A recap of all of the happenings in the Pacific Coast League on Opening Day:
Round Rock Express 3 – Iowa Cubs 5
Game Recap: Iowa starter Randy Wells registered a quality start pitching 6 innings allowing 2 hits (both home runs), 3 walks, and 3 earned runs. Iowa rallied to score two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to break a 3-3 tie and Manuel Corpas and Scott Maine came in to shut down the Express in the final three innings. Iowa stole three bases off Express SP Mark Hamburger. Express players Julio Borbon and Michael Bianucci hit the home runs that provided all the offense for the Express who got three hits in all.
Prospect Performances: Cubs and Express bring a boatload of prospect to the plate. For the Express, CF Leonys Martin went 0-3 with a walk. The Cubs Brett Jackson had a very Brett Jackson line getting 2 hits, 2 RBI, and a stolen base, but he also had 2 strikeouts as well. Anthony Rizzo made his Cubs debut going 2-4 with a RBI. Josh Vitters went 1-3 with a BB and Wellington Castillo had a tough day at the plate going 0-2, but also being hit twice.
Player of the Game: Brett Jackson, CF, Cubs 2-4, 2 RBI, SB, BB, R
Nashville Sounds 2 – New Orleans Zephyrs 6
Game Recap: A 1-1 deadlock broke open in the bottom of the 8th inning with a 2 out Grand Slam by New Orleans 1B Ben Lasater. Nashville starting pitcher and prospect Wily Peralta had an effective outing going 6 innings allowing four hits, one walk, and one earned run while striking out four batters. New Orleans starter Alex Sanabia matched Peralta going 7 innings allowing nine hits, no walks, and one earned run as well.
Prospect Performances: Outside of Peralta there aren’t any major prospects in this contest. A lot of aging prospects though. 3B Matt Dominguez went 0-3 and RF Scott Cousins went 2-4 with a RBI. Nashville RF Caleb Gindl went 2-4 with a RBI for the Sounds.
Player(s) of the Game: Sean Halton, 1B, Nashville 4-4, HR, RBI and Ben Lasater, 1B, New Orleans, 2-4, HR, 5 RBI
Albuquerque Isotopes 4 – Omaha Storm Chasers 8
Game Recap: Every starter in the Storm Chasers’ line-up had a hit, led by 1B Clint Robinson who went 3-5. Omaha totaled 15 hits and went 6-17 as a team with runners in scoring position. Albuquerque had a 3-0 lead after the top half of the 4th, but Omaha slowly chipped away at the lead before grabbing the upper hand in the bottom of the 6th. Omaha’s defense committed 3 errors that led to one unearned run. Albuquerque 2B Alex Castellanos had a decent day offensively going 1-4 with two walks and adding two stolen bases
Prospect Performances: Omaha’s starting pitcher Will Smith had a brutal debut outing, lasting only 3 innings. In those 3 innings Smith allowed 4 hits, 6 walks, and 2 runs (1 unearned) while obtaining just two strikeouts. The control will need to improve drastically for Smith as he can’t always to expect to only allow 2 runs when his WHIP is above 3.00. Omaha 2B Johnny Giavotella went 2-5 with a RBI.
Player of the Game: Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3B, Omaha 2-4, 3 RBI
Memphis Redbirds 4 – Oklahoma City Redhawks 3
Game Recap: A ninth inning rally fell just short for Oklahoma City. The Redhawks had the bases loaded with no outs after already plating two runs in the inning, but 1B Mike Hessman struck out and 3B Brett Wallace grounded into a game ending 6-4-3 double play. Oklahoma City starter Paul Clemens registered a quality start going 6 innings allowing 6 H, 1 BB, and 2 ER. Both of Clemens’ runs came from two solo home runs that he allowed. Oklahoma City couldn’t get a hit when they needed going an abysmal 1-11 with runners in scoring position.
Prospect Performances: Memphis brings in the two best prospects in the game in the form of 3B Zack Cox and 1B Matt Adams. Cox had a rough opening day going 0-3 at the plate. One of my honorable mentions for Minor League Player of the Year candidates, Matt Adams, opened the season on a good note going 1-4 with a solo home-run.
Player of the Game: Pete Kozma, 2B, Memphis 3-4, HR, RBI, 2 R
Colorado Springs Sky Sox 2 – Reno Aces 5
Game Recap: Reno used a big four running third inning to take the lead and get the upper-hand in this contest. Reno starter Barry Enright survived through 5 and 2/3 innings where he surrendered 5 hits and 3 walks allowing 2 earned runs. The Reno bullpen shutdown the Sky Sox over the final 3 and 1/3 innings allowing only one hit and registering three strikeouts. The Sky Sox could never get a timely hit that they needed, they were 1-6 as a team with runners in scoring position.
Prospect Performances: CF A.J. Pollock provided an excellent game for the Aces reaching base four time via two hits and two walks. Sky Sox 2B D.J. LeMahieu went 0-2 with a RBI, a walk, and a stolen base.
Player of the Game: A.J. Pollock, CF, Reno, 2-3, RBI, 2 BB
Fresno Grizzlies 3 – Tuscon Padres 0
Game Recap: The Grizzlies scored a run in the first inning, thanks to an RBI by Charlie Culberson, and never looked back. Ryan Vogelsong, Shane Loux, Jean Machi, and Heath Hembree combined for the six hit shutout. Vogelsong struck out six batters in his brief four inning appearance. Tuscon starter Joe Wieland was of interest to prospect fans. Wieland had a shaky outing going 5 and 2/3 innings allowing 8 hits, 1 walk, and 3 earned runs. Wieland did accumulate 7 strikeouts in just 85 pitches.
Prospect Performances: Previously noted Joe Wieland was one of the few prospects of note in this game. C Yasmani Grandal, who came to the Padres in the Mat Latos deal, went 1-3 with a walk. Fresno RF Francisco Peguero went 1-4 in his Triple-A debut.
Player of the Game: Joaquin Arias, SS, Fresno, 2-4 2 RBI
Salt Lake Bees 3 – Tacoma Rainers 2
Game Recap: The Bees starting pitcher Garrett Richards needed just 88 pitches to get through seven innings and register a quality start. Top prospect Mike Trout made his Triple-A debut yesterday and didn’t disappoint, going 3-5 at the plate and scoring 2 of the Bees’ 3 runs. Tacoma reliever Cesar Jimenez had a good outing going 2 and 2/3 innings registering 4 strikeouts while only allowing one hit and one walk. Tacoma got within in 1 on two occasions but could never break through to tie or lead the game, they were 0-4 as a team with runners in scoring position.
Prospect Performances: Richards and Trout were the two big prospects, both making their Triple-A debut. Trout also was caught stealing in addition to the line listed above. Tacoma’s 3B Vinnie Catricala went 0-4 and couldn’t deliver the clutch hit as he left 2 men on with 2 out and runners in scoring position.
Player of the Game: Garrett Richards 7 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 7 K
Sacramento River Cats 11 – Las Vegas 51s 6
Game Recap: The game between the River Cats and 51s looked like a classic PCL match-up with the two teams combining for 17 runs on 32 hits and taking nearly three and a half hours to play the contest. The River Cats had 8 of their 9 starters with multiple hits, the lone player who didn’t join the hit parade was 2B Wes Timmons. The game was close after a four run rally in the bottom of the 5th by Las Vegas, but Sacramento pushed themselves to victory by scoring 3 in the seventh and 1 in the ninth.
Prospect Performances: This game was loaded with talent. For Sacramento CF Grant Green was 2-4 HR, 1 RBI, and 2 R, DH Chris Carter was 3-5 RBI, BB, and 2 R, RF Michael Taylor was 3-5 with 2 RBI, and C Derek Norris was 2-6, with a HR and 3 RBI. Las Vegas’ prospects didn’t fare as well. Speedy CF Anthony Gose went 0-5 and C Travis d’Arnaud went 0-3 with 2 walks in their Triple-A debuts.
Player of the Game: Derek Norris, C, Sacramento, 2-6 HR, 3 RBI, R, 2 K
Topics: A.J. Pollock, Anthony Gose, Anthony Rizzo, Brett Jackson, Chris Carter, Derek Norris, Garrett Richards, Grant Green, Joe Wieland, Johnny Giavotella, Josh Vitters, Leonys Martin, Matt Adams, Michael Taylor, Mike Trout, Pacific Coast League, Travis D'Arnaud, Will Smith, Wily Peralta