...the Arizona Rookie League Championship that is. It's a great way to start the minor league playoffs that will also feature the Lookouts, Quakes, and Raptors in the upcoming weeks.
Minor League Player of the Day – Juan Noriega - 4.1 IP, 2 Hits, 0 Runs, 4 K's, Win. The 5'7" Noriega got the win in the Dodgers championship game and was the key to the victory as he threw 4.1 shutout innings. Juan joined the organization late and only pitched in 7 games for the Arizona Dodgers (including today), yet struck out 25 batters in 17.1 innings, walked only 2, and did not allow a single run.
AAA – The Fed and Jerry show led the Isotopes to an 11 inning 3 - 2 win over the Redbirds (Cardinals) on Wednesday. Jerry Sands, who went 3 for 4 in the game, led off the 11th with a single. Sands moved to 3rd on a Jamie Hoffmann hit, then scored the eventual winning run on a sac fly by Tim Federowicz. FedEx also homered earlier in the game, and walked twice to increase his triple slash line to .361/.461/.708 through 22 games in AAA. Starter Randy Keisler strung together his second consecutive outing with 6 shutout innings. Travis Schlichting allowed the tying runs in relief, however, but was saved by two shutout frames by winning pitcher Roy Corcoran.
AA – Off day
HiA – The Quakes held off the Mavericks' late charge and defeated High Desert (Mariners) 8 to 7 on Wednesday. Rancho banged out 16 hits, with 5 different players collecting more than 1. Austin Gallagher had 4 of the base knocks, although only one went for extra bases (a double). Nick Buss went 3 for 5 with a homer, and Jaime Pedroza also took one deep while recording 3 RBI's. Aaron Miller came off the DL and tossed a scoreless inning, then Andres Santiago took over and picked up the win despite allowing 5 runs in 4 innings. Santiago did strike out 7, however, and was followed by Bret Montgomery who K'ed 6 in 3 frames while making his California League debut.
LoA – The Loons were defeated by the Luguts (Blue Jays) 4 to 1 on Wednesday, and with 9 losses in their last 11 contests Great Lakes has been eliminated from the playoffs by my count. The Loons again had a terrible game at the plate as the offense managed just 6 singles in this contest. The hits were spread among 6 different players so nobody is worth mentioning. Tim Sexton pitched the complete game in the loss, allowing 8 hits and 4 runs over 8 innings. With 5 games remaining it seems that each starting pitcher will get one more start, so hopefully everyone can finish out the year strong.
Rookie Ogden – Everyone in the Raptor lineup had at least one hit as Ogden defeated the Casper Ghosts (Rockies) 9 to 7 in 10 innings. Joc Pederson led the way with 4 base knocks, connecting on 3 singles and a double for a pair of RBI's. Scott Schebler had the only other multi-hit game with a double and a triple, while Matt Kirkland drove in the winning runs in the 10th with a single. Scott Wingo had another interesting game went 1 for 2 with 3 walks and 4 runs scored to boost his OB% to .483 despite his .272 average. Starter Brandon Martinez walked 4 in 5 innings, but had one of his best games of the season as he allowed just 2 hits and 1 run while striking out 6. His relievers let him down, however, until Yimi Garcia closed out the game with a couple K's to record his 2nd save.
Rookie Arizona – As mentioned above, the Arizona Dodgers won the League Championship on Wednesday by defeating the Giants 4 to 2. After falling behind early, the Dodgers scored all 4 of their runs in the 5th inning behind 4 hits and a Giant fielding error. Delvis Morales drove home two of the runs with a clutch single, and Jesus Valdez picked up the other RBI. Bryant Hernandez went 2 for 4 with a double and a triple, and Alex Santana finished his season on a high note by going 2 for 3 with a double. Starter Jose Dominguez lasted allowed both runs in his 2.2 innings of work, but from there his bullpen went on lockdown. Little Juan Noriega completed his remarkable run in the Arizona League by throwing 4.1 more shutout innings, allowing just 2 hits and striking out 4. Steven Matre allowed a couple of baserunners in the 8th but got out of the jam, then Jason West recorded his 2nd save in as many days despite hitting a pair of batters.
DSL – Season over
Coming up - Zach Lee is scheduled to make his final start of 2011, but it's on the road so it won't be available on milb.tv. The other interesting starter is Ryan O'Sullivan, who will be making his 2nd professional appearance for the Raptors. Stephen Fife and Arismendy Ozoria will also be throwing for the Lookouts and Quakes, respectively.