Prentice Redman keeps playing well in Tacoma, making it harder to cast him aside and let Michael Saunders play all the time. Redman hit his fourth homer in seven games last night, and has a .961 OPS in 27 games since joining the Rainiers. It looks like it's going to be a four-man rotation in the outfield for the time being. Wladimir Balentien played left field last night, and comments from Jim Riggelman the other day seem to suggest that Wlad's failures in one month of starting in right field might shut him out of the job in the future, which is more than a little silly. Charlton Jimerson and his .251 OBP somehow continue to get playing time (he does have 10 homers), but to me it makes no sense to call Saunders up to AAA and then not let him play every day in favor of a 29-year-old who doesn't have much upside. Even if the M's had to call up an outfielder due to injury, Jimerson would be fourth on the list behind Balentien, Redman, and Victor Diaz. Luis Valbuena is getting his shot at second base, and it looks like Tug Hulett is sliding over to shortstop. Hulett started out rough, but put up .326/.396/.517 in May and .313/.382/.542 in June. Hulett's translated EqA (that is, what he would be predicted to perform in a normalized major league) is .260, while Yuniesky Betancourt's is .237. Heck, even Oswaldo Navarro's is .236. There's reason for the Mariners to seriously consider whether Betancourt is the guy they want playing shortstop going forward. Is a guy with a .277 OBP and no power worth keeping around, even if he's a pretty good defender?
Andrew Baldwin pitched pretty well last night: 8 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K. His ERA is still 5.16, which is about what it should be given that he doesn't strike very many people out, gives up a bunch of hits, and has a 37% GB rate. Yippy-skippy.
Chattanooga 4, West Tenn 3
The Diamond Jaxx have gone in the tank so far in the second half, falling to 4-9 after another loss last night. The Johan Limonta left-field experiment entered day three, as Marshall Hubbard has returned from the DL to resume duties as the first baseman. Ronnie Prettyman has taken his .554 OPS to High Desert. Prettyman has gone from being OK in Tacoma last year (.737 OPS) to dreadful in AA this year, and now all the way back to A ball. Erick Monzon's .197/.279/.326 line earned him a promotion, though I suspect the M's wanted West Tenn to get a utility guy that they wouldn't have to play much if they didn't want to. Unfortunately, with Hubbard back there's another logjam situation there. If Limonta is now an outfielder, the Jaxx have to fit him in with Greg Halman, Mike Wilson, and Brent Johnson, all of whom deserve to play. I know that the M's wanted to see what Halman could do away from the launching pad in the desert, but both West Tenn and Tacoma seem to be loaded with outfielders.
As for last night, Wilson hit his 19th home run of the year and Limonta went 2-for-4 with an RBI. Travis Chick's line: 7 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 5 K. Chick gets killed by lefties (.337 BAA) and has gotten worse each month in general (April ERA: 2.19; May ERA: 4.19; June ERA: 6.14). On the plus side, this was the first of his five starts in which he has lasted more than five innings.
Lancaster 12, High Desert 9
Travis Mortimore's .156 BABIP in Wisconsin earned him a 0.53 ERA and a promotion to High Desert, where he promptly got whacked around. In his defense, he's been a reliever all year and this was his first start. But a combination of bad luck and bad pitching got to him last night. He gave up 11 hits in 3 1/3 innings, threw a wild pitch, and even balked once for good measure. He wasn't done any favors, though, as Ronnie Prettyman's throwing error led to three unearned runs in the first inning. Neither team was particularly sharp last night, as each team committed five errors. Travis Scott had three hits for the Mavs, and Carlos Triunfel launched a deep fly off of the batter's eye in center field that would've been a home run just about anywhere else. The only pitcher who did well last night was Steven Richard, who now has a scoreless inning streak of 8 1/3 since coming off the DL on June 15th. Richard made two appearances back in April and gave up nine runs in 6 1/3 innings before being shut down for two months. His stats for the year are inflated by the two bad appearances, but he's someone to keep an eye on.
Burlington 2, Wisconsin 1 (11)
Fresh off of a transfer from the desert air of Adelanto, Keith Renaud looked pretty good last night in his Wisconsin debut, giving up only three hits and one run in seven innings. Control has been Renaud's biggest issue. Four walks last night weren't great to see, but he did get six strikeouts and kept the ball down. The Rattlers got their only run on a first-inning double by Ronald Garth. Nothing else of note happened offensively. The Rattlers went 0-8 in Burlington this year. Looks like Joseph White is coming off of a rehab assignment and rejoining the Rattlers today as they start a series with Peoria.
Vancouver 3, Everett 2 (10)
The AquaSox dropped game one of a series up in Canada on Monday night. A leadoff walk in the 10th inning by Javier Martinez came around to score on a two-out single to give the Canadians the winning run. Bobby LaFromboise pitched decently for the Frogs: 5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 0 K. The no strikeouts are a bit alarming, and 12 of his 15 outs recorded were in the air. Luckily, Vancouver is a black hole for home runs so LaFromboise was able to stay out of trouble. His GB rate is 25% right now, which is OK in a league without a lot of power hitters but not OK if he has any plans to advance in the organization. Of course, we're only talking about 13 innings here so maybe this isn't indicative of anything.