RANCHO CUCAMONGA —- The Quakes remain undefeated at home, winning their sixth straight game. The Loons won on a walk-off home run, OKC loses another close one and the Drillers lose big on Sunday.
Today’s report also features some comments from my coverage from the past weekend series between the Quakes and 66ers.
Player of the day
Will Smith was the second first-round pick the Dodgers made in 2016. He was a catcher for Louisville and that has been his primary position in his short minor league career. However, the recently turned 22-year old has also started at third base and in his last two games, he started at second base.
“Being able to be flexible, bouncing around, playing third a little bit, playing second base, playing catcher,” said Quakes manager Drew Saylor, “I think that helps him.”
Smith has hit in eight straight games, on Sunday he went 2-for-3 with his two home runs, four RBI and two walks.
“I think he has just been doing a very, very good job, offensively, obviously putting up really good at bats,” said Saylor, “not only just hitting, he’s also taking his walks too, which is a very special thing to see.”
Triple-A Oklahoma City
Oklahoma City fell one run short and lost their second straight 4-3 to the Memphis Redbirds (Cardinals). OKC had eight singles and six walks but left 12 runners on base on Sunday.
Wilmer Font pitched 4⅓ innings and gave up four runs, seven hits, walked two and struck out five. Reliever Jacob Rhame struck out two in 1⅔ innings.
Cody Bellinger had two singles, Alex Verdugo was 2-for-2 with three walks.
The Drillers lost 10-3 to NW Arkansas Naturals (Royals). Starter Josh Sborz gave up nine runs in his 3⅔ innings pitched.
Sborz gave up six runs in his first start, he also went 3⅔ innings in that game.
The Drillers had their chances, they were 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position.
Class-A Rancho Cucamonga
The Quakes swept their three-game series against the Inland Empire 66ers (Angels) by a 11-5 score. The Quakes have won all six of their home games which has been a great start to their 25th season at Rancho Cucamonga.
The Quakes hit five home runs, along with the two that Will Smith hit, also Drew Jackson, Garrett Hope and Brandon Montgomery hit home runs on Sunday.
Mitch White had not given up any runs in his professional career until his last start at Lancaster this past Tuesday. In 1⅔ innings, he gave up six runs (three earned), four hits, hit two batters and walked two.
Manager Drew Saylor spoke on Saturday about what White needed to do in his next start.
“What we are really trying to get our guys to understand is that let’s learn from the past but let’s also prepare for what we are about to go through,” Saylor said. “You can’t dwell to much in the past because it clouds your future.”
On Sunday, White went 4⅔ innings and gave up one run, three hits, two walks and struck out four.
“He was able to maintain his composure, felt his fastball was obviously plus, he had a good finish to it,” Saylor said. “The offspeed was plus. It was a very, very good start for him.”
White was in good spirits after the game and he also said his offspeed pitches were working well.
“I felt pretty good going through early on, especially just being able to get ahead,” White said. “The slider was working pretty good. I was relying on that pretty heavily.”
Pitching every fifth day is the new reality for White and this was the second time he made two starts within five days this season.
“The five-day rotation is something to get used to for sure,” White said. “Being able to go deep into games and then come back four days later, five days later and being able to shove again is definitely something to get used to.”
White was another Quake who played for the Dodgers in spring training and he smiled when asked about it.
“I mean it was cool, it was a very cool experience,” White said, “I don’t remember the outing. I was just going and not really thinking about it.”
Class-A Great Lakes
The Loons beat the Fort Wayne TinCaps (Padres) 5-4 on Sunday. It was a back and forth game with both teams trading leads until the ninth when there was one out and Luis Paz came up.
With the score tied in the bottom of the 9th, #Loons infielder Luis Paz sends everyone home happy. #LoonsBaseball #LocalSportsLeader pic.twitter.com/ncsFfPwXBO— ESPN 100.9-FM (@ESPN1009) April 23, 2017
Leo Crawford started for the Loons and gave up four runs in 4⅔ innings pitched. Relievers Parker Curry and Sven Schuller kept the TinCaps off the scoreboard.
Carlos Rincon hit his sixth home run of the season and walk-off hero Luis Paz went 3-for-4.
Triple-A: Los Angeles recalled left-handed pitcher Adam Liberatore and optioned outfielder Brett Eibner to Oklahoma City; right-handed pitcher Fabio Castillo assigned to Oklahoma City from Tulsa.
Double-A: Tulsa activated right-handed pitcher Tim Shibuya from the 7-day disabled list.
Rancho Cucamonga 11, Inland Empire 5
3:05 p.m.: Great Lakes (Dustin May) vs. Lake County Captains [Indians] (Brady Aiken)
5:05 p.m.: Oklahoma City (Justin Masterson) vs. Memphis (Chris Ellis)
5:05 p.m.: Tulsa (Scott Barlow) vs. Arkansas Travelers [Mariners] (Max Povse)
7:05 p.m.: Rancho Cucamonga (Caleb Ferguson) vs. San Jose Giants (Matt Krook)