Salt Lake at Las Vegas — April 13
Kendry Morales left Friday’s game in the bottom of the 5th inning.
Just got back from the Salt Lake Bees game at Las Vegas. It was the home opener for the 51s. Although currently a Dodgers affiliate, this franchise has some Angels history we’ll get to in a moment.
The Bees lost 5-1 and didn’t impress much with two exceptions. Terry Evans hit a shot to left field his first at-bat to give the Bees a short-lived 1-0 lead in the top of the 2nd. In the bottom frame, Pedro Liriano gave up five runs, the critical hit a bases-loaded triple by James Loney.
Liriano was relieved by Steven Shell, just off the plane from Arkansas after being promoted to replace Greg Jones (who went to Anaheim after Kelvim Escobar was disabled). Shell, converted to relief this year, did quite nicely. He pitched from the stretch full-time, and pitched four scoreless innings. Steven gave up two hits, struck out two, walked none, and induced a double-play to get out of his one jam. He’s wearing glasses now. According to the scoreboard, his velocity was in the high 80s with an occasional 90 MPH, but I’m not sure I buy that as he used to be in the low to mid-90s. Shell was using his curve ball and changeup effectively.
Most curious was that Kendry Morales was lifted in the bottom half of the 5th, replaced at first base by Mike Eylward. I’m not aware of any injury, so just speculating that maybe the Angels called him up after finally deciding to disable Shea Hillenbrand who’s been playing with a groin injury. So far I haven’t seen any explanation on-line, so when I find something I’ll let you know.
Bartolo Colon, scheduled to make a rehab start here Sunday, was spotted briefly in the dugout during the game. So he’s here.
As for the Las Vegas connection to Angels history … I pointed out to both the Bees broadcaster and the 51s media guy that the Las Vegas franchise originated long ago as the old Pacific Coast League Los Angeles Angels. To move the Dodgers to L.A. from Brooklyn, Walter O’Malley had to acquire the territorial rights from the Cubs, who owned the PCL Angels. The Dodgers moved the PCL franchise to Spokane, Washington in 1958, and there it stayed until 1982 when it moved to Las Vegas.
Just a little factoid for this Freeway Series, although it’s the I-15 Freeway Series, not the I-5 Freeway Series we Southern Californians have come to know. Continue up the I-15 from Las Vegas about 375 miles and you’ll get to Salt Lake. Franklin Covey Field is just a couple blocks off the I-15 in Salt Lake City.
Oh, driving up here along the I-15, gas seemed to be roughly in the $3.50-$3.60/gallon range. Here in Vegas, gas seems to be about $2.95-$3.05/gallon.
When I get the time, I’m going to research a rumor I heard today. The rumor has the PCL Nashville franchise looking to relocate to the West Coast, possibly somewhere in Southern California. That rumor reminded me of past efforts by a guy in San Bernardino to bring a major league team to the Inland Empire. I’m sure the Angels and Dodgers would have something to say about that, but so long as the PCL franchise is beyond a 45-mile radius from Angel or Dodger Stadium it would be okay.