Quakes manager Keith Johnson, while coaching third base in Thursday’s game against the 66ers in San Bernardino, was hit in the head by a wicked line drive off the bat of Quakes outfielder Jake Rife in the top of the fourth inning.
Base coaches are required to wear helmets, but the line drive appeared to catch him on the right cheek. He lay on the ground for a few minutes before sitting up and walking off the field under his own power. He was replaced at third by hitting coach Damon Mashore. He apparently received a cut on the ear, but was able to sit in the dugout.
He was eventually taken to the hospital for examination.
The overall records aren’t impressive, both with 50 wins and 60 losses, after the Quakes downed the 66ers 8-4 on Wednesday night. But the Quakes not only tied the Sixers for the final playoff spot, but with a 20-20 record in the second half, they moved within one game of High Desert in the race for the second-half title.
In a league where 60 percent of teams in each division make the playoffs each year, the Quakes have not made the playoffs since 2004. In the last 10 years, the 66ers and San Bernardino Stampede only failed to make the playoffs once.
The Quakes problem usually isn’t talent, it’s depth. They have prospects but plenty of holes, while the Sixers might have fewer prospects but a more well-rounded team.
At this point, with still 30 games remaining in the season, the roles appear to be reversed. With Alexander Torres gone to Double-A, it’s a struggle to find any prospects on the Quakes’ roster. Yet they have few holes. Bench players and bullpen pitchers have not been liabilities like in the past.
The Sixers, meanwhile, have legit prospects in OF Trayvon Robinson, OF Scott Van Slyke, and P Tim Sexton. But beyond that, they have holes in the starting rotation, bullpen and the bottom of the lineup.
There’s still some time left in the season, but it’ll be interesting to see what happens down the stretch.