Earlier with this than usual … but we’re trying to get the docket cleared so that we can focus on more stat analysis, and other things of note.
So … on with the show ….
|The Skinny: The Osprey, who have won five in a row, seven of eight and eight of their last nine at home, continue a three-game series with the Idaho Falls Chukars, who had a three-game win streak snapped on Monday by Missoula. The Osprey also will attempt to clinch the Pioneer League North Division First-Half title with either a win or a Billings loss.
Last Time Out: The Osprey were glad to see Brian Peacock leave the game on Monday night at Ogren Park Allegiance Field, and celebrated with a four-run seventh inning to beat the Idaho Falls Chukars, 4-1, and clinch at least a tie for the Pioneer League North Division First-Half title. The 2,021 fans in attendance watched quite the pitcher’s duel for six innings, as Peacock – who had held Missoula hitless for a 10-inning stretch in two appearances, spanning two seasons – was at it again on Monday, baffling Osprey hitters to the tune of allowing just four hits and a walk while striking out seven. Taylor Siemens nearly equaled his left-handed counterpart, allowing just two hits and a walk in five innings of work, but Darian Sandford hit a bloop single to lead off the third inning, stole second base, moved to third on a fly ball and scored on a wild pitch to give the Chukars (15-19) a 1-0 lead.
That score held up until the home half of the seventh, when the Idaho Falls bullpen was called upon to hold the Osprey in check. Stephen Cardullo induced a leadoff walk from reliever Robert Penny (1-4), moved to second on a ground ball and scored on Ty Linton’s RBI single to knot the game at 1-all. Linton then rode home on Fidel Pena’s two-run home run to deep right field, giving the Osprey the lead for good. Missoula would add a run on a double steal by Josh Parr and Chris Ellison. Parr scored when Chukars catcher Edul Escobar threw off target to third base, allowing Parr to score and give the Osprey the 4-1 lead.
Conrad Flynn (3-1) pitched three innings of two-hit relief, striking out a pair of batters along the way to pick up the win, while DJ Johnson pitched around a two-out walk in the ninth to collect his second save of the season.
The streak continues … : Eric Groff extended his current hitting streak to 13 straight games with a double in the bottom of the second inning, then added another double in the fourth. During the 13-game streak, Groff is 23-for-53 at the plate (.434), with seven doubles, a triple, six home runs and 15 RBIs. Groff has also collected seven 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.
On the Mound Today: Missoula will send out right-hander Dexter Price, to the mound as they look to clinch the Pioneer League North Division First-Half title. Price (1-0, 6.26) has been splendid since giving up seven runs in a July 4 start at Billings. In three appearances since, including one start, Price has allowed just three runs in 11 innings of work (2.45 ERA), allowing just four hits and two walks while fanning 11 batters. Price will be followed by Raymond Hernandez, who held the league lead in ERA until he fell out of qualifying – and teammate Taylor Siemens (1.95) took over the lead following his start on Monday. The Chukars counter tonight with left-hander Brennon Martin, who is still trying to recover from a rough outing on July 9 at Orem, in which he allowed 10 runs (seven earned). In two starts against Helena, Martin went 1-1 with a 4.09 ERA, winning his road start in his latest outing. He has the capability to go deep into a game – in two June starts (1-0, 3.21) Martin pitched seven innings in each outing.
Stat of the Day: Former Osprey infielder Emilio Bonifacio (2003) is currently enjoying a 23-game hit streak for the Florida Marlins. Florida did not play on Monday. Bonifacio is hitting .386 (34-for-88) 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 gms.).
Osprey Alumni Update/Minor League Report:
The DSL D-backs (18-30) beat the DSL Twins on Monday, 11-1. Alan Santiago (2009) was held hitless, but still drove in a run, his 19th of the season. Santiago has tailed off a bit at the plate, as his average has fallen to .237 on the season.
Yakima (13-25) dropped a 9-3 decision to Tri-City on Monday. Westley Moss (2011), Raul Navarro (2010) and David Narodowski (2009) each had a base hit for the Bears.
South Bend (12-18, 46-53) lost to Kane County on Monday, 4-2. Matt Helm (2009-10) homered in the setback for the Silver Hawks, while Kable Hogben (2009) and Eury De La Rosa (2009) combined for three shutout innings of one-hit relief.
Visalia (12-20, 43-58) fell to San Jose, 8-6, on Monday. Chris Owings (2009) had two hits and a run scored, while Bobby Borchering (2009) hit a three-run homer in a five-run, ninth-inning rally that fell short. David Nick (2009) added a hit and a RBI, while Rossmel Perez (2008) and Keon Broxton (2009) added base hits for the Rawhide, who also received two scoreless innings of relief from left-hander Mike Belfiore (2009).
Mobile (22-8, 60-40) had an off-day on Monday. The BayBears start a five-game series at Mississippi on Tuesday.
Reno (61-41) was rocked by Sacramento on Monday, 10-1. Tom Layne (2007) surrendered eight runs on nine hits and four walks in six innings of work to suffer the loss.
by Ben Catley
Osprey Executive Vice President Matt Ellis has a very solid theory to success in the Pioneer League … experience pays off up the middle. The more of it you have at shortstop, second base, in center field and behind the plate, the better off you will be as a team, and will give you the best chance to compete.
It’s beginning to look a lot like his theory will be given a stiff test this season.
Among the 17 players who have been announced to the Osprey roster (the full details as to the other seven will be coming later today in a story on MissoulaOsprey.com), all of them have either spent at least one season playing professionally, or have played collegiately, or both.
The key position, of course, is shortstop. And with collegiate shortstops Joshua Parr and Stephen Cardullo on the roster, it’s looking like the Osprey will be strong at that position.
Eventually, a number of collegiate shortstops move to second base – and that may be in Cardullo’s future as well – but the prospects of what lies ahead for the Osprey is downright exciting.
More on this later, but for now … on to the rest of the blog …
– Big night for former Osprey catcher Miguel Montero (2002-03), who drove in four runs last night in the D-backs’ big win over Florida.
– Here’s a video of something that it cool to see … a hit to a former Osprey, and a throw to a former Osprey to tag out a former Osprey.
– Speaking of the D-backs … two interesting notes. One is that the top two picks from the 2011 MLB Draft, pitchers Trevor Bauer and Archie Bradley, will be in Phoenix this week. The other may spark some debate, as D-backs president and CEO Derrick Hall would consider a move to the American League if asked. Since the story was posted last night on the D-backs’ website, there have been about 50 comments – most of them are not in favor of a move.
– Former Osprey pitcher Jose Valverde (2000) picked up the win last night for the Tigers in an extra-inning decision over Tampa Bay. Here’s a video interview done with Valverde a couple of weeks ago. He has quite the personality.
– We get the feeling that CarGo is locked in now … especially with his move to the leadoff spot.
– Goldy Watch: Paul Goldschmidt (2009) went 2-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout in Mobile’s 2-1 loss at Birmingham. The two hits raised Goldy’s batting average to .348.
– Roster Move: The D-backs have sent 1B Ramon Castillo from South Bend to Triple-A Reno.
On to the Minor League Update:
Triple-A Reno: The Aces hung on for a 15-9 win over Tucson on Monday. Josh Ellis (2007) was touched up a bit in his outing, allowing two runs in 1 2/3 innings pitched, but also singled and scored a run. Jordan Norberto (2006) picked up the win in relief, pitching two scoreless innings while striking out a pair of batters. Also at the plate, first baseman Kyle Greene (2008) was 1-for-4 with a double, a walk and a pair of runs scored.
Double-A Mobile: In the 2-1 loss on Monday, Ollie Linton (2008) went 1-for-3 with a walk. Jake Elmore (2008) and Taylor Harbin (2007) went a combined 0-for-9.
Class A Advanced Visalia: The Rawhide surrendered a five-run bottom of the 7th inning and dropped an 8-3 decision at Modesto on Monday. Rossmel Perez (2008) doubled and drove in a run, while David Nick (2009), Chirs Owings (2009) and Bobby Borchering (2009) each had a hit in the setback. Diogenes Rosario (2009) fared well in his start, allowing three runs in 5 2/3 innings pitched, and came away with a no-decision. Of those five runs, four were unearned. Taylor Sinclair (2008) gave up the final unearned run on two hits.
Class A South Bend: The Silver Hawks enjoyed a day off on Monday.
DSL D-backs: The Baby Backs beat the DSL Twins, 1-0. Alan Santiago (2009) went 1-for-3 at the plate to raise his batting average to .269.
Today’s Action and Osprey Probables:
AAA Reno (38-27) vs. Tucson
AA Mobile (36-29) has the day off … Montgomery will be in for a five-game series beginning Wednesday.
A Adv. Visalia (28-35) at Modesto – Eric Smith (2009) will hit the bump tonight for the Rawhide.
A South Bend (31-32) at Lansing
DSL D-backs (5-7) at DSL Padres
We’re just two weeks away from Osprey baseball. The Osprey will play at Helena in their season opener on June 20, as they face off with the defending Pioneer League champion Brewers. It’s on the air at 6:40, with the first pitch at 7:05, on AM 930, KMPT, and MissoulaOsprey.com.
And were 16 days away from the Home Opener, also with the Brewers. Get your tickets now at the MSO Hub Box Office at 140 N. Higgins or online at MissoulaOsprey.com.
– Read here for more on the three former Osprey selected to play in the Midwest League All-Star game in two weeks.
– The 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft begins tonight at the MLB Network Studios, with the First Round and Compensation Round A taking place in the first of what will be a three-day event. Rounds 2-30 will happen on Tuesday, and the final rounds, 31-50, will be held on Wednesday.
The Arizona Diamondbacks will have the No. 3, No. 7 and No. 43 picks in the draft, and there has been a lot of debate as to where the D-backs will go with those picks. The top two picks also seem to change with the breeze, so who will even be available when the D-backs make their first pick is up in the air.
We will be posting each pick (and what info we can gather about each pick) as soon as possible all three days. More than likely, the picks on Tuesday and Wednesday will be posted in groups of several at a time, since the rounds will begin to tick by as fast as fish try to swim away from Ollie. The key word there is try.
-While the D-backs lost on Sunday, the team has put together an amazing 60 games so far this season, anchored by a pair of former Osprey in the lineup and one on the mound:
*Miguel Montero (2002-03) is hitting .271 with 14 doubles, six homers, 27 RBI and an .807 OPS.
*Gerardo Parra (2006) has been solid with the glove, plus is batting .267, with five doubles, a triple, four home runs and 16 RBIs.
*Right-handed reliever Esmerling Vasquez (2004) has an 0-1 mark with a 3.63 ERA, walking just nine while striking out 18 in 22 1/3 innings pitched. Vasquez was ejected during yesterday’s festivities after hitting a Washington batter with a pitch. This followed Justin Upton getting hit for the fourth time in the series (and the Nationals’ Jason Marquis getting the heave-ho), which was proceeded by Washington’s Jayson Werth getting plunked by a pitch, and warnings going to both sides. And here we thought the next potential bout of testiness would be between Florida and San Francisco.
– Goldy Watch: On Sunday, Paul Goldschmidt (2009) went 2-for-3 with an intentional walk and a strikeout. Goldy’s now hitting .341 for the season, with 19 home runs and 53 RBIs.
– Former Osprey pitcher Greg Smith (2005) is making the best of his opportunity with the Grand Prairie Air Hogs of the American Association (Independent). In five starts, the left-hander is 2-1 with a 2.53 ERA. Smith, who is a Louisiana native, signed with the Air Hogs after being released by the Colorado Rockies in April.
– Former Osprey infielder-turned-utilityman Emilio Bonifacio (2003) has become very valuable to the Florida Marlins these days. In fact, Bonni is getting an extended time starting at shortstop with Hanley Ramirez nursing a back problem. Of course, there is still work to be done.
Minor League Update:
– Triple-A Reno: The Aces lost a slim lead late, and fell to Salt Lake City on Sunday, 3-2. Daniel Stange (2006) pitched a scoreless ninth inning, but the Aces were unable to rally late.
– Double-A Mobile: Jarrod Parker (2007) and Bryan Henry (2007) combined to allow four hits while striking out 10 batters in seven innings of work to help the BayBears’ pitching collect their second straight shutout, a 4-0 blanking of Huntsville on Sunday. Parker fanned six batters in his five innings of work, while Henry added four punch-outs in two innings pitched. Jake Elmore (2008) had a double and 2 RBI from the leadoff spot, plus scored a run for Mobile, who has won seven straight games to take sole possession of first place in the Southern League’s Southern Division. The BayBears have outscored the Stars, 9-0, in the first two games of their 5-game series.
– Class A Advanced Visalia: One night after being rained out, the Rawhide were two-hit by Modesto, falling 5-0 on Sunday. Trevor Harden (2008) allowed all five runs on four hits and a walk in seven innings of work, including two home runs, and struck out seven batters. Christian Beltre and Yonata Ortega, 2007 Osprey teammates, both pitched a scoreless inning of relief behind Harden.
– Class A South Bend: Patrick Schuster (2009-10) allowed just a run on four hits in seven innings of work, while South Bend had a pair of four-run uprisings late in the game to beat Quad Cities on Sunday, 9-1. The Silver Hawks scored four times in both the sixth and eighth innings to take the win. Schuster walked one and fanned four to help lower his ERA to 3.14 for the season, while picking up his fifth win in seven decisions. Ender Inciarte (2009) doubled, Roberto Rodriguez (2010) singled, walked twice, drove in a run and stole a base; Matt Helm (2009-10) singled, scored twice and drove in a run, and Raul Navarro (2010) added a base hit and two RBIs.
– DSL D-backs: Did not play on Sunday. In four games so far this season, former Osprey outfielder Alan Santiago (2009) is 4-for-12 with a pair of doubles and three RBIs.
Today’s Games and former Osprey Probables:
AAA Reno (34-24) vs. Salt Lake City
AA Mobile (33-24) vs. Huntsville
A Adv. Visalia (25-31) vs. Modesto
A South Bend (30-27) has an off-day on Monday
DSL D-backs (2-4) at DSL Padres