As long as the Mariners keep losing to the A's, I'll keep talking about the Rainiers abusing the Colorado Springs SkySox.
The Rainiers took two from the SkySox today following yesterday's rainout. And if the first two games hadn't illustrated that the Rainiers are simply in another class, this sweep-completing twin bill erased any doubt. First up, Cha Seung Baek and Tom Oldham combined to one-hit the SkySox. Baek struck out 5 and walked 2 in 5 innings. Thomas Oldham came on to make his AAA debut and looked quite good. He struck out 3 in his two innings, walking only one and giving up one hit. It's one game, and it's against a team that made everyone in Tacoma look amazing, but it's a good sign. Oldham's seen his K/9 drop severely and his H/9 well over 10, he really needs to show that he's more than a potential MLB long reliever/org filler. So far, so good.
The offense continued to punish the SkySox staff with 5 HRs in the first game *alone*. The SkySox have skillfully managed to create a sense of home on long AAA road trips, right down to the park effects. Colorado-level park effects at Cheney? How else do you explain the fact that Greg Dobbs hit three homers today?
The second game was more of the same: another shut-out, and more power from the Rainiers line-up. Francisco Cruceta made his 2006 debut with four shutout innings. He overmatched many of the SkySox, including the unfortunate JD Closser, who swung at a ball low and two feet outside for a K in the second, then did the same in the 4th. Cruceta was effectively wild, though that may just have been a function of the opposition. His 72 pitch, 4H, 2BB, 4K performance wasn't eye-popping, but it's worth noting that he, like the rest of this staff, succeeded in keeping the ball down. He gave up, unofficially, 9 GB (including hits) to one solitary fly ball - a lazy can of corn to left by the 9th hitter. Sean Green was next, and he kept it going with 2 grounders (both double plays - it really helps to have AsCab behind you) and 2 Ks in his 2 innings. Rich Dorman finished it off with a scoreless 9th (but hey, 2 fly balls!).
Mike Morse hit a disputed triple (the throw beat him by about five minutes, but he managed to step over the tag), Greg Dobbs hit another HR (that was foul, but hey, they're trying their best out there), and Todd Sears had the big 3R HR in the first that got things going.
Catcher watch '06:
Game 1 - Rivera catching, 2 for 3, 2b
Miller DH - 2 for 2, BB.
Game 2 - Johnson catching, 1 for 3 - one runner caught stealing
The Rainiers are good, people. (And the SkySox are terrible).