Sixers, Quakes back in action tonight

The Inland Empire 66ers and Rancho Cucamona Quakes both return from an off day in pursuit of a California League playoff berth and will start a head-to-head three-game set at 7:05 tonight at San Manuel Stadium.

The Sixers (58-50 overall, 21-17 second half) finished second to Lancaster in the first half and are second in the second, two games behind that same opponent. They are in good position to make the postseason as a wild card if they don’t win the half at 4 1/2 games better than Seattle affiliate High Desert and eight better than the Quakes for the second playoff spot.

If Lancaster, a Houston Astros affiliate, wins the second half too, the two teams with the next best records would advance.

The Quakes (50-58, 19-19) have been a much better team in the second half and come into the set having won seven straight series. They are four games behind Lancaster for the half and 3 1/2 behind High Desert for the second wild card, assuming Lancaster wins the second half.

The Sixers are led by reigning Cal League Player of the Week Zach Borenstein while outfielder Scott Schebler has spearheaded the Quakes resurgence.

Carlos Frias (2-3, 4.11) is the scheduled starter for the Quakes while the Sixers counter with All-Star Mark Sappington(10-4, 3.42).

 

2014 California League schedule is released

Here is the 2014 Cal League schedule, if you click on the link below. Quakes open at home on April 3, play the 66ers for the first time, at home on April 7, and 66ers open at home on April 10.

66ers will host on July 4, Quakes on July 3.

2014 California League Schedule(1)

Borenstein finally back for 66ers; Baez promoted from Quakes

 

Zach BorensteinPedro Baez

Zach Borenstein, who hadn’t played since June 15 with a strained hip flexor after hitting .315 with 16 home runs and 50 RBIs in 65 games, finally returned to the 66ers lineup on Wednesday. He was activated off the disabled list and had RBI singles in each of his first two at-bats at Lancaster. The Sixers had an open roster spot so they did not need to make another move.

Not so for the Quakes, who needed to find room for former big-league closer Carlos Marmol. Since Marmol is technically a minor leaguer and not on a rehab assignment, the Quakes needed to make room for him. The room was made with Pedro Baez, in his first year as a pitcher, getting promoted to Double-A Chattanooga. Baez was 2-2 with a 3.63 ERA and two saves in 32 appearances for the Quakes.

“Double-A will challenge him to make more progress,” Quakes manager Carlos Subero said. “It will help in his development.”

Another pitcher DL for 66ers, Coyle comes off DL for Quakes

Daniel Tillman

Daniel Tillman

Bobby Coyle

Bobby Coyle

 

 

 

 

The Quakes and 66ers each made roster moves in advance of their series finale on Tuesday at San Manuel Stadium.

The Sixers had yet another pitcher go down with an injury, as right-hander Daniel Tillman went to the DL with a strained flexor tendon in his pitching arm. Tillman, who pitched for the Sixers the last two years, had made only two appearances since rejoining the team, the last time on July 4. In his place, the Sixers got right-hander Jairo Diaz. Diaz was 0-3 with a 3.97 ERA and eight saves for low Single-A Burlington before joining the Sixers.

The Quakes, meanwhile, brought outfielder Bobby Coyle off the disabled list. Since joining the team from Double-A Chattanooga a week ago, Coyle had been on the disabled list with an illness. Although he batted just .141 at Double-A, he did hit .288 with two home runs in 18 games with the Quakes earlier this season. To make room for Coyle, outfielder Devin Shines was placed on the disabled list.

When it comes to promotions, it is often about the money

The minor leagues are all about player development. That has always been clear. Yes winning a championship is nice but the priority is getting players ready to move on to the next level so they can eventually help the parent club.

Players want to climb the ladder as quick as possible and for most, playing in the High-A California League still seems like it’s pretty far from the big leagues.

But some promotions don’t seem to make sense. For example, pitcher JonMichael Redding of Rancho Cucamonga would seem to warrant a promotion. He pitched shutout ball against Inland Empire on Sunday and lowered his ERA to 2.00. He would be the top pitcher in the league when it comes to ERA if he had enough innings to qualify but has been used primarily as a reliever.

When the parent Dodgers had a chance to promote a starter earlier his month it chose to move up Garrett Gould, holder of a 2-7 record and 7.04 ERA.

Redding, 25, is in his fourth year in the Cal League and has been putting up good numbers this year. Gould, who turns 22 later this month, was in his second year and his numbers with the Quakes were worse than they were last year.

Well it’s all about money. Gould was a second-round draft choice so the Dodgers have more invested in him. The higher the draft pick, the more chances that player will get to prove himself.  Not that Redding was a slouch. He was a fifth-rounder.

The same can probably be said for reliever Eric Cendejas of the Sixers. He has had two solid years in the Cal League. He had a 2.87 ERA in 47 appearances last year and has a 2.74 in 34 this season.

Yet two Sixers relievers have been promoted ahead of him. Granted both those players had numbers worthy of promotion, unlike Gould. But still Cendejas was a 33rd draft choice. He has to wonder when his shot will come.

Sometimes players have to hope if their numbers don’t them promoted in one organization, maybe another will take notice and they can get a shot elsewhere.

Quakes’ Mount still sidelined

Third baseman Ryan Mount of the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes won’t be back in the lineup any time soon.

Mount, a graduate of Ayala High School, has been out since May 28 with a frayed tendon in his foot, the same one he had surgically repaired in 2011.

Mount saw his doctor on Tuesday. The injury is getting better but he’s probably another three weeks away from resuming baseball activity. He is trying to get back by the end of the season but that will probably be tough.

Mount, who turns 27 next month, was having a career year, hitting .342 in 42 games when he was sidelined.

He says he hopes to play winter ball to make up for the lost months.

Quakes’ Gould promoted to Double-A

Right-handed pitcher Garrett Gould has been promoted by the Dodgers from High-A Rancho Cucamonga to Double-A Chattanooga of the Southern League.

Gould was just 2-7 with a 7.04 ERA in 15 starts this season. Given that record the promotion is a little hard to comprehend. Gould was also with the Quakes last year with only moderately better success – 5-10 with a 5.75 ERA.

Maybe the Dodgers feel a change of scenery and a different mentor will help. A move to the bullpen is also a possibility. That seems to be a common move when a pitcher is struggling.

Gould was a second round draft choice in 2009 and was ranked as the organization’s No. 11 prospect in 2012 according to Baseball American. Maybe the Dodgers feel it’s time to sink or swim.

His place on the roster will be taken by Bobby Coyle, who has bounced back and forth between Rancho and Chattanooga this season.

 

Baserunning blunders costly for Quakes in 4-3 loss to 66ers

66ers held on to defeat the Quakes 4-3 on Monday night but not without help from some bad Quakes baserunning you may never see in a game again.

There were six players thrown out on the bases Monday night, but two plays in particular stand out.

  • In the second inning, the Quakes had runners on first and second with one out. Casio Grider strayed off of first and catcher Abel Baker threw down to first to pick him off. Scott Wingo on second decided to take off for third and was thrown out at third to end the inning. A 2-3-5 double play without a pitching being thrown
  • But the doozie came in the seventh inning. With the Quakes trailing 4-2 Webster Rivas on first, Bladimir Franco belted a double to right-center. Rivas was in the process of scoring easily as the relay throw to the plate was wide. But Scott Wingo, the on-deck hitter, was standing on the third-base side of home plate and got in catcher Baker’s way as he tried to go after the ball. Rivas was called out on Wingo’s interference. I believe it is a violation of MLB Rule 7.09 (D) that states: “It is interference by a batter or a runner when — Any member or members of the offensive team stand or gather around any base to which a runner is advancing, to confuse, hinder or add to the difficulty of the fielders. Such runner shall be declared out for the interference of his teammate or teammates.”
  • The other baserunners thrown out were more normal. Darnell Sweeney thrown out trying to steal second in the first inning. Scott Schebler thrown out (1-6) trying to steal second without a pitching being thrown in the sixth inning. The next batter, Sweeney, was easily thrown out at third trying to stretch a double to a triple.

Quakes down Lancaster on walk-off grand slam, 6-3

Thanks to sportscenetv.net for the above video

It was a game that ended with Scott Schebler’s walk-off grand slam a thrilling moment for the Quakes to win their first game this season when trailing after eight innings. Now only Lake Elsinore and San Jose are winless in those situations.

But this was a game with plenty of nuances:

  • If Lancaster manager Rodney Linares doesn’t take Telvin Nash out of the game after he was hit by a pitch (and yapping with Quakes starter Gustavo Gomez) in the sixth innings, then Carlos Perdomo isn’t playing third and might not be making the error that started the bottom of the ninth.
  • Lancaster was 2 for 13 with runner in scoring position. They also had a runner thrown out in each of the last three innings at home or in a rundown between third and home.
  • Each team had a strikeout/wild pitch that either scored a run or kept an inning alive to allow a run to score later.
  • What impact did it have bringing in Lancaster closer Travis Ballew in the eighth inning trying to get a four-out save?
  • If Scott Wingo, who has good speed and bunts well, doesn’t get that bunt down with 2 on and 0 outs in the ninth, do the Quakes win? The bunt was thrown away, allowing a run to score and putting the winning run in scoring position.
  • The Quakes did not get a single runner into scoring position in any of the first six innings, yet won.
  • Scott Schebler’s grand slam was the Quakes’ second this season (the other was by Darnell Sweeney) and first in the league since June 16, the longest gap without one this season.

 

JetHawk named Player of Week

Designated hitter M.P. Cokinos of Lancaster is this week’s California League Offensive Player of the Week. He hit .545 (6 for 11) with two doubles, a hone run, five RBI and seven runs scored in a four-game sweep of Rancho Cucamonga.

Cokinos, 23, has played 47 games and its hitting .339 with 16 doubles, six home runs and 43 RBI.

Pitcher of the Week honors went to Shane Dyer of Bakersfield. He held High Desert to four hits and went seven innings in his only start of the week. He didn’t walk a hitter and struck out five.

Dyer, 25, is 2-0 with a 1.37 ERA in four starts for the Blaze, a Reds affiliate.