stats:


Rookie - Idaho Falls: Chukars 4, Casper 3

2B Mertins 1-5, K, RS, SB (24) -- .336
CF Dickerson 3-5, 2 2B (14), 2 RBI (38) -- .284
SS McConnell 2-4, 2B (8), K -- .256
LF Bigler 2-3, 2 BB, RBI (24), 2 RS, SB (19) -- .267
RF Van Stratten 0-3 -- .357

Teaford 5 IP, 3 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 6 K -- W, 5-1, 3.71 ERA
Hartsock 4 IP, 2 H, 3 K -- SV, 2, 2.91 ERA

*** The Chukars won their 4th straight game by taking out the Rockies. Joe Dickerson singled home a run in the 1st and the Chukars added 2 runs in the 5th on a Dickerson RBI double and steal of home by Brett Bigler on a double steal with Kurt Mertins. Everett Teaford took a 1-hitter into the 5th but gave up 3 runs to allow Casper to tie it. A Bigler RBI ground out in the 6th gave the Chukars back the lead and Aaron Hartsock pitched 4 scoreless innings of relief, including working out of a 2-on, 0-out jam in the 7th, to pick up his 2nd save. IF is 17-18 and, I think, has clinched a wild-card playoff spot in the Pioneer League since Orem will take both halves of the division title. Casper SS Helder Velazquez was 2-4 with 2 RBI (18) and his 9th error to move to .253.

A season-ending 3-game set at the Ogden Raptors (17-18, Rookie Dodgers) starts Tuesday night. No announced pitchers. The Chukars will face the Orem Owlz in the playoffs after the regular season ends Thursday. IF is 5-13 against Orem this season.

04 September 2006

Royals on the Farm 9/3

AAA - Omaha: Iowa 7, O-Royals 4

LF Huber 1-4, 2B (22), K, RS -- .276
3B Aviles 4-4, RBI (47), RS, picked off -- .265
CF K. Robinson 2-5, 2B (23), RS -- .310
2B Cortez 0-4 -- .244

Keppel 4 IP, 5 ER, 8 H, BB, K -- L, 6-7, 5.67 ERA
Nunez 3 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, BB, 3 K, 2 HRA -- 2.13 ERA

*** The Royals lost the third of 4 with the I-Cubs Sunday. The Cubs started the game with a triple and sac fly off Bobby Keppel to take the lead but Omaha tied it in the 1st on a Paul Phillips sac fly. Two RBI doubles helped Iowa to 3 runs in the 2nd and Iowa added runs in the 4th, 5th and 6th, including 2 homers off Leo Nunez, to take a 7-1 lead. Mike Aviles finished his 4-4 day by driving home a run in the 8th and Rick Bell drove home 2 with a single aided by a Cubs error. The rally stopped there, though. Omaha dropped to 53-90. Iowa CF Felix Pie was 2-3 with his 8th triple, 15th homer and 57th RBI to move to .280 and 2B Eric Patterson was 1-4 with 2 RBI (10) to move to .355.

The series finale was Monday afternoon and Mike Wood took the loss as Omaha finished 53-91. More on that in the next RoF. Shane Costa also got recalled to KC.

AA - Wichita: Wranglers 4, Tulsa 2

3B Gordon 1-4, 2B (39), 2 RBI (101) -- .325, made it to the 100-RBI plateau
LF Lubanski 1-3, BB, 2 RS -- .282
CF Maier 1-4, 2B (35), RBI (92), E (7) -- .306
DH D. Brown 1-4, RBI (78), 2 K -- .307
2B Murphy 0-3 -- .249
SS Sanchez 1-3, RS -- .282

C. Smith 3 IP, H, K -- ND, 2.71 ERA
Cedeno 3 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 3 BB, K -- 5.78 ERA
Plummer 2 IP, H, 2 BB, 3 K -- W, 1-0, 0.00 ERA in AA debut
Lowery IP, H, BB, 3 K -- SV, 4, 5.67 ERA

*** Wichita finished the regular season with a 5-game sweep of the Drillers to take momentum into the teams' playoff series Tuesday. Mitch Maier had an RBI double and Dee Brown hit an RBI single to make it 2-0 in the 1st. The Drillers tied it off Juan Cedeno in the 5th but Alex Gordon hit a game-breaking 2-run single in the 8th for his 100th and 101st RBIs. Devon Lowery pitched the 9th and struck out the side with 2 on and 0 out for his 4th save. Wichita finished the regular season 43-26 on the second half and 77-62 overall. Tulsa DH Joe Gaetti was 2-4 with his 5th SB to move to .296, 1B Joe Koshansky was 1-5 with his 109th RBI to move to .284 and RF Seth Smith was 1-3 with his 71st RBI to move to .294.

The Wranglers have Monday off before the playoffs start Tuesday in Tulsa. Zack Greinke will pitch game 1.

High-A - High Desert: Mavs 7, Bakersfield 2

1B Stodolka 1-5, 2 K, RS -- .284
SS Falu 3-5, RBI (49), K, RS, SB (31) -- .299
DH Duenas 1-5, RBI (54), K -- .297
LF Tomlin 2-3, 2B (24), RBI (37), RS -- .301
C Thibault 2-4, 2B (11), RBI (18), RS -- .340
RF Valentin 2-3, BB, K, E (9) -- .283

Nicoll 6 IP, 2 R (1 ER), 4 H, BB, 11 K -- W, 2-0, 4.86 ERA, clutch start
Pimentel 3 IP, 3 K -- SV, 2, 3.18 ERA

*** Chris Nicoll had a great game and the Mavs inched closer to a playoff berth but still needed some help Monday from Lancaster or Lake Elsinore. Bakersfield scored off Nicoll in the 1st but HD rallied with 2 out in the 4th as Juan Senreiso singled home Mike Stodolka to tie it, James Tomlin singled home Senreiso and Kiel Thibault doubled home Tomlin to give HD a 3-1 lead. As Nicoll settled down to cruise through the 6th, the Mavs added a run in the 7th as Irving Falu drove home a run to make it 4-1. Tomlin left the game that inning with an injured leg but no more info was forthcoming. Nicoll gave up an RBI double aided by a Geraldo Valentin error for a run in the 7th before getting pulled and Julio Pimentel got out of the inning with no more damage. The Mavs added 3 in the 9th on a Mike Gaffney RBI single, and a 2-run Blaze error. Pimentel didn't allow a hit or walk over 3 IP to earn his 2nd save. HD finished the season 34-36 on the second half and 73-67 overall. Blaze DH Freddie Thon was 2-4 with his 16th double and 32nd RBI to move to .327.

The Mavs needed some help from Lancaster or LE Monday to get into the playoffs. If they make it, they'll open up the playoffs Wednesday.

Low-A - Burlington: Bees 6, Quad Cities 1

3B Lisson 3-5, HR (13), RBI (73), 2 RS, SB (41) -- .264
RF Arroyo 3-5, 2B (7), HR (2), 3 RBI (37), 2 RS -- .269
CF Duarte 2-5, 2B (24), RBI (38), K -- .267
2B Johnson 0-5, 2 K -- .241
SS Arce 2-4, RBI (19), RS, SB (8) -- .260

Santiago 7 2/3 IP, ER, 5 H, BB, 4 K -- W, 3-6, 5.37 ERA
Oliveros 1 1/3 IP, nothing -- 2.84 ERA

*** Burlington had strong 6th and 7th innings to get the win over the Swing. Carlos Arroyo hit an RBI single in the 4th to give Burlington the lead but Mario Santiago's perfect game was broken up in the 5th as Quad Cities tied the game. Arroyo hit a 2-run homer in the 6th to regain the lead and Jose Duarte added an RBI single to make it 4-1. Mario Lisson led off the 7th with his 13th homer and Valentino Arce singled home a run to make it 6-1. Rayner Oliveros finished the win off. The Bees moved to 29-40 entering Monday's finale. Swing C Bryan Anderson was 2-3 to move to .302 and CF Jon Jay was 0-4 to drop to .339.

The season ended Monday as Quad Cities took the season finale. David Henninger got the start and took the loss.

Rookie - Idaho Falls: Chukars 9, Casper 1

2B Mertins 2-4, BB, 2B (10), RBI (23), RS, E (9) -- .340
DH Maddox 3-4, BB, 3B (3), 2 RBI (38) -- .332
LF Bigler 3-5, BB, 4 RS, SB (18) -- .261
RF Gonzalez 2-3, BB, HBP, 2B (9), HR (5), 2 RBI (20), CS -- .275
CF Dickerson 0-4, BB, RS -- .277
SS McConnell 0-4, HBP, K, RS, SB (8) -- .250
1B Turner 0-4, BB, 2 RBI (41), K -- .228

B. Wood 5 IP, H, 2 BB, 4 K -- W, 3-1, 4.50 ERA, looks improved as season winds down
Fisher 4 IP, ER, 2 H, 9 K, HRA -- SV, 1, 2.25 ERA, power pitching

*** Idaho Falls took down Casper for a 3rd straight win. Marc Maddox singled home a run in the 1st and added another in the 3rd while Jase Turner added an RBI force out to make it 3-0. Wood was pulled with a 1-hitter going through 5 and the Chukars added 3 in the 6th on a 2-run homer by O.D. Gonzalez for his 5th of the season and a Kurt Mertins RBI double. Brent Fisher came in for a rare relief appearance and gave up a solo homer in the 6th but that was it as the Chukars added an RBI ground out by Brandon Lance in the 7th and 2 in the 8th on a Rockie throwing error and another Turner RBI force out. The Chukars are 16-18. Casper had only 3 hits in the loss.

The short series wraps up Monday night. Everett Teaford pitches for IF.

03 September 2006

Royals on the Farm 9/2

AAA - Omaha: Iowa 8, O-Royals 2

LF Huber 0-4, K, OF assist at third -- .276
RF Costa 1-4, 2B (12), RBI (29), RS -- .342
CF K. Robinson 1-2, 2 BB, RS -- .309
2B Cortez 0-3 -- .248

Middleton 6 IP, 4 ER, 10 H, BB, 2 K, 2 HRA, WP -- L, 0-8, 5.33 ERA, finished winless at AAA

*** Omaha only scraped together 5 hits as Iowa took game 2 of 4 with the Royals. Kyle Middleton gave up 2 solo homers in the 3rd as Iowa took a 2-0 lead. The I-Cubs added runs on a Middleton wild pitch in the 4th and a sac fly in the 5th to make it 4-0. The Royals rallied for 2 in the 6th on a Shane Costa RBI double and Mike Coolbaugh RBI single but Esteban Yan gave the runs right back in the 7th on back-to-back solo homers. The Royals had 1 base runner thereafter as Yan gave up another run in the 8th and Ed Yarnall gave up a solo homer in the 9th to polish off the scoring. The Royals dropped to 53-89. Cubs DH Mike Restovich was 3-5 with his 29th double, 27th homer and 84th RBI to move to .294, RF Buck Coats was 3-4 with his 7th homer, 9th error and 2 RBI (51) to move to .282 and CF Felix Pie was 1-6 with his 14th homer and 56th RBI to move to .278.

Iowa took game 3 of the set in a Sunday matinee. Bobby Keppel started for Omaha and took the loss.

AA - Wichita: Wranglers 12, Tulsa 1

3B Gordon 2-5, 2B (38), 2 RBI (99), K, RS -- .326
CF Maier 3-5, HR (14), 3 RBI (91), K, 2 RS -- .306
LF Lubanski 1-3, 2 BB, 2B (34), RBI (71), 2 RS -- .282
DH D. Brown 2-5, HR (16), 2 RBI (77), K -- .308
SS Sanchez 1-5, RS -- .282
2B Keim 2-5, K -- .237
RF Groves 2-4, BB, K, RS -- .209
C Donachie 2-3, BB, HR (2), RBI (10), 3 RS -- .191
1B Kaaihue 1-3, BB, HR (6), 3 RBI (45), K -- .198

Buckner 6 2/3 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 3 BB, 5 K -- W, 5-3, 4.64 ERA
DeHoyos 2 1/3 IP, ER, H, 2 BB, 2 K -- 1.64 ERA

*** Can I mention again that it seems like the Drillers are playing dead going into the playoffs Tuesday? The Wranglers won their 4th straight in the series Saturday with a combined 28-3 score. Mitch Maier began a barrage of 4 Wrangler homers with a 2-run shot in the 1st for his 14th of the season. Kila Kaaihue hit a 3-run homer in the 2nd for his 6th of '06 and Chris Lubanski and Alex Gordon sandwiched RBI doubles around a Maier RBI single to make it 8-0. Adam Donachie cracked a solo homer in the 3rd for his 2nd at AA and Dee Brown cranked a 2-run homer in the 4th for his 16th of the season. The Wrangler scoring attack ended in the 5th with a Gordon RBI ground out that made it 12-0. Gabe DeHoyos gave up a run in the 8th but he and Billy Buckner got it done. Wichita is 43-26. RF Seth Smith was 1-4 with his 46th double to move to .294, DH Joe Koshansky was 1-4 to drop to .285 and 3B Ian Stewart was 1-3 with his 71st RBI to move to .268.

The Wranglers finished a 5-game sweep Sunday with a 4-2 win. Cody Smith got a spot start in the regular season finale. The best-of-5 playoff set with the Drillers starts Tuesday at Tulsa. Corpus Christi and Midland square off in the other playoff semifinal. In other news, pitchers Brian Bass and Thad Markray were put on the DL and Jarod Plummer was called up from High Desert.

High-A - High Desert: Bakersfield 7, Mavs 6

1B Stodolka 0-1 -- .285, ejected in 2nd along with manager Jeff Carter
2B Gaffney 2-5, 2B (9), RBI (36), K, CS -- .251
SS Falu 0-4, BB, RBI (48), 2 E (17) -- .297
CF Valentin 2-3, BB, RBI (51), RS -- .280
C Duenas 1-4, BB, K, RS -- .299
LF Tomlin 1-4, 2B (23), 2 RBI (36), 2 K, RS -- .297

Cota 3 2/3 IP, 5 ER, 6 H, 4 BB, 3 K -- ND, 7.09 ERA
Rowe 2 1/3 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 2 K, HRA -- L, 3-2, 5.10 ERA
B. Johnson IP, nothing -- 5.73 ERA

*** The Mavs mounted a big comeback to take the lead in the 6th but gave it right back and fell out of the wild-card lead with one game left. Luis Cota continued his disappointing season by giving up 3 runs on 3 hits and 3 walks in the 1st and another run with 2 out in the 2nd as Mike Stodolka and HD manager Carter were ejected for arguing a call. The Mavs loaded the bases with 1 out in the 4th and didn't score and the Blaze added a run off Cota and Adam Rowe in their half to make it 5-0. Jeremy Jirschele hit a 2-out RBI double in the 5th to get the Mavs on the board but Irving Falu was nailed at home to end the inning. The Mavs surged ahead with the help of 2 Blaze errors in the 6th as the errors and a walk loaded the bases. James Tomlin hit a 2-run double before Geraldo Valentin hit an RBI single, Falu hit an RBI force out and Mike Gaffney singled home a run to make it 6-5 HD. Rowe gave up a single and 2-run homer to start the Blaze 6th and Bakersfield didn't trail again. HD is 33-36 and now a 1/2 game back of Lake Elsinore for the wild card. Blaze 1B Freddie Thon was 4-5 with 3 2B (15) and 3 RBI (31) to move to .324, RF Steve Murphy was 2-5 with his 38th double and 2 RBI (68) to move to .285 and 3B Micah Furtado was 2-5 with his 14th error to move to .247.

Chris Nicoll pitches the finale for HD Sunday night versus the Blaze. The Mavs need the help of Lake Elsinore or Lancaster to make the playoffs. More importantly, they need to win Sunday night.

Low-A - Burlington: Bees 7, Quad Cities 6 (11)

LF Arce 3-5, 2 RS -- .257
CF Duarte 2-5, BB, 2B (23), K, RS -- .265
2B Johnson 0-4, BB, 2 K -- .245
3B Lisson 2-6, RBI (72), 2 K, RS -- .260
RF Peralta 1-3, BB, SF, 2B (1), RBI (3), K -- .250

Cortes 4 2/3 IP, 4 ER, 6 H, 3 BB, 3 K, HRA -- ND, 6.69 ERA
Garcia 3 IP, ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 3 K -- W, 4-3, 4.35 ERA

*** The Bees forced extras in the 9th before taking it with another comeback in the 11th. The Swing scored twice in the 2nd on 4 hits and a walk off Dan Cortes but the Bees tied it on two Swing errors and a Felix Peralta sac fly
in their half of the frame. Cortes gave up a 2-run homer in the 4th and added a run off Yovany D'Amico (as his last name is now punctuated) in the 6th to make it 5-2. Another Swing error scored a run before Eduardo Nunez singled home a run in the 6th to cut it to 5-4. A passed ball saved the Bees as, with Mario Lisson at third and 2 out in the 9th, Jeff Howell struck out but the ball got past Swing C Henry Guerrero and Lisson scored while Howell reached base to tie the game. Quad Cities scratched out a run on 2 hits in the 11th off Eliezer Garcia to take a 6-5 lead. A throwing error by Guerrero in the bottom of the 11th allowed the tying run to score and Lisson came through with a walkoff single to end it. The Bees are 28-40. Swing OF Chad Gabriel was 3-4 with a triple, his 7th homer and 2 RBI (31) along with 3 RS to move to .272 and 3B Dan Nelson was 2-4 with his 25th double, 37th error and 48th RBI to move to .253.

The Bees and Swing continue the set in Quad Cities Sunday evening. Mario Santiago starts for the Bees.

Rookie - Idaho Falls: Chukars 12, Orem 6

2B Mertins 1-5, BB, 2 RS, SB (22) -- .337
1B Maddox 2-5, 2B (20), 3 RBI (36), K, RS -- .324
RF Gonzalez 2-3, BB, SF, 2 RBI (18), RS, 3 SB (21) -- .269
SS McConnell 1-3, 2 BB, 3B (4), 2 RBI (32), K, 2 RS, SB (7), CS (3) -- .256
DH Dickerson 0-2, 2 BB, HBP, K, RS -- .282
LF Bigler 1-3, 3 BB, RS, SB (17), OF assist at second -- .253
C Morizio 1-3, 2 BB, 2 RS -- .259
CF Van Stratten 0-3, 2 BB, K, 2 RS -- .455

Mozingo 3 IP, 3 ER, 4 H, 3 BB, 3 K -- 6.94 ERA
Chambliss 3 2/3 IP, 3 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 4 K -- W, 4-3, 4.20 ERA

*** IF batters drew 14 walks en route to scoring 12 runs on only 8 hits and capitalizing on 3 Owlz errors to take down Orem. Harold Mozingo gave up 3 runs on 2 hits and a walk in the 1st but IF went off for 7 in the bottom of the frame on a bases loaded 2-run double by Marc Maddox, a 2-run triple by Chris McConnell, an O.D. Gonzalez sac fly, a 2-run Owlz error on a ball hit by Kurt Mertins. Both teams' pitchers settled down until Tyler Chambliss gave up 2 Orem runs in a 2-out double in the 5th and another run in the 7th to cut the lead to 7-6 IF. The Chukars regained some breathing room with 2 runs in their half of the 7th on an Owlz throwing error and Maddox RBI single. The Chukars drew walks to load the bases with 1 out in the 8th and scored 3 runs on a Gonzalez single aided by yet another Orem error. IF is 15-18 and 2 games up on the wild-card spot. Orem CF Chris Pettit was 2-5 with his 23rd double and 48th RBI to move to .333 and DH Ryan Mount was 2-5 with his 9th SB to move to .298.

A short 2-game set at the Casper Rockies starts Sunday afternoon. No announced starters. Five games remain on the IF schedule.

02 September 2006

Royals on the Farm 9/1

AAA - Omaha: Iowa 3, O-Royals 2

LF Huber 0-4, K -- .279
RF Costa 1-3, BB, 2B (11), RBI (28), OF assist at second -- .344
3B Aviles 2-4, K, SB (13) -- .258
CF K. Robinson 0-2, 2 BB, RBI (40), CS -- .308
2B Cortez 1-4, 2B (6), K, RS -- .251

Van Hekken 7 IP, 3 ER, 10 H, BB, 2 K -- L, 3-5, 4.36 ERA
Nunez 2 IP, H, K -- 1.80 ERA

*** A long-gone Royal made an impact against the O-Royals as Mac Suzuki got the win for Iowa. Andy Van Hekken gave up runs in the 2nd and 3rd to give Iowa a 2-0 lead before Shane Costa doubled home a run with 2 out in the 3rd. Kerry Robinson drove home a run on a ground out off Suzuki in the 5th to tie the game. Van Hekken gave up a 2-out RBI single in the 6th and the Royals' last gasp came with 2 singles with 2 outs in the 9th before Fernando Cortez grounded out to end the game. The Royals are 53-88. Suzuki allowed 2 ER on 4 hits and 2 walks with 3 K over 5 IP to move to 1-0 with a 4.05 ERA, RF Buck Coats was 3-4 with his 17th SB and 21st double to move to .278 and 2B Eric Patterson was 2-4 with his 7th SB to move to .358.

Game 2 of the set is Saturday evening. Pitchers: Iowa RH Jae-Kuk Ryu (7-8, 3.36) vs. RH Kyle Middleton (0-7, 5.27). The loss clinched 2006 as the worst season in Royals history.

AA - Wichita: Wranglers 10, Tulsa 1

3B Gordon 2-4, BB, RBI (97), K, RS, E (16) -- .325
LF Lubanski 2-5, RBI (70), RS -- .282
CF Maier 2-4, RBI (88), K, 2 RS -- .303
SS Sanchez 3-5, 2B (24), RBI (57), 2 RS -- .283
RF Groves 3-4, RBI (18), RS -- .201
2B Murphy 2-5, HR (14), 2 RBI (45) -- .251
C Espino 2-4, RBI (18), RS -- .246
DH D. Brown 0-4, SF, RBI (75) -- .307

Herndon 5 IP, ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 4 K, WP -- W, 12-6, 5.29 ERA
Musser and Lowery 4 IP scoreless relief

*** An 8-run 2nd and good pitching by Junior Herndon and 2 relievers got Wichita yet another win over Tulsa. Donnie Murphy continued his hot hitting with a leadoff homer in the 2nd for his 14th of the season, Brett Groves singled home a run and another scored on a Tulsa error, Chris Lubanski, Mitch Maier and Alex Gordon followed with RBI singles, Dee Brown hit a sac fly and Angel Sanchez singled home a run to make it 8-0. Herndon gave up a run on 2 hits and a walk in the 3rd but Wrangler pitchers only allowed 2 hits thereafter. Wichita added gravy runs in the 7th and 8th on RBI singles by Damaso Espino and Murphy. Wichita is 41-26. Tulsa LF Seth Smith was 1-4 with his 70th RBI and 5th error to move to .294, 1B Joe Koshansky was 0-4 to drop to .285 and RF Joe Gaetti was 0-3 to drop to .294.

The series continues Saturday night as Billy Buckner makes his final regular-season start. After Sunday's finale, the teams get a day off before starting the playoffs Tuesday.

High-A - High Desert: Mavs 5, Bakersfield 2

1B Stodolka 0-3, 2 BB, K, RS -- .285
3B E. Lucas 2-4, BB, HR (8), RBI (66), 2 K, 2 SB (19) -- .283
C Thibault 2-3, HBP, 2B (10), HR (1), RBI (17) -- .333, great game in place of suspended Duenas
SS Falu 0-4, BB -- .299
LF Tomlin 1-3, BB -- .297

Gragg 8 IP, 2 ER, 8 H, 6 K -- W, 8-9, 4.29 ERA
Plummer IP, 2 BB, K -- SV, 10, 4.05 ERA

*** A 4-run 3rd propelled the Mavs to a much-needed win. Both teams stranded runners in the 2nd and the Mavs broke through in the 3rd on a leadoff solo shot by Kiel Thibault for his 1st at HD and 2 Blaze errors scored 3 more runs to make it 4-0 HD. Ed Lucas added a solo homer in the 5th for his 8th of the season. Gragg allowed 2 runs in the 5th but regrouped as he and Jarod Plummer didn't allow another hit. The Mavs are 33-35 and still 1/2 a game up on the wild-card with 2 games left. Blaze LF Joe Napoli was 2-3 to move to .385 and DH Johnny Washington was 2-3 with a double to move to .156. Andres Galarraga's son Armando took the loss for Bakersfield to drop to 0-1 with a 6.23 ERA.

The series continues Saturday night as the Mavs can clinch with a win and a Lake Elsinore loss. Luis Cota starts for HD. LE leads the division as of Saturday pre-game so if they take the second-half title, the Mavs take the wild-card.

Low-A - Burlington: Quad Cities 2, Bees 1

CF Duarte 0-4 -- .264
2B Johnson 1-3, BB, K -- .247
3B Lisson 1-4, 2B (30), RBI (71) -- .259

Hochevar 6 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 6 K, 2 HRA -- L, 0-1, 1.17 ERA
Penn 3 IP, H, 5 K -- 2.62 ERA

*** Two solo shots off Luke Hochevar in the 2nd gave the Swing a clinched division title and Hochevar his first loss as a Royals farmhand. The Bees never mounted much offense and scored their lone run in the 8th on a 2-out RBI double by Mario Lisson. They went down in order in the 9th. The Bees are 27-40. Swing SP Tyler Norrick went 6 IP and allowed 2 hits and 3 walks with 7 K to move to 2-2 with a 3.72 ERA, SS Tyler Greene was 1-3 with his 14th homer and 43rd RBI, DH Jose Martinez was 1-3 with his 8th homer and 36th RBI and CF Jon Jay was 0-4 to drop to .347.

The series continues Saturday night as Dan Cortes pitches for the Bees. Hochevar will move on to Wichita for a start against Tulsa next week.

Rookie - Idaho Falls: Chukars 3, Orem 2

2B Mertins 2-4, BB, RS, SB (21) -- .340
CF Dickerson 2-5, GW RBI (36), CS, E (4) -- .284
LF Bigler 2-4, BB, RS, 2 SB (16) -- .251
RF Van Stratten 3-4, 2B -- .625
DH Maddox 1-4, 2 RBI (33) -- .322
SS McConnell 1-4, 2B (7), K -- .255

Hardy 6 1/3 IP, 2 UER, 6 H, 5 K -- ND, 2.91 ERA, another good start
Hartsock 2 2/3 IP, H, BB, 3 K -- W, 6-2, 3.19 ERA

*** Joe Dickerson came through with a big hit in the 9th and the Chukars beat Orem for the first time in 11 tries. Marc Maddox singled home a run in the 1st and drove home a run with a ground out in the 3rd as Rowdy Hardy retired the first 9 Owlz. A Dickerson error led to an unearned Owlz run in the 6th and a Brenan Herrera error in the 7th scored another unearned run to tie the game. Dickerson grounded out to end the 7th with the go-ahead run at third and Aaron Hartsock worked out of a jam in the 8th. With 2 on and 1 out in the 9th, Dickerson redeemed himself with a walkoff single to end it. IF is 14-18 and still a game in the wild card lead. Orem CF Chris Pettit was 3-4 with his 22nd double and 47th RBI to move to .332 and 3B P.J. Phillips was 2-4 to move to .243.

Harold Mozingo starts for the Chukars Saturday night. In other news, reports state the Royals will keep the Chukars in the organization and just add the Burlington (NC) Royals as a third rookie-level team in the organization.

01 September 2006

Royals on the Farm 8/31

AAA - Omaha: O-Royals 8, New Orleans 7 (10)

LF Huber 1-6, 2B (21), RBI (44), 2 K -- .283
RF Costa 2-5, BB, RBI (27) -- .344
SS Prieto 4-5, HR (3), 3 RBI (18), SB (2) -- .232
CF K. Robinson 2-4, BB, HBP, 4 RS, SB (17) -- .310
DH Coolbaugh 0-2, 2 BB, HBP, SF, 2 RBI (24), RS -- .230
2B Cortez 0-4 -- .251

Mahomes 6 IP, 6 ER, 7 H, 2 BB, 7 K, HRA -- ND, 5.77 ERA
Yan 2 IP, H, 2 K -- 6.62 ERA
Diaz 2 IP, ER, 2 H, 2 BB, K -- BS, 4, W, 2-3, 4.15 ERA

*** A late comeback gave Omaha the lead in the 9th but Jose Diaz blew it before the Royals regrouped to win in 10. A throwing error by former Royals C Alberto Castillo in the 1st allowed Kerry Robinson to score the first run of the game. Pat Mahomes had a bad 1st, however, as he gave up a 2-run triple and 2-run homer with 2 outs in the inning to stake the Zephyrs to a 4-1 lead. Mike Coolbaugh hit an RBI ground out in the 3rd but New Orleans added 2 runs in the 6th on a 2-run single off Mahomes to make it 6-2. The Royals fought back to tie the game in the 7th as Alejandro Prieto hit a 3-run homer for his 3rd of the season and Justin Huber doubled home a run. Shane Costa singled home the go-ahead run in the 8th and Diaz came in for the 9th with an 8-7 lead. He gave up a single and 2 walks to load the bases with 1 out and an RBI force out tied the game before Diaz got out of the jam. A balk put 2 in scoring position for Omaha in the 10th and Coolbaugh hit a sac fly to get the lead run home. Diaz ended the game on a DP ball. Omaha is 53-87 entering the final series of the season. Zephyrs 3B Brandon Larson was 2-5 with his 20th HR and 4 RBI (72) to move to .268, LF Tyrell Godwin was 3-5 with his 7th triple, 19th SB and 2 RBI (44) to move to .242 and 1B Mike Vento was 0-5 to drop to .357.

The Royals finish the season with a 4-game home set vs. the Iowa Cubs (72-68) starting Friday night. Andy Van Hekken pitches the opener for Omaha and Iowa hadn't named a starter as of about 1 p.m. Friday. The Royals need to sweep to avoid the worst record in franchise history. In other news, the Royals called up RP Ryan Braun for his major league debut as Reggie Sanders was moved to the 60-day DL. Here's hoping Braun will be the Royals' closer for the next 6 years.

AA - Wichita: Wranglers 3, Tulsa 1

3B Gordon 2-4, RBI (96), 2 K -- .323, outside shot to become only player in franchise with 100-RBI year
LF Lubanski 2-4, RS -- .281
CF Maier 1-4, K -- .302
SS Sanchez 0-3, K -- .280
2B Murphy 1-4 -- .249
DH D. Brown 1-2, BB, SF, RBI (74), RS -- .310

Lumsden 6 IP, ER, 4 H, BB, 5 K, WP, 3 hit batsmen -- W, 2-1, 3.06 ERA, control probs but good start
Cedeno 3 IP, H, K -- SV, 2, 5.77 ERA, had Jekyll control Thursday, not Hyde

*** Either Wichita is hitting on all cylinders or the Drillers are playing possum until the playoffs next week as Wichita won again, this time in less than 2 hours. Brett Groves drove in a run on a force out in the 2nd as the play was aided by the Drillers' 2nd error of the frame. Tyler Lumsden gave up a run on 2 hits and a wild pitch in the 3rd to tie it at 1 but the Wranglers scored twice in the 5th on an Alex Gordon RBI single and Dee Brown sac fly to make it 3-1. Lumsden and Cedeno stymied Tulsa thereafter to end the game in 1 hour, 57 minutes. Wichita is 40-26. Gary's son Tulsa LF Joe Gaetti was 2-4 to move to .297, 1B Joe Koshansky was 0-3 to drop to .287 and 3B Ian Stewart was 1-4 with his 41st double to drop to .270.

Junior Herndon starts game 3 of the 5-game set Friday night. The Eagle reports Luke Hochevar is set to start playoff game 4 against Tulsa next week. Apparently the negotiations between the Wranglers and Springdale, Ark., have hit a snag and it's up in the air at this point whether the team will leave Wichita or not -- contract squabbles.

High-A - High Desert: Inland Empire 7, Mavs 6

DH Stodolka 0-4, BB, 2 K -- .287
SS Falu 3-5, RBI (47), RS -- .301, still white hot
C Duenas 0-3, BB, SF, RBI (53), 2 K, RS -- .299
CF Senreiso 3-4, 2B (16), RBI (59), RS -- .288
LF Tomlin 2-4, 3B, RBI (34), RS -- .297

de la Vara 5 IP, 3 ER, 2 H, 3 BB, 3 K, HRA -- L, 0-5, 5.61 ERA, why is he starting?
Hicklen 2 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, HRA -- 6.24 ERA
Schambough 2 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, HRA -- 13.50 ERA

*** A 9th-inning comeback rally wasn't to be as the 66ers earned a split of the 4-game set with HD. Gilbert de la Vara made another start and gave up a 3-run homer in the 2nd to put the Mavs down early. Juan Senreiso singled home a run in the 4th to get the Mavs a run but Patrick Hicklen gave up a 2-run homer in the 7th (to Andy Hargrove, who had the other HR) to make it 5-1 IE. James Tomlin tripled home a run and Irving Falu singled home a run in the Mavs 7th to cut it back to 5-3. Rusty Brown hit an RBI ground out in the 8th to cut the lead to 1 but Kraig Schambough gave up a 2-run homer in the 9th to give IE 2 insurance runs. Mike Gaffney hit a 1-out RBI single in the bottom of the 9th and a Duenas sac fly cut the lead to 1, but Ed Lucas grounded into a game-ending force out. The Mavs are 32-35 and down to a 1/2-game lead on the wild card entering the final series. Hargrove, son of Seattle MGR Mike Hargrove, was 3-3 with 2 HR (5) and 5 RBI (16) to move to .236, C Omar Falcon was 2-3 with his 13th double, 7th HR and 2 RBI (28) to move to .260 and RF Casey Craig was 2-3 with his 3rd error to move to .292.

The Mavs start a regular-season ending 3-game road set with the Bakersfield Blaze (29-37, High-A Rangers) Friday night. No announced starters. RP Justin Barnes was suspended 3 games and Tomas Duenas 1 game for their part in a brawl Tuesday with the 66ers. Both ejected 66ers got 3-game suspensions. P Patrick Green's final start for the season will be the 2-man no-hitter he threw Aug. 21 with Jarod Plummer as Green has elbow tendinitis. Same goes for P Brandon Weeden, who has started some for HD. The Royals' track record with pitchers continues.

Low-A - Burlington: Cedar Rapids 7, Bees 6 (12)

1B Everett 3-6, 2B (13), K, RS, E (5) -- .263
C Howell 3-4, RS -- .249
CF Duarte 1-6, 2B (22), 4 K -- .266, golden sombrero
2B Johnson 0-6, 2 K -- .247
DH Peralta 1-4, BB, 2 RBI (2), K -- .250

A. Morales 5 1/3 IP, 4 R (3 ER), 7 H, 2 BB, 2 K, WP -- ND, 5.06 ERA
Hayes 1 2/3 IP, 2 R (1 ER), 5 H, BB, K -- BS, 6, L, 3-6, 2.84 ERA

*** A 9th inning Bees rally was countered by a Kernels rally in the 11th and Cedar Rapids took the series finale. Angelo Morales made his A-ball debut and gave up a run in the 1st but the Bees scored 2 in the 2nd on a 2-run single by Felix Peralta. Cedar Rapids regained the lead with 2 in the 5th off Morales on 2 hits and a wild pitch. Morales and Eliezer Garcia allowed another run in the 6th to make it 4-2. Omar Pena drove home a run on a ground out in the 7th to cut the lead back to 1 but the Kernels got the run back off Garcia in the 7th. The Bees loaded the bases down by 2 with 1 out in the 9th and a Pena sac fly cut it to 4-3. A throwing error on a ball hit by Ethien Santana allowed the tying run to score and the game went into extras. Santana tripled home Pena in the 11th to give the Bees a 5-4 lead but Chris Hayes gave up a single that, along with a Santana error, retied the game. With 2 out in the 12th, the Kernels got a walkoff single off Hayes to end it. The Bees are 27-39. Kernels CF Brad Coon was 4-5 with his 27th RBI and 54th SB to move to .278, DH Jordan Renz was 3-5 with his 84th RBI to move to .226 and 2B Josh Davies was 2-5 with his 5th triple, 5th error and 20th RBI to move to .239.

The Bees end the season with a split 4-game set vs. the Swing of the Quad Cities (40-25, Low-A Cards) starting Friday night. Luke Hochevar makes his final Burlington start. In other news, the Iowa town won't be the only Burlington to have a Royals farm team starting next season. More on that in the Idaho Falls section.

Rookie - Idaho Falls: Orem 11, Chukars 3

2B Mertins 2-4, 2B (9), RBI (22), K, RS -- .337
DH Maddox 1-3, BB, K -- .324
CF Van Stratten 2-4, RBI -- .500 in IF debut
3B Herrera 2-4, 2B (16), RS, E (14) -- .253
SS McConnell 0-3, SF, RBI (30), E (18) -- .255
LF Bigler 1-3, BB, E (4) -- .246

Gutierrez 5 IP, 3 R (2 ER), 7 H, BB, 6 K, 2 WP -- ND, 6.70 ERA
Cribb 1 1/3 IP, 6 R (5 ER), 8 H, K -- L, 2-5, 4.98 ERA

*** Orem kept its thumb on Idaho Falls this season by scoring 8 late runs to drub the Chukars. A wild pitch and single scored runs for the Owlz off Dan Gutierrez in the 1st and Nick Van Stratten singled home a run in his first IF AB in the 2nd. Orem scored again in the 3rd but IF tied it that inning on a Kurt Mertins RBI double and Chris McConnell sac fly. Marc Maddox was thrown out at home trying to score the lead run to end the 5th and the score stayed tied at 3 into the 7th when Josh Cribb gave up 6 runs on 7 consecutive singles and a Brett Bigler error. Chase Vacek gave up 2 more runs in the 8th and IF didn't post any kind of rally to end the game. The Chukars are 13-18 and a game up on Ogden for the wild card. Orem CF Chris Pettit was 3-5 with his 21st double and 2 RBI (46) to move to .324 and DH Ryan Mount was 2-5 with 2 RBI (38) to move to .298. 4 other Owlz had multi-hit games.

The series continues Friday. No announced starters. In other news, the Royals signed a development agreement with the Burlington, N.C., rookie-level Appalachian League team that had been with the Indians organization for 21 years. They will be the Burlington Royals. I assume that means the Royals will be out of IF and the Pioneer League. Maybe two heavy hitter-type leagues are too much for evaluation purposes in regard to the Pioneer and California leagues. No confirmation on what happens with IF yet.

Rookie - AZL: Royals' season done at 36-20. The Padres won the league with a 5-2 win over the Angels in the AZL title game Thursday.