M's hit for power, Rainiers for....nothing, really
As you all know, the M's battered Jeff 'Jered's Older Brother' Weaver for 7 ER and 4, count 'em FOUR HRs today. Jose Lopez narrowly missed hitting two, settling for a long double and a two-run shot, and Yuniesky Betancourt hit his second HR in as many days. A few days ago, the M's were struggling to score off of the Tampa Bay devil rays, and though they won that series, it didn't have the finality that this easy 9-4 win did. Man, it's nice that the M's didn't sign Jeff Weaver to an incentive-laden 1-year deal (as I argued they should)...
The Rainiers, on the other hand, couldn't do much of anything today. Despite getting 8 hits and 7 walks, Tacoma could not score against five Albuquerque Isotopes hurlers. They left 13 men on base, which would be bad, if it weren't for the fact that Albuquerque left 15. Kevin Appier gave up one run in 5 tough IP, in which he gave up 8 hits and two walks... AND made a gratuitous error that turned a sure DP into a 1st and 3rd with no outs. It was a sloppy, ugly game for mother's day (yes, I took my mom), and the Rainiers certainly deserved to lose. The first Isotopes run scored on a throwing error by Adam Jones, when a throw to third got past the third basemen AND the pitcher, leaving C Guillermo Quiroz to race the baserunner to the plate (Quiroz lost). The second run came about when C Tom Wilson hit a deep fly that came out of TJ Bohn's glove for a 2B, and then CF Jason Little's GB to Hunter Brown was misplayed for a two-base error. Jesse Foppert, making a rehab appearance (FB velocity: 89MPH), walked the ninth hitter to force in the Isotopes third run, completing a near cycle of ineptitude. I was telling my parents, and hopefully they believed me, that it wasn't usually this amateurish...
Tacoma's first hit came in the fourth, fittingly off the bat of Chris Snelling (who went 1-5). Asdrubal Cabrera and Michael Garciaparra, making his AAA debut, both drew two walks to lead the 'offense'). In the absence of any real offensive star (no XBH), the real story may have been reliever Justin Huisman, who just joined the Rainiers from Round Rock a few days ago (he pitched against Tacoma on Thursday or so, then changed clubhouses when Round Rock left town on Friday): Justin went 1 2/3 IP 0R, 0H, 1BB, 3K. He's not a real prospect, but hey, he looked great today in front of thousands of moms who just wanted the Diamond Dig to start.
In Anaheim, the big story (aside from yet more evidence that Jeff Weaver isn't any good) was MLB debutante Emiliano Fruto, who went 3 2/3 scoreless innings for the save. He gave up only one hit, and, shockingly, walked only one. For those who haven't seen him, Fruto's a heavyset Colombian with a good fastball and a great, sinking change to go with a slider. While he's got a live arm and a fairly advanced second pitch, he's not always sure where the ball's going, which has led him to control problems in the minors. He's followed great outings with terrible ones, which has earned him a reputation for being something of a head case on the hill. He's young, and he's come a long way, and has more natural talent than a lot of guys (Sean Green, Livingston, probably Sherrill), but whom I've always thought needed some extra coaching. Maybe it's the MLB atmosphere that forces concentration, but Fruto looked great, coaxing a DP from Chone Figgins, and pitching brilliantly on a day when the M's needed someone to eat innings. Bobby Livingston went back to AAA to make room for Fruto. Dave Asher and Mike Hrynio were sent down to make room for Garciaparra and Huisman.
Jose Lopez now has his OBP up to an even .300 and an ISO of 162....and it'll only go up from here. He's been showing signs, even against non-Weaver pitching, of breaking out, and you're starting to see the results.
Ronny Prettyman hit a HR and drove in 4 as Inland Empire won 10-9 over Stockton. 2005 draftee Robert Rohrbaugh made a short rehab start, going 1 1/3 scoreless innings before turning things over to Ivan Blanco who ended up with the win. Prettyman is now hitting .315, though with slightly uglier ISO - Power and ISO Patience numbers. He's a collegiate hitter out of a big time program who the M's snagged around round 10 (I think)... I've been rooting for him since pointing him out at that first Lookout Landing night down at the Ram when he was playing for CS Fullerton. Yung-Chi Chen evidently didn't take Michael Garciaparra's spot in San Antonio, as he went 0-4 tonight for IE, but with 2 RBI; it's not clear what move's been made to fill out the SA roster, so he (or someone else) may end up moving tomorrow.
San Antonio won 5-4 as Ryan Feierabend got his first win of the year. Wlad Balentien put an end to his slump by going 2-4 with a 2B and his 7th HR of the year to pace the Missions. Bryan LaHair added two singles. Jon Huber got his 7th save of the year, going 2 scoreless innings.