Quakes, Sixers back in action

After a day off both local California teams are back in action.

Rancho Cucamonga will host Lake Elsinore while Inland Empire will be traveling to High Desert. Both games are set for 7:05 p.m.

The Quakes (52-62) will send (4-6, 5.03)Lindsay Caughel to the mound while the Storm (50-63), a Padres affiliate, will counter with John Barbato (2-4, 5.19.

Meanwhile the Sixers will start Orangel Arenas (6-5, 4.98), who has been nearly unhittable at home but struggled in road games.  Jordan Pries (6-6, 5.07) is slated to start for the Mavericks.

Players of the week saluted

Third baseman Juan Silverio of Reds affiliate Bakersfield is this week’s California League Player of the Week.

He hit .480 (12 for 25) with two doubles, three home runs, eight RBI and six runs scored. The 22-year-old infielder is on an eight-game hitting streak during which he’s lifted his season batting average 20 points to .290.

Pitcher of the Week honors went to Modesto’s Jonathan Gray. The former first-round draft pick by the Rockies went five scoreless innings in his only outing of the week, giving up just two its and striking out seven.

It’s Sixers day at Angels Stadium

 

All 10 teams in the California League have the day off. The Inland Empire 66ers will be at Angels Stadium where the parent team will be hosting the Texas Rangers in a 7:05 contest.

 

Players will be under the big hats at the main gates signing autographs starting at 5:30 .m. and will be introduced on the field before the game.

Special ticket prices available for 66ers fans and tickets are still available! Grab your tickets here: www.angels.com/redclub.

 

The Sixers (60-54 overall, 23-21 second half) resume California League play on Tuesday at High Desert.

Top Sixer pitcher moves up

The Inland Empire 66ers will go the rest of the way without the anchor of their pitching staff as ace Mark Sappington  has been promoted to Double-A Arkansas of the Texas League.

Sappington, 22,  was 11-4 with a 3.37 ERA that ranked him second in the California League. He was on track to match a team record for wins in a season of 14, last accomplished by Ryan Ketchner in 2003.

In 22 starts (130 2/3 innings) the 6-foot-5 right-hander had recorded 111 strikeouts while allowing 49 earned runs, 103 hits and 62 walks.  He ranked third in the Cal League in ERA, tied for second in wins and led it in innings pitched. He was voted to the mid-season All-Star team.

He is the No. 9 ranked prospect in the Angels organization by Baseball America.

Inland Empire outfielder shooting for rare Triple Crown

Winning a Triple Crown is tough in the majors, but it’s almost as tough in the minors. Inland Empire outfielder Zach Borenstein has a shot.

Borenstein, a 23rd round draft pick out of Eastern Illinois, leads the California League in batting (.341). The next two players behind him in that category have been promoted and won’t have enough at-bats by the end of the year to qualify.

The other two categories might be tougher. Borenstein has 21 home runs, trailing only Rancho Cucamonga’s Scott Schebler (23) and Sixers teammate Michael Snyder (22).

In RBI Borenstein (76) trails just Andrew Aplin (84) and Matt Duffy (77), both of Lancaster. That might the toughest deficit to overcome because the two frontrunners have a decided advantage playing in the most hitter friendly venue in the league. It’s actually amazing the Borenstein is that close in RBI with Aplin having played 23 more games.

The last player to win a Triple Crown in the Cal League is Ruben Gonzalez who did so with the then San Bernardino Spirit in 1989. His numbers weren’t exactly overwhelming – a .308 batting average with 27 home runs and 101 RBI.

Borenstein also seems to have a legitimate shot at Cal League Player of the Year honors. He leads the league in slugging percentage (.649).

If nothing else, Borenstein has put himself on the Angels’ organization’s radar. He wasn’t listed in the top 30 prospects this year but it would be hard for Baseball America to leave him out next year given those numbers.

Quakes pitcher moves up

The Los Angeles Dodgers promoted RHP Carlos Frias from High-A Rancho Cucamonga to Double-A Chattanooga on Tuesday, forcing a Quakes manager Carlos Subero to alter his rotation.

Frias, 23,  had been schedule to pitch against Inland Empire tonight at San Manuel Stadium but Subero handed the ball to Gustavo Gomez instead.

Frias was 2-3 with a 4.11 ERA in eight starts with the Quakes. He started the season at Low-A Great Lakes and made his first start with Rancho on June 15.

 

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).

 

Sixer player gets weekly honor

 

Designated hitter Zach Borenstein of Inland Empire is this week’s California League Player of the week.

In seven games Borenstein hit .435 (10 for 23) with a double, four home runs, 14 RBI and seven runs scored. That solid showing was punctuated by a grand slam home run in Sunday’s 7-4 win over High Desert.

Borenstein hit an impressive .315  in the first half of the season but has posted a .411 since the All-Star break, collecting 24 RBIs in 16 games, even after missing three weeks with a hip injury.

He is hitting .333 on the season with 21 home runs and 74 RBI. He is second to Chris Taylor of High Desert in batting average and trails Scott Schebler of Rancho Cucamonga by one in the home run column. He is third in RBI despite playing 21 fewer games than leader Andrew Aplin of Lancaster who has 82.

Pitcher of the Week honors went to San Jose’s Clayton Blackburn.

 

 

 

Trevor Hairgrove released by Angels, Chance Ross rejoins team

Trevor Hairgrove

Trevor Hairgrove

The 66ers have changed utilitymen as the Angels released Redlands East Valley High product Trevor Hairgrove, and replaced him with Chance Ross. Hairgrove, who batted .194 in 51 games for the Sixers, was given his release on Monday, when the team returned from a road trip to Visalia. Hairgrove was 2 for 4 with a double in his final Sixers game.

Ross had spent time with the Sixers in May, when Hairgrove had a temporary assignment with Double-A Arkansas. With the Sixers, Ross was 7 for 29 (.241) with one home run and three RBIs. Most recently, he was with low Single-A Burlington, where he batted .250 with three home runs and 17 RBIs in 40  games. He also played one game for Triple-A Salt Lake in May.

In other news, another Redlands East Valley product, Tommy Hanson, is scheduled to make a rehabilitation start for the Sixers at home at San Manuel Stadium on Thursday vs. Lancaster.

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)