Results tagged ‘ Orem Owlz ’

The Playoff Picture

The Orem Owlz won 7-4 at Ogden Sunday to win the Pioneer League South Division series 2-0. They await the winner of the Great Falls-Missoula series. The Pioneer League alternates which division gets the home field advantage. This year it’s the North Division, so Orem hosts Game #1 before going on the road up north for Games #2 and (if necessary) #3.

The Kernels won 4-1 over Burlington to tie their best-of-three series 1-1. The Game #3 finale is tonight at Cedar Rapids. Iowans, turn out and support your team! The winner goes on to face the winner of the Great Lakes-Fort Wayne series, Dodgers and Padres affiliates.

The Quakes were shut out for the second straight night, 4-0 at High Desert. They trail their best-of-five series 2-0. Game #3 is tonight at Rancho Cucamonga. If the Quakes survive, Game #4 is at Rancho and Game #5 in High Desert. Quakes fans, turn out tonight!

The Playoff Picture

Yogi Berra famously said, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”

Well, it’s over.

Salt Lake and Arkansas have been eliminated from post-season contention, and finish their regular season schedules today.

Rancho Cucamonga and Cedar Rapids also finish their regular season schedules today, but they’re going to the post-season.

Despite a poor year, the Quakes are in the post-season due to how the California League playoff system works. High Desert won both halves of the South Division, so the second- and third-best teams by overall winning percentage play in a best-of-three series while the Mavericks get a bye. So the Quakes (61-78) will host the Storm (73-66) on Wednesday, with Games #2 and (if necessary) #3 Thursday and Friday at Lake Elsinore.

The Kernels (77-60) play Peoria (80-57) in a best-of-three series starting Wednesday at Peoria. Games #2 and (if necessary) #3 will be Thursday and Friday at Cedar Rapids. The Kernels get the home field advantage because they qualified in the first half but Peoria didn’t.

The Orem Owlz (47-24) play through Friday 9/11, then begin their three-game series against Ogden (41-30) on Saturday 9/12 at Orem. Games #2 and (if necessary) #3 are Sunday and Monday at Ogden, which won the first half title.

The Tempe Angels (38-18) qualified for the playoffs but lost to the Scottsdale Giants (39-17) in the Arizona League playoffs.

The Playoff Picture (Through August 30)

Here’s an update on where each affiliate stands in their pursuit of the post-season.

Salt Lake — The Pacific Coast League is a full-season league, no split-season schedule, so the Bees must win their division outright to qualify for the playoffs. I’d given them up for dead when they lost three straight August 24-26, but they just beat division leader Colorado Springs three straight to move within 4½ of first place. The Bees are 65-69, the Sky Sox are 69-64. Tacoma (69-66) is in second place, one game behind Colorado Springs. The Bees have nine games left, including today’s game at Colorado Springs and then four on the road at Tacoma. They ain’t dead yet.

Arkansas — The Travelers finished 28-42 in the first half, ten games behind Springfield in the Texas League North Division. They’re currently 28-33 in the second half, five games behind Northwest Arkansas (33-28). Tulsa (32-29) trails Northwest Arkansas by a game. The Travs and Springfield are tied at 28-33. They have nine games left on the schedule — two against Springfield, then four at home at Northwest Arkansas, and finally three on the road at Springfield. The Travs remain on the periphery with a little more than a week to go; if they go off on a hot streak they still have a chance.

Rancho Cucamonga — The Quakes finished 30-40 in the first half, 13 games behind South Division first-half winner High Desert. The California League has rather unusual post-season eligibility rules. The first-half winner in each division get a bye, while the second-half winner faces the team with the next best overall record in a best-of-three series. If High Desert wins both halves, then the teams with the second and third best records will face each other. In the second half, the Quakes are 29-33, six games behind the Mavericks (35-27). They’ve won three of their last four but lost power-hitter Matt Sweeney in the Scott Kazmir trade. They’re currently two games behind Lake Elsinore (31-31) and two games ahead of Lancaster (27-35). In the overall standings, after the Mavs the Storm (70-62) have clinched the second-best record so the Quakes (59-73) must finish third overall to qualify for the wild card. They currently have a two-game lead over Inland Empire (57-75) with eight games to go, none of them against division opponents. To make it simple, the Quakes have to hold that third-place lead through the rest of the regular season to make the playoffs.

Cedar Rapids — The Kernels finished 40-30 in the first half, good enough for second place one game behind Kane County, so under Midwest League rules they’re in. They’ll face the Peoria Chiefs in the first round of the West Division playoffs.

Orem — Tom Kotchman does it again. The Owlz’ 20-18 first half record in the Pioneer League’s South Division was only good enough for third place, so they need to win the division outright in the second half. As Kotch teams almost always do, they kicked into high gear in the second half for a 22-3 record so far and a seven-game lead over Idaho Falls (15-10). Rival Ogden won the first half. The Owlz have 13 games left in the second half, so short of a total collapse they’re going to the post-season. Garrett Richards continues to emerge as the staff ace, striking out eight and walking none in eight shutout innings last night at Idaho Falls.

Tempe — The Tempe Angels beat the Scottsdale Giants 1-0 last night in 12 innings in their regular season finale, to finish in a 20-8 first-place tie with the Giants. They meet tonight at 7:00 PM MDT at Scottsdale for a one-game playoff to determine the East Division champion. The winner goes on to play the West Division champion Peoria Mariners on Monday for the Arizona League title. Tempe’s overall record for the season was 38-18, one game behind Scottsdale (39-17).

The Playoff Picture (August 24)

I wrote on August 18 a review of where each Angels minor league affiliate stands in the pursuit of the post-season. I’ll update this each week until the regular season ends.

Salt Lake — The Pacific Coast League is a full-season league, no split-season schedule, so the Bees must win their division outright to qualify for the playoffs. The Bees are currently 62-66 and trail Colorado Springs by six games with 15 games left, including five at Colorado Springs August 26-30. Tacoma is now a half-game ahead of the Bees; Salt Lake is at Tacoma August 31-September 3.

Arkansas — The Travelers finished 28-42 in the first half, ten games behind Springfield in the Texas League North Division. They’re currently 24-30 in the second half, 5½ games behind Tulsa. Northwest Arkansas trails Tulsa by a game. They have 16 games left on the schedule, including four August 25-28 at Tulsa and four at home September 1-4 against Northwest Arkansas. While it’s not impossible for the Travs to win the division, it’s rather unlikely unless they go off on a really hot winning streak, and they did shave two games off their deficit this last week.

Rancho Cucamonga — The Quakes finished 30-40 in the first half, 13 games behind High Desert in the South Division, which won the first half. The California League has rather unusual post-season eligibility rules. The first-half winner in each division get a bye, while the second-half winner faces the team with the next best overall record in a best-of-three series. If High Desert wins both halves, then the teams with the second and third best records will face each other. In the second half, the Quakes are 26-30, five games behind the Mavericks. They had a poor week, going 1-5 to fall behind Lancaster (27-29) and tie with Lake Elsinore (26-30). In the overall standings, after the Mavs it’s Lake Elsinore (65-61) with a nine-game lead over the Quakes (56-70), and then Inland Empire (53-73) and Lancaster (53-73) three games behind the Quakes. At this point, with fourteen games left, it looks like Rancho’s best bet is to finish third in the overall standings and make the playoffs as a wild card. One oddity in their schedule is that they end the regular season on the road in the North Division for seven games, so their ability to knock off rivals down the stretch will be limited. Clear as mud?

Cedar Rapids — The Kernels finished 40-30 in the first half, good enough for second place one game behind Kane County, so under Midwest League rules they’re in. It’s way too early to say who’ll they’ll face in the first round of the West Division playoffs. In the second half, the Kernels are 30-26 with an overall record of 70-56, second-best in the division behind 72-52 Peoria.


UPDATE August 25, 2009 — According to Jeff Johnson at the Cedar Rapids Gazette, the Kernels will probably face Peoria in the first round of the Midwest League playoffs.


Orem — Tom Kotchman does it again. The Owlz’ 20-18 first half record in the Pioneer League’s South Division was only good enough for third place, so they need to win the division outright in the second half. They ran off a fifteen-game winning streak and now have an 18-2 record with a six-game lead over Idaho Falls. Rival Ogden won the first half. The Owlz have 18 games left in the second half, so short of a total collapse they’re going to the post-season. One big factor is that Kotch’s top starting pitcher prospects are stretching out their innings, with Garrett Richards perhaps emerging as the staff ace.

Tempe — The Tempe Angels have been great, but the Scottsdale Giants have been greater. Scottsdale won the Arizona League’s East Division in the first half by one game over Tempe, which finished 18-10. In the second half, Tempe is 16-7 but trails Scottsdale (18-5) by two games with five games left. If Scottsdale wins both halves, they get a bye and the Angels are out. Tempe can help themselves by beating the Giants in the two games they have against each other, starting tonight at Scottsdale. If the Angels don’t win tonight, it’s pretty much over. If they end up tied in the second half, then to go to the playoffs the Angels would need to have won the head-to-head series this season against the Giants. The Angels lead that series 4-3, so if they can knock off the Giants in both games then they’ve looking pretty good. But they really need to win tonight.

The Playoff Picture

With about three weeks left to go in the minor league seasons, here’s the playoff picture for each of the Angels affiliates.

Salt Lake — The Pacific Coast League is a full-season league, no split-season schedule, so the Bees must win their division outright to qualify for the playoffs. The Bees are currently 59-64 and trail Colorado Springs by 5½ games with 21 games left, including five at Colorado Springs August 26-30.

Arkansas — The Travelers finished 28-42 in the first half, ten games behind Springfield in the Texas League North Division. They’re currently 21-28 in the second half, 7½ games behind Northwest Arkansas. They have 21 games left on the schedule, including four at home against Northwest Arkansas. They’d also have to leapfrog Tulsa, which is two games out of first; they have four games next week at Tulsa. While it’s not impossible for the Travs to win the division, it’s rather unlikely unless they go off on a really hot winning streak.

Rancho Cucamonga — The Quakes finished 30-40 in the first half, 13 games behind High Desert in the South Division. In the second half, the Quakes are 25-25 and only one game behind the Mavericks. The California League has rather unusual post-season eligibility rules. The first-half winner in each division get a bye, while the second-half winner faces the team with the next best overall record in a best-of-three series. If High Desert wins both halves, then the teams with the second and third best records will face each other. If the Quakes win the South Division in the second half, they would face the team with the next best overall record, which would currently be Lake Elsinore at 61-59 (followed by the Quakes at 55-65). If High Desert wins the second half, again the I-15 rivals would face each other. Rancho has 20 games left, and three other teams are within four games of them in the second-half standings, so for now it’s anybody’s race.

Cedar Rapids — The Kernels finished 40-30 in the first half, good enough for second place one game behind Kane County, so under Midwest League rules they’re in. It’s way too early to say who’ll they’ll face in the first round of the West Division playoffs. In the second half, the Kernels are 27-24 with an overall record of 67-54, second-best in the division behind 68-51 Peoria.

Orem — What would the post-season be without Tom Kotchman? The Owlz’ 20-18 first half record in the Pioneer League’s South Division was only good enough for third place, so they need to win the division outright in the second half. That’s what they’re doing, as they’ve won eleven straight to post a 12-1 record and a 4½ game lead over Idaho Falls. Rival Ogden won the first half. The Owlz have 25 games left in the second half, with three at Idaho Falls on August 28-30, so it’s a bit early to declare them the second-half winner. But given Kotch’s track record, I wouldn’t bet against him.

Tempe — The Tempe Angels have been great, but the Scottsdale Giants have been greater. Scottsdale won the Arizona League’s East Division in the first half by one game over Tempe, which finished 18-10. In the second half, Tempe is 13-6 but trails Scottsdale by 2½ games. With two teams added to the AZL this year, divisional playoffs are new so it’s unclear to me what happens if the same team wins both halves. Let’s assume the team with the next best record goes to the first-round playoff for the division title. In that scenario, the Giants at 34-12 are 3½ games ahead of the 31-16 Angels, and the 27-20 Mesa Cubs trail the Angels by four games. Tempe has nine games left in the regular season, so their post-season chances look pretty good. They have two games left with the Giants, at Scottsdale on August 24 and at Tempe to close the season on August 29.


UPDATE August 19, 2009 1:00 PM PDT — Per the Angels staff in Tempe, if Scottsdale wins both halves of the AZL East Division then they get a bye in the first round, so Tempe has to win the second half to go to the post-season. Tempe is currently three games behind Scottsdale with nine games to go, including two with the Giants.

Notes from Orem, Day 3


Orem players watch Sunday’s game. Left to right: Richard Cates, Terrell Alliman, Michael Wing, Tyler Mann.

 

Sorry it took a while to wrap up this weekend’s trip. I had a short overnight sleep Sunday night before heading to the Salt Lake City airport, then spent the day flying home to Florida. The first flight was spent wedged up against the window holding my nose while sitting next to a very large man who hadn’t encountered a bar of soap in quite some time. Yecch.

I’ve posted more videos, including highlights from Sunday’s game. All the links are on the FutureAngels.com web site home page. Here are all the links so far:

Garrett Richards’ Professional Debut
Richard Cates Scores from Second on a Bunt
Jean Segura Doubles
Jon Karcich Homers
Travis Witherspoon Triples
Richard Cates Triples
Dillon Baird Doubles
Manager Tom Kotchman Interview
Hitting Coach Mike Eylward Interview
Pitcher Mike Piazza Interview
Windows Media Player and a broadband (cable modem, DSL) Internet connection are required

Below are photos from the game.


Pitcher Stephen Locke.

 


Hitting coach Mike Eylward.

 


Manager Tom Kotchman in the “Kotch stance.”

 


Center fielder Travis “Superman” Witherspoon.

 


Left fielder Justin Bass.

 


Catcher Braulio Pardo.

 

Notes from Orem, Day 2

The Owlz lost last night 6-0 to Casper, the worst team in the league. Center fielder Travis Witherspoon made two spectactular diving catches that would put Torii Hunter to shame.

Every team develops its own unique personality. I’ve only seen these players for two games, but so far they seem to be a fairly quiet bunch. Not that they don’t care. They obviously do. They spend a lot of time talking about what they’re learning from Tom Kotchman, Zeke Zimmerman and Mike Eylward. But they seem to still be a little in awe of pro ball, unlike last year’s Owlz which had a little swagger in their step.

I’ve posted some video clips and interviews. I have a lot to work through, so please be patient until I return home and can spend the week editing film. The video online so far:

Manager Tom Kotchman interview

Hitting coach Mike Eylward interview

Jean Segura double

Richard Cates scores from second on a bunt

One last note … The photo I posted yesterday of Braulio Pardo getting nailed in the derriere by a pitch is all the rage around the ballpark. A print is up in the Owlz clubhouse. A fan approached me after the game and wanted to know if it was online somewhere so she could send the link to others. Braulio seems to be getting more attention from this photo than if he’d hit a homer to win the game.

Notes from Orem, Day 1


Orem Owlz manager Tom Kotchman explains the ground rules for Idaho Falls manager Darryl Kennedy during the lineup exchange before Friday’s game.

 

This was my first road trip to an Angels affiliate since my move to Florida, so it was a bit reassuring to walk into the Orem Owlz office Friday and see old friends.

With Rookie-A ball, it also means a lot of unfamiliar faces who have the general expression on their faces of, “Who is this guy and why is he in the dugout taking photos of us?” Not that they resent it. They’re just excited that someone is shooting photos and video.

The familiar faces are, of course, manager Tom Kotchman and pitching coach Zeke Zimmerman. Joining them this year is hitting coach Mike Eylward, who played in the Angels system from 2001 through 2007. It’s exciting to see kids I saw start their careers in pro ball (always with Kotch) become coaches, passing along to the next generation what they learned in the Angels farm system. “Ellie” joins Kernels pitching coach Brandon Emanuel and roving catching instructor Tom Gregorio as the ones I saw start out with Kotch long ago.

Once word gets around, I start getting approached by players’ families and loved ones in town, asking what I’m doing, can they buy the photos, will they be on the Internet, etc. The circle begins anew each summer in Orem. :-)

Friday was Pioneer Day in Utah, which is the rough Mormon equivalent of July 4th. It’s an official state holiday, which meant this game was going to be a sellout and there would be fireworks afterwards.

A couple hours before game time, word began to circulate that the Salt Lake Bees game up the freeway had been postponed. According to the Portland Oregonian, seven members of the Portland Beavers came down with the flu in Reno and the team didn’t want to travel to Salt Lake City. Angels farm director Abe Flores and roving infield instructor Rob Picciolo were up in Salt Lake, so they decided to come down to Orem for the night.

I have plenty of photos and video, which I’ll post today as time permits. Please keep checking this page as I will continue to update it when I can. All the photos I shoot this weekend will eventually be available in the FutureAngels.com Digital Photo Gallery.

If you’re wondering why they’re wearing the camouflage jerseys, it was a promotion. The Owlz auction off the jerseys and the winners collect them from the players after the game. They don’t normally have such poor color coordination in their apparel.


The Nick Adenhart memorial banner on the left field wall.

 


Supplemental first-round draft pick Garrett Richards made his professional debut Friday night.

 

Click Here
to watch video of Richards’ start
. You need Windows Media Player and a
broadband (cable modem, DSL) Internet connection to watch.


Second baseman Jean Segura.

 


Left fielder Justin Bass.

 


Third baseman Casey Haerther.

 


First baseman Dillon Baird.

 


Designated hitter Michael Wing.

 


Pitcher Carson Andrew relieved Richards, who was on a 20-pitch limit in his first game.

 


Right fielder Richard Cates.

 


Shortstop Jon Karcich homered to lead off the bottom of the 4th.

 


Catcher Braulio Pardo’s derriere takes one for the team.

 


Center fielder Travis Witherspoon.

 


Pitcher Adam Clerici.

 


Pitcher Yeison Almeida.

 

More to come!

Mother’s Day with the Kotchman Family

A bit belated … This article and video was forwarded to me of a Fox Atlanta news story about the Kotchman family uniting for Mother’s Day. You may recall that Susan Kotchman suffered a brain injury last August. Tom left Orem and Casey left the Braves to return to Florida. Susan survived an injury that kills most of its victims.

Coast to Coast: Fear the Sea Cow

On the left, Martin Maldonado catching for the Orem Owlz in August 2005 at age 19. On the right, Martin catching today for the Brevard County Manatees in the Florida State League.

 

I worked my first photo shoot today for the Brevard County Manatees (Brewers affiliate). They were playing the Jupiter Hammerheads (Marlins affiliate). Both teams are in the Advanced-A Florida State League, the same level as the California League where Rancho Cucamonga plays.

“Fear the Sea Cow” is the Manatees’ slogan for 2009. Manatees are sometimes known as a sea cow. They are the most docile creatures you’ll meet, so I’m not sure what there is to fear, but I digress …

One aspect of minor league baseball I love is running across old friends.

The stats sheet for Jupiter showed Alfredo Amezaga, who was in the Angels system from 1999 through 2004. He’s now with the Marlins; he did a rehab stint in April with the Hammerheads, so he wasn’t here, but that would have been neat to see him again after all these years.

The Manatees catcher looked familiar. When his name was announced, “Martin Maldonado,” I realized he’d been in the Angels system from 2004 through 2006, then released. I didn’t have a chance to talk to him today but I’m sure we’ll sit down before the season is over and renew our acquaintance.

The starting pitcher for the Manatees was staff ace Evan Anundsen, who entered the game with a 1.85 ERA and a team-leading 87 1/3 innings. Selected in the fourth round of the June 2006 draft by the Brewers, his career ERA entering the season was an unremarkable 4.46. But this year, the 21-year old leads the league in ERA and is among its strikeout leaders.

Jupiter third baseman Matt Dominguez got ejected at the plate for arguing balls and strikes after striking out to end the first inning. For a 19-year old, that was a veteran move to get a day off when the weather is hot and it’s a day game after a night game. :-)

The Hammerheads took the field and began to warm up for the bottom of the first but, before Logan Schafer led off, Manatees manager Mike Guerrero and Jupiter manager Tim Leiper began jawing at each other. The two umpires finally had to separate them after Guerrero left the third base coach’s box and confronted Leiper at the visitor dugout railing.

Now there’s something you don’t see every day.

The Manatees eventually won, 7-4, helped by five Jupiter errors. Anundsen gave up two runs in six innings, striking out nine and watching one. I need to bring my camcorder next time he pitches to tape him.

In addition to Maldonado’s photo above, here are some more photos from today’s game.


Manatees starting pitcher Evan Anundsen is one of the top starting pitchers in the Florida State League.

 


Manatees manager Mike Guerrero jaws with Hammerheads skipper Tim Leiper in the middle of the first inning. Apparently Leiper said something about one of the Manatees players and Guerrero took exception.

 


Manatees center fielder Logan Schafer doubles to lead off the bottom of the first.

 


Manatees left fielder Lee Haydel entangles with Jupiter shortstop Osvaldo Martinez after he doubled. An errant throw allowed Haydel to advance to third.

 

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