Not only was Thursday opening day for the Dodgers, but it was also the first game of the season for the Isotopes, the Lookouts, and Quakes (the Loons start tomorrow). I broke down all of the minor league opening day rosters here, and also provided a little analysis on each team. Overall it wasn't a good start to the season for the Dodgers minor league affiliates as all three lost their season openers.
Minor League Player of the Day – Zach Lee - 5 IP, 0 Runs, 5 K's, 1 hit, 1 BB. I didn't get a chance to attend or listen to the Quakes game today, but from the looks of it Zach Lee didn't have any trouble adjusting to the California League in his 2012 debut. Not only did give up just 1 hit, but he only allowed 3 balls to leave the infield.
AAA – The Isotopes started their 2012 season in Omaha, and while Albuquerque took an early lead they were eventually doubled up by the Storm Chasers 8 to 4. Topes' starter Mike Parisi actually had a decent game as he allowed just 2 runs over 5 innings, but his relievers weren't as solid as Brent Leach, Josh Wall, and Cole St. Clair combined to allow 6 runs (4 earned). Wall had the worst outing of the group in his AAA debut as he gave up 3 hits and 2 runs while recording just 1 out. There were a couple of offense highlights for the Isotopes in the loss, starting with a booming home run to left field by Scott Van Slyke. 2nd baseman Alex Castellanos also had a good night as he reached base 3 times via a triple and 2 walks, and he also stole 2 bases. Jerry Sands picked up a couple of RBI's, but he went 0 for 4 and struck out twice.
AA – Rain delayed the start of Chattanooga's season for about an hour, but when the game finally started it was the Lookouts' play that was a little under the weather as Chattanooga lost to the Tennessee Smokies 4 to 1. Allen Webster's 2012 campaign got off to a rough start as he allowed 12 base runners in just 3.1 innings of work (7 hits, 5 runs), although he was only charged with 2 runs. Lefty reliever Geison Aguasviva looks like he's healthy again and made his AA debut a successful one as he was perfect for 2.2 frames, and while Javier Solano gave up a run while recording his 6 outs, he did strike out 4. The Lookouts' offense was very quiet in the loss as the home team managed just 4 singles and a double. The finally healthy Pedro Baez collected the lone two bagger, while 2nd baseman Rafael Ynoa had the only multi-hit game for Chattanooga. Blake Smith and Griff Erickson both had dismal debuts as they each went 0 for 4 with 3 K's.
HiA – Rancho Cucamonga had a 3 run lead after 7 innings thanks to an outstanding start by Zach Lee, but a trio of 26 year old relievers gave up the lead in the later innings and the Quakes eventually lost to the 66ers in their season opener, 6 to 5 in 11 innings. As mentioned above Lee was dominant and allowed just 1 hit over 5 brilliant frames, so you better go out and see him while he's still local because he could be moved up to AA within a few months. Local boy Bret Montgomery, lefty Jordan Roberts, and independent ball veteran PJ Zocchi were the relievers that gave up the lead, but they didn't get any help from the defense as three Rancho errors led to 4 unearned runs. The hard throwing Juan Rodriguez picked up the loss after he walked in the eventual winning run in the top of the 11th. At the dish Nick Akins went 2 for 5 and hit the Quakes' lone homer, while Austin Gallagher, Chris O'Brien, and Charlie Mirabal all collected a pair of base knocks as well. Leadoff man Casio Grider tripled and scored two runs, and Leon Landry's double was the final extra base hit for the Quakes.
LoA – Season starts tomorrow
Coming up - I'll be at the Quakes game tomorrow with my family watching from the stands, and it looks like 2011 1st round pick Chris Reed will be on the mound. The Loons start their season on the road and have apparently tabbed Jarret Martin as their opening day starter, while the Lookouts and Isotopes will use Ethan Martin and Michael Antonini on the bump tomorrow, respectively.