Archive for March, 2014

2013 Major League International Salary Rankings

Monday, March 24th, 2014

Baseball America gathered estimates for what every team spent on international signings.  Overall, international bonuses went up despite the cap because more teams are now looking at international players to enhance their rosters.  Below are their salary rankings:

1. Rangers - $8.42 million

2. Cubs - $8.2

3. Dodgers - $4.48

4. Indians - $4.25

5. Red Sox - $3.98

6. Astros - $3.86

7. Royals - $3.61

8. Mariners - $3.58

9. Twins - $3.49

10. Reds - $3.47

11. Rockies - $3.38

12. Diamondbacks - $3.18

13. Mets - $3.13

14. Giants - $3

15. Blue jays - $2.95

16. Rays - $2.83

17. Padres - $2.73

18. White Sox - $2.65

19. Nationals - $2.64

20. Pirates - $2.58

21. Brewers - $2.54

22. Marlins - $2.53

23. Phillies - $2.46

24. Yankees - $2.45

25. Braves - $2.40

26. Cardinals - $2.30

27. Tigers - $2.28

28. Athletics - $2.1

29. Angels - $1.83

30. Orioles - $1.23

The Pirates and Cubs went far beyond their international cap and are restricted with signing bonuses no greater than $250,000.  So next year they will be near the bottom of this list.

Foreign Players in NPB Central

Monday, March 24th, 2014

Myworld took a look at the rosters to identify some of the foreign players.  Japan can have four foreign players on their rosters, but no more than three can be position players or pitchers.  Some teams carry more than four foreign players, but the extras are carried on their nigun rosters, which is equivalent to the minor leagues.

Yomiuri Giants - Scott Mathieson (RHP), Chris Seddon (LHP), Jose Lopez (3B/2B), Leslie Anderson (OF)

Hanshin Tigers - Randy Messenger (RHP), Seung-Hwan Oh (RHP), Mauro Gomez (1B), Matt Murton (OF)

Hiroshima Toyo Carp - Bryan Bullington (RHP), Kam Mickolio (RHP), Zach Phillips (LHP), Brad Eldred (1B), Kila Ka’ahue (1B), Rainel Rosario (OF)

Chunichi Dragons - Daniel Cabrera (RHP), Nelson Payano (LHP), Anderson Hernandez (2B/SS), Hector Luna (1B), Alexis Gomez (OF)

Yokahama DeNA Bay Stars - Jorge Sosa (RHP), Enyelbert Soto (LHP), Aarom Baldiris (3B), Tony Blanco (1B)

Tokyo Yakult Swallows - Tony Barnette (RHP), Chris Carpenter (RHP), Chris Narveson (LHP), Orlando Roman (RHP), Wladimir Balentien (OF/1B), Lastings Milledge (OF)

Koshien Spring Under Way

Monday, March 24th, 2014

In Japan the Koshien spring baseball tournament is underway.  There have already been a couple extra inning games where three pitcher’s pitch counts reached into the 180s.  Junichiro Kishi went all 15 innings and 188 pitches in Meitoku Gijuku’s 3-2 win over Chiben Gakuen Wakayama.  Takayuki Yasuda ended the affair with a walkoff single in the bottom of the 15th after Kishi had loaded the bases in the top of the 15th.

In a 13 inning game Toyokawa beat Nihon Bunri 4-3.  Soro Tanaka got the win, throwing 189 pitches in his 13 innings of work.  Satoshi Iizuka took the loss throwing 184 pitches.  Both pitchers seemed to lose effectiveness in the later innings.  Tanaka gave up three hits in his first seven innings and struck out 10.  In his last six innings Tanaka gave up all three of his runs and 10 hits and only struck out three.  Iizuka also only gave up three hits in his first seven innings and struck out eight.  In the last six innings he coughed up all four of his runs and surrendered seven hits, striking out just three.  Ren Sato got the walk off hit in the bottom of the 13th to win the game, his only hit of the game.

In defense of the Koshien, the teams have a medical checkup prior to the tournament to check on the health of all the pitcher’s arms.  All pitchers were found to be healthy.  You would think the Japanese high school coaches would find alternative pitchers to keep their aces fresh because 100 percent of a second pitcher has got to be better than 70 percent of the ace.

Musashi Nishioka became the 19th player to get two homeruns in a game.  He hit two solo shots in Chiben Gakuen’s 7-2 win over Mie.

You can follow the results of the Koshien spring tournament here:  http://yakyubaka.com/category/high-school/spring-koshien-high-school/

Rollins Leads Phillies to Victory

Monday, March 24th, 2014

Jimmie Rollins has returned to shortstop after a short respite.  He had a walk, single and homerun to lead the Phillies to a 5-1 win over the Twins.  Kyle Kendrick limited the Twins to just one run in his six innings of work.

Aaron Hicks, who is battling for the centerfield job had a rough day.  After Dominic Brown’s double, it put runners on second and third with no out.  With one out Cody Asche lifted a ball to medium centerfield.  Marlon Byrd tagged from third and the throw from Hicks got by the catcher, allowing Brown to advance to third.  In the third, a Jimmy Rollins single gave Hicks an opportunity to throw out Ben Revere at the plate, but Josmil Pinto missed the throw and Rollins advanced to second.  Ryan Howard drove him in with a single.  Carlos Ruiz hit a single to drive in Howard, but Hicks was successful in throwing out Dominic Brown at home to keep the score at 4-0.

Jimmie Rollins sent a 3-1 pitch from Phil Hughes into the berm in right field to up the Phillies lead to 5-0.  Hughes was done after five innings, giving up five runs.  Rollins was replaced by Reid Brignac.

The Twins scored their lone run in the sixth.  Alex Presley pinch hit for Hughes and singled.  Brian Dozier advanced him to third with a double down the left field line snagged by the ball girl and flipped to a fan in the stands.  The umpires had to rule the hit a ground rule double.  Josmil Pinto grounded to short to score Presley with the lone run of the game.

Game Notes: It was a sellout crowd of 9,835 at Clearwater.  One lucky kid in the stands got an opportunity to peck the cheek of the Hooters ball girl sitting along the third base line…Cody Asche dropped a pop up with the wind blowing out towards right field…Carlos Ruiz showed a good arm, throwing Oswaldo Arcia out at third in the first inning, and nailing Pedro Florimon in the third inning…B.J. Rosenburg struck out the side in the eighth, but all three hitters were minor leaguers…With the injury to Freddie Galvis, Reid Brignac appears to have made the team as a utility player.  He has been playing well, crushing the ball when given an opportunity to hit.

Rays 2014

Monday, March 24th, 2014

Overall - The Rays and the Rangers are the only major league teams to have won at least 90 games in each of the last four seasons.  They do it with a salary structure that is one of the lowest in the major leagues.  During their early franchise history they were always one of the worst teams in the major leagues which allowed them to select high in the draft.  This gives them an opportunity to stock their roster with first round picks such as David Price (2007) and Evan Longoria (2006).  After the Rays eliminated ”devil” from their name they launched into the playoffs in 2008.  It also gave them lower draft picks which made it tougher to select quality talent.  The Rays have only missed the playoffs in two seasons since the name change.  Perhaps this is a form of divine intervention.  They enter the 2014 season with their 2013 team almost intact.  The lineup is the same, the starting pitchers are still there, only the bullpen has changed.  The lineup also gets Wil Myers and David Dejesus to play in the outfield for a full season.  The pitching staff slid a bit, finishing fifth in the A.L. in ERA after placing first in 2012.  This was caused by a less effective bullpen, going from the best in the American league in 2012 to seventh best last season.  They have revised that with Grant Balfour replacing Fernando Rodney as the closer.  The big issue for Tampa is their ability to attract fans.  As long as they have the stadium in St. Petersburg, which if you have ever tried to travel along 275 to get on the causeway from Tampa, where they warn you to have a good supply of gas in your tank, you know why people stay away from the park.  It is torture driving along 275.  Myworld has never seen it when it was not a parking lot.

Key Additions: The big moves the Rays made was to their bullpen.  They added Grant Balfour as their closer after he was rejected by the Orioles.  Balfour closed last year for the Athletics and saved 38 games.  They also made a trade with the Diamondbacks to acquire Heath Bell to play a setup role.  Heath struggled as the closer for the Marlins and had a very vanilla year last year with the Diamondbacks (4.11 ERA).  They also acquired Nathan Karns from the Nationals, trading a trio of decent players to acquire him.  Karns was a starter for the Nationals in their minor league system but could be used in the bullpen for the Rays.  The Padres also traded Brad Boxberger to the Rays along with second baseman Logan Forsythe and three prospects.  Boxberger should make the Rays pen and Forsythe has an opportunity to win a utility job.  In another move to help the pitching the Rays acquired catcher Ryan Hanigan from the Reds.  He may take over the starting catching assignment over Jose Molina.

Key Subtractions: With the acquisition of Ryan Hanigan from the Reds the Rays traded Jose Lobaton to the Nationals for some bullpen help.  They needed to revamp the bullpen because of the departure of Fernando Rodney to free agency.  Rodney had a phenomenal season in 2012, but his 2013 performance was disappointing.  Their DH Luke Scott, who missed a lot of time due to injuries, left to play in Korea.  Kelly Johnson sent his 16 homeruns to the Yankees.  Jamey Wright and Wesley Walker, two of their more effective bullpen options have also departed.

Catcher - Jose Molina is considered the best pitch framer in baseball.  That means he gets his pitchers a lot of strikes.  Now that he is widely known as a good pitch framer will umpires now go the other way with him?  Molina is a good defensive catcher but has little offense in his bat.  Ryan Hanigan is expected to have more of a bat than Molina, even though he hit only .198 for the Reds last year.  In 2012 his average was .274.  Down on the farm the Rays have defensive catcher Justin O’Connor, who has risen slowly through the Rays farm system.  The number one 2010 pick has a .213 career minor league average, but last year he broke out for 14 homeruns.  Their 2013 number one pick Nick Ciuffo is expected to give the Rays better offensive production without sacrificing too much on defense.

First Base - The Rays resigned James Loney, who is considered one of the better defensive first baseman in the league.  Last year he finally produced with the bat, having his best offensive season of his career with a .299 average and 13 homeruns.  He may not drive in as many runs as many first baseman, but his defense will also prevent many runs from scoring.  Sean Rodriguez will be his backup.  He played the most here last year and is a good utility type player.  Wilson Betemit was a minor league sign and if he makes the roster can play both corners.  There is not a lot in the farm system.  Richie Shaffer was a first round pick of the Rays in 2012.  He played third base last year but with Evan Longoria at third base he needs to shift to first if he wants an opportunity to play in the major leagues.

Second Base - Ben Zobrist can play almost anywhere.  He played mostly at second last year and that will be where the Rays will need him most this year.  He can also play short or move into the outfield.  Other than Longoria, Zobrist may be the most critical position player on the team.  The Rays acquired Logan Forsythe from the Padres.  He had a disappointing year last year (.214) but has offensive potential.  His best position is third but he played second last year for the Padres.  Sean Rodriguez is another player who can play here.  Tim Beckham will miss much of the 2014 season, but when he returns it is expected he will settle at second base.  He made his major league debut last year, playing three games at second.  Vince Belnome is a versatile player in AAA who played all the infield positions and also batted .300 in AAA with a .408 OBA.

Third Base - There is no guarantee Evan Longoria will remain healthy, but he has a long term contract with the Rays that keeps him with the team until 2022.  Only an injury will require the Rays to look for a new third baseman.  Logan Forsythe and Sean Rodriguez could be the first options.  Moving Ben Zobrist from second could be another option.  They also have Wilson Betemit signed to a minor league contract.  If anyone is playing third base other than Longoria the Rays will have a tough time making the playoffs.  The Rays did draft third baseman Tyler Goeddel as a first round supplemental pick in 2011.  He has not shown the power for the position in the lower minor leagues and has the speed to move to the outfield.  Richie Shaffer is another option.

Shortstop - Yunel Escobar is currently the shortstop for the Rays.  He is a steady player on defense, committing only seven errors.  His offense is middle of the road.  The Rays also have Ben Zobrist and Sean Rodriguez to play here.  Ben Zobrist is the best offensive player they can put at this position.  If they are in a playoff race the Rays may stay with Escobar for the consistency.  The best shortstop in the organization may be Hak-Ju Lee.  He was hitting .422 in AAA after 15 games when a knee injury ended his season.  He is considered a superb defensive player with deer like speed.  If he shows the offense he did last year the Rays may be forced to call him up.

Left Field - The corner outfielders will be changed quite a bit for the Rays this year when compared to last year.  David Dejesus should see most of the time here.  The Rays acquired Dejesus late last season.  David is a solid defensive player but does not put up the gaudy numbers one expects from a corner outfielder.  The Rays had Matt Joyce play right field last year, but with Wil Myers now at the position Joyce may see some time in left.  Matt struggled last year (.234) and only hit .164 against lefties, but other than Myers he shows the most power in the outfield (18 homeruns).  Sean Rodriguez and Ben Zobrist are other options.  Brandon Guyer is getting a bit old to be considered a prospect, but the Rays are a desert in the outfield as far as prospects.  Jerry Sands was once a top power hitter for the Dodgers.  He hit 35 homeruns in AAA in 2010 and combined for 55 homeruns in 2011/2012.  He needs to get that swing back.

Centerfield - Desmond Jennings has not lived up to his offensive potential.  He plays a good defensive centerfield but his bat has been less than what the Rays had expected.  He hit .252 with 14 homeruns and stole 20 bases.  If he walked more he would be a good leadoff candidate.  They Rays can play David Dejesus in center if they want to get the power bat of Matt Joyce in the lineup.  Desmond Jennings also struggled a bit against righthanded pitching (.231).  The best defensive player may be Kevin Kiermaier.  He has come out of nowhere, drafted in the 31st round in 2010 but making an impression at every stop.  The one concern with Kevin is his ability to hit.

Right Field - Wil Myers won the American League rookie of the year award despite a late callup by the Rays.  If the Rays had waited any longer it may have cost them a playoff spot.  Wil didn’t put up the monster homerun numbers he put up in 2012, but he did hit 27 homeruns between AAA and the major leagues.  The Rays have Joyce, Dejesus and Zobrist to back him up should he need a rest or injuries lay him up for significant time.  The Rays have no player in the minor leagues that is being groomed to take over the position.

Designated Hitter - Joe Maddon will rotate a number of players around this position.  Matt Joyce should see the most frequent time here.  Against lefthanded pitching he could keep Jerry Sands on the roster to play him here or rest one of his righthanded hitting position players from a day out on the field.

Starting Pitching - The Rays have had the best starting rotation in the American League for the last couple years.  A slow start by David Price and poor starts from Roberto Hernandez let some of the wind out of the sail.  You can only trade so many starting pitchers before the well runs dry.  David Price will again be the ace after he recovered from a slow start to finish 10-8, 3.33.  He finished May with a 5.24 ERA with only one win.  His total of 10 wins tied for the lowest of his five year career.  Matt Moore was 17-4, but he still has trouble finding the plate, walking 76 in 150 innings in his second year as a starter.  The best pitcher on the team may have been Alex Cobb (11-3, 2.76), who lowered his ERA by almost two runs.  He struck out a team high 8.41 per nine innings.  Chris Archer was the key piece for the Rays in the Matt Garza trade.  He started 23 games and finished with a 3.22 ERA.  Jeremy Hellickson (5.17) had a poor year last year and an injury will prevent him from starting the season in the rotation.  The Rays have announced rookie phenom Jake Odorizzi will be the fifth starter.  Jake started four games last year and handled himself well (3.94).  Jake dominated in AAA (9-6, 3.33) and has earned a spot in the rotation.  It will be interesting who will be bumped from the rotation once Hellickson comes back healthy.  The Rays continue to horde pitchers in the minor leagues.  After Odorizzi, their top prospect the Rays can turn to Enny Romero, a lefthander who had one start in the major leagues last year and Alex Colome, the brother of Jesus, who had three starts with the Rays last year.  Both throw hard, but Alex at this point has better command of his pitches and would be the first in line.  Mike Montgomery is a pitcher to watch if he can start throwing strikes more consistently.  Nathan Karns can start the season in the minor leagues if the Rays still want to develop him as a starting pitcher.  Taylor Guerrieri is a 2011 first round pick that is still percolating up from the low minors.

Relief Pitching - Grant Balfour will replace Fernando Rodney in the closer role.  Rodney had a superb year in 2012 but fell back to earth last year.  That will make it easier for Balfour to replace him.  Myworld would be surprised if Heath Bell is used as the closer or even in a setup role.  He can still get the strikeouts, but he gives up too many barrel of the bat hits.  He failed in his closer role with the Marlins and had a disappointing year last year.  Their bullpen showed some troubles last year and this year it could be worse.  Joel Peralta may be a better setup option than Heath Bell, but his walk numbers are a concern (4.29 per nine innings).  Jake McGee and Cesar Ramos will try to replace the effective lefthanded appearances of the now departed Wesley Wright.  Brad Boxberger should become a key member of the bullpen after having success with the Padres last year.  At one time Juan Carlos Oviedo was a closer for the Florida Marlins under the name of Leo Nunez.  If you look at his ERA (4.34) he was not a very consistent closer.  He has a chance to earn a spot in the bullpen.

Potential Rookie Candidates - The biggest one will be Jake Odorizzi.  He has earned the fifth spot in the Rays rotation.  If he pitches well and Hellickson comes back the Rays will have to find someone else to remove from the rotation.  Hak-Ju Lee could see an early callup if he starts as he did last year before getting injured.  He probably needs at least half a year in the minors before being called up.  Both Enny Romero or Alex Colome need an additional injury to reach their depth level.  If the bullpen falters they could be called up to fill the hole.  It would take a nice year from Jake Odorizzi to get a repeat player as rookie of the year.

2008 draft - First round pick Timothy Beckham appears to be a bust.  He made his major league debut last year but will miss most of 2014 season because of injury.  Second round pick Kyle Lobstein is now a relief pitcher for the Tigers.  That is all the Rays have to show from this draft and only Beckham has made a small contribution to the major league team.

Expected Finish - The starting rotation will need to go deep to protect a weak bullpen.  The offense should score more runs with Wil Myers in the lineup full time.  This should be enough to win their division, one of the strongest in baseball.

Wacha Downs Astros Again

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

Michael Wacha travelled to Kissimmee a little more than a week ago to pitch three plus shutout innings over the Astros.  He returned to Kissimmee today where he pitched seven innings of 2-run ball in the Cardinals 5-2 win over the Astros.  If every team he pitched against was the Astros he would win the Cy Young.

The Cardinals gave him an early lead in the first inning, assaulting Brett Oberholtzer for four runs.  Matt Adams clubbed a 2-run double over the head of Robbie Grossman and Stephen Piscotty followed with a double down the left field line to give the Cardinals a 3-0 lead.  A single by Tony Cruz drove in Piscotty with the fourth run.

Oberholtzer settled down after that.  Matt Adams pulled him deep for a homerun down the right field line in the third to up the ante to 5-0.  Oberholtzer worked five innings and gave up eight hits and two walks.

The Astros finally touched Wacha for a run in the fourth.  Dexter Fowler and Robbie Grossman slapped back to back singles.  Marc Krauss drove in Fowler with a drive deep to center.

In the seventh inning the most unlikely of players sent Michael Wacha deep.  The 5′5″ Jose Altuve drove one into the deepest area of the park in center, putting it over the fence to score the second run.  The Astros never really threatened after that.

Game Notes: Josh Fields has looked good in his outings.  It doesn’t appear Jessie Crain will be ready to begin the season and Fields is competing with Chad Qualls for the closer job…Adron Chambers played right field today.  He had a single drop in front of him and made a weak throw home.  He is fighting to be the fourth outfielder spot for the Astros.  He has the speed to play center but his arm appears short for right field…J.D. Martinez has not shown any life in his bat.  He also is a poor defensive outfielder.  The Astros released him yesterday…The Astros do not really have any player who has right field arm strength.  The best player they have for that position is George Springer, but they sent him down to minor league camp.  Springer is considering filing a grievance for the demotion…Peter Bourjos was successful on a bunt single in the second inning.  In the last three games opponents are 4 for 4 bunting against the Astros…Matt Adams hit the ball hard in all three of his bats.  He drove one deep to left field in his third at bat…The Cardinals continue to play Xavier Scruggs.  He has more speed than Adams and plays better defense.  He also has some pop in his bat, but can not match Adams for the long ball.

Lions Win in the Taiwan Season Opener

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

The Uni-President Lions won the CPBL opener with an 8-4 win over the EDA Rhinos.  Fu-Hao Liu hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded to break a 4-4 tie and send the Lions to victory.  Guo-Ching Kao drove in two runs with his two hits to lead the Lion offense.  His double in the second drove in the first run of the game.

Andy Sisco was roughed up for five runs and six hits to take the loss for the Rhinos.  Ching-Lung Luo battled through six innings to get the win for Uni-President.  Former major league pitcher Hong-Chih Kuo pitched a perfect ninth making his CPBL debut.  He signed a contact in October making him the highest paid player in CPBL history (NT$40 million).

You can read a narrative for the game here:  http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/sport/archives/2014/03/23/2003586332

Dodgers Pull Out Opening Day Victory in Australia

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

There were over 38,000 who watched the Los Angeles Dodgers and $200 million dollar pitcher Clayton Kershaw down the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-1 in Australia in the earliest start ever to the major league baseball season.  Kershaw worked two outs into the seventh inning but was removed after reaching his pitch count of 102.  He struck out seven and allowed five hits.

The Dodgers have four outfielders to cover three positions.  Make that five.  Scott Van Slyke, the son of Andy had the big hit of the day, a two run homer in the fourth to give the Dodgers a 3-0 lead.  In an earlier at bat he had just missed a homerun, hitting the top of the wall for a double to set up the first run.  After watching him perform the Aussies will have to wonder why Scott is not one of the primary outfielders for the Dodgers.  Scott only played because both Carl Crawford and Matt Kemp were not available.

Adrian Gonzalez was taken out of the exhibition game because of tightness in his back.  He was back in the lineup and scored two runs for the Dodgers, Andre Ethier driving him in from third for the first run.  He had walked to start the second inning and advanced to third on the Van Slyke double.  He struck out in the fourth but got to first when the ball skipped past the catcher.

The Diamondbacks scored their only run in the sixth after Paul Goldschmidt doubled, advanced to third on a Kershaw wild pitch and scored on a Mark Trumbo ground out.

The game was delayed 14 minutes because of rain.  Although the Aussie National team named the Thunder were not playing, the thunder surrounded the stadium two hours before game time, putting an end to the pre-game ceremony.

The Aussies know how to do things big.  If you want to take a look at a $32 hot dog go here:  https://twitter.com/EFQZ/status/446946926580080640/photo/1

Marisnick Leads Marlins to Win Over Astros

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

Jake Marisnick is looking good for the Marlins.  He collected three singles in three at bats in the Marlins 7-2 win over the Astros.  His single in the opening frame preceded a 2-run homer from Garrett Jones to give the Marlins an early 2-0 lead.  Jones found a sweeping curveball from Scott Feldman appetizing, pulling it over the right field fence.

The Astros outfield defense broke down in the fifth inning to allow the Marlins to run away with the game.  With two outs pitcher Nate Eovaldi singled to right fielder L.J. Hoes, who let the ball slip under his glove and roll to the wall.  By the time Hoes retrieved the ball Eovaldi was standing on third looking a little winded.  Christian Yelich drove him in with a infield single and Jake Marisnick followed with his third hit of the day, another infield single.  Garrett Jones took advantage of the shift, singling to left center to drive in his third run of the game.  Dexter Fowler attempted to throw out Marisnick trying to advance to third, but overthrew the thirdbaseman allowing Marisnick to score the third run of the inning.

Nate Eovaldi got the start for the Marlins and pitched well for the first three innings.  His first baseman Garrett Jones, who gave him two runs in the first, made a defensive gaffe in the fourth to allow one run to score.  Marc Krauss was picked off first, but Jones took too long to throw to second and Krauss slid in ahead of the throw.  He would later score on a L.J. Hoes single.

Eovaldi had trouble in the fifth after the Marlins gave him a 5-1 lead.  Robbie Grossman pulled a double down the left field line.  A walk to Jose Altuve set up the double play.  Carlos Corporan smashed a one hop grounder to shortstop Donavan Solano but it skipped past his glove for an RBI single.  A walk loaded the bases, bringing in Carter Capps to retire the next two hitters without allowing any other runners to score.

The Astros could not generate any kind of offense against the Marlins bullpen.  Jesus Guzman singled in the eighth, otherwise the Marlin bullpen retired 13 of the 14 hitters they faced.  Arquimedes Caminero was quite impressive, retiring the side in order in the seventh.

The Astros bullpen was not as effective.  A balk and a wild pitch allowed two more runs to score to give the Marlins a 7-2 win.

Game Notes: The attendance for the game was 2,636.  Not a lot of people want to see what is perceived as the two most disinteresting teams in baseball.  Fans though may want to take a look at both teams farm systems.  There are some talented players on their rosters and both teams are geared well for the future…Jeff Baker, who hit 11 homeruns for Texas, slugging .545 was born in Germany.  He could have been a good addition to the German team in the last World Baseball Classic…Scott Feldman got the start for the Astros.  After the first inning he retired 13 out of 14 hitters.  In the first inning and the fifth inning he had trouble retiring anyone, giving up five runs in less than five innings…Alfredo Silverio was overmatched in his two at bats against Josh Zeid and Chad Qualls.  He failed to make contact in his two at bats, swinging and missing at five pitches, most of them breaking balls…Japhet Amador has an open stance that seems to make him vulnerable to the outside curveball.  He struck out in his only at bat, A.J. Ramos throwing a couple curves that broke outside.

Thunder Blank Diamondbacks

Friday, March 21st, 2014

The Aussies showed they could play with a major league team, using seven different pitchers to shutout the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-0.  It was an exhibition game and the Diamondbacks did start minor league phenom Archie Bradley, but they had their starting nine playing the game.  Tim Kennelly, one of four brothers who have made or are beginning to make their mark in the minor leagues touched off Bradley in the fourth with a homerun for a 3-0 lead.

Luke Hughes, who is an ex-major leaguer, had two RBI singles, his first in the opening frame to give the Aussies a quick lead and the second in the fifth to give the Thunder a 4-0 lead.  Tim Kennelly finished off the scoring with a single in the fifth, his second RBI of the game.

The box score for the game can be found here:  http://mlb.mlb.com/news/boxscore.jsp?gid=2014_03_21_arimlb_ausint_1

Tim Atherton got the start for Australia and went three innings, giving up just three hits.  He was followed by six different pitchers who each pitched one inning without giving up a run.

The Diamondbacks had a major league lineup on the field, including their two sluggers Paul Goldschmidt and Mark Trubmo, but as a team they managed only one extra base hit, a double by Martin Prado.  They stranded 11 baserunners.

Archie Bradley got the start for the Diamondbacks and could not get past the fourth inning.  He gave up six hits, walked three and gave up three runs.  The listed attendance was 16,897.

The Diamondbacks now open the season against the Dodgers in a real major league season game.