Even though the Dodger minor league affiliates lost 3 out of the 4 games on Thursday, each team's bullpen was extremely impressive. Not counting Jon Huber's 1.1 innings in the AAA game, the minor league relievers threw 14 shutout innings and allowed just 5 hits while striking out 18 batters. Not bad at all.
Minor League Player of the Day – Ethan Martin - 6 IP, 1 Win, 3 hits, 3 BB, 1 run, 8 K's. Martin is doing his best to prove that he deserves to stay on the mound with an impressive 6 inning outing on Thursday. Ethan reached 6 IP and 8 K's for the second consecutive start, and hopefully this is a sign of things to come.
AAA – Albuquerque pitching got knocked around early on Thursday, and despite a brilliant effort by the bullpen the Topes lost to the Iowa Cubs 9 to 4. Most of the damage came against starter Randy Keisler as he allowed 8 runs (5 earned) in just 2.2 innings. After Jon Huber gave up the 9th run of the game to the Cubs, however, the next 3 relievers for Albuquerque allowed just 1 hit over the final 4 innings to keep the game respectable. Francisco Felix got 3 quick outs, then Scott Elbert showed dominate stuff by striking out 2 of the 3 batters he faced. Travis Schlichting finished off the game with 2 solid innings for his first good outing in a while. Down 9 to 0 early, the Isotopes offense chipped away for 4 runs by the 6th, but that was as close as they'd get. Dee Gordon had the only multi-hit game with a couple of singles (and made an error), and Trayvon Robinson picked up 2 RBI's (and struck out twice). Nobody else did anything of note at the plate.
AA – 5 was the number of the day for Chris Withrow as he pitched 5 innings and struck out 5, but also gave up 5 hits and 5 walks. The end result was 4 runs allowed and a loss in the Lookouts 4 to 2 defeat to the Huntsville Stars (Astros). In 15 IP this season, Withrow has walked 11 and struck out 17 to go along with his 6.00 ERA, and I'm not quite sure what to make of this since he's only 3 starts into the season. The good news is that the Chattanooga bullpen did the exact same thing as Albuquerque because 3 relievers combined to allow just 1 hit over the final 4 innings. Cole St. Clair allowed the hit but lowered his ERA to 1.23, while Justin Miller pitched 2 hitless innings. Josh Wall ended the game like Elbert by striking out 2 of the 3 batters he faced. Scott Van Slyke stayed hot at the plate with 2 more hits and an RBI in 3 at bats. Jaime Pedroza had the only other multi-hit game and the only extra base hit with a double and single on the day.
HiA – Ethan Martin continues to show improvement and had a very good outing on Thursday against the Modesto Nuts (Rockies). Martin allowed just 3 hits and 1 run in 6 sharp innings, and he struck out 8 batters for the 2nd outing in a row. His effort was enough to get himself and the Quakes a win with a 4 to 1 victory over the Nuts. In what became the trend of the night, the Rancho Cucamonga bullpen was very impressive as 3 relievers combined to allow, you guessed it, just 1 hit over the final 3 innings. Steven Ames was again the most impressive of the bunch as he picked up the save and struck out the side for the 2nd consecutive night in a row. The Quakes offense actually really struggled for the first 6 innings as they managed just 1 hit, but things turned around in the 7th and 8th as both J.T. Wise and Blake Smith smacked RBI's doubles to put the team ahead. Austin Gallagher also continued to stay scorching hot as he picked up 2 hits for his 5th mulit-hit day in a row. Most of those hits have been singles, but hey that's still impressive.
LoA – In a game that featured just 2 total runs, 9 total hits, and 24 strikeouts, the Loons came up short in their conquest to slay the Dragons in a 2 to 0 loss to Dayton (Reds). All the scoring in this game was done in the top of the 1st inning as the Dragons plated both their runs on 3 doubles, which meant that for the final 8 and a half innings of play there wasn't much to keep the fans entertained. Ryan Christenson started for Great Lakes and allowed those 2 first inning runs, but after that he was very solid and gave up just 1 hit over the next 5 innings while striking out 8. Robert Boothe made his first appearance in two weeks and threw a shutout inning, while Raul Burgos worked around 4 walks over the final 2 innings and also didn't allow a run. Since the Loons only had 3 hits there is nothing really positive to say about the offense; especially since all 3 hits were singles. One note is that Nick Akins and Jonathan Garcia combined to go 0 for 8 with 5 strikeouts.