On Deck for Tempe
With six hours to go until I find out how much gas costs in the middle of the desert …
Kernels beat writer Jeff Johnson of the Cedar Rapids Gazette notes in his blog that the Angels have still taken no action to help the flood victims in Cedar Rapids:
Still waiting for the Los Angeles Angels to even acknowledge there has been a flood in Cedar Rapids. The word is the Angels are waiting for the Cedar Rapids Kernels to tell them where it’s best to donate some money. Why are you waiting, Angels? It’s not hard to figure out: try the Red Cross, try the Kernels Foundation, try something! Despite what certain members of the Kernels front office and board of directors believe, there is absolutely NO loyalty in professional sports. The quicker you learn that, the better off you’ll be. You are running a business, and it’s very apparent you are not giving your business its best chance of success by continuing to partner with a Major League organization that NO ONE around here cares about. Or apparently doesn’t care much about you.
Since some fan sites tend to see one line on a Transactions page and misinterpret it because they lack context, this appears in today’s Inland Valley Daily Bulletin:
The Quakes made three moves after Thursday’s game.
Catcher Alberto Rosario (.202) was sent to Triple-A Salt Lake City to fill in for Tim Duff, whose wife just gave birth.
Right-handed pitcher Marco Albano (2-3, 7.11) went to Double-A Arkansas and catcher Ikko Sumi came from rookie ball to fill in for Rosario.
Is it too early to talk about magic numbers?
Yes, if you’re talking about the American League, although the Oakland A’s seem to have run up the white flag by trading away Rich Harden and Joe Blanton, the latest victims of Billy Beane’s mad scientist experiment. If he’d run scouting and player development properly instead of implementing the failed “Moneyball” mumbo-jumbo spawned from sabermetrics, his farm system wouldn’t have been so barren that he had to hock his veteran players to replenish it.
But it’s not too early if you’re talking the Orem Owlz and Tempe Angels.
The Pioneer League has a 76-game schedule divided into two 38-game halves. Owlz manager Tom Kotchman is a master at manipulating these split-season sprints to get his teams into the playoffs. The Owlz are currently 21-9 — best record in the league — with eight games to go and a 1 1/2 game lead over Casper. Orem’s magic number is eight. I don’t know what the league rule is should they tie; head-to-head, Casper leads 4-2, so Orem should plan on taking the division outright. They can put it way by winning two home games hosting Casper on Thursday and Friday.
The Arizona League has a 56-game schedule split up into two 28-game halves. No divisions, all nine teams are together. (When the Dodgers arrive next year, they’ll have ten and the schedule will change.) Tempe is 15-6, three games ahead of the Mesa Cubs and Surprise Rangers. (Surprise is a town, not an exclamation.) So the Angels’ magic number is five to win the first half. The first half winner plays the second half winner in a one-game championship.
A shout out to Owlz pitch Will Smith, who totally dominated Great Falls last night in the Owlz’ 10-0 romp over the Voyagers. Smith pitched six shutout innings, struck out nine, walked none, and gave up only two hits. For the season, in 29.1 IP he has a 34:3 SO:BB ratio and a 2.15 ERA. It should come as no surprise that he was a Tom Kotchman find in the 7th round, a 19-year old 6’6″ left-hander who might start drawing comparisons to Randy Johnson in a few years if his velocity develops.
Kotch could add another signing of his, 3rd rounder Ryan Chaffee, when he’s healthy. Chaffee was supposed to be ready about now, recovering in Tempe from a broken foot, but I haven’t seen his name in any Tempe box scores yet. I’ll determine his status in the next couple days.