Dodger minor league affiliates went 3 for 4 on Monday, as Ethan Martin and the Quakes turned out to be the day's only loser. Luckily there were a few other solid performances to help ease the pain of Martin's struggles.
Minor League Player of the Day – Jerry Sands - 2 for 3, 1 HR, 3 RBI's. Sands is off to an incredible start, and it makes one wonder if he'll be challenged anywhere other than in the MLB. I'm sure he'll eventually cool down, but with 3 homers in 3 days, a .421 average, and an outrageous OPS of 1.356, he sure is fun to watch right now.
AAA – The Isotopes and Cubs played a back and forth game on Monday, and when the dust settled it was Albuquerque that came out on top. The Isotopes were shut down for the first 5 innings of the game by old friend Ramon Ortiz, but Jerry Sands got things going in the 6th with his 3rd homer in as many days (read more about him above). Sands added a sac fly in the 7th to and the Topes were ahead entering the 8th, but Travis Schlichting was uncharacteristically wild and the game ended up tied after 9. Scott Elbert threw in the 10th and was his classic self, walking 3 and allowing the go ahead run, but he also struck out 3, including the final 2 batter he faced with the bases loaded. In the bottom of the 10th Trayvon Robinson got things started with a walk, and one batter later Juan Castro played hero with an RBI double. After walks to Dee Gordon and Ivan De Jesus, Jay Gibbons hit a walk-off single to win the game. That single actually marked the 5th time that Gibbons had reached base (3 singles and 2 walks), so it appears that contrary to Mattingly's recent report, he appears to be seeing the ball better.
AA – The Lookouts and Smokies (Cubs) scored early and often in Chattanooga, but mother nature ultimately got the final word as a rain soaked field and lightening in the sky forced this game to end early. Luckily the Lookouts were ahead after 5 and a half innings of play and picked up the cheap victory. Alfredo Silverio again provided much of the team's offense as he slugged a three run homer in the 3rd inning and also doubled to raise his average to .400 for the season. Corey Smith also had 2 hits, while Pedro Baez chipped in with an RBI double. Will Savage was the starting pitcher and got rocked for 7 hits and 5 runs in 4 innings, but Justin Miller and Cole St. Clair were perfect in relief and picked up the win and save, respectively.
HiA – Well, Ethan Martin is still having major issues on the mound. He allowed 3 runs in a rocky 1st inning, then went HBP-single-single-single in the 2nd inning and was promptly pulled in favor of Josh Walter. Keep in mind that this is Martin's real 1st start of the year (although he did get knocked around in a bit in a practice game against Azusa Pacific), so it's way too early to throw in the towel on his 2011 season. Walter actually was solid in relief, but Andy Suiter allowed 5 more runs later in the game and the Quakes ended up losing to the Lake Elsinore Storm (Padres) 11 to 1. The only offensive performance worth mentioning is that Jake Lemmerman went 2 for 5 with his first homer of the year. One final interesting defensive note is that Angelo Songco played 1st base in this game, while Tony Delmonico played 3rd base.
LoA – The Whitecaps (Tigers) played host to the Loons Monday on the day that West Michigan paid tribute to the most boring day in history (April 11, 1954) with elevator music between innings and ushers that handed out shirts to the most bored looking fans. The play on the field worked well with the promotion as the two teams combined for 4 runs (which were all scored during the 6th inning) in the Loons 3 to 1 victory. Garrett Gould got the start and was very impressive, allowing just 4 hits and 1 run over 6 innings while striking out 4. I didn't get a radar gun reading during his start, but it did seem that Gould was getting squeezed a bit so might have had a few more K's with a different umpire. Pete Budkevics, who was signed last year as a non-drafted free agent, relieved Garrett and threw two shutout innings, and then Shawn Tolleson did what he does best; pick up saves and strike out batters. According to the announcer, Tolleson was throwing nothing but cut fastball and was making hitters look silly. The Loons offense only had 6 hits, but one of them was an RBI double by the Midwest HR leader Jonathan Garcia. Chris Henderson also had a decent day by going 2 for 4. Finally, I know that some people were wondering why Bobby Coyle wasn't on a minor league roster, so I'm happy to report that Coyle is traveling with the Loons and is expected to join the team soon.