Playoff race update – At 14 games under .500 and 14.5 games behind the division leader, the Albuquerque Isotopes have almost been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention...After finishing 20 games out of first place in the 1st half of the season and struggling at the start of the 2nd half, the Chattanooga Lookouts have been on fire of late and are currently one game out of first place. It's a tight division race all around as all 5 teams in the North Division are within 3 games of first place...The Rancho Cucamonga Quakes finished in 4th place in the 1st half of the season, but in the 2nd half they are tied for 1st place. Similar to the Lookouts, their division race is very close with all 5 teams in contention...The Great Lakes Loons did not clinch a playoff birth in the 1st half and are only 25-27 in the second half, but they are currently just 1.5 games out of a playoff spot in the second half. ... After a last place finish in the 1st half, the Ogden Raptors are currently in second place. The Pioneer League season goes a little longer than the other leagues, so there is still a ways to go...The Arizona Dodgers look like they will miss the playoffs in 2014 as they finished 4 games under .500 in the 1st half, and are now 6 games under .500 with just 2 weeks left of games...Finally the Dominican Dodgers are making a late run at a playoff spot as they are 3.5 games out of 1st place with 8 games left to go. A wild card birth would be even more unlikely as they are 7.5 games out of that spot.
Minor League Player of the Day – Jose De Leon (LoA) - 6 IP, 3 hits, 1 run, 0 walks, 7 K's. While Jharel Cotton threw a good game as well, I'm giving this award to De Leon in his Midwest League debut. After posting a strikeout to walk ratio of 4 to 1 with the Raptors, Jose continued to show good control with strikeouts and no walks while picking up the win.
AAA – The Isotopes lost to the Redbirds (Cardinals) by a football score of 17 to 7. Starter Chris Reed did not fare well in his second start with Albuquerque as he allowed 7 hits and 6 runs in just 2 innings of work. Drew Carpenter was even worse out of the bullpen as he got pummeled for 11 more runs to really put the game out of reach by the 5th inning. The offense was a bit of a bright spot, however, especially Joc Pederson who continued his power surge with his league leading 29th homer of the season, a 3-run shot. Joc also continued his quest to reach 30-30 on the base paths as he stole his 27th bag. Tim Federowicz and Brock Peterson also had big games as well as they both went 3 for 5 with a double.
AA – The Lookouts long winning streak finally came to an end as they fell to the Suns (Marlins) 5 to 4. Heading into the 9th it looked like Chattanooga might actually capture their 12th straight victory as they led by a run, but unfortunately reliever Juan Gonzalez couldn't hold the lead as gave up a couple of runs and the game. That wasted a solid effort from Matt Shelton who gave up just 2 runs over 5 innings, along with strong relief work from Blake Smith. The Lookout offense was actually very quiet despite nearly collecting a win as they managed just 6 hits. 3 of their runs came on a based loaded double by Daniel Mayora, while Noel Cuevas' two-bagger was the club's only other extra base hit. Corey Seager went 1 for 3 with a walk and his average is now at .346 through 20 games in the Southern League.
HiA – The Quakes defeated the Giants 3 to 2 in 13 innings on a walk-off passed ball. Adam Law led off the bottom of the 13th with a walk, Casio Grider was then hit by a pitch. A wild pitch put the runners on second and third. Jeremy Rathjen then walked to load the bases. After Chris Jacobs grounded into a force out at home, Grider scored the winning run on Giant's catcher Jared Deacon's passed ball. Rancho starter Jharel Cotton tossed a very good game as he allowed just 1 earned run over 7 innings while striking out 10. His relievers also threw well as Yasmanys Fernandez had a shutout inning, Geoff Brown fired 3 scoreless frames and Luis Meza, who got the win, put up zeros in his 2 innings. The Quakes didn't do much at the plate as Adam Law led the club by going 2 for 5 with a double. Tyler Ogle also doubled and drove in a run.
LoA – The Loons jumped all over the Hot Rods (Rays) on Thursday in a 12 - 1 victory. Great Lakes scored 8 runs in the first inning alone, with the big blow being a bases clearing double by Brandon Trinkwon. Joey Curletta and Webster Rivas both homered later in the game, while Jesmuel Valentin went 2 for 5 with a double and drove in two. On the mound Jose De Leon was excellent in his Midwest League debut as he allowed just 3 hits and 1 run over 6 strong innings while punching out 7. Luis De Paula picked up the long save in his return to the Loons, tossing 3 scoreless frames.
Rookie Ogden Game 1 – The Raptors lost the first game of their double header 4 - 2 to the Osprey (Diamondbacks). Starter Victor Gonzalez allowed all 4 runs over 4.2 frames, although he did strike out 7. Joe Broussard was perfect over 1.1 innings of relief. At the dish the main bright spot was the 7th homer of the year for Julian Leon, while Brian Wolfe also went yard.
Rookie Ogden Game 2 – The Raptors salvaged a split in their double header with the Osprey (Diamondbacks), defeating Missoula 3 to 1. Ogden got solid pitching in their nightcap as Abdiel Velasquez allowed just 3 hits and 1 run over 4 innings. Brock Steward picked up the win in relief with 2.2 scoreless frames. Despite the win the Raptors managed just 6 singles in the 7 inning game, and two of them came from Devan Ahard who also drove in a run. Justin Chigbogu singled and had a sac fly, while Melvin Santana had a run scoring ground out.
Rookie Arizona – Off day
DSL – The Dodgers trailed by three early and could not catch up losing to the Rays 6 to 5. Osiris Ramirez gave up those three early runs and six hits while striking out six in his 4 innings. The Dodgers were hurt by five errors that led to three unearned runs. Gersel Pitre had two doubles and two RBI. Shakir Albert was 1 for 4 with a run scored.
Coming up – Grant Holmes will make his Pioneer League debut as he throws for the Raptors on Friday, while Matt Magill takes the mound for the Isotopes. Steve Smith throws for the Lookouts, Luis Chirinos gets the ball for the Quakes, and Brandon Martinez toes the rubber for the Loons.
Minor League Transactions – AAA: Erisbel Arruebarrena was placed on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation and Roger Bernadina was activated from the DL to take his spot on the roster. AA: Raydel Sanchez was placed on the DL while catcher Alberto Rosario was activated. LoA: Luis De Paula and John Richy were added to the Loons roster while both Victor Arano and Greg Harris were placed on the DL. Ogden: Grant Holmes and Francisco Martinez were both promoted from Arizona.