Ahh, to know that you will be in the playoffs … well, another team headed to the postseason could be the Mobile BayBears. More here on former Osprey pitcher Jarrod Parker (2007) in his comeback from Tommy John surgery.
The Osprey, who have won six in a row, eight of nine and nine of their last 10 at home, finish up a three-game series with the Idaho Falls Chukars. The Osprey will also be looking for their first seven-game win streak in nearly a decade.Last Time Out: Roidany Aguila’s single with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning scored Eric Groff with the game-winning run as the Missoula Osprey rallied from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Idaho Falls Chukars, 4-3, and clinch the Pioneer League North Division First-Half title in front of 2,226 fans. The Osprey trailed 3-0 before mounting a comeback with a run in the eighth, which scored on a Justin Bianco groundout, and three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning. Jon Griffin plated a run with a groundout and Fidel Pena tied it with a RBI single before Aguila hit a 0-2 pitch just inside the third-base bag for a fair ball and the walk-off winner. Another pitcher’s duel broke out, as was the case in the opener of the series, as Idaho Falls left-hander Brennon Martin and Missoula right-hander Dexter Price spent the first four innings matching zeroes on the scoreboard. The Chukars finally broke through in the fifth, on a three-run home run by Runey Davis, to take the 3-0 lead. Seth Simmons (1-0), the last of the three Missoula pitchers used, pitched a scoreless inning of relief to pick up the win. Price allowed just five hits in five innings of work, while Raymond Hernandez struck out four in three hitless innings of relief. The Osprey out-hit the Chukars, 11-5, including three hits each for Groff and Pena.
The streak continues … : Eric Groff extended his current hitting streak to 14 straight games with a base hit in the bottom of the second inning, then added two more hits for a 3-for-4 night. During the 14-game streak, Groff is 26-for-57 at the plate (.456), with seven doubles, a triple, six home runs and 15 RBIs. Groff has also collected eight multi-hit games during what is now his longest career hitting streak. Groff put together a 10-game streak from June 23-July 6 earlier this season, and has hit in 26 of the 30 games he has played in this season. Groff will have an off-day on Wednesday.
On the Mound Today: Missoula will send out right-hander Robby Rowland to the mound to wrap up the homestand. Rowland (2-2, 7.31) picked up a win in his latest outing, on Friday night over Casper, where he allowed three runs on six hits and two walks over five innings of work. It was the first time since June 20 – the season-opener at Helena – that Rowland had not allowed five runs in a start. Teams have hit .371 against Rowland, but he managed to keep the ball down for much of his outing on Friday, a sign that things could be getting back into form for the former 3rd-round pick in the 2010 MLB Draft. Rowland’s now part of a staff which leads the Pioneer League in ERA. The Chukars counter tonight with right-hander Kellen Moen, who has a win over Missoula already this season, and who has overcome a shaky opening start – six of the seven batters he faced in his first start of the season, vs. Orem, reached, with five of them scoring – to post a 1-1 mark with a 4.50 ERA. In his outing against the Osprey at Melaleuca Field on July 16, Moen allowed five hits in a walk in five innings of work, allowing three runs (two earned) in five innings of work, with eight strikeouts.
Stat of the Day: Former Osprey infielder Emilio Bonifacio (2003) is currently enjoying a 24-game hit streak for the Florida Marlins. Florida did not play on Monday. Bonifacio is hitting .400 (36-for-90) during the hitting streak, which is the third-longest in Marlins history, and the second-longest hit streak in the Major Leagues this season (Andre Ethier, 30 games).
Friday-Sunday, July 29-31
Tidbits: The Osprey lead the Pioneer League in ERA (4.50), edging ahead of Billings, Ogden and Helena … Ty Linton had over a month between hits, but has a hit in each of his first six games played this season … Missoula is 11-2 in their first 13 games against the South Division … The Osprey now have the second-best home (12-6) and best road (11-6) records … Missoula now carries the best record in the Pioneer League by two games over Ogden, who lost to Billings again on Tuesday … The Osprey are 19-5 in the month of July, and are two wins away from tying the club record for most wins in a month (21, set in July and August, 2001) and have to go just 2-2 over the final four games of the month to set a new mark via win percentage (.734, set in June 1999).
Osprey Alumni Update/Minor League Report:
The DSL D-backs (19-30) rallied past the DSL Padres on Tuesday, 6-3.
Yakima (0-1, 13-26) lost to Tri-City on Tuesday, 6-3. Raul Navarro (2010) and David Narodowski (2009) each drove in a run, while Alex Capaul (2011) pitched well enough, allowing three runs in six innings of work, but took the loss. Sammy De Los Santos (2009-10) pitched 2 1/3 innings of one-hit relief, with three strikeouts.
South Bend (12-18, 46-53) took Tuesday off, as they get ready for their latest venture out on the road.
Visalia (12-19, 43-58) also had an off-day as they prepare to start a homestand, opening up against the current North Division wild-card leaders, the Stockton Ports, who also lead the North in the second half.
Mobile (23-8, 61-40) crushed Mississippi on Tuesday, 14-6, scoring eight times in the top of the third inning to blow the game open. Paul Goldschmidt (2009) hit his minor-league leading 30th home run, a two-run shot in the top of the first inning. Goldy walked three times and scored three runs on the evening. Adam Eaton (2010) had two hits, two runs scored and three RBIs, Taylor Harbin (2007) had two hits and scored twice, while Jake Elmore (2008) also drove in a run.
Reno (62-41) broke a 4-4 tie with a three-run rally in the bottom of the third inning and rolled to a 10-5 win over Las Vegas on Tuesday. Randy Hamrick (2010) and Jordan Norberto (2006) combined for three shutout innings of relief.