Although it was only a matter of time anyway, the 66ers’ 12-5 loss to the Mavericks Thursday eliminated them from playoff consideration. Even though they are nine games out of first with 11 games to play, they cannot finish first. The Sixers can have no more than 33 wins in the second half and because Mavericks and Lake Elsinore play each other 8 times one will have to have at least 35 wins.
The Sixers did welcome back a familiar face on Thursday, Gabriel Gutierrez, a defense-first catcher who played for the Sixers in 2007 and 2008, returned to the team. Gutierrez took the place of Tony Delmonico who was placed on the seven-day disabled list with a left hand contusion.
Gutierrez, who batted .240 in 63 games for the Sixers in 2007 and .219 in 19 games in 2008, had been loaned by the Dodgers to the Mexican League this season. Gutierrez batted .283 in 41 games for the Diablos Rojos del Mexico. He presumably hadn’t played since his Mexican League team was eliminated from the playoffs on July 29.
It’s going to be a very interesting final two weeks in the California League as teams make the final push to fill the league’s final 4 playoff spots. The regular season ends on Labor Day.
In the South, the Quakes, Mavericks and Lake Elsinore are in a three-way tie for first place in the second half after Tuesday’s game. Should any of those three teams win the second half, the Quakes and Mavericks would claim the final two playoff spots in the South. Lancaster is still lurking in the picture, three games back. The JetHawks have to win the second half to make the playoffs.
If you’re still holding out hope for the Sixers, you’re one of the few. They are nine games back with 13 to play. But they have even less wiggle room than that. Because the teams ahead of them play each other, a loss by the Sixers Wednesday or a win by Lake Elsinore would eliminate the Sixers.
It’s even more interesting in the North.
After San Jose won the first half title, the other 4 teams are alive for the final 2 playoff spots. In the second-half race, Stockton leads Bakersfield by four games and Modesto and Visalia by seven. Should Bakersfield rally to win the second half, then the other three teams would be battling for the wild-card spot. Right now, Stockton leads the wild-card standings by one game over both Modesto and Visalia and by six games over Bakersfield.
After going 1-for-2 with a walk in his first game of his latest rehab assignment, Manny Ramirez returned for Game 2 in San Bernardino on Thursday.
Ramirez started and played in left field Thursday. He struck out twice and walked, before leaving the game after five innings. He did not appear to be bothered by the sore calf that put him on the DL, but also did look tentative playing left field.
Ramirez is tenatitively expected to play a third game for the 66ers tonight as they wrap up their four-game series with Lake Elsinore at Arrowhead Credit Union Park.
The Dodgers said on Tuesday that their oft-injured outfielder, Manny Ramirez will begin yet another rehabilitation assignment with the 66ers on Wednesday. The Sixers are currently hosting Lake Elsinore for a four-game series that runs through Friday before hitting the road.
Ramirez has been out for about a month with a strained right calf, his third stint on the disabled list this season.
In early May, Ramirez played two games for the Sixers at Lake Elsinore, going 1-for-4 with a walk, a run and an RBI. From July 10-12, he played three games in San Bernardino for the Sixers against Lancaster, going 0-for-9 and striking out five times.
Although he served as DH four times in his five previous Cal League rehab games this year, he is expected to play more left field this time. Regardless, fans seemed less enthused this year than last year about Ramirez’s appearance, and Ramirez seemed less enthused, too as seen in his performance.
If you want to see a 500-home run hitter in a Cal League ballpark, great. Just don’t expect many fireworks.
Last year, he was much more productive for the Sixers, going 3-for-7 in three games with a home run as he returned from suspension.
It’s kind of unbelievable, when you think about it.
This week, first baseman/DH/outfielder Dustin Yount joined the 66ers from Double-A Chattanooga. Yount is the son of Hall of Famer Robin Yount.
On Saturday, his cousin, Austin Yount, a catcher, joined the team from low Single-A Great Lakes. Austin Yount, is converted to catcher, hadn’t played much with Great Lakes and was batting .118 in 76 at-bats with them before joining the Sixers, presumably as the backup to Tony Delmonico as Alex Garabedian was promoted to Double-A.
The Younts are the fourth and fifth sons of former big leaguers to play for the Sixers this season. (Austin Yount’s father made one appearance as a pitcher in the big leagues). Matt Wallach (now at Double-A and son of Tim), Preston Mattingly (on the DL and son of Don) and Scott Van Slyke (currently active and son of Andy) are the other 3.
Austin Yount and Garabedian were two of four moves that involved the Sixers on Saturday. Right-hander Will Savage was promoted to Double-A, with former Sixer Tim Sexton (3-12, 5.06 at Double-A) returning to the team.
The Quakes, who are playing the Sixers, also got a player to fill out their roster: outfielder Richard Cates. The Quakes are the fourth level for Cates this season. He had been at low-Single A Cedar Rapids (.270) most recently. He was also at Double-A Arkansas (.175) and played 1 game at rookie-level Orem.