Archive for May, 2013

Top Ten After Ten - Orioles

Friday, May 31st, 2013

Poor drafts led to the Orioles 14 year losing streak.  The 2003 top ten prospect list wasn’t that bad a collection of draft picks but it lacked any impact players.  There were some major leaguers from this list, many of them late bloomers who were more role players than starters.

1. Eric Bedard (LHP) - Eric had a lot of talent for a left handed arm.  His personality could be a little abrasive.  When it became apparent the Orioles were not going to prevent him from being a free agent they traded him to the Mariners for Adam Jones and Chris Tillman, plus current Japan closer Kam Mickolio.  Injuries prevented Eric from reaching his potential.  Now pitching in relief for the Houston Astros.

2. Darnell McDonald (OF) - Number one pick in 1997 only amounted to a fourth or fifth outfielder role in the major leagues.

3. Daniel Cabrera (RHP) - Currently pitching in Japan and frustrating managers there with his lack of command.  At one point he threw in the high 90s.  He tried to dial it down to gain command but never achieved any consistency.  A hulk of a pitcher that lacked any athleticism.

4. Luis Jimenez (1B/OF) - He hung around long enough to finally make his major league debut last year as a 30 year old rookie.

5. Rommie Lewis (LHP) - Like Luis he persevered and finally made it to the major leagues pitching in the Blue Jays bullpen for 20 games in 2010 and 2011.  A 7.23 ERA during those 20 games has put him in Independent ball still hoping for one more callup.

6. Mike Fontenot (2B) - Never could understand drafting a 5′7″ second baseman in the first round but his bat eventually got him to the major leagues.  His inability to play short prevented him from cementing a role as a utility player.

7. Richard Stahl (LHP) - Arm injuries stalled his career.

8. John Maine (RHP) - He had a couple of good years after he left the Orioles.  His one last shot was with the Miami Marlins this year.  While he made the opening day roster he was designated shortly after that.  Shoulder surgery in the middle of the 2010 season made it tough for him to continue his career, but he still won 41 major league games.

9. Tripper Johnson (3B) - He never developed the kind of power teams were looking for in their third baseman.

10. Eli Whiteside (C) - Earning a pretty good living as a backup major league catcher.  Currently toiling in AAA with the Texas Rangers trying to get back up to fulfill another back up role.

Other prospects that made it to the major leagues:

13. Val Majewski (OF) - He had a brief fling as a fourth outfielder and even went to japan to try to make a career out of it, but injuries cut that stint short before he could complete a year.

24. Matt Riley (LHP) - When he was pitching in the minors slinging his 97 mile per hour fastballs from the left side he carried the promise of a Dylan Bundy.  Arm injuries slowed his fastball and shortened his major league career.

28. Hayden Penn (RHP) - His fastball was mid-90s but it travelled too straight.  Spent a couple years pitching in Japan but an elbow injury ended his career there last year.

NR. Tim Raines Jr - He had the speed of his dad and was compactly built but just didn’t have the discipline to develop the tools needed to be a major leaguer.

NR. Scott Rice - Never really made it with the Orioles but currently being used by the Mets in their pen.  Another late bloomer.

The 2003 draft picks had at least one star.

Nick Markakis was the Orioles first round pick.  Many teams wanted to draft him as a pitcher.  He has been fine as the Orioles right fielder, though he is just below an All Star in talent.  Chris Ray was a third round pick and earned a stint as the Orioles closer during his second year with the team.  The league caught up to him and Tommy John surgery sapped the velocity from his fastball putting him in mopup roles.  James Hoey was a 13th round pick that saw brief spells in the major leagues.  A too straight mid-90s fastball proved no mystery to major league hitters preventing any extended time with a major league team.

Baseball Makes the Top Three

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

There was a lot of back slapping when baseball made the top three in sports up for consideration to be added to the 2020 Olympics.  Those three sports are wrestling, baseball/softball and squash.  It is interesting to note they should choose wrestling since the Olympic Committee had recently removed it from being an Olympic sport.  The wrestling community was outraged and perhaps the Olympic Committee is finding ways to make amends.  The final vote will be done in Buenos Aires in September.

There are three cities being considered for the 2020 Olympics, Tokyo, Madrid and Istanbul.  What city is chosen will ultimately determine baseball/softball’s fate.  At this point wrestling would have to be the clear favorite.  If Tokyo is chosen for the 2020 Olympics baseball/softball would draw larger crowds, unless they changed the name of wrestling to sumo.  If the two other cities are chosen to host the Olympics in 2020 baseball/softball doesn’t stand much of a chance of being selected, though Spain did quite well in qualifying for the World Baseball Classic this year in baseball.

Gourriel Leads Roosters to Walkoff Win

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

The game was suspended with the Matanzas Crocodiles leading 5-1 after seven innings.  When the game was resumed the Roosters rallied for five runs in the bottom of the ninth to shock the Crocodiles 6-5 to take a 2-0 lead in the semi-final series.  The Crocodiles chose to walk Frederich Cepeda intentionally to load the bases with two outs to face Yulieski Gourriel with a 5-4 lead, bringing in Ciro Licea to face Gourriel.  The move backfired when Yulieski tagged Licea for a 2-run walk off double.

The Crocodiles scored early with five runs in the first three innings.  Manuel Benavides hit a 2-run homer in the third to give Matanzas the early 5-0 lead.  Frank Navarro pitched a good game for the Crocs, giving up just a solo homerun to Yunier Mendoza in the sixth inning to ruin his shutout.  He worked seven innings as the bullpen came on after the suspension.

The bullpen retired the first two hitters for the Roosters in the ninth.  They rallied for five runs on two doubles, two singles, two walks and a wild pitch to snatch the victory away from the jaws of the Crocodiles.

Rap Song and Video Game (cont - 5)

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

It only took them a couple minutes to get back to the house. Shu ran from the kitchen when she heard the door open and then abruptly stopped once she saw Emily. It was as if she had been struck by a force field preventing her from advancing any further. Fortunately, Emily’s back was turned so she didn’t notice the sudden stop and the look of astonishment on Shu’s face. Shu put on her best smile when Emily with all her blonde locks turned to greet her.

“This is my wife Shu,” Kevin said to Emily. Emily walked toward Shu. They did a gentle hug as if both did not want to break the other’s bones. Kevin could see Shu take note of the tattoo on her hand with the rainbow colored nails. She tried her best to keep from staring. She moved her stare to her platinum blonde hair instead. That didn’t last long after she spotted the tattoos on her left and right thighs. Emily was a walking monument to be stared at in wonder.

If Shu was shocked her mother almost fainted when she saw Emily. “Is that a wig?” she asked in Mandarin, her mouth gapped wide open. Fortunately Emily did not understand Mandarin.

“Emily is Korean,” Jason explained in Mandarin. “She doesn’t understand Mandarin.” Shu’s mother continued to stare at her hair as if birds were about to hatch from there. She didn’t want to miss the event. She had yet to notice the large tattoos on her thighs and her stomach. It would not take long for them to go unnoticed.

Dinner was not quite ready yet. Kevin could hear both Shu and her mom jabber in Mandarin from the kitchen sounding like birds fighting on a wire. “Is that her real hair?” “It doesn’t look like a wig.” “Asians are not meant to be blonde. They just look strange.” “Ignore it. She’s Jason’s friend.” “What he sees in her I’ll never know. Her jeans are all torn. Do you suppose she tore them walking to the house? ” “It’s the style mom. She bought them that way.” “Torn? I’ll never understand young people. What’s with the tattoos?” “Everyone has tattoos nowadays. Quit being so critical. Enjoy her company.” Kevin left the kitchen to join Jason and Emily in the living room. It was quieter there.

Emily had offered to help in the kitchen, but Shu told her to keep the men out of trouble. It was probably a good thing Emily was not in the kitchen. It would save her from the daggers Shu’s mom would throw at her with her eyes.

Jason was struggling to create a conversation with Emily in the living room. They had hit an awkward period of silence when Kevin walked in. It had been awhile since the two had seen each other, though they had been doing a lot of texting. This was their first face time since her arrival from Florida.

Kevin walked Emily over to the crib in the den to meet Jasmine. He handed her to Emily. When Emily grabbed her and put her over her shoulder Jasmine immediately deposited spittle and other debris to feed the dragon. Maybe she was shocked by the blonde hair too.

“Now that wasn’t so polite,” Kevin said to Jasmine. He noticed how stiff both Jasmine and Emily were with their bonding. He grabbed one of the baby wipes to give to Emily while he took Jasmine from her grasp. Emily seemed to be relieved of the responsibility. “I’m not very good with babies,” she apologized.

“None of us are at first. You learn fast once they become yours.”

When they returned to the living room Emily commented on the collision Kevin took in the ball game. “It looked pretty scary. I mean I can’t believe you are just like totally walking around as if nothing happened. If that were me I would be wrapped in bandages – if I had survived.”

“You get lucky sometimes.”

“Aren’t you worried about like concussions and dementia?”

“There are occupational hazards in every job. If I was sitting behind a desk I would be looking at high blood pressure or diabetes from being overweight.”

“Or cutting your hands on broken glass.” Kevin assumed Emily was talking about an occupational hazard from being a waitress. “You know my dad like couldn’t believe it when I told him I was going to dinner with you and Jason. Like I didn’t realize you guys have made such an international impact, even in Korea. You had told me you were big in China, but Korea…Wow. This may sound kind of weird, but I mean he asked if I could get your autographs for him.”

“Who? Me or Jason?”

“Both of you. Totally.”

“Not a problem. You tell me what you want us to sign.”

“I hadn’t thought that part out yet. Let me think about it. Just don’t let me forget.”

Mexicans in the Minors - National League

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

These are players not highlighted in out top ten Mexican prospects and does not include Julio Arias, who made his professional debut for the Dodgers a couple days ago.  You can see the American League players under the country of Mexico, as well as the top ten prospects from Mexico.  Antonio was good enough to provide these names.

Juan Noriega (RHP) Los Angeles Dodgers - He is only listed at 5′7″ 145 pounds.  That usually does not spell success for a righthander in the major leagues.  After pitching in nine relief outings with a 1.64 ERA Juan was loaned out to the Mexican League.  In seven appearances there he is 1-1, 2.45.

Javier Solano (RHP) Los Angeles Dodgers - Signed by the Dodgers in 2008, he got his first and only start this year, giving up six runs in only three plus innings.  That is more than half of the homeruns he gave up while in the bullpen.  In 17 appearances Javier is 1-1, 4.13.  Take away the one start and his ERA drops to 2.18.

Joey Meneses (OF) Atlanta Braves - He hasn’t really shown the power to play left field, hitting his only homerun this year in his three years of minor league experience.   He is also 2 for 5 in stolen bases.  Without power or speed there does not appear to be a major league career on the horizon.

Marcus Camarena (RHP) New York Mets - He struggled in the pitcher friendly Florida State League with a 8.83 ERA in six appearances, three of them for starts.  His one appearance in the South Atlantic League he went four innings, giving up only one run.

Carlos Vazquez (LHP) New York Mets - The Mets signed him in 2008.  He is pitching in the South Atlantic League where he has made 4 relief appearances and has yet to give up a run.  He gave up his only three hits in his last three inning relief outing.  Carlos was signed by the Mets in July 2008.

Luis Cessa (RHP) New York Mets - Another pitcher from Mexico signed by the Mets in 2008.  Luis has eight starts with a 4.30 ERA.  He has had three poor starts where he has given up five or more runs in less than six innings.

Colombian Part of June Draft

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Major league baseball is trying to institute an international draft for 2014.  This proposal has been meant with some resistance from foreign major league players who are on the 40 man rosters.  Major league baseball needs the support of the player’s association before instituting the international draft.  It is unclear how much of an influence these foreign players will have on the approval process.

One player who will not be part of any international draft is Colombian born Oscar Mercado.  That is because he moved to the United States when he was eight years old.  He is currently a shortstop for his Tampa high school Gaither.

Even at 6′2″ Oscar is not considered a power hitter.  He is also hitting a weak .286 with just five extra base hits.  His junior season he had hit .370 with seven extra base hits.  The tools that will get him to the major leagues are his glove.  If his bat develops that would be icing on the cake.  He could then be discussed with another great Colombian shortstop Edgar Renteria.

Because he is not having a good senior season and has committed to college baseball power Florida State he may be a tough sign for a major league team.  Baseball America rated him the 38th top player in the June draft, putting him at a high second round pick.  He may forgo that early start to his major league career to develop his hitting skills further at Florida State.

The Rap Song and Video Game (cont - 4)

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

The first chore for Kevin when he got home was to visit the crib where Jasmine lay sleeping. She must have sensed his presence because she opened her eyes and gave him an excited smile, little spit bubbles popping out of her mouth, her small, stubby hands reaching up to greet him. It gave him a smile to light up his day. He picked her up, lifted her as high as he could. She laughed excitedly. “Look at those half googly eyes. Half Asian, half Caucasian. What does life have in store for you my little princess?”

Shu’s mother had been sitting next to her in the crib. “She is so excited to see her daddy,” she cooed in Mandarin in her best infant voice.

“She doesn’t care that I go 0 for 3. She is always happy to see me.” He gently placed her back down in the crib. As he walked away, Jasmine’s eyes tried to follow him as her head lay on the pillow. She spasmed with joy.

“What time is Emily coming over?” Kevin asked Jason.

Shu’s mom had finished the meal Shu had started since Shu had spent the evening in the hospital with Kevin. Shu was now running around a bit frantic because she wanted to clean the house of what dust particles may have fallen while she was away and also help her mom finalize the meal. Jason was trying his best to help Shu set the table, but also stay out of her way. He was wearing the only button down shirt he owned, the same one he wore for the Kathy Li interview. Its colors were a bit faded from all the wear it was getting.

“She said she would try to be at the Metro station by 6.” It was an off day. They would be traveling to Salem early tomorrow morning. It was unclear if Kevin would be part of that trip.

The doctors informed him he had suffered a mild concussion. They didn’t want him to play for a couple days. Rest. Take it easy. After a couple days of inactivity see how he feels. If he experiences any dizzy spells or headaches during that time he was to let them know. After a couple days he was scheduled to return to the hospital to have them check him out again. They could get a better reading on his condition after the second check up. If he got on the bus to Salem he would not be able to meet this hospital appointment.

Kevin debated whether he should travel to Salem or stay back with Shu and Jasmine. He thought it best he stay with the team. This was still a new team for Jason. He would feel more comfortable with Kevin around. Jason tried to convince him it was only for a couple days. He would be fine without him for one road trip.

Fortunately, Kevin did not have to worry about driving to Virginia to pick up Emily. While he felt fine to drive, by the time he was discharged from the hospital and got back to the house they would have never been able to drive to Virginia to make it back to the house before seven, not with all the rush hour traffic. Their house was a mile from the Metro, which was walking distance. Jason volunteered to walk to the Metro to meet her but Kevin insisted it would be wise if they picked her up in a vehicle. He could walk her back if everything went well. “You don’t know how she is dressed. She could be in high heels and the mile walk would not be comfortable.” Kevin remembered how she dressed. It was not normal. This fashionista did not seem like the type to wear tennis shoes.

“I told her to dress casual.”

“I don’t know. She seems like the little fashion princess to me. Her definition of casual is probably much different than ours.”

When they picked her up she was not wearing high heels. She was wearing leather sandals laced up to her calf. They did not appear to be comfortable walking shoes. She was dressed in what Kevin would define as casual jeans that fell just below the knees and a simple blouse that dropped short of her naval exhibiting the artistry of the “Scream” tattoo slapped in the middle of it. That would get some stares from the mother in law. Fortunately she had a flat belly you could iron clothes on. The jeans were shredded at the thighs. That was her big fashion statement. Shu’s father would appreciate the look. During his visit he had relayed a story to Kevin about “making a beautiful pair of jeans only to have to take a razor to them because that is what my client requested. It just seems so wrong to ruin a perfectly made pair of jeans, but the client paid good money to tear them up. If that’s what they want that’s what I’ll provide. The customer is always right.” He would look proudly on those pair of jeans hugging Emily’s hips in their shredded and tattered state. It was certainly not casual as defined by Kevin, but it was far from formal.

Emily compromised her somewhat conservative dress by the color of her hair. It was stained a platinum blonde. Kevin couldn’t help but stare at the blonde matt laying on her head coming down in bangs to her eyes, wondering if it was a wig or her real hair painted blonde. He had seen pictures of blonde Asian women, but he had never actually seen one in person. Kevin could tell from the look Jason gave her that he was a bit surprised as well.

She also wore a little more makeup than what Kevin remembered the one time they went out in Florida, especially with the eye mascara and the goth black lip stick. The piercings had disappeared, so that was an improvement. Or at least Kevin couldn’t find any. He didn’t want to look too hard to make her uncomfortable. Her blouse covered the dragoon tattoo on her shoulder, but it was difficult to hide the dolphin tattoo on her hand or the scream painting crying out from her naval. When he spotted the dolphin tattoo he also noticed all her nails were painted a rainbow of different colors. The bare midriff look also exposed the etchings of the two tattoos painted on each side of her hips, the giant, smiling Buddha with his big belly on her right side and the stars circling a planet on her left. All Kevin could think about was Shu’s reaction once she first placed her eyes on her blonde hair, tattoos and colored nails. This would be the first time she would meet Emily. Kevin had warned her she was a bit different.

As she walked to greet them Kevin noticed the stops and stares from the many people exiting and entering the Metro station. All had to stop to stare at her looks. She was certainly grabbing their attention. Jason gave her a hug. A photographer from somewhere snapped a picture. Kevin didn’t really see him but he saw the flash. That hug would be featured on some gossip magazine somewhere speculating on the new girl in his life, until they realized she was not so new if they recognized her photos with Jason from Florida. The blond look would make that tough. They had gotten to the point where they could ignore the photographers now as long as they kept their distance. Always trying to be on the lookout for them just complicated life.

Top Ten After Ten - Braves

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

This is the Braves top ten for 2003 as compiled by Baseball America.  The Braves did a good job of getting a number of players to the major leagues.  Unfortunately, it was usually for the other side.

1. Adam Wainwright (RHP) - He has turned into the ace of the Cardinals rotation.  He was traded to the Cardinals for J.D. Drew. Drew had a couple of good years for the Braves but Adam has done pretty well with the Cardinals.

2. Wilson Betemit (SS) - He never lived up to his massive hype.  He is currently on the Orioles disabled list and was expected to be their primary DH.

3. Andy Marte (3B) - Myworld saw him play a couple times and failed to accept the hype for this kid.  The Dominican played six seasons in the major leagues but never got more than 300 at bats.

4. Bubba Nelson (RHP) - Bubba was a bust.

5. Macay McBride (LHP - Another pitcher who failed to live up to his hype.

6. Jeff Francoeur (OF) - In a late season callup in 2005 Jeff had a fantastic rookie season where he slugged .549 with 14 homeruns in just 70 games.  Despite two 162 game seasons after that he never reached .500 again in slugging percentage.  He did hit 29 homeruns in 2006 but a lack of plate discipline sent his average spiraling downward the more he was exposed to major league pitching.

7. Carlos Duran (OF) - He had a chance to be an All Star if he could refine his five tools.  Needless to say those tools stayed in the tool box for the Venezuelan.

8. Scott Thorman (1B) - A slugging first baseman got stuck behind Laroche and other first baseman as he bounced around the league.  He played for Canada in the 2006 and 2009 World Baseball Classics.

9. Brett Evert (RHP) - He had a long minor league career but the major leagues eluded him.

10. Gonzalo Lopez (RHP) - The Nicaraguan never got past A ball in his six minor league seasons.

Other players in the minor leagues during that time who have made an impact.

12. Kelly Johnson (SS) - Kelly has now moved to second base and become a pretty good offensive player at that position.  He left the Braves as a free agent in 2009 and currently plays for the Tampa Bay Rays.

13. Adam LaRoche (1B) - He is currently one of the better defensive fielding first baseman in baseball who can hit 30 plus dingers.  The challenge for any team putting him in the starting lineup is overcoming his slow starts.  His father Dave was a pretty good relief pitcher in the major leagues.

17. Gregor Blanco (OF) - For a number of years he was a staple in the winter leagues, always drawing more walks than whiffs.  The Giants finally gave him their starting left field job after Melky Cabrera was busted for PEDs.

20. Ryan Langerhans (OF) - Bobby Cox loved his defense but he couldn’t hit.  The Nationals will always remember him because they traded him straight up to the Mariners for Mike Morse.

22. Blaine Boyer (LHP) - He spent some time in a number of team’s bullpens, filling the role of closer on occasion.  This year he went to Japan where he will pitch for the Hanshin Tigers.

28. Brian McCann (C) - His bat was slow to develop but he is now one of the better catchers in the National League.  Injuries the last couple years have lowered the expectations of Braves fans.

The players selected in the 2003 draft who saw some major league time.

There two number one picks Luis Atilano and Jarrod Saltalmacchia have not made a contribution to the major league team.  Salty was one of the prospects traded to the Braves to acquire Mark Teixeira for a pennant run.  There number three pick Matt Harrison is currently a starter in the Texas Rangers organization.  Matt was another player included in the trade for Teixeira.  You have to go to the 30th pick to find another player, Johnny Venters who pitched the last couple years as an awesome set-up man for the Braves with his underhand delivery.  He missed this season because of Tommy John.

The Braves drafted Quintin Berry in the 25th round but did not sign him. They drafted no other players who wore a major league uniform.

The Rap Song and Video Game (cont - 3)

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

“Did you know there is a You Tube video of the collision yesterday that has recorded over one hundred thousand views already? Twenty four hours have not elapsed and already one hundred thousand views. That’s amazing. There’s even a rap song sung by a group from China that goes with the video.”

“A rap song?” Larvell interrupted. “I didn’t think they allowed rap in China?”

“They are a lot more progressive than you realize. It’s pretty cool. The lyrics are in English. The video shows multiple slow motion replays of the collision from different angles. They also show the tackle Kevin made in spring training. Remember that. It’s a collage of Kevin Beamer highlights. I recorded the song on my phone.” He took out his phone and pushed the play button.

I’m a warrior
My name is Kevin Beamer
I catch and I throw
Like a major leaguer

A warrior
I catch for Jason Woo
He throws all the heat
Makes the thunder brew

Rigo pushed the off button. “You get the gist. It’s called a warrior. You have to go online to see the video.”

“I get it. It seems we’ve got a theme going here. I never thought Kevin had been here long enough to have a highlight film posted on youtube.”

“He seems to be doing all right. It was amazing the amount of flowers the hospital received yesterday. A lot of fans seem to care about him despite his lack of major league stats. Do we know the status?”

“We’ll wait to hear from the doctors before we decide whether to put him on the disabled list. If he is going to miss more than a few days we’ll DL him. The doctors are pretty certain he has a concussion but they do not yet know how severe it is. We’ll go through the standard concussion protocols before we have him catching again.”

“Pablo was telling me the catcher who just got promoted to replace Kevin in Delmarva is Francisco. He was the first player to catch Jason.”

“And?”

“I just think that is ironic. The whole three degrees of Kevin Bacon theory. Now we have the three degrees of Jason Woo/Kevin Beamer connections. We could always promote him to replace Kevin if he has to go on the DL. At least he has some experience catching Jason.”

“We’ll let Francisco get comfortable where he’s at before we promote him so soon.”

Rigo shot straight up from his chair. “I almost forgot. Guess who I heard from that can almost match your call from the President of the United States.”

“Somebody contacted you more important than the President of the United States?”

“Almost as important as the President. And she didn’t contact me directly. It was a ‘to whom it may concern’ type of memo one of my interns picked up off the FAX machine. Because she showed it to me I’m taking credit for it.”

“The Prime Minister of India?”

“Close. You’re in the right geographical area.”

Kevin thought in silence for a moment, but after India he was drawing blanks. “I give up. Who?”

“How about Aung San Suu Kyi, President of Burma and a Nobel Peace Prize winner?”

“What did she want? They don’t play baseball in Burma.”

Kathy had cut that portion out of her interview, but we included it in our unedited version. She requested Jason be made available for a visit to Burma for an appearance at a baseball seminar they would like to organize there for the youth. They would be honored to have him as a guest speaker of sorts. They would pay any expenses for his stay there. ”

“I’m hoping she’s looking at a date after the season is over?”

“She didn’t really say. She probably does not know how long the baseball season runs.”

“I’ll put you in charge of the response. Make sure it’s legit. It’s nice to see the Kathy Li interview paying some dividends. We may have a losing team, but we have a popular team. The President of the United States. China. Burma. Your mom in India. Who’s next?”

>>>>>

Thunder Blast Clark Knuckler

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

After going 15-7 last year, 5-2 with a 1.75 ERA in AAA you would think Zach Clark would not have to reinvent himself.  But he will turn 30 in July, his fastball barely touches 90 and he is a righthander barely 6′0″ tall, all recipes for disaster in a scout’s eye.  The Orioles have him working on a knuckle ball this year.

He is having a little bit of trouble controlling this knuckle ball.  Entering the game he was 1-2 with a 9.26 ERA in three starts, walking 13 in 11 plus innings.  The knuckler is dancing, but not across the plate.

Zach gave up a run in the first when he walked the leadoff hitter Ramon Flores, who eventually scored on a fly ball.  Caleb Joseph gave the Bay Sox the lead back in the bottom of the first with a 2-run homer into centerfield.  In the top of the second Zach walked the leadoff hitter again, Jose Pirela, who would walk four times in the game.  After the walk the Thunder strung together three straight singles and a 2-run homer by Tyler Austin to put them up 6-2.

Zach did last two more innings without giving up a run, finally being pulled in the fifth inning after getting one out.  The Bay Sox offense could not muster enough offense to come back from the six run deficit after two innings.

Brandon Waring had a good day.  He stroked three hits to raise his average to .167, including lining a homerun into left center field in the fourth to make it 6-3.

Jason Gurka rescued Zach Clark from creating any further damage to his burgeoning ERA when he came on in the top of the fifth and stranded runners on second and third with one out.  He did give up a solo blast to Kevin Mahoney in the sixth, his first homerun of the year to make the score 7-3.  Aaron Baker drove in Brandon Waring with a double in the seventh to finish out the scoring.

Game Notes: Zach Clark was called for a balk in the first inning when he stopped his delivery.  Gary Kendall argued time was called but it appears Caleb Joseph may have called time after the runner at second appeared to be taking to big a lead off of second.  The umpire claimed he never granted the time out….Jose Ramirez was humming his fastball into the 95/96 range.  He didn’t appear to have much of a breaking pitch, but the Bay Sox only got him for five hits.  Two of those hits were out of the park, accounting for all three runs…Clay Schrader was throwing in the mid 90s in relief for the Bay Sox.  He didn’t have a lot of command with his pitches and he only stands 5′11″.  He walked two in his two innings of work…Tommy Kahnle worked the ninth for the Thunder and showed a high 90s fastball…Jose Pirela walked in four of his five at bats.  He took a called third strike in his fifth at bat.  Jose entered the game hitting only .205 but he has a 25/22 walk to whiff ratio…Tyler Austin grounded into a double play on a fairly slow hit grounder, showing his lack of speed.  He may have stolen 23 bases in 25 attempts last year but it wasn’t done on speed.  He clearly lacks stolen base speed.  Instinct is where he steals bases.