Minor League Player of the Day – Scott Griggs (LoA) - 2 IP, 0 Runs, 5 K's, 2 Walks. It was a tough opening day to decide on a player of the day because there weren't any standout performances, but I went with Griggs because he showed why he can be such an electric, yet frustrating prospect. The 5 strikeouts were nothing new for the former UCLA closer, but neither are the multiple walks. He's a guy who will move up very quickly if he can improve his control.Quakes outfielder Scott Schebler hits a game winning 3-run homer in the 8th inning to give Rancho the win
AAA – The Isotopes found 7th heaven in their opener as they defeated the Iowa Cubs 10 - 3 on Thursday. After scoring a trio of runs in the opening frame, the Albuquerque bats were quiet until the 7th inning which is when they plated 7 runs. Two of those runs scored on a Elian Herrera single, then Alex Castellanos immediately followed with a 2-RBI triple. After a couple of more hits Jesus Flores capped the scoring with a double that knocked in a pair. The other notable offensive performance came from left fielder Rusty Ryal who went 3 for 4 with a couple of RBI's in his Isotope debut. On the mound Stephen Fife only lasted four innings but kept his club in the game as he allowed 2 runs on 6 hits. Red Patterson gave up the final Iowa run in the 5th, but then the bullpen shut the door. First Geison Aguasviva fired 1.2 innings of no-hit ball, then Angel Castro worked a shutout frame. Finally Josh Wall came into the game in the 9th and hurled a perfect 9th that included a pair of K's.
AA – Rained out
HiA – The Quakes' offense was very quiet over the first 5 innings, but two runs in the 6th and a game winning 3-run homer in the 8th gave Rancho a 5 - 4 win over the Lake Elsinore Storm (Padres). Scott Schebler was the one who crushed the game winning homer in his California League debut, and it came with two outs and the pressure on. It turns out that was the only extra base hit of the game for Rancho outside of a Ryan Mount double. O'Koyea Dickson had the only multi-hit game for the Quakes with a pair of singles. As we all know Chad Billingsley was the starter in this game as he was making a rehab appearance, and he allowed 6 hits, 3 walks, and 4 runs (3 earned) over 4 innings of work. Once he left the game the Rancho bullpen was outstanding, starting with 3 shutout frames from Jon Michael Redding. Matt Shelton and Michael Thomas followed with a perfect frame each, and they picked up the win and the save, respectively.
LoA – The Loons picked up where the left off last season as they fell to the Fort Wayne Tin Caps (Padres) 5 - 2 in their season opener. It was a rough return to Michigan for Great Lakes starter Angel Sanchez as he resembled the player he was in 2012 as opposed to the pitcher who dominated the competition with the Loons back in 2011. Sanchez allowed 6 hits and 5 runs over 4 frames, with two of those hits leaving the yard. Zach Bird, who is just 18 years old and will be "piggy backing" off of other starters to begin the season, followed with 3 hitless frames, although he did walk 4 batters. Scott Griggs also had a little trouble with control, but besides that he was dominant in his two innings as he recorded of his 6 outs via the strikeout. At the plate the Loons' bats were very quiet as they did not record an extra base hit. Jeremy Rathjen and Malcolm Holland both had a pair of singles, however, and each also stole a base. Corey Seager did indeed play shortstop but he went 0 for 4 with a pair of K's in his full season debut.
Coming up – Friday will feature a trio of top pitching prospects, with the headline being Zach Lee taking the mound for the Lookouts. Despite Thursdays rain out Chattanooga will not play a double header quite yet as that has been scheduled for Sunday. Matt Magill will make his AAA debut for the Isotopes at home, and while Ted Lilly is expected to start for the Quakes, it looks like Garrett Gould is the scheduled to follow him later in the game. Finally Lindsey Caughel will get the ball for the Loons as they look for their first win of the season.